This MRes programme aims to train students in the fast-growing area of synthetic biology, a discipline which takes the knowledge and understanding we now have of the individual parts of biological systems and uses them in a defined way to design and build novel artificial biological systems.
Modes and duration
Tuition fees (2021/22)
Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.
Normally, a minimum of an upper second-class UK Bachelor's degree in biochemistry, biomedical sciences, life sciences, biochemical engineering, chemical biology or any related subject area, or a medical degree (MBBS), or a physical sciences degree, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. Applicants with an appropriate professional qualification and relevant work experience may also apply.
English language requirements
If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.
The English language level for this programme is: Standard
UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level. International Preparation Courses
Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.
Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.
International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.
Select your country:
About this degree
Students develop an understanding of the areas involved in synthetic biology, including engineering principles, mathematical modelling, advanced molecular biology, microbiology, biochemical engineering and necessary chemistry. Modules also provide the necessary skills for acquisition and critical analysis of the primary scientific literature and transferable research development skills. This programme includes a major research project that will provide in-depth training in synthetic biology research methods.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of an extended research project (120 credits) and three core taught modules (60 credits)
Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded a MRes in Synthetic Biology.
Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change.
- MRes Synthetic Biology Research Project
- Synthetic Biology
- Research Skills
- Transferable Skills in Bioprocess Research and Development
There are no optional modules for this programme.
- Further information about these modules is available on the department website.
All students undertake an independent laboratory-based extended research project which culminates in a dissertation of 15,000–18,000 words.
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through lectures, seminars and tutorials, combining research-led and skills-based modules. The taught modules are assessed by assignments and coursework. The research project is assessed by an oral presentation, submission of a dissertation and is subject to oral examination.
For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.
Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.
- Deadline extended: 5pm, 17 June 2021
- USD $10,000 (approx. £7500) (1 year)
- Based on financial need
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
This Synthetic Biology MRes will qualify students to explore work within the growing number of small companies engaged in synthetic biology both here in London and across the UK and the world. There are many large companies that are building their own synthetic biology potential and some of our students are already working with these groups. Our students often go on to do further research in PhDs and EngDs globally. Our graduates have practical experience of generating novel research with our unique facilities that makes them of great value to employers and collaborators. Some of our MRes graduates have set up their own synthetic biology spin-out companies.
Synthetic biology is a fast growing area of research and will have a major economic and social impact on the global economy in the coming decades. The involvement of molecular biologists, biochemists, engineers, physical scientists, chemists and biologists can create designed cells, enzymes and biological modules that can be combined in a defined manner. These can be used to make complex metabolic pathways for pharmaceuticals, designed and synthetic cells, novel hybrid biosensors or novel routes to biofuels. A future integration of biological devices and hybrid devices as components in the electronics industry might lead to a whole new high value industry for structured biological entities.
Why study this degree at UCL?
UCL has several academics who are experts within the fields of synthetic biology, molecular biology and biochemical engineering as well as biological and biomedical sciences. There is an emphasis on laboratory-based work to put into practice in the lab what has been covered in the taught modules of the course and students are encouraged to present their work at UCL's annual Summer Synthetic Biology Showcase that brings together researchers in the field. This normally takes place in June and free tickets are available from late spring onwards.
UCL Biochemical Engineering is in a unique position to offer tuition and research opportunities its world-leading laboratories that carry out synthetic biology research, with an appreciation of the multidisciplinary nature of synthetic biology research.
Students on this MRes programme undertake a major research project where topics can be chosen spanning the expertise in six departments across UCL.
Department: Biochemical Engineering
Application and next steps
Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.
This programme requires two references. Further information regarding references can be found in our How to apply section.
Who can apply?
This programme attracts students from a wide range of science backgrounds including graduates from biology-based science degrees and the physical, engineering, chemical and mathematical sciences and we train them in this new field, enabling students to transfer these skills to further research, to industry and teaching.
- All applicants
- 30 July 2021
For more information see our Applications page.Apply now
What are we looking for?
When we assess your application, we would like to learn:
- why you want to study Synthetic Biology at graduate level
- why you want to study Synthetic Biology at UCL
- what parlicularly attracts you to the chosen programme
- how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this challenging programme
- where you would like to go professionally with your degree
Together with the essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver. Applicants who have a portfolio are strongly recommended to submit it when they apply.
UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.