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Postgraduate taught

MSc Advanced Biological Sciences - 2023 entry

Please note: The below is for 2023 entries. Click here for 2022 entries.
UCAS code 1234
Duration 1 year full time
2 years part time
Entry year 2023
Campus Streatham Campus
Discipline Biosciences
Contact
Typical offer

View full entry requirements

At least a 2:1 Honours degree or equivalent in Biology or a relevant science subject

Contextual offers

Overview

  • One of the UK's leading Biosciences departments, ranked 6th in the UK for research power in the 2022 Research Excellence Framework
  • Study either a broad base of advanced biology or specialise in one of seven pathways
  • The advanced laboratory skills module provides specialised training and advanced data processing
  • You will undertake a substantial research project working within one of our world-leading research groups
  • You will have access to world-leading research facilities including the Aquatic Resources Centre, Bioimaging Centre, Exeter Centre for Cytomics and the Exeter Sequencing Facility  

Apply online

View 2022 Entry

Fast Track (current Exeter students)

Open days and visiting us

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Contact

Programme Director: Dr Alison Hill

Web: Enquire online

Phone: +44 (0)1392 72 72 72

Top 20 in the UK for world-leading research in Biological Sciences

REF 2021, based on 4-star research

Opportunity to specialise with a choice of pathways

Advanced laboratory skills with specialist techniques training

Substantial research project within one of our world-leading research groups

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 in a relevant science subject.

Relevant subjects include: Biological Sciences, Cell Biology, Ecology, Ecology and Conservation, Evolutionary Biology, Genetics, Marine Biology, Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Plant Science, Zoology.

Entry requirements for international students

English language requirements

International students need to show they have the required level of English language to study this course. The required test scores for this course fall under Profile B. Please visit our English language requirements page to view the required test scores and equivalencies from your country.

The Masters programme at Exeter allows you to specialise in an area of Biology that you are most interested in and gives you a fantastic opportunity to undertake research in one of our world-leading research laboratories.

Dr Alison Hill

Programme Director and Senior Lecturer

Course content

The MSc in Advanced Biological Sciences allows you to study a broad base of Biological Sciences, or to specialise in one of seven specialist areas (Animal Biology, Bioinformatics, Ecotoxicology, Frontiers in Plant Science, Microbiology and Infectious Disease, Molecular and Cellular Biology, or Sustainable Aquaculture).

Throughout this research-intensive Masters course, you will be immersed in a world-leading research environment and trained in the skills required to analyse and address major biological challenges of our time.

The core modules will provide you with the knowledge and skills required to develop your research project which will be supervised from within one of our world-leading research groups, determined by your research project focus.

The optional modules available provide access to a breadth of biosciences topics, which will allow you to tailor your studies to your particular interests.

Our Advanced Laboratory Skills module provides training in both practical and data processing skills, with advanced laboratory experiments carried out in small groups (approximately five students) to prepare you for your independent research project with one of our research groups.

The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.

During your MSc you can, if you wish, choose to specialise in one of seven specialist pathways:

  • Animal Biology
  • Bioinformatics
  • Ecotoxicology
  • Frontiers in Plant Science
  • Microbiology and Infectious Disease
  • Molecular and Cellular Biology
  • Sustainable Aquaculture

You will receive advice about the specialisms once you're at Exeter so you don’t need to make any decisions in advance.

Specialist modules

To be awarded a bracketed specialism on the MSc, at least 45 credits should be selected from the specialist modules grouped below. Your research project (module BIOM560) must also be relevant to the specialist field.

You may take optional modules as long as any necessary prerequisites have been satisfied, where the timetable allows, and if you have not already taken the module in question or an equivalent module.

*You cannot choose this module if you have already taken the undergraduate version.

MSc Advanced Biological Sciences (Animal Biology)

Code Module title Credits Compulsory
BIOM551 Biology of Marine Vertebrates (variant of BIO3098)* 15 No
BIOM552 Animal Development Biology (variant of BIO3091)* 15 No
BIOM553 Current Issues in Marine Biology (variant of BIO3083)* 15 No
BIOM554 Advanced Applications of Physiology 15 No
BIOM4043 Rewilding the UK 30 No
PSYM205 Advances and Methods in Animal Behaviour 30 No
PSYM213 Current Research Issues in Animal Behaviour 15 No

MSc Advanced Biological Sciences (Bioinformatics)

Code Module title Credits Compulsory
BIOM516 Bioinformatics (variant of BIO3092)* 15 Yes
BIOM567 Applications of Genomics in Infectious Disease 15 Yes
CSC4007 Medical Genomics 15 No
CSC4005 Pharmacogenomics 15 No
HPDM041 Bioinformatics, Interpretation and Data Quality Assurance in Genome Analysis 15 No
NSCM005 Mathematical Modelling in Biology and Medicine 15 No

MSc Advanced Biological Sciences (Ecotoxicology)

Code Module title Credits Compulsory
BIOM568 Blue Planet 15 Yes
BIOM544 Ecotoxicology (variant of BIO3067)* 15 Yes
BIOM543 Ecology of Environmental Change (variant of BIO3037)* 15 No
BIOM554 Advanced Applications of Physiology 15 No
BIOM4043 Rewilding the UK 30 No

MSc Advanced Biological Sciences (Frontiers in Plant Science)

Code Module title Credits Compulsory
BIOM545 Frontiers in Plant Biology (variant of BIO3046)* 15 Yes
BIOM546 Living in a Microbial World (variant of BIO3097)* 15 Yes
GEOM149 Green Planet 15 Yes

MSc Advanced Biological Sciences (Microbiology and Infectious Disease)

Code Module title Credits Compulsory
BIOM525 Molecular Basis of Infection (variant of BIO3079)* 15 No
BIOM515 Cellular Basis of Immunity (variant of BIO3078)* 15 No
BIOM534 Medical Mycology 15 No
BIOM567 Applications of Genomics in Infectious Disease 15 No

MSc Advanced Biological Sciences (Molecular and Cellular Biology)

Code Module title Credits Compulsory
BIOM525 Molecular Basis of Infection (variant of BIO3079)* 15 No
BIOM515 Cellular Basis of Immunity (variant of BIO3078)* 15 No
BIOM547 Frontiers in Molecular Cell Biology (variant of BIO3077)* 15 No
BIOM548 Cell Biology of Disease (variant of BIO3086)* 15 No
NSCM009 Bioimaging 15 No

MSc Advanced Biological Sciences (Sustainable Aquaculture)

Code Module title Credits Compulsory
BIOM568 Blue Planet 15 Yes
BIOM551 Biology of Marine Vertebrates (variant of BIO3098)* 15 No
BIOM553 Current Issues in Marine Biology (variant of BIO3083)* 15 No
BIOM554 Advanced Applications of Physiology 15 No

*You cannot choose this module if you have already taken the undergraduate version.

Fees

2023/24 entry

UK fees per year:

£13,000 full-time; £6,500 part-time

International fees per year:

£24,000 full-time; £12,000 part-time

Scholarships

We invest heavily in scholarships for talented prospective Masters students and have over £2.5 million in scholarships available, including our Global Excellence Scholarships* for international fee paying students.

For information on how you can fund your postgraduate degree at the University of Exeter, please visit our dedicated funding page.

*Selected programmes only. Please see the Terms and Conditions for each scheme for further details.

The ability to specialise the degree into one of seven different specialisations (or none) really allows students to tailor this programme to their own ambitions and career aspirations.

Dr Rose Murray

External examiner (University of Bristol)

The suite of programmes naturally builds on our internationally-leading undergraduate degrees, providing a rich and focused research-led experience. It works both ways - a fantastic opportunity for students to enhance their specialist training, while welcoming a new cohort of enthusiastic, budding scientists into our Departmental community.

Professor James Wakefield

Head of Biosciences

Teaching and research

How will I learn?

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Laboratory work
  • Group discussion
  • Independent study
  • Research project

The programme consists of core modules that provide you with a theoretical and applied learning framework for directed student-centred learning in which you will develop skills of synthesis, critical analysis, and interpretation. In addition, you will receive professional skills training tailored to the areas most relevant to your academic and professional development.

Research project

You will carry out your independent supervised research project in one of our world-leading research laboratories. Research projects are individual and can be based on laboratory work, field work or in silico (e.g. bioinformatics).

The research project will give you first-hand experience in many aspects of research work including data generation, analysis, and interpretation as well as science communication in written, poster and oral presentations.

During your research project, you will be supported by your research supervisor and other members of the research group to ensure you produce your best work. 

Facilities

Depending on your chosen modules and research project topic, you may have access to the following facilities:

Tutorial support

You will be allocated a personal tutor who is available for advice and support throughout your studies. There is also a postgraduate tutor available to help with further guidance and advice. In addition, the programme director will offer every student a meeting each term to review academic progress.

Assessment

Taught modules are assessed through essay examinations, individual and group-based coursework assignments, oral presentations, in-module tests and reports or essays. A significant proportion of the marks are based on your substantial research project and the associated paper submitted in August.

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Careers

Employer-valued skills this course develops

This programme will provide you with a diversity of skills that will equip you for a range of sectors of work.

Skills include:

  • Analytical skills
  • Applied statistics
  • Scientific writing
  • Independent learning
  • Critical evaluation
  • Research technique
  • Oral communication

In the Professional Skills module, we have dedicated careers workshops, and sessions on being an Academic Entrepreneur. Visiting speakers from outside the University are incorporated into some of the taught modules to further enhance your employability and you will be encouraged to seek out internships during your time here.

Careers services

Our careers teams at the Career Zone can help guide you through a wealth of information to match your skills and interests to a career that will suit you. Our staff work with regional, national and international employers to develop new work placement, project and graduate opportunities.

Future careers

After completion of the MSc, students are well placed for a research career in industry, or to enrol on a PhD. They are also competitively placed for work in Government Agencies such as CEFAS and DEFRA. 

The programme is designed very well to support students in attainment of the programme ILOs. In particular, the advanced laboratory skills module is innovative and bespoke for this particular cohort, forming an integral part of the focus of the programme.

Dr Rose Murray

External examiner (University of Bristol)