Microbiology is the study of bacteria, fungi, algae, protozoa and viruses, and is of immense importance in relation to the environment, agriculture and food, biomedical sciences and biotechnology. Graduates in Microbiology are therefore highly sought after in these fields. Microbiology is very central to many aspects of the biological sciences, from pure research to diverse industrial, medical and environmental applications.
Microorganisms play major roles in the diseases of man, animals and plants. Microbiologists have been central to their diagnosis and in combating such diseases through the discovery of effective therapies.
Microorganisms also play a central role in the biosphere, through global environmental processes and recycling of elements and waste products.
In biotechnology and synthetic biology, microbes are also crucial in the manufacture of beverages, pharmaceuticals, biofuels and many other useful products.
Microbiology Degree highlights
Microbiologists are needed in many different fields - from medicine to biotechnology to environmental science. The subject is actually very broadly applicable and can lead to very diverse career paths.
- Microbiologists are needed in many different fields - from medicine to biotechnology to environmental science. The subject is actually very broadly applicable and can lead to very diverse career paths.
- The Microbiology degrees follow the National Subject Profile for Higher Education Programmes in Microbiology as published by the Centre for Bioscience (Higher Education Academy). The degrees also adhere to the core curriculum in Microbiology as described by the American Society of Microbiology. The combination of modules provided in part fulfils many of the requirements for accreditation by the Institute of Biomedical Sciences in the UK. Accreditation may be achieved through some additional postgraduate training. Our degrees are highly regarded - scoring consistently highly in the National Student Survey.
- Past students have gained work placement with organisations such as Northern Ireland Water Ltd, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, the Forensic Service, the NHS, Norbrook Laboratories, Randox Laboratories, the Almac Group, and Moy Park.
World Class Facilities
- Microbiology is linked closely to the Institute for Global Food Security and is primarily taught by associated staff.
- Work placements on these programmes provide students with the opportunity to utilise the practical skills gained during the teaching of their degree and apply these in a work environment.
Microbiology is an interdisciplinary subject with key links to the other Biological Sciences, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Environmental Engineering and Medicine.
Graduates are qualified to take up both scientific and non-scientific careers.
Many job opportunities are available in biomedical, industrial and government organisations, and in universities and colleges of higher education.
These jobs cover innovative research, the development of new products, advisory and consultancy work or teaching. All are aimed at improving the health, environment and economy of countries in both the developed and developing world. In particular, companies and organisations concerned with animal and plant health, food and beverage processing, water quality, environmental management, pharmaceutical products and biotechnology require graduates in Microbiology.
Job opportunities exist across a number of areas including:
Healthcare: Microbiologists are essential in the fight against infectious diseases working in hospitals and Health Protection Laboratories. Here they diagnose infections, monitor treatments, develop vaccines, provide advice or track disease outbreaks.
Basic research: In order to either solve the problems caused by microorganisms or exploit their capabilities fundamental research on their biochemistry and genetics is required. Many microbiologists work in universities and research institutes exploring the detailed workings of microbial cells.
Environment: One of the greatest challenges currently facing society is that of climate change and environmental protection. Microbiologists are key players in the development of waste treatment technologies, recycling processes, pollution warning systems and in the production of green energy.
Agriculture: Pest management is an essential component of modern agricultural practice.
Microbiologists have key roles to play in the development of pest control systems and in the diagnosis and treatment of animal pathogens.
Business: Microbiologists work in many bioscience and food companies, carrying out research, developing new products or carrying out quality control of manufacturing processes to ensure the microbiological safety of goods such as medicines, cosmetics, food, drink etc.
Outside the lab: Many trained microbiologists never go on to work in the microbiology field. However, they can use their skills and knowledge to pursue careers in marketing, technical support, regulatory affairs, education, as patent attorneys, and in public relations, journalism and publishing.
The combination of courses within the Microbiology degree in part fulfils many of the requirements for accreditation by the Institute of Biomedical Sciences in the UK. Accreditation may be achieved through some additional postgraduate training.
The School of Biological Sciences employs a dedicated careers adviser who has developed an extensive portfolio of employers, both nationally and internationally, within the science sector. Advice is also provided on CV preparation, interview techniques and securing summer work or longer placements.
Students and graduates have secured placements and jobs with:
• Northern Ireland Water Ltd
• Environment Agency
• Forensic Service
• Moy Park
• Randox Laboratories
• Norbrook Laboratories Ltd
• The Almac Group
• Health Service
Additional Awards Gained(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)
Prizes and Awards
A level 2 prize is awarded for the best overall student in conjunction with the UK Microbiology Society.
Degree plus award for extra-curricular skills
In addition to your degree programme, at Queen's you can have the opportunity to gain wider life, academic and employability skills. For example, placements, voluntary work, clubs, societies, sports and lots more. So not only do you graduate with a degree recognised from a world leading university, you'll have practical national and international experience plus a wider exposure to life overall. We call this Degree Plus. It's what makes studying at Queen's University Belfast special.