Master of Biotechnology
- CRICOS Code: 072809G
What will I study?
Successful completion of 200 credit points, made up of:
- Core subjects (175 points), including the Industry Project in Biotechnology (25 points)
- Elective subjects (25 points)
In your first-year, you’ll study core subjects in science, commercialisation and professional skills, as well as up to two biotechnology elective subjects.
In your second year, you’ll complete your core and elective subjects, and take the Industry Project in Biotechnology.
Students who obtain a sufficiently high Weighted Average Mark may be eligible to undertake a research project as their elective study, depending upon the availability of a suitable project and supervisor. Upon successful completion of the research project, you may be eligible to apply to study for a PhD at the University of Melbourne.
If you've already completed an Honours degree in a Life Science or Chemistry (including an appropriate sequence of at least 25 points of second-year genetics or biochemistry or equivalent subjects, and completed of either GENE30002, BCMB30002 or equivalent studies in molecular biology, molecular genetics, genomics and or bioinformatics in the final year of undergraduate study), you may be awarded up to 100 points of credit.
Sample course plan
View some sample course plans to help you select subjects that will meet the requirements for this degree.
Sample course plan - 200 point program
- Industry Project
- Industry Projec...
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Explore this course
Explore the subjects you could choose as part of this degree.
- Microscopy for Biological Sciences12.5
Microscopy for Biological Sciences
Microscopy is the key technique for imaging fine structure in biological specimens. This subject will introduce the range of methods and capabilities of light microscopy, scanning and transmission electron microscopy, and laser scanning confocal microscopy, as well as the methods of specimen preparation for standard histochemical and immunocytochemical techniques. The principles and scientific basis underpinning the various methods and techniques will be explained, and applications to current cutting-edge science and technology will be discussed. Practical and project work will include demonstration of equipment and analysis of images and data.
- Metabolomics and Proteomics12.5
Metabolomics and Proteomics
Proteomics and metabolomics analyse the final cellular state resulting from the interaction of the environment and cellular gene expression. Proteomic techniques describe the protein composition of a cell or tissue resulting from gene expression, post-transcriptional and post-translational modifications. Metabolomics is the study of the unique chemical profile that specific environmental and cellular processes create. These techniques are increasingly applied to areas as diverse as reproductive biology, environmental toxicology and plant and animal diseases. The aim of this subject is to develop knowledge and skills in the application of these technologies. This subject will be taught by scientists who will discuss their own research involving the application of state-of-the art technologies designed to understand the proteome and metabolome of different organisms, protein modification, the structure and function of proteins, and the complexities of protein-protein interactions and metabolic outcomes. There will be a strong emphasis on how these technologies are applied to a range of areas in biology, medicine and industry.
- Advanced Molecular Biology Techniques12.5
Advanced Molecular Biology Techniques
This subject is focussed on the use of molecular techniques to study gene and protein functions in a range of organisms. It aims to provide students with an advanced understanding of the strategies and techniques used in molecular biology of relevance both to the biotechnology industry and to advanced molecular biology research. Topics will be drawn from the current literature and ongoing research in molecular biology.
- From Lab to Life12.5
From Lab to Life
What does it take to develop something innovative and then move it from the laboratory out into the real world? Scientists must negotiate a labyrinth of hurdles, ranging from conducting bullet-proof data analysis, designing clinical trials, developing and managing intellectual property, assessing contracts, and setting up Total Quality Management systems in a biotech setting. Students will learn how to navigate these hurdles as applied to a range of possible inventions, such as therapeutics, diagnostics, medical devices, GMOs and other bio-science-related creations.
- Genomics and Bioinformatics12.5
Genomics and Bioinformatics
This subject describes current technologies used to sequence genomes - the starting point for comparative analyses of genes and proteins. The field of informatics has evolved to analyse and interpret large amounts of data generated by the new biotechnologies. Advanced topics will include transcriptome technologies, genome evolution and sequence similarity analysis techniques to identify protein orthologues and paralogues. The subject will cover bioinformatic analysis of protein structure and motifs at the secondary and tertiary levels, and modelling studies aimed at drug design. This subject will explore the latest developments in bioinformatics and detail how systems biology is helping to model complex biological processes.
- Project Management in Science12.5
Project Management in Science
Projects drive most modern science organisations. Learn how to plan and manage projects, and to relate to a client, team members, and to other stakeholders. The subject covers the processes and tools / techniques in project management as well as the ‘soft side’ of managing people in projects. The subject uses the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK) covering the competencies in project management including scope, time, cost, quality, resource, risk, communication and integration management.
- Data and Decision Making12.5
Data and Decision Making
The basis for decision making in biotechnology is often the analysis of data. In order for these decisions to be reliable data must be correctly collected and analysed. To control costs data should be efficiently collected and it needs to be properly stored and managed. The interpretation of an analysis requires some knowledge of basic statistical ideas and techniques and the results will often be communicated to a non-specialist audience who will make decisions based on the presentation. Alternatively decisions may be made from the analyses and interpretations of others. This subject examines the whole process of data collection, analysis and decision making.
This subject is a core subject for Master of Biotechnology (MC-SCIBIT) and examples and curriculum are designed for MC-SCIBIT students.
- Commercialisation of Science12.5
Commercialisation of Science
Successful commercialisation of scientific discoveries and new technologies occurs in a unique business environment where scientific and business interests and personalities must productively interact.
The subject will develop a critical understanding of the context in which the commercialisation of science occurs, and the opportunities and challenges encountered. Topics covered within the subject will include the nature and types of intellectual property, how it can be protected, valued, managed and strengthened, its use as a commercial tool, exploration of the barriers to commercialisation, what strategies can be used to exploit IP, how to develop a commercial plan and leverage finance for the commercialisation of IP.
- Regulation of Biotechnology12.5
Regulation of Biotechnology
The successful commercialisation and marketing of biotechnological products requires extensive documentation and rigorous evaluation by the relevant regulatory bodies.
This subject is comprised of four discreet units focusing on: the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) and their international counterparts such as the USA Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The regulatory requirements of devices, drugs and foods will be examined by a series of case study focused seminars and workshops, providing an understanding of the time frame, rigor, effort, and uncertainty encountered throughout the process of product registration.
- Scientists,Communication & the Workplace12.5
Scientists,Communication & the Workplace
This subject examines the workplace environment and the range of competencies needed to operate effectively. Communication is central to success in the workplace, from proposing projects, consulting and influencing colleagues, through to reporting. Students will gain a range of communication skills in writing, oral and presentation skills, and using graphics and statistics, to communicate science to others with whom they work.
- Industry Project in Biotechnology25
Industry Project in Biotechnology
This subject will provide practical insights into the role of science and scientific thinking within business, and the successful application of this perspective, along with communication and business tools, to work environments. Students will be assigned to syndicate groups to address a practical industry challenge/issue which has been identified by industry. In addressing this task students will draw upon on their discipline knowledge and the skills provided in the professional tools subjects. On commencement of the project, students will be required to spend a specific time in the business setting and to then maintain regular contact with the business, as well as the project supervisor, across the duration of the subject.
- Genetically Modified Organisms12.5
Genetically Modified Organisms
This subject investigates genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and their potential benefits for humankind in the 21st century, against the background of controversy and public concern triggered by the release of transgenic plants and animals into the food chain. The course examines the contrast between (i) the established use GMOs for many years in drug synthesis, getting limited negative attention, and (ii) the environmental release of agricultural genetically modified plants and animals, which has been accompanied by much public concern regards to safety and societal implications.
- Leadership in Science12.5
Leadership in Science
Excellent scientific leadership is not only required in academic research groups, but also in technological industries and many areas of government. This subject will examine the nature and styles and consequences of leadership and decision making in academia, industry and government.
Students will examine, through a series of lectures, seminars and workshops, the roles of leadership in: motivation, ethics, risk and the development of a productive organisational culture drawing upon case studies, personal accounts from scientific leaders and their own personal experiences.
In addition, students will learn strategies to deal with staff and clients, build teams, make decisions, think strategically, develop self awareness, identify and manage conflict of interest, identify opportunity and value diversity.
- Drugs in Biomedical Experiments12.5
Drugs in Biomedical Experiments
This subject is appropriate for all students interested in biomedical research. Students will learn how to design and perform experiments to investigate biological systems. Students will gain experience in a wide range of molecular and cellular approaches and in analytical techniques used in drug discovery.
- Food Safety and Quality12.5
Food Safety and Quality
- Quality management and international and national quality management standards
- What are customers’ expectations of food?
- Probability and sampling
- Statistical Process Control
- Microbial Factors in Food Quality
- Risk Analysis and Management
- Quantitative risk assessment
- Regulatory requirements The Food Safety Code, Codex Alimentarius
- Global food safety initiative and industry schemes
- Performance measures and benchmarking
- Role of internal and external auditing
- Food Safety Management systems
- Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) and food safety risks
- Quality Auditing and improvement.
- Costs of quality failures
- Food allergen management
- Functional Genomics and Bioinformatics12.5
Functional Genomics and Bioinformatics
Knowledge of genome structures from various organisms and the rapid development of technologies that exploit such information are having a big impact in biology, medicine and biotechnology. This subject describes the structure and expression of genomes in higher organisms and provides an understanding of the technologies used to analyse and manipulate genes. Students will learn how the modification of genes in cells and whole organisms can be used to discover gene function or to modify phenotype. The structure of eukaryotic chromosomes is presented to demonstrate how genetic material is replicated and how transcription of RNA is controlled. We illustrate how pathways that regulate RNA and protein are integrated to control cell metabolism and cell fate. The content will cover the bioinformatic techniques used to interpret and extend genomic information. The approaches of functional genomics will be discussed in relation to cancer to illustrate the application of molecular biology to the study of human biology and health.
- Genes: Organisation and Function12.5
Genes: Organisation and Function
This subject focuses on gene structure, function and regulation, which form the molecular basis of many important biological phenomena such as short-term organismal and cellular responses to rapid changes in environmental conditions and long-term controls of development. The molecular mechanisms underlying these phenomena are frequently exploited in biotechnology, medical and agricultural applications. The modern molecular techniques used to study these processes will be presented. The topics to be covered in this subject include prokaryotic and eukaryotic gene structure; action and regulation; genomic and recombinant DNA methodology; molecular genetic manipulation of a wide variety of organisms to generate defined changes in the genome; the cell cycle and developmental genetics.
- Tissue Engineering & Stem Cells12.5
Tissue Engineering & Stem Cells
Students studying Tissue Engineering and Stem Cells will become familiar with the history, scope and potential of tissue engineering, and the potential role of stem cells in this field. This subject will address the use of biomaterials in tissue engineering; major scaffold materials and fabrication methods, scaffold strength and degradation; cell sources, selection, challenges and potential manipulation; cell-surface interactions, biocompatibility and the foreign body reaction; the role and delivery of growth factors for tissue engineering applications; in vitro and in vivo tissue engineering strategies, challenges, cell culture, scale-up issues and transport modelling; ethical and regulatory issues; clinical applications of tissue engineering, such as bone regeneration, breast reconstruction, cardiac and corneal tissue engineering, and organogenesis (e.g. pancreas).
This subject provides students with exposure to and understanding of a range of new and emerging applications of biomedical engineering. It includes research-led learning with opportunities to interact with experts and active researchers in the fields of stem cells and tissue engineering. The subject covers aspects of biology, materials engineering and process engineering which underpin tissue engineering and provides examples of the applications of this evolving area of technology.
Topics covered include tissue organization & tissue dynamics, stem cells, cellular fate processes & signalling, the ECM as scaffold material, natural and synthetic polymers for tissue engineering, bioceramics, scaffold design and fabrication, tailoring biomaterials, cell culture and cell nutrition, bioreactors for tissue engineering, risk management in tissue engineering, ethics in tissue engineering.
- Bioprocess Engineering12.5
Develop an basic microbiology, cell structure and nutritional requirements. Products from microbes and bioprocesses, enzyme kinetics, cell growth kinetics and product formation. Product separation methods.
This subject introduces students to the area of bioprocessing, an area growing in importance in the process industries.
Enzymic process. Michaelis-Menten approach. Kinetics of enzyme inhibition. Immobilised enzymes. Batch microbial growth and product formation. Continuous culture. Microbial growth kinetics. Application of Monod model to batch and chemostat culture. Kinetics of product formation. Maintenance energy and endogenous respiration. Design of fermentation processes. Bioreactor design and kinetics. Industrial sterilisation processes. Calculation of sterility level. HTST sterilisation. Design of continuous sterilisers. Air sterilisation. Vessel design for aseptic operation. Fermenter design configurations. Mixing in fermenters. Biochemical separation processes.
Practical work (Microbiology laboratory).
- Biotechnology Research Project25
Biotechnology Research Project
This subject provides students with the opportunity to design and conduct independent research under supervision. Specific research projects will depend upon the availability of appropriate expertise, but may address a broad range of biotechnology issues.
Students will also develop skills in writing scientific reports and giving oral presentations.
- Concepts in Cell & Developmental Biology12.5
Concepts in Cell & Developmental Biology
The subject develops a student’s knowledge of cell and developmental biology, introduced in second year subjects. The subject is arranged for students to gain an understanding of the approaches used to study cell biology and developmental biology and an appreciation of the major concepts involved in the development of a range of organisms – including microbes, invertebrates, vertebrates and plants. A particular focus is the range of approaches (genetic, cellular, anatomical and physiological) that are used to investigate biological systems and address current biological and biomedical problems, including human development, health and disease. This multi-disciplinary subject is co-taught by staff in the departments of Anatomy & Cell Biology, Botany, Genetics, and Zoology. A feature of this course is the application of this knowledge in pure and applied research and thus will provide a platform for students in many Life Science majors, including Biotechnology and Cell & Developmental Biology majors.
- Stem Cells in Development & Regeneration12.5
Stem Cells in Development & Regeneration
This subject introduces students to advanced research topics in modern stem cell biology with respect to current roles of stem cells in development of organisms, regenerative medicine and ethical considerations of biotechnological applications.
Different types of stem cells will be discussed with emphasis on embryonic stem cells compared to adult stem cells and roles in embryonic development and adult tissue regeneration. Diseases such as cancer, anaemia etc., will be discussed in terms of dysregulation of tissue regeneration.
New therapies based on stem cells such as in vitro production of organs, stem cell transplantation and cloning will be presented along with the ethical dilemmas posted by these advances. The subject will also cover the latest advances in iPS cell technology and what this tells us about the nature of pluripotency.
- Plant Molecular Biology & Biotechnology12.5
Plant Molecular Biology & Biotechnology
This subject will focus on processes that are unique to plants as well as current techniques for their investigation and manipulation in biotechnology, including genetic engineering and plant transformation. The subject includes study of the responses of plants to biotic and abiotic stress; cell wall biosynthesis, carbon dioxide fixation and concentrating mechanisms; cell-cell recognition; nutrient uptake and processing; and the organisation of the genome in plants and its modification by biotechnology.
- Methods in Agrifood Biotechnology12.5
Methods in Agrifood Biotechnology
The aim of this subject is to introduce students to the practical skills in the application of biotechnological techniques with particular emphasis on agri-food sector related investigations. The practical techniques to be introduced to the students include cell and tissue culture, plant genetic transformation, molecular markers in animal and plant improvement, polymerase chain reaction and antibody based diagnostic techniques, accessing and utilising bioinformatic resources for biotechnology and analytical techniques for GM products, antioxidants and other constituents in food samples.
- Trends & Issues in Agrifood Biotech12.5
Trends & Issues in Agrifood Biotech
Students will acquire knowledge of the recent and important developments in biotechnology related to agriculture and food and develop an understanding of local and global issues in biotechnology in relation to environment health and sustainable crop and animal production. This subject will provide an overview of the integrated use of various biological technologies for the effective translation of novel research into agri-food related applications including steps involved in commercialisation of agri-food biotechnology-related products and services and international trade and related economic issues. The students will also develop understanding of contemporary social and economic issues arising due to adoption of biotechnology in the agri-food sector.
- Business Tools: Money People & Processes12.5
Business Tools: Money People & Processes
This subject will give an overview of the tools required to operate successfully in an organisational environment. The focus of the subject is the internal workings of an organisation and specifically addresses three main areas: working with people, managing budgets and understanding basic accounting, and managing processes and projects.
- Business Tools: The Market Environment12.5
Business Tools: The Market Environment
This subject will give an overview of the tools that businesses use to manage their external environment. The subject addresses three main areas: negotiation skills, marketing and competitivestrategy. Students will use case studies and simulations to practice negotiation skills. Topics in marketing will include an overview of brands, creating a marketing plan and understanding customers. Finally the competitive strategy component of the subject will focus on the topics of gains from trade, how to price and how to understand and change the competitive environment.
- Science and Technology Internship12.5
Science and Technology Internship
This subject involves completion of an 80-100 hour science or technology work placement integrating academic learning in science areas of study, employability skills and attributes and an improved knowledge of science and technology organisations, workplace culture and career pathways. The placement is supplemented by pre- and post-placement classes designed to develop an understanding of science and technology professions, introduce skills for developing, identifying and articulating employability skills and attributes and linking them to employer requirements in the science and technology domains. The placement will draw on students’ specific discipline skills associated with the science core of their degree. Pre-placement seminars will also include consideration of career planning and professional skills.
Students will be responsible for identifying a suitable work placement prior to the semester, with support of the Subject Coordinator. In the semester prior to your placement you should attend Careers & Employment (C&E) employment preparation seminars and workshops as well as accessing other C&E resources to assist you in identifying potential host organisations http://careers.unimelb.edu.au .You will need to commence your approaches to organisations at least 4 weeks before the placement. More information is available in the Subject Guide. Placements must be approved by the Subject Coordinator. If you have problems finding a placement you should approach the Subject Coordinator.
On completion of the subject, students will have completed and reported on a course-related project in a science or technology workplace. They will also have enhanced employability skills including communication, interpersonal, analytical and problem-solving, organisational and time-management, and an understanding of career planning and professional development.