MSc Analytical Science for the Biosciences Industries

The course

Full-time, Part-time
Course type
Entry date

An exciting new degree developed in close collaboration between Heriot-Watt University and our industrial partners in the biosciences sector. This Masters degree provides science graduates with advanced skills in applied analytical science.


Got questions about this programme?

Contact our enquiries team.


September 2024 entry

The deadline for applications from UK students is 30 August 2024. For EU and overseas applicants, we guarantee to consider applications submitted by 2 August 2024.


MSc Analytical Science for the Biosciences Industries

Analytical science underpins crucial areas of the bioscience sector, such as biotechnology, brewing and distilling, food and drink, pharmaceuticals and bioengineering. 

Academics at Heriot-Watt University work closely with these industries and, in recent years, leaders from organisations such as the Scotch Whisky Research Institute (SWRI), Diageo, Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC), and the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service have highlighted the need for graduates who have strong applied analytical science skills. 

The MSc in Analytical Science for the Biosciences Industries has been developed in close collaboration with our industrial partners to fill this skills gap and is designed to provide training to accommodate applicants from a wide range of backgrounds, to equip them with the skills they need to thrive in the biosciences industry.  

Flexible study for professionals

This degree could also benefit professionals already working within industry. To help fit study around employment, study materials can be delivered flexibly online. The MSc can also be studied part-time over two years, with the option of a Postgraduate Diploma, which allows you to study in semesters one and two but does not require completion of a final dissertation project. 

Key Courses and Learning Outcomes

The MSc Analytical Science for the Biosciences Industries will equip you with detailed knowledge of applied analytical science. You will have hands-on access to cutting-edge analytical equipment, learn how to acquire and process data effectively and draw appropriate conclusions. Modern lab regulatory issues, health and safety essentials and project management also form the core of our product.  All content will be delivered in the context of the biosciences industries, informed by our industrial partners.

These learning outcomes are devolved through the following core courses: 

  • Introduction to Analytical Science for Bioscientists 
  • Applications of Analytical Science
  • Analysis of Colloids and Complex Fluids
  • Laboratory Regulation and Project Management
  • Research and Professional Practice

Teaching Methods 

The MSc will be delivered through lectures, workshops and seminars supported by lab sessions. All material will be available in-person and online.  The MSc will also provide students with first-hand insights into the biosciences industry. This will include site visits to analytical laboratories and companies, presentations by invited specialists from across the sector and regular practical sessions with training in the use of specialist analytical equipment. The 3-month dissertation project can be taken on-campus or on placement with one of our industrial partners and will provide the opportunity to put advanced analytical techniques into practice.  


Heriot-Watt University's Edinburgh campus offers students access to world-class research facilities such as state-of-the-art HPLC, IR and UV spectroscopies, NMR spectroscopy, GC-MS and LC-MS, as well as powder and single-crystal X-ray diffraction, all run under the guidance of expert technical staff.  

Research and Staff Expertise

Research in the areas of Chemical and Life Sciences are conducted by two dedicated Research Institutes:

The international standing of Chemistry research at Heriot-Watt was reflected in the REF2014 exercise where over 94% of academic papers submitted were rated as ‘world leading' or ‘internationally excellent'.  

Across these two institutes staff expertise covers diverse applications of analytical science to materials science, gas-phase spectroscopy, chemical and biochemical analysis, complex fluids and interfacial science.

Staff also hold prominent positions in both IBioIC and the Scottish Bioeconomy Council.

Course content

Semester 1 (September - December)

Mandatory courses

  • Analysis of Colloids and Complex Fluids
  • Introduction to Analytical Science for Bioscientists

Optional courses

  • Concepts in Beverage Science
  • Beverage Microbiology and Biochemistry
  • Introduction to Pharmaceutical Chemistry

Semester 2 (January - May)

Mandatory courses

  • Applications of Analytical Science
  • Laboratory Regulation and Project Management
  • Research and Professional Practice

Optional courses

  • Chemistry of Food
  • Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Food Processing
  • Human Diseases and Therapeutic Interventions
  • Principles of Drug Discovery & Development

Semester 3

MSc Analytical Research Project

The research project can be either on campus or on placement in a company and should culminate in a substantial project dissertation report and an oral presentation.

Entry requirements

A First or Second Class Honours Degree in an appropriate Life Sciences or Physical Sciences or Engineering discipline. The degree can be from a UK or overseas university. Different degrees, together with relevant industrial experience, will be considered.

For Diploma entry, candidates must hold a degree, preferably at Honours level, in an appropriate subject as defined above. Candidates who do not necessarily fulfil the above criteria may wish to apply to the Diploma programme. All such cases are given individual consideration.

English language requirements

If your first language is not English, or your first degree was not taught in English, we'll need to see evidence of your English language ability. The minimum requirement for English language is IELTS 6.5 or equivalent. Heriot-Watt University offers a range of English language courses to help you meet the English language requirement prior to starting your masters course:

  • 20 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.0 with no skill lower than 4.5)
  • 14 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.0 with minimum of 5.0 in writing and no skill lower than 4.5)
  • 10 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with no skill lower than 5.0)
  • 6 weeks English (for IELTS 5.5 with no skill lower than 5.5)


Tuition fees for entry
Status Full-time Part-time
UK £10600 £5300
Overseas £24496 £12248


  1. Your residency 'status' is usually defined as the country where you have been ordinarily resident for the three years before the start of your course. Find out more about tuition fees.
  2. Overseas includes applications from European Union countries who do not hold Pre-Settled or Settled status in the UK. Read more about the application process for EU nationals.

Scholarships and bursaries

We aim to encourage well-qualified, ambitious students to study with us and we offer a wide variety of scholarships and bursaries to achieve this. Over £6 million worth of opportunities are available in fee and stipend scholarships, and more than 400 students benefit from this support.

View our full range of postgraduate scholarships.