Certificate in Science in Biopharmaceutical Processing (Online)

  • NFQ Level 7
  • Credits 30*
  • Course Code SG_SBIOP_E07
  • Award Certificate
  • Duration 1 year

Course Summary

Programme Code: SG_SBIOP_E07

Delivery: Online

About this programme

The Certificate in Science Biopharmaceutical Processing (Special Purpose Award – Level 7) has been developed in consultation with the Biopharmaceutical industry in Ireland to ensure the course offers the skills and experience that is required for this growing industry sector in Ireland. The course has been developed and is offered in conjunction with NIBRT (National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training) with all of the laboratory work taking place at their state-of-the-art training facility in Dublin.


Key Course Information

Course Attendance:

The majority of this course is offered online, Students are required to attend NIBRT for two days practical training per semester for the Cell Culture and the Protein Purification modules.

Please note: This programme is jointly offered by ATU Sligo and NIBRT (National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training).

Whether you are studying part-time online, blended or full-time online, it is very important that you allocate enough study time to your online course to stay focused, reduce stress and achieve your goals. For part-time online or blended learning, it is recommended that you should try to allow for 5-6 hours per week per 5 credit module to your studies.  

Most online courses typically involve 3 x 5 credit modules per semester which leads to an average 15 – 18 study hours per week. Our online courses have about 3 hours of live lectures per week (but this can vary per programme). The rest of your study time consists of independent learning, communicating with your lecturers and classmates and carrying out assignments. 

Live lectures normally take place between 6pm and 10pm, Monday to Thursday but this may vary depending on the availability of specific lecturers. If the Live Classroom scheduled times for the live online lectures do not suit you, recordings will be made available through Moodle. Please note, you may be required to take some time off work for the below:  
•    2 days in January and  2 days in May. 
•    Workshops/Practical Classes 1 day  attendance in NIBRT per semester  . You will receive notification of the dates from your lecturer for each specific subject requirement. 


For Examinations, students may have to attend at the ATU campus through which they completed their studies. For some programmes it may be possible for the Exam to be taken remotely via online proctoring. ATU Students resident in the Republic of Ireland will be invited to attend exams at an exam centre located in Ireland. Students resident outside of Ireland or with exceptional circumstances may be eligible to attend remotely via online proctoring, where examinations are taken online and supervised virtually, subject to availability.

Contact Details: 

Course co-ordinator: Mary Butler

Online and Part time Admissions

Certificate in Science in Biopharmaceutical Processing – Level 7.

Application Closing Date : 16th August 2024

Entry Requirements

To qualify for entry onto this programme a standard applicant must hold a prior Level 6 qualification in a cognate area (typically Science or Engineering) or equivalent qualification. Applicants who may not have the aforementioned qualifications but who may have relevant industrial experience (typically 5 years duration in a GMP environment) may apply for consideration through the ATU Sligo RPL (Recognised Prior Learning) process.

Applicants with other qualifications and with relevant work experience may also be considered through ATU Sligo’s Recognised Prior Learning (RPL) process.

RPL is a process that may allow you to gain admission to a programme or to receive exemptions / credit from some parts of a programme based on demonstrated learning that you may have achieved through another programme of study or through your work and career. Further information is available through www.atu.ie/recognition-of-prior-learning  which our dedicated RPL portal or by contacting our admissions team at admissions.sligo@atu.ie 

English requirement
Applicants whose first language is not English should provide evidence of English language proficiency. For further information on English language requirements click here


Career Opportunities

Graduates from the Certificate in Biopharmaceutical Processing are ideally positioned to contribute to the Biopharmaceutical, Biotechnology, Medical Diagnostics, Medical Device and Pharmaceutical sectors.

According to the NIBRT annual report 2021, “The global sales of biologics exceeded $300 billion in 2021 with 13 of the top 20 medicines being biologics. From an Irish perspective, the biopharma manufacturing sector enjoyed very strong growth. IDA Ireland’s annual results for 2021 showed the highest Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) employment level ever (275,384 employees) with the highest employment creation figures ever in a single year despite the continued impact of Covid-19. Underpinning these results was a strong series of announcements in the biopharma manufacturing sector. Access to a diverse talent pool with a broad range of multi-disciplinary skills will be a key determinant of future success. In 2021, the Financial Times working with Cytiva published the inaugural Global Biopharma Resilience Index . Based on data from a survey of 1,165 biopharma executives from 20 countries, access to talent was identified as the primary weakness in the resilience of the global biopharma industry.”

We have consulted extensively with biopharmaceutical employers located both regionally and nationally to determine the types of skills and training needs required for this sector and all have indicated that there are skills shortages emerging in certain areas and occupations. A highly skilled pool of graduates will be needed to fill these roles and this course addresses this area.

Further Study

This self-contained minor award enables learners to exit with a Certificate or progress to complete a full level 7 degree in Biopharmaceutical Science.


Here are some testimonies from graduates who have completed this online course.

“I have over 20 years’ experience working in the Bio industry and this course gives me the science qualification to match my years of processing knowledge.”

“I work in production and the course has given me a better understanding of the Pharma industry which has helped me to achieve better results for my organisation.”


Did you know?

This course is unique as it is part of the suite of award winning courses offered by ATU Sligo/NIBRT (Taoiseach’s Public Service Awards). It is a blend of the latest innovative academic modules in biopharmaceuticals, job readiness modules and exposure to a state of the art and award winning industrial biopharma training facility.

Biopharmaceutical Science involves study of the discovery, development and processing of modern, medical drugs by artificially growing some or all of the components utilizing cell culture technologies. The processes involved are more biological-based as compared to the more chemical-based processes associated with small-molecule pharmaceutical products. The Medical Biotechnology and Biopharmaceutical sectors are among the fastest growing in the Life Sciences area both nationally and internationally. This Certificate has been developed in consultation with the Biopharmaceutical industry in Ireland to ensure the course offers the skill and experience that is required for this growth industry sector in Ireland. The course is offered in conjunction with NIBRT (National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training) with all of the laboratory work-taking place at their state-of-the-art facility in Dublin.

Programme Fees

Academic Year 2024/25 Fees

Total Programme Fee: €4,500

To help make the payment of fees more manageable for students who are self-funding their studies, tuition fees can be paid through payment instalment plans at ATU Sligo. For further information on instalment plans, please visit our Fees and Funding webpage

If you apply and are approved for an online course at ATU Sligo, you will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit of €250 to secure your place. Your deposit will then be credited against the course fees once you are registered as a student. Students at ATU Sligo are also eligible to claim tax relief at the standard rate for tuition fees.

For further information and guidance about Fees and Funding for online and part-time courses at ATU Sligo, click here.

If you are seeking to take your exams online, and you meet the eligibility criteria (overseas students and those with extenuating circumstances), an additional examinations fee will apply. For further information, please visit our Examinations webpage