NFQ Level 10, Major Award

Note: Every effort has been made to ensure that the programme and module content as described in the University's Calendar and Book of Modules for the 2021-22 academic year are accurate. However, due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, no guarantee is given that programme/module content, delivery and assessment may not be altered, cancelled, replaced, augmented or otherwise amended. Any changes will ensure the same competencies and Learning Outcomes are met. Programme and/or Module Coordinators will communicate any such changes to students.

The PhD in Microbial Biotechnology is a full-time, thematic PhD programme that runs for 48 months from initial registration. Students complete the equivalent of 90 credits in each 12 month period. The primary component of the PhD programme is original research leading to the completion of a research thesis. At the end of the programme, students are required to submit and defend a thesis on the candidate's research topic.

Students complete modules that provide training in the three main domains of 1) technical skills and knowledge related to the discipline of microbial biotechnology; 2) complementary and transferrable skills; and 3) innovation skills. The programme is inherently flexible to facilitate students who will take different routes to achieve the same final set of skills but each student must satisfy all the training requirements by the end of year 3 in order to progress to thesis submission.

This programme includes a period of research (minimum 6 months) outside of Ireland in the laboratory of another academic institution. This research training may be carried out in a single or several blocks of time in any year of the PhD.

This programme also includes a period of placement (between 3 and 6 months) in the non-academic sector, typically industry. This placement module (MB7003) should ordinarily be completed in a single block of time and would typically be in the third year of the PhD.

Registration and Supervision
All students on the PhD in Microbial Biotechnology programme will register in the College of Science, Engineering and Food Science (SEFS) and will be governed by policies of that College. These include formation of an individual thesis committee to supervise the student, in line with the policies of the SEFS Graduate School. The student's training and research progress will be evaluated annually by a Progress Review Panel established by the Microbial Biotechnology Programme Board, which reports to the SEFS Graduate School.

Personal Career Development Plan
Each PhD candidate will, in consultation with their thesis committee, formulate a Personal Career Development Plan (PCDP) during their first progress review meeting to be completed within 3 months of registration. The PCDP will be refined and updated each year following a progress review. The PCDP defines the core components of the individual PhD programme for each student, namely:

The PCDP is submitted for approval to the Microbial Biotechnology Programme Board. The candidate's academic and research progress will be reviewed at least annually by the Progress Review Panel, in accordance with the College of SEFS and UCC procedure for Progress Reviews. This review will include assessment of progress relative to the PCDP.

Module Selection
The PhD in Microbial Biotechnology requires students to complete modules and courses that provide training to the value of 80 credits in the three main domains of 1) skills and knowledge related to the discipline; 2) complementary and transferrable skills; and 3) innovation skills. This training should be delivered through modules run by UCC. In some cases modules or courses external to UCC may be proposed as part of the PCDP and, if approved by the Programme Director, in line with College of SEFS and UCC procedures, will fulfil credit requirements. The programme is designed to be flexible to facilitate individualised training within the parameters of the programme. Each candidate's PCDP will include a list of the modules/courses planned for each year. There is no requirement that specific modules be taken in a particular year of the PhD, and the flexibility required by variable start dates within the academic year is recognised. Nonetheless, the student's thesis committee and the Programme Director will advise the student on appropriate scheduling of training.

Students take taught modules to the value of 80 credits as follows:

Technical Skills and Knowledge (30 credits)

Core Modules
MB7001 Disseminating Research Results to a Scientific Audience (5 credits)
MB7002 Critical Appraisal of Biotechnology Research (5 credits)

and modules to the value of 20 credits from the following:

Elective Modules
BT6001 Genetic Engineering (5 credits)
CS6501 Programming for Bioscientists I (5 credits)
CS6502 Programming for Bioscientists II (5 credits)
MB6004 Advanced Molecular Microbial Biotechnology (5 credits)
MB6300 Computational Systems Biology (5 credits)
MB6301 Genomic Data Analysis (5 credits)
ML6005 Molecular Techniques in the Life Sciences (5 credits)

Complementary and Transferrable skills (15 credits)

Core Modules
PG6015 An Introduction to Research Integrity, Ethics and Open Science (5 credits)

and modules to the value of 10 credits from the following:

Elective Modules
PG6001 STEPS - Scientific Training for Enhanced Postgraduate Studies (5 credits)
PG6003 Teaching and Learning Module for Graduate Studies (5 credits)
PG6009 Graduate Information Literacy Skills (5 credits)
PG6014 Scientific Outreach and Communication (5 credits)
PG6025 Community-Based Participatory Research (5 credits)
PG7017 Project Management for Research Students (5 credits)

Innovation skills (35 credits)

Core Modules
LW6104 Principles of Intellectual Property Law (5 credits)
MB7003 Biotechnology Industry Placement (25 credits)

and modules to the value of 5 credits from the following:

Elective Modules
AC6301 Innovation Finance (5 credits)
IS6306 Technology Business Planning (5 credits)
PG7014 Creativity and Innovation for Research Students (5 credits)

Indicative breakdown of training over the 4 years of the programme
This table represents the typical breakdown of training and will vary according to the individual PCDP. 80 credits of training must be achieved by the end of year 3 of the PhD.

  Research Modules covering different skills
    Technical Complementary Innovation
Year 1 60 credits 20 credits 5 credits 5 credits
Year 2 65 credits 10 credits 10 credits 5 credits
Year 3 65 credits     25 credits
Year 4 90 credits      

Module Semester Information may be found here. Module Descriptions may be found here.

Full details and regulations governing Examinations for each programme will be contained in the Marks and Standards 2021/2022 Book and for each module in the Book of Modules, 2021/2022.

Programme Learning Outcomes for PhD in Microbial Biotechnology (NFQ Level 10, Major Award)
On successful completion of this programme students should be able to:

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