UCL Institute of Ophthalmology


Bioscience Research & Development MSc and Bioscience R&D with Practice MSc

Learn how to develop novel therapeutics, get hands-on experience in cutting edge laboratory research and help shape the future of medical treatments. These two MSc courses are identical in Year 1, and you have to do the first year before you can do the final three modules.

Scholarships for UK applicants

We are delighted to be able to offer scholarships worth £3,500 each for successful UK applicants to the UCL Bioscience (Research and Development) MSc. Please email ioo.admissions@ucl.ac.uk for more information. 

Key information for both courses

  • Start date: September 2024
  • Duration: 12 months full-time; 18 months for ‘Bioscience R&D with Practice’ option
  • Fees: UK £18,600 (full-time) and Overseas £34,400 (full-time) 

Bioscience Research & Development MSc course structure

The UCL Bioscience Research & Development MSc is run by the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology where teaching in Term 1 takes place, but modules you select for Term 2 will be delivered within other departments across UCL campus. You will learn from these modules how to design research studies and develop the resulting data into clinical applications.

Being able to develop your ideas for clinical use requires an understanding of designing research studies, applying for funding and regulatory approvals and disseminating your data. Spending a full term working at the bench will also equip you with more technical know-how and the writing skills with which to prepare a report.

The class will consist of students who have a bioscience background and a strong interest in biomedical research. Some of the modules will be shared with other courses, allowing you to mix with M-level students studying related subjects.

You will be taught by research-active UCL academics who are highly specialised in their research areas. During your project in Term 3, you will be supervised by Principal Investigators, and will work within their labs alongside postdocs and PhD students, allowing you to obtain a first-hand experience of undertaking research as part of a team.

To summarize, this course is suitable for those wishing:

•    To establish a solid foundation in lab skills
•    To expand their knowledge around research models, study design and data presentation
•    To apply for a PhD but not sure if they like research

Bioscience Research & Development with Practice MSc course structure

This extended option offers the same course structure as for the one-year Bioscience Research & Development MSc, plus an extra 2 terms (120 credits) to be spent at a host laboratory whilst undertaking a further 3 modules: 
•    A lab-based research project, assessed on a written thesis (80% of the total mark) with an oral presentation of the work undertaken (20% of the total mark)(60 credits in total)
•    Writing a grant application based on the topic selected for the lab-based research (30 credits)
•    An e-portfolio, involving a personal reflection of the choice of modules studied, their impact on your learning and supported by evidence from your work (30 credits)

Daily supervision and training will be provided by the host department. Weekly supervision of this lab placement will be provided online by the Course Director or Course Deputy. Current Placement Agreements are in place with labs in Sydney, Australia and in Singapore, with others to be arranged depending on the level of interest.
This extended study option will provide students with even more lab-based experience and extensive networking opportunities whilst experiencing different cultural and educational aspects of the host environment as a Visiting UCL Student.

Teaching Location

This course is based for the first term in the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, which runs from late September to December, for the compulsory bioscience modules. The Institute is in the Shoreditch area of London, nearest underground station is Old Street. For the second term, you are based primarily at the UCL site in Bloomsbury, where you select four 15-credit modules from the options below. For the final term, you undertake a lab-based research project at UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and write a dissertation based on the project, for assessment.

Application requirements and next steps

This course is suitable for students with a range of bioscience backgrounds who wish to explore the opportunities of a future career undertaking lab-based research or analysing scientific data, whether it be in academia, technical services, Clinical Trial Units, administration for grant awarding bodies or Regulatory Institutions or in scientific writing.

Start your online application for Bioscience (Research and Development) MSc

Start your online application for Bioscience (Research and Development) with Practice MSc

Your course team

Learn more about this course with short introductions to some of our modules below.

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Hear Associate Professor Emily Eden introduce the Research models in disease module.

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Hear Dr Amanda Carr introduce the Stem Cell and Genome Therapies module.

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Hear from Dr Matteo Rizzi, Deputy Programme Director.

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Hear from Professor Marcus Fruttiger, Module Leader for the Science of Diseases module.

Benefits of studying the Bioscience Research & Development MSc

Why study at UCL?

  • UCL was voted University of the Year (2024) by the Good University Guide, The Times/The Sunday Times.
  • In biomedical and health sciences, UCL is 1st in Europe for papers in the top 5% of their field by citation rate (2015-2018, CWTS Leiden Ranking 2020).
  • UCL is ranked 8th in the world (QS 2023).
  • The UCL Institute of Ophthalmology is ranked the best place in the world to study ophthalmology(CWUR Rankings by Subject 2017).
  • UCL hosts more UKRI Future Leader Fellowships than any other UK university, with three academics at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology receiving the prestigious fellowships over the last three years.
  • Our longstanding partnership with Moorfields Eye Hospital represents the largest co-located site for eye research, education and care in the world.
  • As a student you will have access to innovative facilities, connection to a growing network of peers, and support from highly experienced and professional tutors. 
Interacting with London and the wider ecosystem

We encourage our students to network and explore the wider UCL science community by attending seminars and workshops held across UCL campus. In Term 2 the modules delivered in other UCL departments will allow our students to meet others studying different bioscience courses.

By developing your own network of UCL colleagues, you will retain contact as alumni whilst following your own career pathway. You will be encouraged to stay in contact with us, and to offer advice and mentorship to our students in the future.

What our students say

‘The MSc program, mainly focussed on research and develop lab skills, definitely helped me to get this first job in research, not only due to the lab skills, but also the content of the course that complemented the lab skills.’
Jazmin Reyes Martinez, MSc student from Mexico (2021/22)

‘The teaching and learning style in the courses were highly interactive and lecturers themselves are the leading researchers and pioneers in the field.’ 
Sunil Timilsena, MSc student from Nepal (2021/22)

‘The lab experience in the course… certainly lived up to my expectations. It played a pivotal role in my learning journey, delivering immense value.’
Ilakieya Sivanathan, MSc student from UK (2021/22)

Read other students' testimonials here.

More information for students

UCL Campus

Your life in London

When you study at UCL, you will join a community with students from more than 150 countries studying in the heart of London, with some of the capital's best attractions within walking distance of the campus. London was voted the world's best student city in 2023 by QS Best Student City Rankings.

You'll find a host of cutting-edge facilities, libraries, and the Student Centre - a dynamic space to study or meet friends. You will also find places to eat and a lively social scene with open lectures, events, and many clubs and societies to join.

Microscope biotechnology

Career and employability support

Students who complete this course will be equipped with the skills and knowledge to set up a new venture or pursue a career in biotechnology and biopharmaceutical industries including management, commercialisation, regulation and policy, clinical trial management, research and consultancy.

The UCL Careers service is a fantastic place to develop your employability skills, and there are additional initiatives to support entrepreneurs. You can also engage with the Innovation & Enterprise department, home to the Hatchery incubator hub.

Career and employability support

Students who complete this course will have the necessary knowledge and lab skills with which to pursue a career undertaking lab-based research or analysing scientific data, whether it be in academia, technical services, clinical trial units, administration for grant awarding bodies, Regulatory Institutions or scientific writing.

The UCL Careers service is an excellent source of advice and information regarding how to enhance your employability skills, and you will be encouraged to connect with their various offerings during your MSc studies.