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Biophotonics (MSc)

1 year (full-time) / 2 years (part-time) / n/a (distance / e-Learning)

This course is not accepting applications.

The first UK cross-disciplinary programme to offer advanced training at the interface between laser optics, cell biology and medicine.

Course Aims

To offer knowledge and expertise for a career in a biophotonics-related industry or further postgraduate research in the biological and optical science, medicine and healthcare fields. The course will be relevant to a wide range of companies associated with medical and biological instrumentation and pharmaceuticals.

Special Features

Course Description

The MSc in Biophotonics covers a broad range of subject areas including advanced light microscopy, cell and tissue imaging, laserbased techniques, nanoparticles as optical biolabels, biosensors, research techniques in bioscience and medical applications.

Introductory material in the autumn semester gives both life and physical scientists the necessary tools for tackling the advanced modules in the spring semester, covering the latest developments in this rapidly evolving area. Subject to satisfactory progress, students are placed with an industrial collaborator or a university research group to undertake the project module, which is of four months’ duration.

This programme is jointly taught by staff in the School of Physics and Astronomy and Cardiff School of Biosciences.

Course Structure

The full-time (1 year) course consists of 8 taught modules and a 4 month project. Topics covered include: multiphoton laser microscopy, cell and tissue imaging, optical coherence tomography and optical biosensors.

Available Modules

Career Prospects

Photonics techniques are increasingly important and applied in biological and medical research, as well as in healthcare as diagnostic tools and in treatment. The MSc Biophotonics will be relevant to a wide range of companies related with medical and biological instrumentation and pharmaceuticals. We have established industrial links and students will be able to use the acquired skills to facilitate new developments in high-tech industrial companies or academic research environments.

Some of our recent graduates have gone on to further study or full-time employment in medical research.

Student views

Picture of Jemma Theobald

"This was a very rewarding masters program with a 3 month placement at BBI Solutions. This course has made me a more attractive candidate for employment within the academic and industrial sectors, both in the UK and internationally."

Jemma Theobald, placement at BBI Solutions

Read Jemma's full testimonial

"As a biologist with over a year of experience working in the biotechnology industry, I was looking for a way of enhancing my skill set and becoming a more interdisciplinary scientist. Cardiff University’s taught MSc in Biophotonics provided the challenging and stimulating environment that allowed me to achieve this goal.

"Over the last year I have been given the mathematical and physical theory to understand a vast array of optical techniques that are currently at the cutting-edge of physics, biotechnology and medicine. Not only did I have the opportunity to apply the foundational scientific knowledge from the first term to optical techniques relevant to all fields of science and medicine in the second term; but the MSc summer project allows students to experience first-hand optical techniques they have studied in a field more tailored to their specific interests either in an academic or industrial setting. For me this meant a 3 month placement at BBI solutions where I synthesized and analysed noble metal nanoparticles of different shapes in order to determine the degree to which morphology affects their optical properties and consequently their applications.

"Achieving this MSc has required a lot of dedication and perseverance but I have absolutely no regrets and no doubts as to the tremendous benefit of this experience. The specific skills I have gained in biophotonics and the general development in my approach to thinking about science will be highly desirable assets which I hope to take back into the biotechnology industry.

"This was a difficult but very rewarding Masters program that made a more rounded scientist out of myself, change the way I approach science and made me realize that no area of science functions in isolation. Completing this MSc will make me a more attractive candidate for employment both within the academic and industrial sectors, in the UK and internationally."

Picture of Jemma Theobald

"The range of topics acquired during this course and industrial experience at GE Healthcare has developed my biophotonics and transferable skills which are valuable in both industry and research."

Chad Whilding, placement at GE Healthcare

Read Chad's full testimonial

"The MSc Biophotonics course was a unique opportunity to develop biological techniques to complement my existing undergraduate background in physics, developing an awareness of the merits of cross-disciplinary research. Topics covering the nature of light propagation reinforced my existing physics knowledge whilst the creation of a portfolio covering techniques in bioscience helped bring me up to speed on fundamental biological tools.

"My research project was undertaken at GE Healthcare within the cell technology department, contrasting the relative performance and utility of advanced cellular imaging platforms. The project was a unique opportunity to gain experience working in an industrial laboratory from the creation of cellular based assays to their subsequent imaging and analysis. This experience has allowed me to converse with GE researchers from a wide variety of backgrounds and scientific disciplines, enriching my knowledge of the application of techniques studied over the course of the MSc.

"The range of topics covered and industrial experience acquired over the duration of this course has not only developed my biophotonics skills, but also transferable skills valuable across many industries and research positions."

Picture of Jemma Theobald

"I would certainly recommend this course as the student support here at Cardiff is second to none."

Angharad Curtis, placement at Huntleigh UK

Read Angharad's full testimonial

"With a background in medical engineering, this course has certainly challenged me. Although I did not have a specialist biological or physics background I was encouraged that this course was achievable for somebody with my experience.

"I would certainly recommend this course as the student support here at Cardiff is second to none. With friendly lecturers and an overwhelming sense of patience, the biophotonics course and staff members have been so understanding and helped me with any uncertainties or struggles that I have encountered.

"I have been impressed with the quality of lectures and the access available to the physics lab and microscope, I feel privileged to be trusted with the equipment.

"This year, I had the opportunity to undertake an industrial project at Huntleigh for my final dissertation. With my unique background, the project that was appointed to me was not only appropriate but relevant to my experience. My research focussed on the further development of photoplethysmography (PPG) sensors for application to lower limbs. With assistance from lecturers, kindly volunteering their time and the medical apparatus available to test on site, I have already received a positive feedback from my industrial tutors with a possible implementation of my findings. The academic staff assisting me through this dissertation have always made time for me and remained encouraging when I have doubted my progress. Regardless of the dissertation outcome, I have learned a lot about how light can be used as a diagnostic tool in medicine.

"The chance to attend lectures at the Heath hospital was eye-opening; the field of biophotonics is truly huge and fundamental to the development of modern medical techniques. After completion of the teaching semesters, it is evident that biophotonics is a very large and useful field embedded in most everyday technologies. There have been plentiful opportunities to practice presentation skills and writing which I will take with me in my future endeavours."

Entry Requirements

This multidisciplinary course is suitable for biologists, physicists, chemists and engineers. Applications from students in related subjects are also welcomed.

Applicants should possess a minimum of a second class honours degree or equivalent in a physical, biological or engineering science. Please contact the admissions tutor in the event of any query.

Supporting materials required: Two academic references and copies of full transcripts.

Applicants whose first language is not English are normally expected to meet the minimum University requirements (e.g. 6.5 IELTS).

Note: International students pursuing part-time programmes of study are not eligible for Tier 4 (General Student) visas and must have alternative leave to remain in the UK if they intend to study at the University in person.

An ultrafast laser pulse shaper used in resonant four-wave mixing imaging of silver nanoparticles

Tuition Fees 2016/17

Fees quoted are for the academic session 2016/17. For programmes lasting more than one year, tuition fees for subsequent years of study are subject to an increase of no more than 4.5% per year.

  UK & EU International
Full-time £7,750 £18,250
Part-time £3,875 £9,125
Deposit n/a Includes a £1,000 deposit. More information about our deposit policy.

Next intake: October each year

School Contact

Name: Miss Nicola Hunt (Biophotonics)  

Telephone: +44 (0) 29 2087 6457 



School Contact

Name: Dr. Richard Lewis  

Telephone: +44 (0)29 2087 5433 



School Website:

More information

Important legal information

The programme information currently being published in Course Finder is under review and may be subject to change. The final programme information is due to be published by July 2016 and will be the definitive programme outline which the University intends to offer. Applicants are advised to check the definitive programme information after the update, to ensure that the programme meets their needs.


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