Molecular Biology MSc

About the course


The MSc Molecular Biology will give you hands on practical experience of both laboratory and bioinformatics techniques. You will also be trained in molecular biology research strategies. A strong practical foundation is provided in the first semester (Semester A) when you will study two modules:

  • Core Molecular Biology - This module aims to help you develop a systematic understanding and knowledge of recombinant DNA technology, bioinformatics and associated research methodology.
  • Genes, Proteins and Development - This module will provide you with an advanced understanding of genetics, proteins, the area of proteomics and the molecular basis of cellular differentiation and development.

The second semester (Semester B) has a problem-based learning approach to the application of the knowledge you gained in Semester A. You will study two modules:

  • Molecular Medicine - You will study the areas of protein design, production and engineering, investigating specific examples of products through the use of case studies.
  • Molecular Biotechnology - You will gain an in-depth understanding of the application of molecular biological approaches to the characterisation of selected diseases and the design of new drugs for their treatment.

In semester C you will undertake a research project to develop your expertise further. The research project falls into different areas of molecular biology and may include aspects of fermentation biotechnology, cardiovascular molecular biology, cancer, angiogenesis research, diabetes, general cellular molecular biology, bioinformatics, microbial physiology and environmental microbiology.

Why choose this course?

If you have a Bachelors degree in the biosciences, biochemistry, pharmacy or biological chemistry and you want to develop specialist knowledge in molecular biology then this postgraduate programme is for you. It will allow you to gain new skills and enhance your employability in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries or allow you to progress to a research degree.

Download the course leaflet for MSc Molecular Biology

Entry requirements...

An honours degree with 60% or above marks or equivalent professional qualification, in the biosciences, biochemistry, pharmacy or biological chemistry. Applicants without these qualifications who can demonstrate by other qualifications, research publications or appropriate experience that they can benefit from the programme will be considered on individual merit.

Study routes

  • Full Time, 1 Years


  • University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield


Graduates of the programme will be qualified for research and development positions in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, to progress to a research degree, or to consider non-research roles in industry such as management, manufacturing and marketing. 

Teaching methods

The course consists of five modules including a research project. All modules are 100% coursework assessed.

  • Core Molecular Biology
  • Genes, Proteins and Development
  • Molecular Biotechnology
  • Molecular Medicine Research
  • Methods and Project

Professional Accreditations

Not applicable.


Year 1

Core Modules

  • Core Molecular Biology

    DNA structure and function: genome complexity, structure of genes, DNA replication, RNA and protein synthesis, introduction to the control of gene expression. Cell molecular biology: signal transduction mechanisms, eukaryotic gene control. Principles of basic genetics, protein structure and function. Recombinant DNA technology: basic strategy - cutting and joining DNA, library screening, DNA sequencing, polymerase chain reaction, analysis of gene/transgene expression, methods for gene transfer and applications, transgenic organisms. Genomics: Physical mapping including sequencing strategies. Expressed sequence tags (ESTs). Genome databases etc. Practical bioinformatics: gene prediction, searching for cis elements, characterization of restriction sites, DNA and protein primary databases (file formats etc), searching primary databases, genome databases, PCR primer design, multiple sequence alignments and phylogenetic analysis, protein classification and structure prediction.

  • Genes, Proteins and Development

    This module will provide an advanced understanding of genetics, proteins, the area of proteomics and the molecular basis of cellular differentiation and development. The isolation and analysis of genetic mutants, complementation and epistasis will be considered in addition to genetic mapping methods and techniques to identify genes involved in development. The relationship between protein structure and function will be considered as will current protein and immunochemical techniques used to isolate and analyse proteins. The use of proteomics and proteomic techniques such as 2D gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry to analyse and identify new or modified proteins in cells and tissues will be undertaken. The differentiation and development of prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms will be considered and these will include areas such as cell signalling and regulation of differentiation in bacteria and the molecular mechanisms that account for it. The development of selected eukaryotic systems will also be explored and the underlying molecular events including the genomic and proteomic changes that control such development and differentiation considered.

  • Molecular Medicine

    Molecular biology of disease Determinants of disease; from genes to the environment - a discussion using selected examples. Screening (prenatal and population), genetic counselling and ethics. Two case studies will be undertaken using a group problem-based learning approach. Areas for study may include (others may be chosen if the student has a specific interest)- * selected animal disorders (eg scrapie, foot and mouth) * human infectious diseases (microbial or viral) * cancer * haematological and cardiovascular disorders * neurological disorders * immunological and autoimmune disorders * metabolic disorders * selected monogenic disorders or polygenic disorders * molecular biology in the pharmaceutical industry. * molecular biology techniques in the use of drugs. One case study will be undertaken using a group problem-based learning approach based on material covered in this section.

  • Project - Mol Biol, Biotech, Pharmacology & Bioinformatics

    Research methodology - the formulation and testing of hypotheses; experimental design and associated statistical analysis; questionnaire design; data analysis and the assessment of significance. Safety & risk assessment in the laboratory. Information seeking - the nature of scientific literature; the internet, textbooks, review literature and research literature; the use of databases; performance of a literature search. The research project - identification of a research field; the construction of a literature review; identification of the project aim and the specific problems to be addressed; the formulation of an hypothesis; the testing of an hypothesis, the design of investigative methods and the adoption of relevant statistical analysis; analysis and interpretation of data and drawing of conclusions; reassessment of the hypothesis, the relevance of the findings to current knowledge; production of a report; defence of the report.


Fees & funding

Fees 2014

UK/EU Students

Full time: £6,900 for the 2014 academic year

International Students

Full time: £11,300 for the 2014 academic year

Discounts are available for International students if payment is made in full at registration

View detailed information about tuition fees

Other financial support

Find out more about other financial support available to UK and EU students

Living costs / accommodation

The University of Hertfordshire offers a great choice of student accommodation, on campus or nearby in the local area, to suit every student budget.

View detailed information about our accommodation

How to apply


Start DateEnd DateLink
28/09/201525/09/2016Apply online (Full Time)