MSc Biotechnology for Environmental Sustainability

Postgraduate, Part-time

Biotechnology for Environmental Sustainability MSc

Our course will develop your skills and enable you to undertake a variety of fulfilling roles


Our course will develop your skills and enable you to undertake a variety of fulfilling roles from research, and product and technology development to environmental protection and other leadership positions.

This course is eligible for a SFC funded place for Scottish and EU students – please see the SFC funding page for more information on how to apply. The deadline for applications for a January 2019 start is the 30th of November 2018.

Students working on a conservation field trip

Mode of Study:

Part-time (available as Full-time)


2-4 years

Start date:


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Course details

This course provides you with in-depth knowledge and critical understanding of key concepts in fermentation and bioprocessing, environmental microbiology, business planning and environmental policy, which are relevant to the application of commercial-scale biotechnologies in an environmentally sustainable manner.

You’ll study the scientific concepts that underpin modern biotechnologies and how innovations can be exploited for the development of products and processes such as biofuels, novel bioactive compounds and waste conversion technologies. You’ll also explore the bioethical, socio-economic and regulatory aspects of environmental sustainability and the role of biotechnologies in environmental protection.

There is an emphasis on developing your practical laboratory skills with various opportunities for hands-on experience in a range of current techniques and practices such as fermentation and environmental monitoring. In your final trimester you’ll undertake an independent project within a vibrant research team, allowing you to apply and further develop your technical, research and professional skills. There may be the opportunity to conduct your research project with one of our Edinburgh Napier start-up companies or externally in a relevant organisation or industry.

You’ll also develop key skills including communication, problem solving, team work, project management, and leadership.

Subjects include

  • Cell technology
  • Business and bioethics
  • Biotechnology for sustainable renewables
  • Research skills
  • Biotechnology for sustainable remediation
  • Environmental sustainability management
  • Independent research project
  • calendar How you’ll be taught

    This is a part-time course which you can start in September or January with flexibility in the number of taught modules taken in each trimester. The project may be carried out over one or two trimesters. The course can take 2 to 4 years to complete, depending on your other commitments and availability.

    You’ll learn through interactive lectures, workshops, tutorials, site visits, field trips and laboratory sessions, and by engaging with guided independent study. Guest lectures may also be arranged. A variety of assessment tools are used to enhance and evaluate your learning.

  • note and pen Assessments

    Your assessments are mapped out across your programme and include formative work to help practice your skills, as well as summative work which will build on this preparatory work. These are carefully spaced out across each trimester to avoid clashes and include many different types of assessment such as essays, lab reports, posters, oral presentations, short discussions, class tests and exams. Some of these assessments involve group-work, whilst others are individual.

    For example: In the Business and Bioethics module, you will work on a business plan and are required to prepare an oral pitch and a written report.

    In the Cell Technology module, you will be assessed on practical lab skills and also via a class test.

  • briefcase Work placement

    Optional supervised work placement or overseas study module. Study modules mentioned above are indicative only. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study. Full information on this is available in our disclaimer.

  • library Facilities

    The MSc Biotechnology for Environmental Sustainability programme is delivered at our landmark Sighthill Campus where students learn in state of the art laboratories equipped with, for example, category II microbiology facilities; anaerobic chambers; bioreactors; confocal microscopy, molecular biology and in-field analytical equipment, to ensure we meet the needs of students entering employment and research roles in the environmental and biotechnology sectors.


Study modules mentioned above are indicative only. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.

Full information on this is available in our disclaimer.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

The entry requirements for this course is a Bachelor (Honours Degree) at a 2:2 or above, or equivalent. We look for applicants to have a background in a biology discipline such as biological sciences, biotechnology, microbiology, molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry, environmental biology, biomedical sciences in order to be eligible for the programme. 

We may also consider lesser qualifications if you have sufficient relevant work experience within the industry.

English language requirements 

If your first language isn't English, you'll normally need to undertake an approved English language test and our minimum English language requirements will apply.

This may not apply if you have completed all your school qualifications in English, or your undergraduate degree was taught and examined in English (within two years of starting your postgraduate course). Check our country pages to find out if this applies to you.

International students

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.
Entry requirements by country

Please note that non-EU international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:
  • BN Nursing/MN Nursing (Adult, Child, Mental Health or Learning Disability)
  • BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery

Admissions policies

We’re committed to admitting students who have the potential to succeed and benefit from our programmes of study. 

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures, and how we use the information you provide us in your application to inform the decisions we make.

Undergraduate admissions policies
Postgraduate admissions policies

Fees & funding

The course fees you'll pay and the funding available to you will depend on a number of factors including your nationality, location, personal circumstances and the course you are studying. We also have a number of bursaries and scholarships available to our students.

Tuition fees
Students from 2018/19 2019/20
Home/EU-Taught modules *£890 *£922
Home/EU-Dissertation module £530 £553
Overseas Taught Modules *£1,950 *£2,028
Overseas Dissertation £1,300 £1,352

Fees for modules are calculated according to the number of credits (multiples of 20). The rate shown in the table is for 20 credits*.
This course comprises of 180 credits from taught modules and a dissertation. The total fee you will pay is dependant upon the exit award you wish to achieve.

Frequently Asked Questions about Fees.

Information of Bursaries and Scholarships.

SFC funded course

Edinburgh Napier University has funding to support a very limited number of postgraduate taught places for this course. Awards are available for those starting in September and January each year.


  • Career opportunities in areas such as sustainable waste management, bioremediation, environmental protection and monitoring, biorenewables, and bioprocessing, as well as product/technology development.
  • You'll be prepared for a variety of roles including those with a research focus and those with an emphasis on leadership in both multinational companies and smaller biotechnology enterprises.
  • Employment in contract research companies and service providers to the environmental and industrial biotechnology sectors, in addition to government and environment protection agencies.
  • Further study in a research setting: graduates will be qualified to continue to PhD studies in the biosciences.
Landscape across forth of firth

The possibilities for biotechnology in the development of environmentally sustainable solutions and their role in environmental protection are thoroughly explored in this course.

Dr Halina Vaughan

Lead academic, MSc Biotechnology for Environmental Sustainability