Stem Cell Biology and Application - MSc

Start date
1 year, full-time
Course Type
Postgraduate, Taught

Annual tuition fee for 2023/24:
UK: £13,550
International: £27,140

More details for fees and funding

Stem cell science, ranging from basic biology to practical application, is a large and diverse subject. A full appreciation of it requires an understanding of cell and molecular biology, tissue structure and physiology, the practicalities of tissue engineering and bioprocessing, the pathways to implementation in medical and veterinary practice and industry, and ethical and regulatory considerations.


Programme suspension

This programme is currently suspended and not accepting applications. Please continue to check our website for the latest information.


The MSc Stem Cell Biology and Application will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of these unique cells, highlighting key areas of research and technologies, and encompassing vertebrate, invertebrate and plant aspects of stem cell biology. Emphasis will be placed on cutting-edge technologies used in stem cell science, such as bioinformatics and gene editing, and on existing or potential stem cell applications, both in medicine and economically relevant animals and plants.

Modules in the first semester will provide a foundation of understanding of basic principles of stem cells and the methods used to study them, especially bioinformatics, and will cover molecular and cellular aspects of the way in which stem cells are controlled, emphasising how diseases can arise when the normal balance is disturbed. During the second part of the first semester and the first part of the second semester, you will be given a perspective on the range of stem cell types, including their involvement in the development of organisms and their diversity across the animal and plant kingdoms. Emphasis will be placed on the current and potential applications of stem cells, particularly in a clinical context, and you will gain an appreciation of the multidisciplinary approaches that are required in order to make this possible. A thread of legal, ethical, and social implications will run throughout the programme.

Across the full year, you will engage in a research project, using a stem cell-based platform to achieve gene editing in order to create your own model of a genetic disease or to explore the function of a particular gene.

Why study this course?

  • We're ranked in the world top 100 for Medicine (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023)
  • Our academics are actively researching stem cell issues and developing new therapies
  • As a leading UK university for bioinformatics, with expertise in gene editing, you will benefit from high-quality practical training


  • The principles of stem cell biology (20 credits)
  • Essential methodology in stem cell research (20 credits)
  • Pluripotent stem cells and medical application (20 credits) 
  • Natural regeneration: An evolutionary and practical perspective (20 credits)
  • Adult stem cells, and their relevance in medicine and agriculture (20 credits)
  • Engineering complex tissues (20 credits)
  • Dissertation Project: Gene Editing (60 credits)


Annual tuition fee for 2023/24:

UK: £13,550
International: £27,140

Are you an international applicant?

All international applicants to this course will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit of £2,000 on receipt of an offer, to secure their place.

Find out more about the deposit >>.


Postgraduate Loans for Masters students

As a UK resident you can apply for a government loan for postgraduate Masters study. This is a contribution towards the costs of study and whether the loan is used towards fees, maintenance or other costs will be at the discretion of the student.

Find out more about the Postgraduate Loan

Our Standard Requirements

Either a 2:1 undergraduate Honours degree or a postgraduate degree in a biological discipline, eg biomedical science, biological sciences, human biology, plant biology, zoology, biochemistry or medicine (MBChB).

International students

Academic requirements

We accept a range of international qualifications - use the dropdown box below to select your country and see the equivalencies to the above UK requirements.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any band.

If you are made an offer of a place to study and you do not already meet the language requirement, you have the option to enrol on our English for Academic Purposes Presessional Course. If you successfully complete this, you will be able to fulfil the language requirement without needing to take a further qualification.

  • IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any band
  • TOEFL: 88 overall with no less than 21 in Reading, 20 in Listening, 22 in Speaking and 21 in Writing
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) including online: PTE Academic 67 with no less than 64 in all four skills
  • Cambridge English (exams taken from 2015): Advanced – minimum overall score of 176, with no less than 169 in any component

International Requirements

As a student at the University of Birmingham, you will learn from world-leading academics and researchers, as well as from your peers.From the outset you will be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner. We want you to be challenged and will encourage you to think for yourself.

You will also benefit from personal and welfare tutors to support both your studies and your wellbeing.

Assessment Methods

Modules are assessed through essays, assignments, exams, oral presentations and computer based problem-solving.

The combination of modules will allow you to potentially follow a career path that involves fundamental or translational research in a medical or bioeconomic commercial context, through to specialising in legal and regulatory areas or scientific publishing/journalism.

Key relevant skills in these areas include:

  • Research methods (cell biology, genetics, omics, bioinformatics, etc)
  • Analysis and presentation of research findings
  • Working in a clinical environment (research, trials)
  • Practicalities and economics of commercial translation
  • Regulatory issues (IP/patenting, working with health regulatory bodies)
  • Ethical/social/political implications.

You may therefore have the potential for careers with diverse organisations working across modern cell therapy approaches, such as pharmaceutical companies, the biopharma cell therapy space, agriculture and veterinary science.

University Careers Network

Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal.

Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team (in each of the five academic colleges) who can give you expert advice. Our team source exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoring, global internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CVs and job applications will help give you the edge.

If you make the most of the wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.