This modular microbiology degree gives a sound foundation to the study of Microbiology and allows students to specialise in their chosen field of interest with an emphasis on microbes and the diseases they cause. This is a highly applied course in which practical work plays a major role.
This course provides an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the fascinating world of bacteria and viruses, paying attention to microbes of medical importance.
Why choose this course?
- We are very proud to be one of the top three universities in the whole of the UK for student satisfaction in BSc (Hons) Microbiology (National Student Survey 2015).
- You will be taught by internationally renowned experts.
- Your course has a strong emphasis on practical, hands-on learning, much of which will be carried out in a newly developed high-tech laboratory environment.
- You will be introduced to the micro-organisms associated with global health issues such as HIV, TB and influenza.
- You'll then build on this to understand how infections spread and their significance to the global population.
- You will examine how bacteria and viruses function, how they cause diseases, how the body reacts to infections and how bacteria and viruses can be positively applied in food and healthcare.
- Focusing on microbial diagnostics you will explore the use of molecular biology and bioinformatics in microbial forensic investigations.
You'll be encouraged to take a year-long, paid work placement in your third year, which will enhance your career prospects by giving you valuable vocational experience. In your final year, you'll have the opportunity to conduct a major research project in a specialist field you enjoy.
What our students say
Before I came to NTU I hardly knew anyone who'd studied Microbiology, but it's an amazing course and I highly recommend it. There's a focus on broader microbiology and diseases, which is different to courses at other universities. Classes are small, staff are helpful and the course is very up-to-date.
Maria Gillett, BSc (Hons) Microbiology
Winner of the Society for General Microbiology Undergraduate Award 2009
What you'll study
On average, your contact time with lecturers will be around 16 hours per week over 26 weeks (the final four weeks of the year are reserved for exams). Approximately 30% of your time will consist of laboratories and workshops with the rest divided between lectures and seminars. You will also have at least 12 sessions with your personal tutor.
Microbiology Research and Expertise
Research within the Microbiology Team falls within five main areas.
- Host-pathogen interactions
- Evolution of pathogenesis
- Molecular epidemiology
- Rapid diagnostics
- Other host / public health related issues.
Your tutors include a wide range of research active academic staff who can teach you from first hand experience of doing the kind of jobs you will be able to undertake in the real world.
The Microbiology specific modules are taught by a team of six microbiology academic staff all of whom have extensive research experience ranging from Foodborne intestinal disease to neonatal meningitis, from hospital acquired infections to evolution of bacterial pathogens, from bacterial cell division to cutting edge genomics and evolutionary studies.
Visit our academic team pages to find out more about our approach to teaching, our partners and research interests.
Where will I study?
You will be taught mostly on our Clifton Campus within the Rosalind Franklin building and Erasmus Darwin facilities. The School of Science and Technology has an impressive range of facilities, including new accommodation, a Sports Centre and excellent laboratories. You will also go on field trips and residentials as part of the course, both of which are covered by your course fee.
Learn a new language
Alongside your study you also have the opportunity to learn a new language. The University Language Programme (ULP) is available to all students and gives you the option of learning a totally new language or improving the skills you already have.
Learning a new language can:
- enhance your communication skills
- enrich your experience when travelling abroad
- boost your career prospects.
Find out more about the ULP.
Practical Techniques for Biology
Considers the principles of experimental design, data collection and analysis, including techniques in centrifugation, chromatography, electrophoresis, microscopy and radiobiology.
Genetics and Immunology
Develops genetic concepts and introduces basic aspects of the immune system, including the molecules, cells and interactions involved.
Introduction to Microbiology
Introduces you to the key concepts of microbiology and the defining characteristics of bacteria and viruses, as well as safe working practices with microbes.
Introduces levels of biological organisation from molecules to cells and ecosystems, providing a platform of knowledge and skills upon which other modules are developed.
Introduction to Biochemistry
Study the key aspects of macromolecules, cell structure and function, and interrelationships in both practical and theoretical contexts.
Introduces the physiology of human organ systems (respiratory, nervous, cardiovascular, urinary, endocrine and muscular) and examines the process of homeostasis.
Reviews the use of micro-organisms in the production of industrially important products and biofuels, and considers lactic acid bacteria and the production of fermented products.
Clinical and Public Health Microbiology
Learn the importance of microbial infections, how they might be diagnosed, the sources of these infections and how sterilisation and disinfection procedures can be used to control them.
Microbial Metabolism and Genetics
Investigate the energy-yielding mechanisms in aerobic, anaerobic and fermentative systems and their diversity and importance to humans.
Microbial Structure, Identification and Distribution
Explore the function of important subcellular structures of micro-organisms, as well as the taxonomy and identification of the main groups of bacteria, fungi and viruses relating to forensic investigations.
Explore ways in which pathogenic organisms and their human hosts interact with each other, and learn how we might exploit this knowledge to develop new drugs and vaccines.
Professional Skills in Microbiology
Explores current "hot topics" in microbiology such as emerging infectious diseases, antimicrobial resistance and food security.
Optional work placement
Learn the molecular methods of microbial identification and see its role in accidental and deliberate contamination investigations, quality of data collection, analysis and presentation of evidence.
Study advanced concepts in bacterial genetics, including regulation of bacterial gene expression, molecular biology of bacterial pathogenesis and the application of knowledge in industry.
Immunology and Virology
Study advanced concepts in immunology, including immune responses to infection, cancer and autoimmunity. You'll also look at concepts in the molecular biology of viral infections.
Infectious Diseases and their Control
Learn about the global importance of infectious diseases, their effect on individuals and the population as a whole and how they can be controlled.
Project / Dissertation
You have the option of either completing a 40 credit point project / dissertation.
If your interests lie in a career in teaching or scientific journalism,you can take Communicating Science and Technology (which includes school placements) and a short dissertation.
Your daily work pattern will be more variable in this year, since time will be set aside for you to carry out your project, and is likely to average about 16 hours per week, of which well over half is practical work.
View the full course specification
Please note that course specifications may be subject to change
Careers and employability
Your career development
NTU has an excellent graduate employment record. 100% of our full-time BSc(H) Microbiology graduates are employed or engaged in further study six months after leaving (latest DLHE Survey Undergraduate results 2011/12).
With a degree in Microbiology you will be equipped to be competitive for any bioscience related job role. Our strong emphasis on research led teaching will also put you in good stead for a continued progression into postgraduate study and doctoral training.
You have the option to go on to:
- postgraduate study, or employment research and development
- management and technical sales in the bioscience sector
- technical positions in the food and beverage industry and environmental sector.
Recent graduates have secured jobs at Diageo alcoholic beverages, Northern Foods and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.
Typical job roles include:
- biomedical sales
- food microbiologist
- genome sequencing
- microbiology technician
- trainee biomedical scientist posts.
Many graduates also choose to undertake further study on one of our Masters-level courses or MPhil and PhD research degrees.
Excellent placement opportunities
Great work placements can influence career choices and importantly, enhance employability. That's why we continue to develop our links with industry and our students get some of the best opportunities around.
Placements are between Years Two and Three and are usually paid. On completion of a successful placement, you will be eligible to receive an additional award - the Placement Diploma in Professional Practice.
Our placement team will help you find a relevant UK or overseas placement. Recent placements include:
- National Institute for Medical Research
- Veterinary Laboratories Agency
- Health Protection Agency.
Your placement will be assessed by your visiting tutor and work-place supervisors. You will be asked to keep a diary, and write a placement report. On return you give a presentation on your work to your tutors and fellow students.
Our students often gain additional qualifications from their place of work - all excellent additions to your CV.
You will be actively encourage and supported by our dedicated placement team who will help you find and apply for positions that will benefit your study. They will also provide support while you are in your place or work, whether that is home or abroad.