UCC Postgraduate courses

Design and Manufacture of BioPharmaceuticals

About This Course

Fact File

Course Outline

Application Opening Date: Wednesday 16 June 2021

Are you interested in a career in the BioPharma sector, but feel that your primary degree might be in an un-related area? Then an exciting new course at UCC in the design and manufacture of BioPharmaceuticals may provide new opportunities for you.

The BioPharmaceutical industry is currently undergoing a period of rapid expansion and is requiring a broad range of skillsets from new recruits. To meet this ongoing need we have established a course that will provide a fundamental understanding of the BioPharmaceutical manufacturing process to students from diverse academic disciplines. This extends not only to graduates with qualifications in the science and engineering fields, but also to those from disciplines not traditionally associated with BioPharma, including for example languages, business, mathematics, law, statistics, compute programming etc.

The course aims to provide a basic understanding of how our cells and bodies work, and how this can change during sickness and disease. Course participants will receive instruction in the rational design of biological drugs that create new therapeutic options, as well as the principles of process engineering that allow for large-scale manufacturing. The production of “Biologics” under aseptic and regulated conditions will be emphasized, along with the important role played by continual testing and process validation.

The programme contains a significant hands-on training project that will provide students with experience in the production, purification and characterization of a protein drug, as well as dedicated content on career planning and preparation for employment in the BioPharma industry.

The programme, which has been designed to meet the current and future needs of industry, will produce graduates that understand the applied requirements of the BioPharma/ Life Science industrial sector, and highlight the opportunities to apply a wide variety of skill sets within this environment.

Further Detail: 

Biological drug production is a highly productive industrial sector within the Munster region that contributes significantly towards national exports. This one-year conversion course is designed to facilitate the upskilling of graduates from a range of disciplines, including business, law, mathematics, languages, statistics, computer programming etc. so that they can most effective employ their primary degree competencies and experience in the BioPharma and Life Sciences/ Biologicals sector. I will also cater for those whose qualifications in the engineering, science or healthcare sectors was not sufficiently focussed on the BioPharmaceutical industry.

It aims to provide participants with a basic knowledge of biological chemistry, cell biology and cell signalling. They will then apply this knowledge to better understand the basis of human diseases, and the rational design of biological drugs. Students will be given technical and practical knowledge of the upstream and downstream processes associated with the manufacture of BioPharmaceuticals, and be introduced to the principles of process engineering. The production, formulation and fill-finish of medicines under aseptic and regulated conditions will be emphasized, along with continual testing and validation of process.

Course content has been developed with significant input and support from industry, including the SimBET BioPharma (Simulated Based Education and Training in BioPharmaceutical Sciences) module. This is designed to flexibly accommodate variations in the production processes used by different companies, and can be extended to incorporate new approaches and medicinal products that come onto the market. This module will additionally be integrated with a significant hands-on training project that will provide students with experience in the production, purification and characterization of a protein drug.

Students will complete 60 credits as follows;

  • Introduction to Human Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry (10 credits)
  • Introduction to Biopharmaceutical Engineering (5 credits)
  • Introduction to BioPharmaceutical Technologies and Processes (10 credits)
  • Introduction to Regulatory and Sterility Requirements (10 credits)
  • Pharmaceutical Design and Verification (5 credits)
  • Transitioning into the BioPharma Workspace (5 credits)
  • SimBET BioPharma (Simulated Based Education and Training in BioPharmaceutical Sciences

Programme Objectives:

  • Provide participants with foundational understanding of human biochemistry and cell biology, and how alteration to these processes can cause disease.
  • Provide students with an appreciation for how biological drugs are designed
  • Provide technical knowledge and training in the upstream and downstream manufacturing processes that allow for production of BioPharmaceuticals under sterile, validated and regulated conditions.
  • Provide an insight into the fundamental principles of process engineering that allow for production of (Bio)Pharmaceuticals to happen at scale.
  • Enhance the employability of participants within the BioPharmaceutical sector with dedicated content and workshops. 

Additional Teaching Mode Information

For semester 1 and semester 2, the course will be delivered using a combination of lectures, workshops and tutorials. Considering the current COVID 19 restrictions, the majority of the content will now be delivered on-line, with recorded material and course notes made available in advance of Fridays, when we will schedule either live on-line webinars or live on-campus sessions (subject to public health guidelines). Live Friday sessions will be recorded and will be made available over the course webpage.

In semester 3, students will undertake the training component of the course. While some aspects of this can be completed on-line, there will be a requirement to attend training sessions at the University during two consecutive weeks (ie. 10 days). 

Why Choose This Course

This one-year course offers upskilling opportunities in the area of BioPharmaceutical manufacturing. It will provide graduates from a range of academic backgrounds with the opportunity to apply the knowledge and experience gained in their primary degree qualifications in the rapidly expanding BioPharma industrial sector.

Those with a non-scientific background, including for example business, law, statistics, languages, mathematics etc., are encouraged to apply. So too are those with qualifications in the scientific, engineering or healthcare fields, but not necessarily in the area of BioPharmaceuticals.

Skills and Careers Information

This conversion course is designed to provide a broad understanding of the design and manufacture of biological drugs, and help those with a variety of academic qualifications to understand how they might best apply their expertise within the BioPharmaceutical Industry. We envisage that students completing the course could also qualify to fill Operator or Lab Technician roles in industry. The course contains a dedicated module to facilitate transitioning into the BioPharma workspace. As part of this module the students are expected to avail of training in job applications and long-term career management, as well as hands-on training that is relevant in the industry.

Are there any career workshops included as part of this course?

Students will have access to the UCC career services. Main activities will include:

  1. Career coaching to formulate individual career action plans leading to employment, reflecting on: 
    1. Where are they now in their careers?
    2. Where do they want to be?
    3. Strategies for gaining employment on completion of the programme.

  2. Job readiness workshops will be built into the programme as outlined below:
    1. Positioning oneself for job readiness: Setting realistic career objectives; Understanding strengths and skills; Learning from successful role models; Developing a career management strategy.
    2. Moving forward into a job: Taking action by developing career goals and implementing them;
    3. Creative job-hunting both on-line and off-line; Written applications, CVs and interview preparation and implementing career plans.

  3. Participants will be given the opportunity to meet employers by attending UCC organised recruitment fairs, jobs roadshows and other events where employers will be invited on campus to meet students.

Requirements

Applicants must have Second Class Honours Grade 2 in a primary honours degree (NFQ, Level 8), in any discipline.

A quota will be allocated to applicants who do not meet these entry requirements. These applicants will be considered under Recognition of Prior Learning and assessed on the following factors:

  • Academic achievement
  • Prior Work Experience
  • Letter of Reference
  • Personal Statement

All applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence of English language proficiency: See our English language proficiency requirements.

Fees and Costs

As part of the Human Capital Initiative (HCI), for 2021, the HEA will be subsidising spaces on this programme.

  • Standard EU Fee: €9,000
  • 90% Subsidised Fee: €900 payable by applicant
  • 100% Subsidised Fee: No course fees payable by applicant

For full details on subsidies available please see 'What will it cost?' on the main HCI Pillar 1 webpage

How Do I Apply

Apply online at Springboard Platform

Candidates are advised to apply early as high demand is anticipated and places are limited.

Applications will NOT be assessed until all supporting documentation has been received. Please ensure that you have the documentation below available at the time of application. Documents must be combined into one zip file and uploaded. Uploading of multiple documents is currently not facilitated.

For mainstream applications, you will need:

  • Copies of transcripts and parchments for any previous relevant educational qualifications
  • Personal / Motivation Statement - In 500 words or less, please state:
    • 1) Why you wish to study this programme at University College Cork
    • 2) How you meet the programme entry requirements.
  • Current CV
  • Copy of an up to date University approved English language exam e.g. IELTS, TOFEL, Duolingo etc., for non-native English speakers

For applications considered under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), you will need:

  • Copies of transcripts and parchments for any previous relevant educational qualifications
  • Current CV
  • References where applicable
  • Personal / Motivation Statement - In 500 words or less, please state:
    • 1) Why you wish to study this programme at University College Cork
    • 2) How you meet the programme entry requirements.
  • Copy of an up to date University approved English language exam e.g. IELTS, TOFEL, Duolingo etc., for non-native English speakers

Apply online via the Springboard Platform

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact

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