MSc in Biopharmaceutical Processing (Online)

  • NFQ Level 9
  • Points Required N/A*
  • Course Code SG_SBIPR_M09
  • Award Taught Masters Degree by Thesis
  • Duration 2.5 yrs or 1 yr*

Course Summary

Biopharmaceutical Processing involves study of the discovery, development and processing of modern, medical drugs by artificially growing some or all of the components utilising 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. “Over the past decade the Irish biopharma sector has seen $10 billion in capital investment in new facilities which represents close to the largest wave of investment in biopharma manufacturing anywhere in the globe”, according to the NIBRT annual report published Feb 2019. There are significant career opportunities on offer in this sector. 

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

About this programme

It is the overall aim of this postgraduate course to deliver training which is customised to meet the exact needs of the clients in the biopharma sector. This is achieved through completing online modules that have been designed in conjunction with the Biopharma industry with whom NIBRT and ATU Sligo are closely aligned. This programme shall address the recognised research and development needs of the Biopharmaceutical industry and has the capacity to develop graduates who will contribute to the Biopharmaceutical industry internationally, nationally and regionally. 

This programme is particularly suited to those in employment in the biopharma industry. 
It is anticipated that the research project conducted as part fulfillment for the award of Master of Science will be an integral part of their normal working role. It is therefore likely that the participants will be either working in R & D or technology transfer roles. This programme constitutes 60 credits thesis on an applied biopharma work based project and 30 credits taught modules.

Students must choose 1 elective module per semester (either the Upstream Processing Lab. module which requires a 2 day block attendance at the NIBRT facility or Bioprocess scale up and tech transfer module during the first semester OR either the Downstream processing lab or Formulation and Delivery module during their 2nd semester). Students are required to complete a total of 30 credits taught modules alongside a 60 credits thesis for the full award.





Entry Requirements

Entry requirements for CAO courses at ATU Sligo are available for download below:

The programme is open to students who have obtained an honours degree (Level 8) or its equivalent in an appropriate discipline (i.e. Engineering or Life Sciences). Other candidates with alternative honours degrees and relevant experience in the BioProcessing industry (typically 5 years duration in a GMP environment) may apply for consideration through the ATU Sligo RPL (Recognised Prior Learning) process.

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

According to Killian O’Driscoll, NIBRT Director of Projects, there was further good news for the Irish biopharma sector throughout 2018 with the announcement of several major investments. These investments saw the continued diversification of advanced biopharma manufacturing capabilities in Ireland including facilities for Antibody Drug Conjugates (ADCs), cell therapies, iopha-oncology products and the world’s largest single use contract manufacturing capacity.  Investments included:

  • AbbVie Expands Oncology Capability at the Company’s Site in Ballytivnan, Sligo
  • MSD is to develop a new biotechnology facility in Dublin, with the expected creation of up to 350 new jobs
  • Takeda to invest €25m and create up to 70 new roles in a new facility at their Grange Castle site in Dublin
  • WuXi Biologics to Invest €325 million to Build Largest Biomanufacturing Facility Using Single-use Bioreactors in Ireland
  • Phibro Animal Health to establish new biotech facility in Sligo, creating up to 150 jobs
  • BioMarin Expands its Cork Facility to add Drug Product Filling capability
  • MSD to construct a second manufacturing facility at its existing site in Carlow – new investment will create 170 new jobs.


At the BioPharma Ambition conference in February 2018 leading international policy leaders, renowned researchers and senior industry personnel, highlighted how all stakeholders in Ireland must continue to support innovation in discovery, development, manufacturing and healthcare solutions to ensure Ireland builds on its success in establishing a thriving biopharma sector. This programme supports this ambition.

Further Study

Upon successful completion of this programme students may be considered for redirection to a structured Doctorate programmes

Programme Fees




Total Programme Fees: