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How to prepare for a postgraduate course in biotechnology

This is an expert interview on Biotechnology by Dr Yusuf Deeni who teaches MSc Biotechnology at University of Abertay, Dundee

Antony Chacko
Dr Yusuf Deeni

Many of our graduates have found employment in biotech companies and some of them have decided to pursue a PhD program in other Universities across the world.

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Want to have an "expert view" on Biotechnology? Read on. Dr Yusuf Deeni who teaches MSc Biotechnology at University of Abertay, Dundee discusses below the popularity of the subject among students, career options and funding opportunities

Q. What are the main objectives of this course?

  1. To develop and apply comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the major concepts, principles, theories and methodologies of biotechnology.
  2. To develop an ability to critically evaluate and appraise scientific, philosophical, moral, ethical, economic and legislative impacts, issues and questions within biotechnology.
  3. To develop an ability to recognize and identify the current boundaries of Biotechnology, and a willingness to bridge disciplines to advance knowledge and application of the process and mechanisms of life, from molecular to cellular and from organism to community.
  4. To develop an ability to design, plan, conduct, analyse appropriately and report effectively laboratory investigations which may involve primary or secondary data sources, which may be obtained through individual or group projects.
  5. To develop an ability to communicate, argue and defend scientific, philosophical, moral and ethical issues via logical interpretation of peer reviewed scientific data.
  6. To provide experience of independent research or investigations within a chosen area, or areas, of biotechnology and to develop the skills for planning, executing, reporting and presenting the results of these investigations.

Q. Is this a popular course amongst Indian students? How many Indian students do you have on this course?

A. This is the most popular in our Biotechnology programmes suite with usually 15 - 25 Indian students.

Q. What qualities do you think students need in order to succeed on this course?

Interest, determination and self-confidence, for we will provide the support, guidance and motivation to succeed.

Q. What advice would you give to Indian students who are applying to enroll?

A. Applicants should normally have an Honours degree in a bioscience discipline (e.g. Biology, Biological Sciences; Biochemistry, Botany, Zoology, Microbiology, Biotechnology, Bioinformatics, Agricultural Sciences, Biomedical or Medical Sciences, Molecular Biology, Pharmacology, Physiology, etc) with a significant cellular or molecular biology component. Applicants holding an acceptable equivalent qualification, substantial relevant experience or membership of a relevant professional body are also encouraged to seek entry to this course. Applicants with non-standard qualifications will be considered on an individual basis.

Q. What career options are open to Indian graduates from this course?

A. The proposed MSc Biotechnology programme is designed to offer a high level training to graduates with an interest in careers in biotechnology both within academic and industrial settings. Many of our graduates have found employment in biotech companies and some have gone further to undertake PhD studies in many countries around the world.

Q. Are there any companies that have recruited students who have completed this course?

A. Several (e.g. R-Biopharm Rhone, Delhi; Protein Array Scientist, Aldrix Biotech, Malaysia; Glaxo SmithKline; Roche; Emcure Pharmaceuticals; Ingenza Ltd; Molecular Biology Lab, Abu Dhabi (UAE); Central Plantation & Crop Research Institute, India; Edinburgh University (PhD studentship); Oxford Brookes University (PhD studentship); Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (PhD studentship); University of Abertay Dundee (PhD studentship)

Q. How does the course prepare students for the professional world and/or further study?

Integrated programme of lectures, tutorials, laboratory assignments, seminars, case studies or mini-projects, presentations and guided studies is used to enhance your knowledge and understanding and enable you to make rapid progress in gaining effective skills in biotechnology.  The research project allows you to apply the theoretical and practical knowledge gained in the taught modules to a particular biotechnology problem in a new context, and to specialize. A combination of coursework, presentations, laboratory reports and examinations are used for assessment. This is aimed at developing team-work and transferable skills (including communication, self-confidence and creativity) in an environment that resembles the workplace.

Q. Any notable Indian alumni?

A. VAGIRI, Michael of Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences; NEELAGANDAN, Kalainanghi of Edinburgh Cancer Research Institute; NAZEER, Tahmeena of R & D Dept, R-Biopharm Rhone; JOSHI, Amit of Southern Illinois University, School of Medicine; STEPHEN, George of PhD Imperial College in Cell & Molecular Biology Department; MUKHERJEE, Manali of Nottingham University; RAHMAN, Shafeeq of Central Plantation & Crop Research Institute, India.

Q. Are there any funding opportunities available for Indian students who are applying to enroll?

A. Please visit for information on scholarships

Worried about choosing the right course?

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