Bio-business (MSc)

If you are seeking a role in the pharmaceutical or biotechnology industries, it's essential that you have a solid understanding of the science and the regulatory environment, as well as communications and deal-making skills. Birkbeck's MSc Bio-Business delivers broad, yet detailed, insights into both the theory and practice of entrepreneurship and business in the bioscience industries, with a focus on commercial activity in science-related projects. 

The MSc Bio-Business provides an overview of the life sciences sector, supported and complemented by business, entrepreneurial and applied modules. The structure of the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries is explored in the context of regulation and public perception, to highlight issues of risk, regulation and socioeconomic benefits stemming from technology and material developments. The course features specialist professionals presenting on key areas, such as communications, pharmaceuticals and business development. 

Industry specialists will be present and available for networking, and you will be encouraged to spend some time in a company in the sector, via networking opportunities. 

Hands-on experiential learning is also provided, such as building talented teams and pitching for funds. 

Highlights

  • Develop the science, business and entrepreneurial knowledge and skills you need for a successful career in the pharmaceutical or biotechnology industries. 
  • You will be taught by leading scientists and industry specialists and you can take advantage of networking opportunities. 
  • New biological sciences module content is informed by a high-profile industrial panel. 
  • Requires you to carry out an independent piece of research within the subject area of the course. 
  • In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), in a joint submission with UCL, Biological Sciences at Birkbeck were ranked 11th in the UK, with a research environment supporting world-leading and internationally excellent research. 

Course structure

You take seven compulsory modules of 15 credits each (120 credits in total) and you also complete a 15,000-word dissertation (a 12,000-word business research study and a 3000-word science literature review - 60 credits).

Part-time students have a choice of two modules in the first term of the second year. 

Module groups

  • Entry Requirements

    Entry requirements

    Normally at least a second-class honours degree, preferably in a biological or chemical science subject area from a UK university or a non-UK equivalent. A professional or other qualification obtained by written examinations approved by the College.

    Relevant experience, supporting statements and references may be taken into consideration, especially in the case of non-standard applications.

    International entry requirements

    If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.

    If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.

    Visit the International section of our website to find out more about our English language entry requirements and relevant requirements by country.

    Visa requirements

    If you are not from the European Economic Area (EEA) and/or Switzerland and you are coming to study in the UK, you may need to apply for a visa.

    The visa you apply for varies according to the length of your course:

    • Courses of more than six months' duration.
    • Courses of less than six months' duration.
    • Pre-sessional English language courses.

    International students who require a Tier 4 visa should apply for our full-time courses (with the exception of modular enrolment certificates of higher education and graduate certificates), as these qualify for Tier 4 sponsorship. If you are living in the UK on a Tier 4 visa, you will not be eligible to enrol as a student on Birkbeck's part-time courses (with the exception of some modules).

    For full information, read our visa information for international students page.

    Credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL)

    If you have studied at university previously, you may have accumulated credits through the modules you studied. It may be possible to transfer these credits from your previous study to Birkbeck or another institution. You should discuss this with the Programme Director when you are making your application.

    Find out more about credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL).

  • Fees

    Fees

    Part-time home/EU students: £5500 pa
    Full-time home/EU students: £11000 pa
    Part-time international students: £8400 pa
    Full-time international students: £16800 pa

    Students are charged a tuition fee in each year of their programme. Tuition fees for students continuing on their programme in following years may be subject to annual inflationary increases. For more information, please see the College Fees Policy.

  • Teaching and assessment

    Teaching

    At Birkbeck, almost all of our courses are taught in the evening and our teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments. We actively encourage innovative and engaging ways of teaching, to ensure our students have the best learning experience. In the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), the government’s system for rating university teaching, Birkbeck was allocated a Silver award.

    Teaching may include formal lectures, seminars, and practical classes and tutorials. Formal lectures are used in most degree programmes to give an overview of a particular field of study. They aim to provide the stimulus and the starting point for deeper exploration of the subject during your own personal reading. Seminars give you the chance to explore a specific aspect of your subject in depth and to discuss and exchange ideas with fellow students. They typically require preparatory study.

    Our distance-learning and blended-learning courses and modules are self-directed and we will provide you with interactive learning opportunities and encourage you to collaborate and engage via various learning technologies. These courses involve limited or no face-to-face contact between students and module tutors.

    In addition, you will have access to pastoral support via a named Personal Tutor.

    Methods of teaching on this course

    Teaching is delivered via a variety of methods, including lectures, seminars, directed reading, practical exercises and supervised projects. 

    Teaching on this course is designed to meet the needs of students who are balancing evening study with full-time and part-time employment and other personal, daytime commitments, to help you maximise your study time. 

    Contact hours

    On our taught courses, you will have scheduled teaching and study sessions each year. Alongside this, you will also undertake assessment activities and independent learning outside of class. Depending on the modules you take, you may also have additional scheduled academic activities, such as tutorials, dissertation supervision, practical classes, visits and fieldtrips.

    On our taught courses, the actual amount of time you spend in the classroom and in contact with your lecturers will depend on your course, the option modules you select and when you undertake your final-year project.

    On our distance-learning and blended-learning courses, discussion, collaboration and interaction with your lecturers and fellow students are encouraged and enabled through various learning technologies, but you may have limited or no face-to-face contact with your module tutors.

    Timetables

    Timetables are usually available from September onwards and you can access your personalised timetable via your My Birkbeck Profile online (if you have been invited to enrol).

    Indicative class size

    Class sizes vary, depending on your course, the module you are undertaking, and the method of teaching. For example, lectures are presented to larger groups, whereas seminars usually consist of small, interactive groups led by a tutor.

    Independent learning

    On our taught courses, much of your time outside of class will be spent on self-directed, independent learning, including preparing for classes and following up afterwards. This will usually include, but is not limited to, reading books and journal articles, undertaking research, working on coursework and assignments, and preparing for presentations and assessments.

    Independent learning is absolutely vital to your success as a student. Everyone is different, and the study time required varies topic by topic, but, as a guide, expect to schedule up to five hours of self-study for each hour of teaching.

    On our distance-learning and blended-learning courses, the emphasis is very much on independent, self-directed learning and you will be expected to manage your own learning, with the support of your module tutors and various learning technologies.

    Study skills and additional support

    Birkbeck offers study and learning support to undergraduate and postgraduate students to help them succeed. Our Learning Development Service can help you in the following areas:

    • academic skills (including planning your workload, research, writing, exam preparation and writing a dissertation)
    • written English (including structure, punctuation and grammar)
    • numerical skills (basic mathematics and statistics).

    Our Disability and Dyslexia Service can support you if you have additional learning needs resulting from a disability or from dyslexia.

    Our Counselling Service can support you if you are struggling with emotional or psychological difficulties during your studies.

    Our Mental Health Advisory Service can support you if you are experiencing short- or long-term mental health difficulties during your studies.

    Assessment

    Assessment is an integral part of your university studies and usually consists of a combination of coursework and examinations, although this will vary from course to course - on some of our courses, assessment is entirely by coursework. The methods of assessment on this course are specified below under 'Methods of assessment on this course'. You will need to allow time to complete coursework and prepare for exams.

    Where a course has unseen written examinations, these may be held termly, but, on the majority of our courses, exams are usually taken in the Summer term, during May to June. Exams may be held at other times of the year as well. In most cases, exams are held during the day on a weekday - if you have daytime commitments, you will need to make arrangements for daytime attendance - but some exams are held in the evening. Exam timetables are published online.

    Find out more about assessment at Birkbeck, including guidance on assessment, feedback and our assessment offences policy.

    Methods of assessment on this course

    Some taught modules are assessed by a combination of coursework and examination. The distribution of marks between coursework and examination varies by module; details are provided in the programme handbook. The module Research Methods in Management is assessed by examination only.

    The following modules are assessed by coursework only:

    • Future Health Technologies
    • Professional Practice
    • The Entrepreneurship Process
    • The Bio Industry 
  • Careers and employability

    Careers and employability

    Graduates go on to careers in the scientific and business sectors, as well as in research, public policy, and the biological/chemical industries. Possible professions include research scientist, science writer, or higher education lecturer. This degree may also be useful in becoming an operational researcher or management consultant.

    We offer a comprehensive Careers and Employability Service to help you advance your career, while our in-house, professional recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, works with London’s top employers to help you gain work experience that fits in with your evening studies.

  • How to apply

    How to apply

    You apply directly to Birkbeck for this course, using the online application.

    Birkbeck can give you all of the information and help you need to complete your application form.

    Application deadlines and interviews

    We recommend you apply as early as possible. Later applications may also be considered, subject to availability of places.

    Applicants selected for interview will be asked to attend on dates in the weeks beginning: 

    • 11 December 2017
    • 22 January 2018
    • 5 March 2018
    • 16 April 2018
    • 21 May 2018
    • 2 July 2018
    • 13 August 2018
    • 14 September 2018

    Dates may be subject to change, depending on demand. Interviews will take place from 10am onwards and last approximately 45 minutes. 

    Please note that applicants need to have submitted a full application, including any additional required documents, along with receipt of references, at least seven days before interviews can take place. 

    Please do  if you have any questions.