Certificate in Science in Biopharmaceutical Science (Online)

  • NFQ Level 8
  • Credits 30*
  • Course Code SG_SBIOP_E08
  • Award Certificate
  • Duration 1 year

Course Summary

Programme Code: SG_SBIOP_E08 

Delivery: Online 

About this programme: 

The Certificate in Science Biopharmaceutical Science (Special Purpose Award – Level 8) 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 growing industry sector in Ireland. This programme has been developed by ATU Sligo and NIBRT in consultation with industry to develop a National Biopharma Training Programme to provide jobseekers with the following skillsets including cell culture processing, protein purification, biopharmaceutical validation, quality systems, bioanalytics and lean sigma. 

The course is offered in conjunction with NIBRT (National Institute for Biopharmaceutical Research and Training) with all of the laboratory work-taking place at their state-of-the-art facility in Dublin. The course is offered in an online manner utilising ATU Sligo’s online delivery technologies. The modules are further supported with virtual labs and video tutorials (using live streaming of practical sessions by NIBRT trainers, where operations could be demonstrated and discussed in detail with students).

The subjects included in this programme are, Recombinant drug discovery & development, Formulation & Fill Finish, Biocontamination control and Facilities & Utilities. The course also includes a practical laboratory module at the NIBRT Biopharmaceutical Training facility.

This course is particularly suited to provide the core skills to transition those with previous experience as operators, technicians or supervisory/managerial grades to similar roles within the (bio)pharma manufacturing sector and also to more specialised roles. The course is structured to include the requisite knowledge, skills and professional competence required to be part of this workforce and has a large practical component associated with it.

This course is unique. It is part of the award winning suite of courses offered by NIBRT/ATU Sligo (Taoiseach’s Public Service Excellence Awards). It is a blend of the latest cutting edge academic modules in Biopharmaceuticals and exposure to a state of the art and award winning industrial biopharma training facility (www.nibrt.ie).


Certificate in Science in Bioprocessing Technologies  - Level 8- 30 credits (Special Purpose Award)

Application Deadline: 

18th August 2023


Key Course Information

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:  

  • Exams:100% Continuous assessment , no attendance required for exams
  • Workshops/Practical Classes Approximately 2 days attendance in NIBRT, in semester 2. You will receive notification of the dates from your lecturer for each specific subject requirement. 

Contact Details: 

Course co-ordinator: Mary Butler

Online and Part time Admissions


Certificate in Science in Certificate in  Biopharmaceutical Science - Level 8- 30 credits (Special Purpose Award)

Application Closing Date : 16th August 2024

Entry Requirements

The programme is open to students who have obtained an ordinary degree (Level 7) or its equivalent in an appropriate discipline (i.e. Engineering or Life Sciences).

Applicants who may not have the aforementioned qualifications but who may have relevant industrial experience may apply for consideration under the RPL (Recognised Prior Learning) process in accordance with the policies of ATU Sligo in this area. 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

This award is aligned to and directly addresses the skills requirements of the Bio-Pharma/Pharmachem sector identified in the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs of the Biopharma Industry in Ireland. This report highlights the important contribution to the Irish economy in terms of employment and manufacturing exports from the biopharma sector. The ability to efficiently manufacture highly complex advanced therapeutics in a cost-effective manner will be a key determinant of Irish biopharma’s future success. The ongoing provision of appropriately trained individuals is pivotal to this.

In preparing this Prorgamme ATU Sligo and NIBRT has consulted extensively with BioPharmachem Ireland (BPCI), IDA, Industry clients and Higher Education Institutes to determine the best model to meet the current/future skills needs for this sector.

One of the key features of the programme is that it combines cutting-edge skills in Biopharmaceutical Science and Medical Biotechnology with an understanding of the legislative and quality control system framework in which this takes place within the industry.

Further Study

This self-contained minor award enables learners to exit with a Certificate or progress to complete a full level 8 Honours degree in Biopharmaceutical Science.

This graduate programme in Biopharmaceutical Science aims to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the critical aspects of Biopharmaceutical Processing and Support Services, with specific focus on the product lifecycle of Biological products and associated processes.

Did you know?

According to the NIBRT Annual report for 2021, Global sales of biopharmaceuticals are now over $300 billion, with a compound annual growth rate of 12% and with approximately 60% of therapeutics in development being biopharmaceuticals. Ireland has a large biopharmaceutical manufacturing presence, relative to other big sectors and to other similar-sized countries. None of this can be taken for granted. Product life cycles, industry consolidation patterns, the draw of emerging markets, skills readiness and slow speeds of adoption of new medicines in the health services are creating headwinds that could decelerate the pace at which the industry scales into the future in Ireland. (BioPharma Ambition 2020).

Programme Fees

Academic Year 2024/25 Fees

Total Programme Fee: €5,598

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