International College

Study molecular biology and biotechnology

Molecular biologists make a difference by helping to answer some of the biggest global questions. They investigate how to treat and prevent disease, develop green technologies and also play a role in the food we eat.

Molecular biology and biotechnology at the University of Sheffield

The Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology finds exciting new approaches in biosciences. It conducts research on key issues including antimicrobial resistance and the production of biofuels. It is training the next generation of scientists to make a difference in the world.

Students have access to state-of-the-art equipment and facilities. These include a Biological NMR Facility, a Biomolecular Interaction Suite, the Wolfson Light Microscopy Facility and the University of Sheffield’s Biological Mass Spectrometry Facility.

Molecular biology and biotechnology degree options at the University of Sheffield

Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology rankings

Top 5 for biological research in the UK
Research Excellence Framework, 2014.


No. 1 for biomedical research
in the UK
REF, 2014.

Degree preparation at the International Study Centre

The University of Sheffield International College offers specialist university preparation for international students. On our pathway programmes, you will study key subject modules to prepare you for your degree, while also building confidence in your English language and study skills. Whether you are aiming for undergraduate or postgraduate study, you will have the confidence to succeed once you progress to the University of Sheffield.

Your pathways to studying at the University of Sheffield:

Why study molecular biology and biotechnology?

Molecular biology and biotechnology are fascinating and rewarding subjects, and its graduates make a valuable contribution to society. Some of the benefits of studying molecular biology include:

You will be challenged by varied and interesting work, and will learn the research skills you need to make discoveries that can drive change. 

Molecular biologists work in industries from pharmacology to food manufacturing. You could be helping to develop new medicines, or inventing the latest meat-free burger. If you want a challenging and varied career, this is a great option.

As a student, you may have the chance to work on active research projects. When you graduate, you will be making new discoveries and helping to prevent, lessen or solve global problems. This includes testing new drugs to prevent diseases, or researching ways to solve the climate crisis.

What can I do with a molecular biology and biotechnology degree?

When you graduate from the University of Sheffield, you will be able to choose from a range of challenging and rewarding careers.

Molecular biology careers include:

  • biomedical scientist
  • food technologist
  • pharmacologist
  • microbiologist
  • research scientist
  • water quality scientist.

Related careers include:

  • ecologist
  • environmental engineer
  • forensic scientist.

Molecular biology and biotechnology FAQs

Molecular biology is the study of microorganisms and the effects they have on people’s lives. Biotechnology uses this knowledge to develop technologies and processes that alleviate global issues like disease, energy and crop yields.

You can study a molecular biology and biotechnology degree at university by meeting certain entry requirements. Grade requirements can be high, but it depends on the university you want to go to. You will typically need to have studied two science subjects. If you want to study a molecular biology and biotechnology degree in the UK as an international student, you can study the International Foundation Programme in Science and Engineering which will prepare you for a degree at the University of Sheffield and studying in the UK.

Studying a degree in molecular biology and biotechnology means you will have access to a range of careers with varying salaries. As a biotechnologist you will typically start on a salary of between £18,000 and £24,000, rising to between £25,000 and £50,000 with more experience. In highly experienced roles you could be looking at earning up to £60,000. As a biomedical scientist, you could be looking at a starting salary of between £24,000 and £30,000 and at senior level, your salary could be in excess of £50,000.

An undergraduate degree in molecular biology and biotechnology typically lasts three years.

To study an undergraduate degree in molecular biology and biotechnology you will typically need to have studied two sciences - usually Biology and Chemistry. Other subjects that can be helpful include Maths, Physics, Geography and Environmental Studies.

A maths qualification may not be required to study molecular biology and biotechnology, but it is used. It is used to analyse and design medical solutions, for example, where you will need to use both geometry and calculus methods.

Key skills you will need include:

  • Attention to detail
  • Communication
  • Numeracy
  • Analytical thinking
  • Complex problem-solving
  • Innovative thinking
  • Teamwork
Find out more about starting your studies or check the latest COVID-19 information.