Molecular Biology is the branch of Biology that deals with the study of the structure and function of living systems at the molecular level. The branch focuses mainly on DNA, RNA, Protein Synthesis and their regulatory mechanism. A molecular biologist aims to understand the functions of cells at molecular level.
The academic programs include instruction on the molecular basis of gene regulation in microbial and animal cells, the biological features of different types of micro-organisms, the molecular basis for animal development, the structure of animal cells and the functions of their internal organelles, the molecular basis for cancer and other diseases, the interaction of animal cells with micro-organisms and viruses, and the application of recombinant DNA techniques to problems in basic science and biotechnology.
The MSc in Molecular Cell Biology with Bioinnovation is a unique course aimed at highly-motivated students with an interest in biomedical research in the areas of cancer biology, infection/immunity or molecular neuroscience, and entrepreneurial thinking. The MSc in Molecular Cell Biology with Bioinnovation is a full-time programme that runs for 12 months from the date of first registration for the programme.
This MSc course will provide you with a truly interdisciplinary educational experience by combining advanced discipline-specific training with core scientific research, technical expertise, and business skills.
The course will consist of lectures, tutorials, hands-on workshops, and a research dissertation based on individual research.
Discipline-specific lectures mostly take place from Monday to Wednesday and are designed to fit in with lectures offered by the College of Business and Law. You are expected to attend seminars in the Schools of Biochemistry and Microbiology and Department of Anatomy/Neuroscience as advertised. The six-month research project is full-time starting in April.
Taught modules are examined by formal written examination and continuous assessment. The research dissertation for the six-month research project must be submitted by the end of the first academic year of registration for examination by internal and external examiners.
Why Choose This Course
A distinctive feature of the MSc in Molecular Cell Biology with Bioinnovation is that you will receive formal innovation and technology commercialisation training through modules from the College of Business and Law at UCC.
With three primary research themes – cancer biology, infection/immunity and molecular neuroscience, you will select projects with internationally-renowned research groups from the Schools of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Department of Anatomy/Neuroscience, following the completion of discipline-specific modules.
You will not only possess excellent research and technical skills on graduation but also the necessary business development and commercialisation skills for life science innovation.
Skills and Careers Information
You will be ideally positioned to enter into a PhD after graduation, but could also pursue a number of career paths including technology transfer officer within higher education institutions and national agencies, R&D project manager, commercialisation manager within a life science start-up, or development manager within the pharmaceutical sector. The course will also equip you with the skills required to develop your own start-up venture.
Molecular Biology Eligibility Criteria
The programs in Molecular Biology are offered mainly at post-graduation level. A candidate would be eligible to pursue MSc in Molecular Biology if he/she has studied Biology at the Intermediate and Graduation Level. A B.Sc. in Genetics, Microbiology, Zoology or Botany also fulfill the eligibility criteria of pursuing M.Sc in Molecular Biology.
In order to be eligible for carrying out research work in the field, one must qualify the CSIR-UGC-NET exam or ICMR JRF examination with Life Science. Engineering or B.Pharm graduates with Biotechnology as a subject of study, having qualified in GATE examination with a minimum of 85 percentile may also apply for award of Research Fellowship subject to their qualifying in the written test/interview.
What are the career prospects of a Molecular Biologist?
Since Molecular Biology is a rare field of Science, hence competition is expected to be less as compared to other fields of basic and applied sciences. However, the career is challenging and rewarding. Those who have sufficient interests and relevant academic qualification can only make a career in Molecular Biology.
Molecular and Cell Biologists find employment opportunities in research labs established by Government of India or in the R&D departments of various private drug companies. They can work on developing therapeutic drugs to working on stem cell research and in many other areas within the medical development field.
A molecular and cell biologist may find themselves working on research that involves cloning, sub cloning, synthetic RNA transcription, gene expression, cell growth and development, cell and organelle structure and assembly, and DNA dynamics and chromosome structure, and other types of laboratory work.
Recording and analyzing various types of data are important parts of working as a molecular and cell biologist. Proper application of research to solve health problems and cure diseases will also be an option for molecular and cell biologists.
How much money can a Molecular Biologist make?
The salary of Molecular Biologists is satisfying both in government and private sectors. However, private companies working on research and development (R&D) for drug development offer more salaries and benefits to the professionals. The average monthly salary varies between Rs 15, 000- Rs 30, 000.
The M.S. program in Applied Molecular Biology (APMB) is an intensive, two semester graduate program that combines state-of-the-art training in the laboratory methods of molecular biology with a set of four lecture courses that provide the theoretical background for the field. Founded in 1981, the program was the first of its kind in the U.S.
To be admitted to graduate study in the Department of Biological Sciences, students must meet the following pre-requisites:
- Bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year college or university
- Calculus (one semester)
- Organic Chemistry (two semesters with laboratory)
- Physics (two semesters)
- Genetics (one semester)
- Cell Biology (one semester)
- Research Experience (preferred but not required)
An AMB Open House for all students interested in this 9-month Master’s Degree program is held during February during which current APMB students present the results of their research project. Information about enrolling in the program are also provided.
The program has been designed specifically for full-time students who have an interest in careers in the biotechnology industry and have completed their bachelor’s degrees. Because of the intensive nature of the program, students planning on completing the degree in two semesters are generally unable to hold outside employment. Some students choose to complete the APMB in four semesters, taking the lecture courses in the first year and the laboratory courses in the second year. This enables them to hold outside employment.
In addition to the free-standing M.S. program, UMBC undergraduates have the opportunity to participate in a five-year, combined B.S.-M.S. program in which up to 12 credits can be applied to both degrees. This combined program provides significant financial benefits to students in that they pay for fewer graduate credits.
In the APMB program, students will:
- Learn the methods of molecular and computational biology required for employment in the biotechnology industry
- Achieve mastery of the various laboratory techniques by conducting research on a real-world problem
- Become knowledgeable in the theoretical basis of molecular biology through the study of original scientific literature
- Develop skills in oral and poster presentations of scientific research as well as accurate recording of laboratory data
- Work and learn in a supportive environment
- BIOL 430 Biological Chemistry
- BIOL 612 Microbial Systems and Synthetic Biology
- BIOL 626 Approaches to Molecular Biology
- BIOL 635L Advanced Molecular Biology Laboratory I
- BIOL 614 Eukaryotic Genetics & Molecular Biology
- BIOL 636L Advanced Molecular Biology Laboratory II
- APMB 798 Research in Applied Molecular Biology
The requirement for BIOL 430 may be waived for students who have already taken a comparable course in biochemistry and received a grade of B or better. Since all M.S. degrees awarded by the Graduate School require a minimum of 30 credits, three replacement credits may be earned by conducting additional research (APMB 695) during the January winter session or by substituting an elective course approved by the Graduate Program Director.
What does a molecular biologist do?
Cells are made of highly sophisticated structures called cellular organelles, which include the nucleus, the endoplasmic reticulum, lysosomes, the Golgi apparatus and many more. Each of these organelles performs a particular function. However, unlike parts in a car, the functions of each cellular component are not clear-cut, and there is a high degree of dependency and overlap between their functions.
Experts in molecular biology dedicate their life to deciphering these complex functions and exploring the biological laws governing the operation of each cellular component. Moreover, cellular organelles are further composed of complex biological molecules such as the DNA, the RNA, proteins, lipids and carbohydrates, and many possible combinations among them. The task of a molecular biologist is to develop an understanding of how biological molecules come together to function as organelles, and ultimately as cells performing a particular function within the body.
Molecular biologists conduct research and academic activities. The research component involves the study of biological structures in well-equipped laboratories with advanced technology to help them explore complex molecular structures and their particular functions. The equipment may include microscopes, lab centrifuges, computers with specific software that allows them to analyze obtained data, and many more.
Molecular biologists work hard to discover specific patterns in certain biological materials and try to replicate the findings in other experiments to formulate biological hypotheses or theories. During their research work, experts in molecular biology attempt to isolate, purify and individually explore a particular component of a cell, such as a specific protein, a fragment of the DNA or a particular signalling molecule, which allows them to understand its function and then integrate and incorporate it in the complex, big picture of cellular function.
The reason why research in molecular biology is so important is because the concepts discovered in this manner can be applied to mainstream biology, medicine, wildlife study and protection of endangered animals, food industry, pharmaceutical industry and environment protection. Research in molecular biology literally aims to discover the essence of life and formulate theories of biological function that are applicable in other science fields and in real life.
A molecular biologist can also conduct academic work such as teaching, workshops, practical demonstrations in universities, at conferences, and in governmental agencies. This component requires the ability to explain the molecular concepts of biology in an easy-to-understand way for people who may need such knowledge in their field of study and work. At some point in their careers, doctors, environmental experts, biologists, bio-engineers and other professionals have been trained by a molecular biologist. Molecular biologists may also formulate and elaborate specific strategies or protocols in governmental agencies using their ability to understand biological processes at the molecular level.
Best countries to pursue molecular biology
Molecular Biology is the branch of biology that involves the molecular basis of biological processes.
Molecular biologists study how molecules communicate with one another in living organisms to carry out the functions of life.
They carry out experiments to examine the structure, function, processing, regulation, and evolution of biological molecules and their interactions with one another – giving a micro-level understanding of how life works.
Molecular biology overlaps with biology and chemistry and specifically, genetics and biochemistry. A principal field of molecular biology involves the understanding of how different cellular systems interact in regards to DNA, RNA, and protein.
Few molecular biology techniques include extraction of DNA, DNA sequencing, bacterial transformation, transfection, chromosome integration, DNA cloning, cellular culture, cellular screening, DNA polymerase DNA dependent, molecular hybridization, and DNA synthesis.
Few documents which would be required to apply for foreign universities include:
- Birth certificate.
- Passport, national identification card.
- Reference letters, if required.
- Evidence of English competency.
- Copies of degree/diploma certificates.
- Academic reports.
- Graduate applicants may also be required to submit a research proposal.
Few countries may not finance your study, so you will have to finance your study yourself.
Let’s see the best countries in the world to pursue a degree in molecular biology.
- United States
The United States is globally famous for its top universities and colleges. International students in the U.S. can choose from a huge variety of Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees offered by some of the best colleges worldwide.
The United States has the globe’s largest international student populace, with more than 1,000,000 students selecting to broaden their education and life experience. The life sciences research accounts for almost 50% of the nation’s share. The United States is the best choice if you wish to study any degree in life science. Technological progress in molecular biology and biotechnology has increased specializations and new interdisciplinary fields.
Top Universities for molecular biology in the United States
- Harvard University
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- University of California
- Stanford University
- University of Washington
- Johns Hopkins University
2. United Kingdom
The United Kingdom is house to some of the globe’s earliest universities and colleges having their roots in the 12th and 13th centuries. Originating from such a strong heritage, education in the United Kingdom has become a benchmark for other nations.
Studying in the UK is a great way to develop your expertise, meet new people, experience a new culture, and a lot more. You will get an opportunity to experience a great student lifestyle.
Top Universities for molecular biology in the United Kingdom
- University of Cambridge
- University of Oxford
- University of Dundee
- Glasgow Caledonian University
- London Metropolitan University
Canada is one of the very best research destinations for students as it is high on academic quality with budget-friendly tuition fees. Canada is an attractive option for those who are to planing to study at a renowned university.
Canada’s life science sector is a significant contributor to the nation’s innovation economy and one of its fastest-growing industries. The country is the world leader in biotechnology and has many research hospitals, universities, laboratories, and companies.
Top Universities for molecular biology in Canada
- University of Toronto
- McGill University
- University of British Columbia
- University of Montreal
- McMaster University
Higher education in Sweden is amongst the best around the globe. It has an excellent educational system that stresses more on the group and independent study than lectures.
There is a constant growth in the number of international students enrolling at Swedish universities per year. More than 50% of the students enrolled in these universities are international students.
Top Universities for molecular biology in Sweden
- Karolinska Institute
- Uppsala University
- Lund University
- Umeå University
- University of Gothenburg
- Stockholm University
Australia promotes technology, creative as well as independent thinking throughout its universities. Education in Australia is challenging, fun, and rewarding. Australia is a country full of opportunities.
Australian education and training are globally reputed and well recognized. They have lots of libraries, world-class laboratories, and classrooms.
Top Universities for molecular biology in Australia
- University of Queensland Australia
- University of Melbourne
- University of Sydney
- University of Western Australia
- University of New South Wales
Denmark is the nation of happiest people. It is a country with 5.6 million people. It is amongst the best nations for business and often tops the academic rankings.
Its educational system has numerous world-class organizations. Most universities/colleges offer scholarships, grants, and/or financial aid to help fund international students. Denmark provides innovative teaching methods, allowing you to gain the skills to become an independent learner.
Top Universities for molecular biology in Denmark
- University of Copenhagen
- Aarhus University
- Technical University of Denmark
- University of Southern Denmark
France is one of the most popular locations for international students. Its significant advantages are the premium quality of education and the exceptionally cheap tuition costs. Higher education in France is one of the best in Europe and around the world. France is home to many top-ranked universities. Studying in France will definitely provide you a life-changing experience.
Top Universities for molecular biology in France
- Sorbonne University
- University of Paris
- University of Strasbourg
- University of Montpellier
- University of Aix-Marseille
In terms of world-class education, Singapore has actually outmatched the other Asian countries and is swiftly becoming one of Asia’s most prominent research destinations.
Additionally, the nation is popular for Transfer Programs wherein students get a chance to transfer from Singapore institutions to institutions in Australia, the US, or the UK.
There are enough job opportunities for international students as it is home to more than 7000 multinational companies.
Top Universities for molecular biology in Singapore
- National University of Singapore
9. The Netherlands
The Netherlands was the first non-native English speaking country to provide courses taught in English to international students. In the Netherlands, International students can study either in Dutch or English, making it an excellent choice for studying abroad. The Netherlands is a great option to pursue graduation in life sciences.
Top Universities for molecular biology in the Netherlands
- University of Groningen
- Utrecht University
- Leiden University
- Erasmus University Rotterdam
- University of Amsterdam
Belgium has world-renowned universities, exceptional opportunities for international networking, and a lot more. Belgium universities are among the best in Europe. They provide tuition fees at a very affordable cost. The student amenities are great, and the universities are also very keen on helping students with guidance and support opportunities.
Top Universities for molecular biology in Belgium
- Vrije University Brussel
- Catholic University of Leuven
- Ghent University
- University Libre de Bruxelles
- University of Antwerp