Professional Skills and the Business of Biosciences

The details
Life Sciences (School of)
Colchester Campus
Autumn & Spring
Postgraduate: Level 7
Thursday 05 October 2023
Friday 22 March 2024
16 February 2024


Requisites for this module



Key module for

MSC C56012 Biotechnology,
MSC C74112 Molecular Medicine,
MSC C13312 Cancer Biology,
MSC C45012 Health Genomics,
MPHDC10K48 Biological Sciences,
PHD C10K48 Biological Sciences,
MSCIB099 Biomedical Science,
MSCIBA99 Biomedical Science (Including Placement Year),
MSCIBB99 Biomedical Science (Including Year Abroad),
MSCIC114 Biotechnology,
MSCIC098 Biochemistry and Biotechnology (Including Year Abroad),
MSCIC099 Biochemistry and Biotechnology (Including Placement Year),
MSCICZ99 Biochemistry and Biotechnology,
MSCIC559 Microbiology and Biotechnology

Module description

This module will provide insight into the functioning of the Biotechnology and Bio-Pharmaceutical industries work and an introduction to some of the most timely and contentious topics in Biotechnology, Molecular Medicine and related areas.

This will be underpinned by the development of transferable professional and research skills to enhance your chances of gaining employment in the field.

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

  • To encourage students to think critically about the wider implications of biotechnology and molecular medicine.

  • To understand some of the key factors that need to be considered when translating a biological idea into a marketable technology.

  • To equip you with the research and presentation skills needed to give you the best chance of obtaining employment.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be expected to be able to:

  1. Develop personal and professional skills that will enhance employability and research opportunities.

  2. Take a critical approach to career development planning.

  3. Articulate and communicate research findings in various formats (written and oral) to diverse audiences.

  4. Formulate scientific hypotheses and research questions, and explain how they may be addressed.

  5. Demonstrate an understanding of research project development and management.

  6. Critically assess and summarise complex issues in biotechnology and molecular medicine.

  7. Demonstrate an understanding of the key features of the biotechnology and biopharma industry.

  8. Critically evaluate the translation of a biological idea to a biotechnological or biopharma product or process.

Skills for your Professional Life (Transferable Skills)

  1. Essay writing.

  2. Oral presentations.

  3. Safety issues.

  4. Experimental design.

  5. Project planning and management.

  6. Research/critical thinking skills.

  7. Scientific writing and study skills.

  8. Teamwork and communication.

  9. Conference organisation.

  10. Commercial awareness.

Module information

The ability to critically analyse, integrate and communicate in a multidisciplinary research environment provides the foundation for your successful career in the Molecular Medicine or Biotechnology/Biopharma area, which is a very broad and applied subject.

The School has a policy which ensures all lecturers opt-in to making lectures available via Listen Again. Therefore, in teaching rooms where the facility is available, lectures will be recorded via this service.

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered via:

  • Lectures - 18 hours.
  • Student-led seminars - 3 hours.
  • Seminars - 6 hours.
  • Workshop - 1 hour.


This module does not appear to have any essential texts. To see non - essential items, please refer to the module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Summary of a Scientific Paper - MSc Biotechnology Students Only  03/11/2023  35% 
Coursework   Job Application CV and Cover Letter - MSc Biotechnology Students Only   08/03/2024  40% 
Practical   Group Oral Presentation - MSc Biotechnology Students Only  17/11/2023  25% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Andrea Mohr, email:
Dr Andrea Mohr, Dr Ralf Zwacka
School Graduate Office, email: bsgradtaught (Non essex users should add to create a full email address)



External examiner

Dr Lakjaya Buluwela
Imperial College of Science Technology and Medicine
Reader in Cancer Medicine
Dr Emma Denham
University of Bath
Senior Lecturer in Microbiology
Available via Moodle
Of 15 hours, 14 (93.3%) hours available to students:
1 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


Further information
Life Sciences (School of)

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