You will study key areas of basic science and business concepts critical for the biotechnology sector. You will study themes in biochemistry, cell biology, genetics, and microbiology, alongside the study of entrepreneurship and business planning with optional modules allowing you to further develop your business awareness. You will develop your practical skills with hands-on laboratory sessions, where you will become experienced in data collection and problem-solving. You will strengthen your core theoretical knowledge through lectures and interactive seminar groups. Upon the conclusion of your first year, you will have achieved the key foundations needed for success at degree level.
At the end of year 1, our flexible degree structure offers you the opportunity to transfer to relevant degree courses in the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology. Course transfers are subject to space and academic background approval.
Introductory Skills in the Molecular Biosciences (20 credits) - You’ll be trained in data collection and experimental techniques relevant to the biological sciences, as well as problem-solving, teamwork, and presentation skills. You will learn how to use laboratory equipment, design and execute simple experiments, understand approaches used to study biochemical and molecular processes, analyse and interpret numerical data, and present information clearly in written and oral forms.
Introductory Skills in Microbiology (20 credits) - Continue your skills training from first semester, with a focus on data collection and laboratory techniques relevant to microbial sciences, as well as further developing your skills in problem-solving, teamwork, and communication. You will engage with a mix of practical classes, tutorials, and computer-based classes, and will learn about aseptic technique, bacterial culture, microscopy, PCR, electrophoresis, and DNA sequencing as you work through several microbiology-focussed mini-projects applying theoretical knowledge gained from your lecture modules.
Basis of Life (20 credits) - You’ll learn about the fundamental processes of life, identifying the key concepts that underpin the biological processes in all living organisms, from bacteria to elephants. On completion of the module, you will have a comprehensive grounding in the molecular basis of life from the atomic scale up to cells.
Starting Your Own Business (10 credits) - You’ll gain a blend of theoretical and practical experience in setting up and running a business. You will delve into the issues of creativity, idea generation, opportunity recognition and feasibility analysis, which equip you with the foundations of an entrepreneurial business model.
The Microbial World (10 credits) - You’ll be introduced to a wide range of microscopic life forms and viruses. You will explore the diversity of microbial life with an emphasis on how we interact with microbes that are responsible for infections as well as those that do not normally cause disease. You will learn how microorganisms interact with each other and how they influence the lives of more complex organisms, for good or ill and will learn how fungi, bacteria and viruses are observed and manipulated safely.
Introduction to Genetics (10 credits) - You’ll gain essential foundational knowledge in genetics. You’ll explore the different meanings of ‘genetics’ and how this concept has changed over time. More importantly, you will explore what genetics means for us as organisms. To what extent do genes determine our inheritance? And how do our genes make us the distinct and unique organisms we are?
10 credits from the below in semester 1
Understanding Social Enterprises (10 credits) - You’ll be provided with the knowledge and skills to explore how for-purpose social businesses find socially innovative and enterprising win-win solutions to local and global social and environmental challenges.
Introduction to Management (10 credits) - You’ll be provided with an introduction to key tasks of management and examines challenges faced by managers today. The module also includes interviews with a variety of current practicing managers who reflect on a variety of aspects of management in the context of today’s business environment.
20 credits from the below in semester 2
Introduction to Enterprise and Entrepreneurship (10 credits) - You’ll be provided with an introduction to key ideas, concepts and practices in the field of Entrepreneurship. The module explores a variety of sectors ranging from creative industries to family businesses.
Biology of The Mind (10 credits) - Biology of The Mind takes you on a journey starting with the development and evolution of the nervous system through to the anatomy and physiology of neurons, exploring sensory/motor systems and culminating in the exploration of higher cognitive function.
Introduction to Immunology (10 credits) - You’ll review fundamental immune mechanisms with particular emphasis on human immunology and its relationship to health and disease. You will discover how we protect ourselves from infection through our immune defences, learning about the roles played by the different types of leukocytes, antibodies and complement.
Discovery Module (10 credits) - As well as the compulsory and optional modules that make up your programme of study, you may be able to choose something different to your main subject as a Discovery Module.
You will build upon the knowledge and experience you gained in your first year by diving deeper into topics important to both biotechnology and enterprise. For instance, you will learn how ‘omics-based approaches and ‘big data’ is being used to overcome global challenges in biomedicine, learn the underpinning science of sustainable food production, and the fundamentals to hone your understanding of business planning and entrepreneurship.
Tutorials with specialist tutors will help you develop a myriad of skills: experimental design, data analysis and interpretation, and reviewing current research literature. You will also receive support in your career planning from our Opportunities Team.
At the end of year 2, you will have the opportunity to complete an industrial work placement, study abroad, or combined study and work abroad. This will add an additional year of study to your degree and enhance your employment opportunities.
Intermediate Skills in the Molecular Biosciences (20 credits) - You’ll be trained in data collection, experimental techniques, and problem-solving in the context of molecular and cellular biology, biochemistry, and microbiology. You will build upon your expertise learned in your year one skills modules and will cover practical experiments in gene cloning, protein expression, PCR, electrophoresis, and enzyme assays, as well as tutorials on data handling, problem-solving, and critical reviews of current topics in cell and molecular biology.
Intermediate Skills in the Biological Sciences (20 credits) - You’ll be in data collection, experimental techniques, and problem-solving in the context of molecular and cellular biology. You will cover practical experiments in the analysis of the cell cycle as well as tutorials on data handling, problem-solving, and critical reviews of current topics in cell and molecular biology.
Omics and Big Data Biology (20 credits) - You’ll be introduced to omics-based approaches at the forefront of equipping biologists to overcome global challenges. You will develop practical data-science skills in comparative genomics, transcriptomics and proteomics in order to conduct group-based and individual research projects.
New Enterprise Planning (20 credits) - You'll have an opportunity to examine how a new enterprise proposal is developed from the initial idea, through to identifying a market, developing a financial plan, conducting market research, pitching and reporting an enterprise proposal.
Entrepreneurship in Theory & Practice (10 credits) - You’ll be introduced to the fundamentals of entrepreneurship and small business theory and practice. You will learn about the place of entrepreneurship in academic theory with a focus on how the decision to become an entrepreneur is impacted both by internal and external factors.
Sustainable Food Production (10 credits) - You’ll gain insight into the fundamental biology that underpins crop and animal production. You will also learn about the evolution of farming biodiversity and safeguarding the environment.
20 credits from the below in semester 2
Leading and Managing Small Businesses (10 credits) - You’ll be introduced to the concepts of leading and managing small businesses, including family businesses. You will also learn about the peculiarity, importance and diversity of small businesses. Upon completion of the module, students will understand the specific approaches to leading, managing and growing small and family businesses by combining theory with practice.
Managing Innovation in Business (10 credits) - You’ll learn about innovation, the current practices and management of innovation and apply your knowledge to current case studies and present evidence to support arguments for different models of change. This module is about more than having good ideas; it's about managing new ideas, improving old ideas and understanding how to implement them successfully.
Chemotherapy (10 credits) - The basis of chemotherapy is selective toxicity, the use of agents to kill or suppress the growth of invading cells or infective organisms. This module will help you understand how these agents work. You will learn about the drugs used to treat cancer, bacterial, fungal and viral infections. In addition, immunosuppressant drugs and the chemotherapy of protozoal diseases such as malaria will also be discussed.
Cell Biology of Disease (10 credits) - You’ll gain a broad understanding of eukaryotic cell and how it responds to and is altered in infectious and non-infectious disease. Emphasis is placed on a comprehensive grounding of cellular function by considering different cell types and associated disease states.
Medical Immunology (10 credits) - You’ll gain detailed knowledge of the immune system, focusing on human health, from infectious and auto-immune diseases to treatment.
You will undertake a practical project that introduces you to increasingly sophisticated techniques and provides the opportunity to become familiar with the cutting-edge research facilities available at Leeds, including cryo-electron microscopy, bio-imaging and flow cytometry, protein production, biomolecular interactions, and nuclear magnetic resonance facility. Alongside this, you will study Applied Genetics and enterprise modules.
Extended Research Project Preparation (20 credits) - In preparation for your research project in year 4, you’ll be required to carry out a literature review in a scientific area that is relevant to their degree, of interest to them, and being actively researched by a group(s) within the School. In addition to developing the skills required of a researcher, you will identify questions or hypotheses that can be answered or tested as part of an extended research project.
Research Tools and Applications (20 credits) - You’ll undertake a scientific investigation that requires project planning, the selection and adaptation of experimental protocols, the execution of laboratory and computer-based work, the interpretation of experimental data, literature searching, reading and reviewing and report (manuscript) writing. The scientific investigation will combine multiple experimental approaches and introduce students to major research facilities.
Advanced Skills in the Biological Sciences (20 credits) - In the final-year skills module, you will become familiar with up-to-date developments, hypotheses and controversies in microbiology. You will have an opportunity to develop your problem-solving and scientific communication skills as well as participate in careers workshops to improve your job interview skills.
Applied Genetics (20 credits) - You will be provided with an understanding of how the application of genetics can be used in therapeutic and crop development, including the techniques of genetic transformation. You will develop practical skills in genetic transformation supported by an in-depth understanding of the process and its applications and how genetic selection can be used to advance crop development. Expression systems for therapeutics and development processes for the production of novel products will be appraised along with the major approaches for directed evolution at the molecular and cellular level.
Enterprise Consultancy (20 credits) - You'll develop a deep understanding of how enterprises combine business practices with effecting change, specifically the creation of new opportunities. Working directly with enterprises, you (as part of a student team) will deliver a project to a consultancy brief. This will develop your team-working skills, your ability to project manage and at the same time gaining an in-depth understanding of how these organisations are managed.
20 credits from the following
Advanced Topics in Microbiology 2 (20 credits) - This is one of our flagship research-led modules. You will become familiar with current research in a range of topics which have previously covered:
- Respiratory infections
- Antibiotic action and resistance
- Respiratory infections
- Human-microbe interactions
- Streptomyces, the Antibiotic Makers
However, this module is continuously refreshed with topics that reflect the cutting-edge research we carry out at Leeds.
Cancer Biology (20 credits) - Cancer Biology provides you with comprehensive knowledge of a range of human cancers, from the molecular basis of cancer through to the alterations in cells and tissues in cancers to current therapies.
Any year 3 Faculty of Biological Sciences module for which pre-requisites are met (20 credits)
Spend two semesters working on your extended research project in your supervisor’s laboratory. As you are fully integrated into a research group, you will contribute to internationally competitive research which can result in the first publication of your career. MBiol projects are varied: from molecular characterization of cancer associated signalling pathways and investigation of bacterial outer membrane protein folding, to identification and development of new biopharmaceuticals. You will gain experience in a range of advanced techniques such as CRISPR, advanced DNA/RNA sequencing techniques, structural biology, bioinformatics and many more, depending on the project. Alongside you will study masters level modules from our suite of MSc programmes.
Project Module (90 credits) - You’ll undertake a two-semester independent research project on an original topic with an appropriate focus for yourhost programme. The research will be conducted within one of the Faculty research teams, sometimes in combination with outside agencies.
Research Planning and Communication (15 credits) - You’ll learn how to plan and structure research from an individual experiment to a program of work. Furthermore, you will receive training in communicating scientific research in different formats including literature reviews, scientific research papers and oral presentations.
15 credits from the following
Advanced Biomolecular Techniques (15 credits) - You’ll learn about a range of techniques and technologies which are applicable to modern biosciences. Exercises will develop data analysis and problem-solving skills and expose you to current research trends in the biosciences and to leading researchers in the field.
Advanced Immunology (15 credits) - You'll be provided with state-of-the-art research-led teaching focusing on four topics fundamental to the essential principles of the immune system. These include Innate Immunity and Adaptive Immunity, which are central to understanding the host's interaction with an environment containing a wide range of potentially pathogenic microorganisms. This is complemented by examination of two examples of immune deviation, in the case of Allergy leading to immunopathology, and in the case of Immune Evasion leading to sophisticated strategies adopted by pathogens to survive in the face of the immune system.
Treatment of Infectious Disease and Cancer (15 credits) - You’ll explore the treatment of human diseases caused by infectious agents (bacteria, viruses, fungi) and cancer by current and emerging approaches, with a focus on describing the mechanistic rationale for chemotherapy, vaccination, gene/RNA therapy, and immunotherapy.
Global Challenges in Sustainable Agriculture (15 credits) - You’ll learn about past, current and future challenges for current and future food production. This will include understanding the major drivers for change in food and agricultural systems, UK and global food security, and strategies for increased sustainability, resilience and climate adaptation agriculture. You will work in small groups to produce a science communication output for a relevant non-scientific audience, developing teamwork and leadership skills. This module features a combination of lectures and seminars.
Crop Production in a Changing Environment (15 credits) - You’ll learn about past, current and future challenges for current and future food production. This will include understanding the major drivers for change in food and agricultural systems, UK and global food security, and strategies for increased sustainability, resilience and climate adaptation agriculture. The module features a combination of lectures and fieldwork.
Global Perspectives on Enterprise (15 credits) - You’ll be provided with an understanding of how enterprise is viewed globally, and the diverse challenges faced in new venture creation depending on the local economic environment. You will be invited to evaluate theories and practice of enterprise and entrepreneurship.
Critical Entrepreneurship Studies (15 credits) - You’ll be encouraged to engage with contemporary and critical issues and debates in the study of enterprise and entrepreneurship. During workshops you will have the opportunity to engage with academic speakers and experts to debate some of the most current and pressing challenges in enterprise and entrepreneurship studies.
Throughout your degree you will benefit from a range of opportunities to expand your intellectual horizons outside or within your subject area.
This course gives you the opportunity to choose from a range of discovery modules. They’re a great way to tailor your study around your interests or career aspirations and help you stand out from the crowd when you graduate. Find out more about discovery modules on our Broadening webpages.
Learning and teaching
Our teaching is delivered through a combination of lectures, tutorials and practicals (laboratory or field settings dependent on your degree). We take a student-centred approach to learning and so our teaching is designed to enable student engagement through active learning approaches that include creative problem-solving, team-work activities and mini-projects. In this way, you are able to apply the theoretical knowledge learnt to practical, real-life contexts. We put a high value on practical teaching and so a core part of your teaching will focus on developing hands-on practical and associated research skills.
Independent study is an important part of University learning and you will be expected to undertake private study. We will support you in becoming independent learners through our teaching approaches and through regular meetings with your personal tutor who is there to advise you academically.
We use a range of digital tools to enhance your learning. Through our Minerva learning management system, you will be able to access our extensive library of online materials, some of it designed specifically to support preparation prior to attending classroom sessions and discuss content with peers and teachers. In the classroom, educators use a variety of interactive digital tools to help you learn through discussion and debate. Laboratory practicals are accompanied by detailed online preparation guides and use of electronic laboratory notebooks to ensure you get the most out of your time and develop workplace skills.
On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.
We use a variety of assessment methods to help you develop a broad range of skills. These include practical work, data handling and problem-solving exercises, multiple-choice tests, group work, online and face-to-face discussion groups, computer-based simulations, essays, posters and oral presentations.