Faculty of Biological Sciences

Overview


In recent years the study of plant sciences has been revolutionised by the development of new tools and technologies which have allowed unprecedented progress in the study of plant biology – knowledge which is being applied to develop sustainable solutions to some of the major challenges of the 21st century.

This course will give you specialist training in the modern molecular aspects of plant science. A large part of your teaching will be delivered by academics from the University’s Centre for Plant Sciences (CPS) linked to the latest research in their areas of expertise.

You’ll explore the wide ranges of approaches used in biomolecular sciences as applied to plant science. This will cover theory and practice of recombinant DNA and protein production, bioimaging using our confocal microscope suite, practical bioinformatics and theories behind ‘omic technologies.

You’ll also learn how to design a programme of research and write a research proposal, read and critically analyse scientific papers in plant science and biotechnology and present the findings. A highlight of the course is your individual 80 credit practical research project.

The course is 100% coursework assessed (although some modules have small in course tests). Our teaching and assessment methods are designed to develop your independent thinking, problem solving, communication skills and practical ability, making you attractive to employers or providing an excellent foundation for further study (eg PhD).

You’ll study in a faculty ranked 6th in the UK for its research impact in the recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014).

Our Facilities

You’ll study in a stimulating environment which houses extensive facilities developed to support and enhance our faculty’s pioneering research. As well as Faculty operated facilities, the CPS laboratories are well equipped for general plant research. There is also a plant growth unit, including tissue culture suites with culture rooms, growth rooms and flow cabinets alongside transgenic glass-houses to meet a range of growth requirements.

Related courses

Biodiversity and Conservation MRes
Biodiversity and Conservation MSc
Biopharmaceutical Development MSc
Bioscience MSc
Infection, Immunity and Human Disease MSc

Course content: Plant Science and Biotechnology MSc

On this course you’ll gain an overview of a range of modern techniques and methodologies that underpin contemporary biomolecular plant sciences.

You’ll also apply your knowledge to an extended practical investigation in the form of a laboratory-based mini project, involving practical training in a range of modern molecular biology and protein engineering techniques such as gene cloning, PCR, mutagenesis, protein expression, protein purification and analysis.

A module on plant biotechnology will address current topics such as the engineering of plants, development of stress-tolerant crop varieties and techniques for gene expression and gene silencing through reading discussion and critical analysis of recent research papers.

You’ll learn from the research of international experts in DNA recombination and repair mechanisms and their importance for transgene integration and biotechnological applications; plant nutrition and intracellular communication; and the biosynthesis, structure and function of plant cell walls.

You’ll also explore the wide range of approaches used in bio-imaging and their relative advantages and disadvantages for analysing protein and cellular function. Bioinformatics and high throughput omic technologies are crucial to plant science research and you will take modules introducing you to these disciplines.

In the final part of the course you'll work on an independent laboratory-based research project related to your course options. You’ll receive extensive training in experimental design, the practical use of advanced techniques and technologies, data analysis and interpretation, and will be assigned a research project supervisor who will support and guide you through your project.

Course structure

These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.

Year 1

COMPULSORY MODULES

Bioimaging 10 credits
Topics in Plant Science 10 credits
Practical Bioinformatics 10 credits
Plant Biotechnology 10 credits
High-throughput Technologies 10 credits
MSc Bioscience Research Project Proposal 5 credits
Research Planning and Scientific Communication 10 credits
Advanced Biomolecular Technologies 20 credits
Protein Engineering Laboratory Project 15 credits
Bioscience MSc Research Project 80 credits

Learning and teaching

You’ll have access to the very best learning resources and academic support during your studies. We’ve been awarded a Gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF, 2017), demonstrating our commitment to delivering consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for our students.

Your learning will be heavily influenced by the University’s world-class research as well as our strong links with highly qualified professionals from industry, non-governmental organisations and charities.

You’ll experience a wide range of teaching methods including formal lectures, interactive workshops, problem-solving, practical classes and demonstrations.

Through your research project and specialist plant science modules, you’ll receive substantial subject-specific training. Our teaching and assessment methods are designed to develop you into a scientist who is able to think independently, solve problems, communicate effectively and demonstrate a high level of practical ability.

Assessment

We use a variety of assessment methods: multiple-choice testing, practical work, data handling and problem solving exercises, group work, discussion groups (face-to-face and online), computer-based simulation, literature reviews, research paper critiques, posters and oral presentations.

Applying, fees and funding: Plant Science and Biotechnology MSc

Entry requirements

A bachelor degree with 2:1 (hons) in a relevant subject.

We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For information please contact the Faculty of Biological Sciences Taught Postgraduate Admissions Team.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English

If English is not your first language, you may be able to take a pre-sessional course before you begin your studies. This can help if you:

  • don't meet the English language requirements for your course or
  • want to improve your understanding of academic language and practices in your area of study.

Our pre-sessional courses are designed with a progression route to the degree programme and are tailored to the subject area. For information and entry requirements, read Language for Science (6 weeks) and Language for Science: General Science (10 weeks)

How to apply

Documents and information you’ll need

  • completed online application form (for Taught Postgraduate Study)
  • completed supporting statement
  • full CV
  • transcript of degree examination marks achieved to date
  • copy of final degree certificate (if completed)
  • two academic references
  • evidence of English language qualification (non-native English speakers only)
  • copy of passport (if you’re an overseas student).

  Apply   >  

This link takes you to information on applying for taught programmes and to the University's online application system.
 
If you're unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Next steps

  • we process your application
  • we inform you of our decision
  • if we make you an offer, you respond by accepting, declining or deferring.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

Faculty of Biological Sciences Taught Postgraduate Admissions Policy

Link to admissions policy document

Fees

UK/EU: £11,000 (total)

International: £23,000 (total)

Read more about paying fees and charges.

For fees information for international taught postgraduate students, read Masters fees.

Additional cost information

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There may be help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government.  Find out more at Masters funding overview.

Scholarships for Faculty of Biological Sciences students

We award a generous range of scholarships to UK, EU and international students. We consider all eligible applicants who demonstrate outstanding academic achievement and excellent personal and professional skills.

Visit our FBS fees and scholarship page to find out more about the range of scholarships we have to offer.

Career opportunities: Plant Science and Biotechnology MSc

The strong research element of the Plant Science and Biotechmology MSc, along with the specialist and generic skills you develop, mean you’ll graduate equipped for a wide range of careers.

Our graduates work in a diverse range of areas, ranging from bioscience-related research through to scientific publication, teacher training, health and safety and pharmaceutical market research.

Links with industry

We have a proactive Industrial Advisory Board who advise us on what they look for in graduates and on employability-related skills within our courses.

We collaborate with a wide range of organisations in the public and commercial sectors. Many of these are represented on our Industrial Advisory Board. They include:

  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Ernst and Young
  • The Food and Environment Research Agency
  • The Health Protection Agency
  • MedImmune
  • Thermofisher Scientific
  • Hays Life Sciences
  • European Bioinformatics Institute
  • Smaller University spin-out companies, such as Lumora


Industrial research placements
Some of our partners offer MSc research projects in their organisations, allowing students to develop their commercial awareness and build their network of contacts.

Professional and career development

We take personal and career development very seriously. We have a proactive Industrial Advisory Board who advises us on what they look for in graduates and on employability related skills within our courses.

Our dedicated Employability and Professional Development Officer ensures that you are aware of events and opportunities to increase your employability. In addition, our Masters Career Development Programme will support you to:

  • explore career options and career planning
  • understand the PhD application process and optimise PhD application
  • learn how to use LinkedIn and other social media for effective networking and career opportunities
  • practice interviews for both job and PhD applications

You will also have access to seminars and presentations from industry professionals (including our alumni) at faculty led career events. We also have regular research seminars presented by leading academics from around the world on their specialist subjects.

Graduate destinations
Examples of posts held by recent MSc graduates include:

  • Trainee Cytogeneticist, UK
  • Commissioning Editor, scientific publishers, UK
  • Research Fellow, National Centre for Biological Sciences, India
  • Clinical Researcher, Kent and Medway Cancer Network and NHS Trust, UK
  • Research Technician, University of Warwickshire/University of Oxford, UK
  • Graduate Medical Degree, UK
  • Bioassay analyst, Novartis Vaccines & Diagnostics, UK
  • Laboratory technician, Exova Group Limited
  • Quality Management at Johnson & Johnson Lifescan Technologies
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Education, UK
  • Trainee Embryologist, UK
  • Research Assistant, Qatar National Research Fund, Qatar
  • Sypol, Health and Safety Services, UK
  • Research Executive, Adelphi International Research, UK
  • Biopharmaceutical Experimental Officer, Covance, UK.


Further study

A substantial proportion of our graduates undertake further study at Leeds or elsewhere. Recent graduates have gone on to:

  • PhD positions in the UK, USA, Australia and in European countries overseas eg at the Max Planck Institute, Germany
  • Research post at Harvard School of Public Health, Botswana.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.

Placement opportunities

Some of our partners offer MSc research projects in their organisations, allowing students to develop their commercial awareness and build their network of contacts.

Recent students have completed their research projects in organisations such as the Food and Environment Research Agency and the Health Protection Agency.


Request course brochure

Key Facts

Start date:
September 2018

Duration:
12 months full time

UK/EU Fees: £11,000 (total)
International Fees: £23,000 (total)
Fees explained

Entry requirements:
A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in a relevant subject.
Full entry requirements

Language requirements:
IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component

Course terms & conditions

Student Profile

Sana Qadri: MSc Plant Science and Biotechnology

"What attracted me most about my course at University of Leeds was the Centre for Plant Sciences (CPS) which is a multidisciplinary research centre within the University. "
Read more

Sana Qadri , Plant Science and Biotechnology, MSc