Diploma in Biotechnology

Genes, molecular biology, cloning, cell technology, immunology, drug discovery, diagnostic development, biochemical analysis, health and disease research – do these terms excite you? Do you want to acquire life science skills that will make you globally competitive? Do you want a career that involves new biological discoveries and novel applications of knowledge? If so, this course is for you!

This course trains you to be a research or laboratory technologist supporting the growing life science industry. The Singapore Government has targeted the life science industry to be our fourth pillar of economic growth, and has invested heavily to make Singapore the regional life sciences hub. As a result, research technologists are increasingly in demand in disease biology, diagnostics and therapeutics. At the same time, more manpower is also needed for research activities on economically important plants and animals so as to increase our food yield.

In your first year, you will develop a solid foundation in basic biology and chemistry. The second year trains you in the diploma specialisation subjects through a well-integrated sequence of modules on cellular and molecular biotechnology. A hands-on approach forms the core basis of training, during which you will acquire a repertoire of research skills in the areas of molecular biology, mammalian cell technology, biochemistry, microbiology, genomics, proteomics, plant biotechnology, immunology and other key supporting technology essential for biomedical and scientific laboratory and industry. The elective subjects that you will take in the third year will allow you greater specialisation in your selected field, especially in the areas of translational biomedical research or bioinformatics.

You will eventually develop a solid broad-based foundation in life sciences that will maximise your career and future educational options. To further hone your technical skills, you will undergo a six-month attachment either locally or overseas in the biotechnology and biomedical industries.

 I am impressed by the diligence and inquisitive nature of students from Temasek Polytechnic’s Diploma in Biotechnology and would gladly accept them without qualms for any suitable projects in future.
—  Dr. Yang Yuansheng
     Research Scientist
     Bioprocess Technology Institute, A*STAR
Biotechnologists are in the thick of the action


What you will learn

  • Delve into the Fascinating World of Biotechnology

    Delve into the Fascinating World of Biotechnology

    What can possibly go wrong in a cell that gives rise to diseases like cancer? How do we grow healthy tissues to replace damaged ones? How can we use biotechnology to prevent food shortages, obtain clean water and clean up the environment? Find out when you join this course.The world of Biotechnology will fascinate you and stretch your imagination to the fullest!
  • Detectives in the Lab: Forensics Toxicology

    Four Important Techniques

    How do we detect poisons or microorganisms? How do we use cells and their products to improve human health and quality of life? Analytical biochemistry, microbiology, cell technology and molecular technology are the four important skills you will learn in this course, which would help you to be able to work in any laboratories in biotechnology industry.
  • Research, Discover, Develop

    Research, Discover, Develop

    Begin your journey as a Research Technologist – and future Scientist - here! Be trained in ways to discover new biological knowledge, how to combine it with existing know-how and utilise it for the good of mankind and the world we live in. Our graduates have gone on to become Scientists!

Notable Features

  • Reputable and well established (since 1996) with extensive industry endorsement
  • Acquire a solid broad-based foundation in human, plant, animal and microbial biology - allowing for greater flexibility in employment and further education
  • The only polytechnic biotechnology diploma course to offer Translational Biomedical Research
  • Biotechnology skills and knowledge are applicable worldwide

Academic Architecture

The Academic Architecture of the School of Applied Science emphasises the following:

  • Building a strong foundation core among first year students
  • Strengthening key concepts and skills in the diploma-specialised content among second year students
  • Enhancing applied learning for final year students

The Academic Architecture also aims to develop collaborative and self-directed learning skills for our students to be life-long learners through more real-life and applied learning experiences.  One notable outcome of this is the smooth transition of student interns into companies as employees.  

Elective Cluster Subjects

Students will be required to read an Elective Cluster offered by the School. The Elective Clusters to be offered by this course, and the subjects under these clusters, are summarised below:




Translational Biomedical Research

  • Molecular Diagnostic Development
  • OMICs and Recombinant Technology      
  • Stem Cells and Tissue Engineering  


  • Sequence Analysis
  • Structural Bioinformatics
  • Scripting in Bioinformatics           

Career Prospects

Biotechnology Industry

  •  R&D Technologist
  • Laboratory Technologist
  • Scientific Officer
  • QA/QC Technologist
  • Sales & Marketing Executive

Further Education

Graduates from the School of Applied Science (ASC) are able to gain entry into various degree courses offered by United Kingdom, Australia and local universities. Most of the top overseas universities offer advanced standing to our Diploma graduates. This could typically mean one to two years’ exemption from their bachelor degree programmes, depending on their overall grades for their three years of the diploma course and the field of chosen studies at the university.

Our graduates may also apply for admission to NUS, NTU and SIT. Please refer to their respective websites for more information. For NUS Level 1 subjects, diploma graduates may apply for subject placement tests. Exemptions from Level 1 subjects would be granted only if students pass the relevant subject placement tests.


  • Nanyang Technological University
  • National University of Singapore
  • Singapore Institute of Technology

For other degree courses and advanced standing, please click this link to access diploma to degree courses for guidance.

Entry Requirements

To be eligible for consideration for admission, applicants must obtain 26 points or better for the net ELR2B2 aggregate score (i.e. English Language, 2 relevant subjects and best 2 other subjects, including CCA Bonus Points) and meet the minimum entry requirements of this course. CCA cannot be used to meet the minimum entry requirements.

Minimum Entry Requirements

English Language (EL1)* Grades 1-7
Mathematics (E or A) Grades 1-6
One of the following Science subjects: Grades 1-6
  • Biology
  • Biotechnology
  • Chemistry
  • Combined Science
  • Food & Nutrition
  • Physical Science 
  • Physics/Engineering Science
  • Science (Chemistry, Biology)
  • Science (Physics, Biology)
  • Science (Physics, Chemistry)
Any two other subjects, excluding CCA  

* Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM)/ Unified Examination Chinese (UEC) holders must have a minimum of grade 6 for the relevant English Language subject (e.g. Bahasa Inggeris).

See also the minimum entry requirements for:

Course Structure

TP Fundamentals (TPFun) Subjects

Subject code Subject LevelCredit Units

In this subject, you will learn how to conduct research for relevant information and validate information sources. You will also learn to recognise and avoid plagiarism, and follow standard citation and referencing guidelines when presenting information. In the course of learning, you will be required to plan, prepare and present information appropriately in written and oral form. You will also be taught to consider the Message, Audience, Purpose and Strategy (MAPS) when writing and delivering oral presentations.


In this subject, you will be taught how to conduct effective meetings while applying team communication strategies and the skills for documenting meeting notes. You will be required to write clear emails, using the appropriate format, language, tone and style for an audience. You will also be taught to communicate appropriately in and for an organisation when using various platforms. In all aspects, the principles of applying Message, Audience, Purpose and Strategy (MAPS) will be covered.


In this subject, you will be taught how to use persuasive language in written documents. You will be required to use information to your advantage to verbally communicate and convince an audience about your idea, product or service. Skills such as persuasive vocabulary, language features, graphical illustrations, tone and style would also be covered. The Message, Audience, Purpose and Strategy (MAPS) will also be applied when engaging in verbal and written communication.


This subject presents you with a panoramic view of current local and global issues, which may have long term implications for Singapore. You will learn to apply critical thinking tools to examine current issues, support your views with relevant research and up-to-date data, articulate an informed opinion and mature as civic-minded individuals.


The Innovation & Entrepreneurship subject is designed for learners from all disciplines to embrace innovation in either their specialised fields or beyond. You will first learn the Design Thinking framework, where you will develop problem statements and ideate solutions. Next, you will discover the tools for prototyping and innovation, such as 3D printing and laser cutting, at TP’s Makerspace+ facility. Finally, you will acquire commercial awareness through the LEAN Startup framework of idea crystallisation, prototype building, customer testing and validation, refinement of business model canvas, and crowdfunding or crowdsourcing avenues.


LEAP 1, 2 and 3 are three fundamental subjects that seek to cultivate in you, the attitude, skills and knowledge for the development of your leadership competencies. This character-based leadership programme enables you to develop your life-skills through establishing personal core values, which will become the foundation for your leadership credibility and influence.


LEAP 1, 2 and 3 are three fundamental subjects that seek to cultivate in you, the attitude, skills and knowledge for the development of your leadership competencies. This character-based leadership programme enables you to develop your life-skills through establishing personal core values, which will become the foundation for your leadership credibility and influence.


LEAP 1, 2 and 3 are three fundamental subjects that seek to cultivate in you, the attitude, skills and knowledge for the development of your leadership competencies. This character-based leadership programme enables you to develop your life-skills through establishing personal core values, which will become the foundation for your leadership credibility and influence.


This subject will help you develop both the physical and technical skills in your chosen sports or fitness activities. Through a structured curriculum that facilitates group participation, practice sessions and mini competitions, you will learn to build lifelong skills such as resilience, leadership, communication and teamwork. Physical activity sessions will be supplemented by health-related topics to provide you with a holistic approach to healthy living.


This Career Readiness programme comprises three core subjects – Personal Management, Career Preparation and Career Management. It seeks to help you understand your career interests, values, personality and skills for career success. It also equips you with the necessary skills for seeking and securing jobs, and to develop professional work ethics.


This Career Readiness programme comprises three core subjects – Personal Management, Career Preparation and Career Management. It seeks to help you understand your career interests, values, personality and skills for career success. It also equips you with the necessary skills for seeking and securing jobs, and to develop professional work ethics.


This Career Readiness programme comprises three core subjects – Personal Management, Career Preparation and Career Management. It seeks to help you understand your career interests, values, personality and skills for career success. It also equips you with the necessary skills for seeking and securing jobs, and to develop professional work ethics.


This subject provides essential skills and knowledge to prepare you for an overseas experience. You will examine the elements of culture and learn the key principles of cross-cultural communication. In addition, you will gain an appreciation and awareness of the political, economic, technological and social landscape to function effectively in a global environment.


This subject explores the concepts of identity, diversity and inclusion at the workplace. It examines the relationship between identity and diversity, the benefits and challenges of diversity and the strategies that promote inclusion and inspire collaboration in a diverse workplace. Examples of the elements of diversity covered in this subject include nationality, generation, ethnicity and gender. A one week residential stay is mandatory for this subject.


Students will examine the meaning and responsibilities of being a Global Citizen, in order to contribute towards a more equitable and sustainable world.? In addition, students will learn how sustainable solutions can support community development, and, execute and critique a community action plan that addresses the needs of a specific community/cause.


This subject provides a platform for an understanding of culture and heritage through modes of expression. Students will be introduced to global and local cultures via everyday objects, places and human behaviour seen through time and space. Students will explore issues and challenges in culture and heritage sustainability in community, national and global contexts.


The subject introduces students to the concepts and process of self-directed learning in a chosen area of inquiry. The process focusses on four stages: planning, performing, monitoring and reflecting. Students get to plan their individual learning project, refine and execute the learning plan, as well as monitor and reflect on their learning progress and project. The learning will be captured and showcased through a curated portfolio. The self-directed learning project will broaden and/or deepen a student’s knowledge and skills.


For a period of 19-21 weeks, students are attached to industries related to their course of study, for example, biotechnological, biomedical, pharmaceutical and bioenterprise-related industries. Each student is required to undertake various tasks and activities as discussed with, and agreed upon, by the participating organisations. Besides training in technical knowledge and skills, emphasis is placed on training in desired professional conduct in areas such as communication (both oral and written), team-work, problem-solving and self-management.


Diploma Subjects - Core Subjects

Subject code Subject LevelCredit Units

This subject covers the biology of cells of higher organisms, including structure-function relationships of cellular membranes and internal organelles, cell cycle and nuclear division, transport mechanisms and cell communication, cell motility and the cytoskeleton and cell death. Basic laboratory skills involving the study of cell structures with the use of cell staining techniques and microscopy will also be introduced in this subject.


This subject introduces the fundamental principles of biochemistry as well as the essential biomolecules present in biological systems. The structures, properties and interactions of biomolecules will be covered. The basic concepts of bioenergetics will also be introduced to illustrate how these interactions lead to life processes.


This subject teaches both the theoretical knowledge and practical techniques of molecular genetics using the E. coli system as a model. Topics covered include DNA structure, replication, transcription, translation, mutations, and regulation of gene expression in prokaryotes.


This subject covers the basic theory and practical knowledge of inorganic and physical chemistry. Topics include fundamentals of chemistry, atomic structure and chemical bonding, stoichiometry and equilibria concepts of a chemical reaction.


This subject equips you with the basic mathematical techniques that are essential for your course of study. Algebra, differentiation, integration, linear regression and their applications are some topics that are covered.


This subject provides you with a basic understanding of human anatomy and physiology. Topics include anatomy of human organs and organ systems and their functions.


This subject investigates the important fundamentals of microbiology and its relevance to the food, biomedical and biotechnology industries. It covers the types of microorganisms, their cultivation and growth as well as their control.


The subject covers the basic concepts of immunology from components of the immune system to specific and non-specific immune responses to infections as well as aberrant immune activities like autoimmunity and hypersensitivity. It also deals with the use of immune cells and mediators for prophylaxis and treatment of diseases, as well as immunological techniques that are used for diagnosis of diseases and research.


This subject covers the basics of biostatistics and application of statistics in clinical practices by converting clinical and laboratory experiences into quantitative statements. The topics covered include using statistical tools to summarize data, test for differences between test groups, analyse rates and proportions, establish or validate confidence intervals, and testing for trends. It also covers the application of biostatistics in different clinical cases. The topics covered include t-test, ANOVA and non-parametric tests.


This subject focuses on the applications of analytical and separation techniques in the field of biotechnology. Basic concepts and techniques for extraction, purification and analysis of biomolecules will be covered.


This subject covers the theoretical and practical aspects of plant cell technology. Topics covered include micropropagation techniques, callus induction, organogenesis, somatic embryogenesis protoplast isolation and secondary metabolites production.


The subject covers the fundamentals of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), flow of genetic information, ribonucleic acid (RNA), as well as how processes like replication, transcription and translation operate in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Basic practical knowledge and molecular laboratory techniques will be introduced.


This subject focuses on the principles of Biochemistry by building on concepts learnt from Organic Chemistry 1 and Biomolecules. You will be introduced to the basics of bioenergetics before progressing to studying energy metabolism pathways and their regulation. The individual pathways will then be integrated together to give you a holistic view of energy metabolism.


This subject provides basic theoretical and practical knowledge of mammalian cell culture. Topics covered include cell culture techniques, prevention and contamination control, working in a tissue culture laboratory and applications of animal cell culture in biotechnology such as hybridoma generation.


This subject covers the host-microbe interactions with emphasis on infectious diseases in humans. It includes various modes of transmission, diagnosis, prevention and control of infectious diseases caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites.


This subject covers the essentials required in completing a project through the process of writing a project proposal, performing investigative studies and data analysis, interpretation of results and reporting of outcomes via written report and project presentation.


Diploma Subjects - Elective Cluster Subjects

Translational Biomedical Research

Subject code Subject LevelCredit Units

This subject covers an overview of the concepts of tissue engineering, stem cells, biomaterials and a review on extracellular matrix, followed by topics on cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions at both the theoretical and experimental levels.


This subject covers diagnostic platforms, techniques and instrumentation as well as assay development, assay criteria (e.g. sensitivity, specificity, limits of detection etc.) and assay validation. It also addresses the regulatory requirements for diagnostic assays and the pathways to commercialisation. An introduction to regulatory and good manufacturing practice (GMP) is included to complete the cycle of lab to market.


This subject covers the theory and practice of techniques used to evaluate and manipulate deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), ribonucleic acid (RNA) and protein. It includes studies on the potential applications, present use and future trends in molecular biotechnology, genomics, transcriptomics and proteomics.



Subject code Subject LevelCredit Units

This subject introduces scripting techniques and uses a scripting language to obtain information from bioinformatics databases and analyse large amounts of biological data. Data privacy acts and IT policies at the workplace will also be covered.


This subject covers the use of computational tools to mine for biological meaning in genomic DNA. The methods include sequence alignment, motif finding, sequence comparison and gene expression analysis.


This subject covers the use of computational tools to analyse protein sequence and 3D structure so as to predict their biological functions and model interactions with other molecules.


Free Electives

Subject code Subject LevelCredit Units

This subject equips you with the fundamental knowledge of pharmaceutical downstream manufacturing processes. Topics covered include industrial aspects of drug production, manufacturing techniques and packaging technologies. It also covers solid, liquid and gaseous dosage formulation design and characterisation. The importance of cGMP and the associated regulatory aspects are also covered.


This subject covers the fundamental knowledge and applications of Current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) in the pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industries. Topics include an overview of cGMP, documentation and record keeping, contamination control, in-process control, validation, and introduction to process improvement techniques.


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For general enquiries, please contact:

School of Applied Science

  (65) 6788 2000
  (65) 6782 5498