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Course length

1 year


Durham City

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Course details

Watch our short video - Durham MSc Plant Biotechnology and Enterprise - YouTube

This programme provides a unique opportunity to really shape the future. Gain the technical and scientific skills needed to support increased agricultural productivity and the development of new biotechnological innovations whilst also delivering a commercial approach through the business-related enterprise element of the course.

Alongside taught modules and practical lab-based experience offering one to one mentoring, this focused programme will enable students to develop their own research project, access vital training in business development and create links with leading biotech industries whilst developing essential skills for the employment market.

Now is your chance to join a world top 100 University, benefit from an outstanding student experience, be part of world leading research in state-of-the-art facilitates – apply today, join us at Durham and achieve the extraordinary!

One of the principal challenges that our society faces is the need for increased agricultural productivity via improved crop protection and plant biotechnology. The number of novel crop protection and biotech products registered in the EU has been decreasing over the last 10 years. This is, in part, due to a sector covered by a reduced number of companies, a difficult legislative environment, and the lack of professionals with skills and specific knowledge. Given the quality of the UK Plant-science research and education system, the socio-economical context and the increase in global warming-associated natural catastrophes, there has never been a more important time to train new scientists in plant biotechnology, to underpin economic growth.

Most of the Biosciences graduates finish their degree with limited practical and experimental skills, and the practical knowledge required for translating their ideas into commercial products. Furthermore, due to the rapidly evolving nature of the biosciences field, employers seek graduates with transferable skills beyond those established in their first degree. To fulfill this curriculum gap and to improve the employability and business development know-how of home and overseas bioscientists, academics at the DU Biosciences department have designed a postgraduate taught course in Plant Biotechnology & Enterprise.

The programme consists of five compulsory taught modules (80 credits) and a research project (100 credits). Three of the five taught modules have been explicitly designed for this program and two further modules are inter-disciplinary. Holistically they aim to provide exceptional theoretical subject-specific content and transferable knowledge and skills. The “Bioinformatics and Data science” module, shared with the PGT in Data Science, will provide fundamental knowledge of, and practical skills in, the computational and statistical analysis of big-data. The “Innovation and Enterprise in Plant Biotechnology” module is jointly run with the Durham Business School and introduces students to the key theories of innovation and how these can be applied to individual plant biotechnology research projects. The research project builds on material covered in the taught modules and will provide practical and experimental knowledge and skills.

Course Structure

The course is comprised of the following compulsory modules:

Module Title

Lead Department

Credit value

Frontiers of Plant Science



Agriculture and Biotechnology



Bioinformatics, data analysis (statistics R)*



Innovation and Enterprise in Plant Biotechnology



Technology in the Biosciences



Research Project




Teaching and learning will be delivered via the use of workshops and practical classes, seminars and lectures, small group work, case studies, research project, guest industrial lecturers, self-directed and web-based learning.

Entry requirements

Applicants need the equivalent of a UK honours degree to at least a 2:1 in a Biosciences equivalent degree (i.e. Biology, Natural Sciences, Agriculture). It is not necessary to have prior laboratory experience in plant sciences techniques

English Language requirements

English language requirements: Candidates whose first language is not English will normally be required to demonstrate proficiency in the English language by possessing a recent English language test score of average 6.5 or above in IELTS, or TOEFL iBT (internet based) 92 or above, or equivalent.

Additional requirements

  • Completed online application form
  • CV/Resume
  • Evidence of higher degree qualifications with mark statements
  • Personal statement (up to 750 words)
  • References: the applicant will need to provide the names of two people who can provide an academic reference in support of your application. An academic reference could be from, for example:
    • Your personal tutor
    • Your thesis supervisor
    • Your line manager in a research group

English language requirements

Fees and funding

The tuition fees for 2023/24 academic year have not yet been finalised, they will be displayed here once approved.

The tuition fees shown are for one complete academic year of full time study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and Bursaries

We are committed to supporting the best students irrespective of financial circumstances and are delighted to offer a range of funding opportunities. 

Find out more about Scholarships and Bursaries

Career opportunities


Our graduates progress into a diverse range of careers. Many take up medicine courses, while others work in the biosciences sector, the NHS or the pharmaceutical industry.

Department information


The Department of Biosciences studies biology from the smallest to the largest scales; from the structure and function of biological molecules, through to cells, organisms and populations, to the global ecosystem.

For more information see our department pages.


  • 5th in The Complete University Guide 2023
  • 6th in The Guardian University Guide 2023
  • 8th in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023.


For a current list of staff, please see the Biosciences Department pages.

Research Excellence Framework

  • 100% internationally recognised research environment (REF 2021)


Our research covers the breadth of the biological sciences, and we often work at the interface with other disciplines such as the physical sciences. We have outstanding research infrastructure and equipment in genomics, bioimaging and mass spectrometry, and plant and animal growth facilities.

More information on our facilities and equipment.


Find out more:

Apply for a postgraduate course (including PGCE International) via our online portal.  

Visit Us

The best way to find out what Durham is really like is to come and see for yourself!

Join a Postgraduate Open Day
  • Date: 01/09/2023 - 31/08/2024
  • Time: 09:00 - 17:00
Find out more
Self-Guided Tours
  • Date: 01/09/2023 - 31/08/2024
  • Time: 09:00 - 16:00
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