For more information about Microbiology at Queen's University Belfast, please visit the webpage using the button above.

The award
BSc

How long you will study
4 years

Domestic course fees
find out

How you will study
full-time

Course starts
September

International course fees
find out

All study options

About Microbiology at Queen's University Belfast

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.

Global Opportunities

  • 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.

Professional Accreditations

  • The 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.

Industry Links

  • 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.

Student Experience

  • 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.
 

Careers

Career Prospects

Introduction
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.

Employment Links
The School of Biological Sciences has a dedicated Work Placement and Careers advisor who has developed contacts with 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.

Past students have gained work placement with organisations locally, nationally and internationally such as:

•Northern Ireland Water Ltd
•Environment Agency
•Forensic Service
•Moy Park
•Randox Laboratories
•Norbrook Laboratories Ltd
•The Almac Group
•Health Service
•GSK

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.

Study options for this course

  • The award How you will study How long you will study Course starts Domestic course fees International course fees
  • The awardBScHow you will studyFull-timeHow long you will study4 years
    Course startsSeptemberDomestic course fees find outInternational course fees find out

Notes about fees for this course

Fees and Funding

Tuition Fees

The tuition fee rates for undergraduate students who first enrol at the University in the academic year 2018-19 have not been agreed. Tuition fees for 2019-20 will be based on 2018-19 levels, normally increased by inflation and these are set out below.

Northern Ireland (NI)£4,160England, Scotland or Wales (GB)£9,250Other (non-UK) EU£4,160International£19,500

Tuition fee rates are calculated based on a student's tuition fee status and generally increase annually by inflation. How tuition fees are determined is set out in the Student Finance Framework.

Additional course costs

All Students

Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.

Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library.

If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. A programme may have up to 6 modules per year, each with a recommended text.  

Students should also budget between £30 to £75 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges.  

Students undertaking a period of work placement or study abroad, as either a compulsory or optional part of their programme, should be aware that they will have to fund additional travel and living costs.

If a final year includes a major project or dissertation, there may be costs associated with transport, accommodation and/or materials. The amount will depend on the project chosen. There may also be additional costs for printing and binding.

Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen.

There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

Microbiology costs

Year 1 students are required to buy a laboratory coat at a cost of £10 and an E-Book at a cost of £25. The following optional module has a compulsory field trip:Year 1 Biological Diversity Module has a field trip costing £80. All students may apply to go on a School Workplace Tour at a cost of £100.Students undertake a placement in year 3 and are responsible for funding travel, accommodation and subsistence costs. These costs vary depending on the location and duration of the placement. Students may receive payment from their placement provider during their placement year.

How do I fund my study?

There are different tuition fee and student financial support arrangements for students from Northern Ireland, those from England, Scotland and Wales (Great Britain), and those from the rest of the European Union.

Information on funding options and financial assistance for undergraduate students is available at http://www.qub.ac.uk/Study/Undergraduate/Fees-and-scholarships/.

Scholarships

Each year, we offer a range of scholarships and prizes for new students. Information on scholarships available.

International Scholarships

Information on scholarships for international students, is available at http://www.qub.ac.uk/International/International-students/International-scholarships/.

Entry requirements

Entry Requirements

Entrance requirements

A level requirements
BBB including Biology and at least one from Chemistry (preferred), Geography, Mathematics or Physics + GCSE Chemistry grade B or GCSE Double Award Science grades BB + GCSE Mathematics grade C
OR
BBB including Double Award Applied Science or Double Award Life & Health Sciences + GCSE Biology grade C and Chemistry grade B or GCSE Double Award Science grades BB + GCSE Mathematics grade C
OR
ABB including Biology + GCSE Chemistry grade B or GCSE Double Award Science grades BB + GCSE Mathematics grade C.

Irish leaving certificate requirements
H3H3H3H3H4H4/H3H3H3H3H3 including Higher Level grade H3 in Biology and at least one from Chemistry (preferred), Geography, Mathematics or Physics + if not offered at Higher Level then Ordinary Level grade O3 in Chemistry and O4 in Mathematics
OR
H3H3H3H3H3H3/H2H3H3H3H3 including Higher Level grade H3 in Biology + Ordinary Level grade O3 in Chemistry and O4 in Mathematics

Access/Foundation Course
Successful completion of Access Course with an average of 80% with no less than 70% in any module including sufficient relevant modules in Biology and Chemistry. GCSE Mathematics grade C or equivalent in Access Course.

Selection Criteria

In addition, to the entrance requirements above, it is essential that you read our guidance notes on 'How we choose our students' prior to submitting your UCAS application.

How we choose our students

Applications are dealt with centrally by the Admissions and Access Service rather than by the School of Biological Sciences. Once your on-line form has been processed by UCAS and forwarded to Queen's, an acknowledgement is normally sent within two weeks of its receipt at the University.

Selection is on the basis of the information provided on your UCAS form, which is considered by the Selector for the School of Biological Sciences along with a member of administrative staff from the Admissions and Access Service. Decisions are made on an ongoing basis and will be notified to you via UCAS.

For entry last year, applicants for programmes in the School of Biological Sciences must have had, or been able to achieve, a minimum of five GCSE passes at grade C or better (to include English Language and Mathematics), though this profile may change from year to year depending on the demand for places. The Selector also checks that any specific entry requirements in terms of GCSE and/or A-level subjects can be fulfilled.

Offers are normally made on the basis of three A-levels. Two subjects at A-level plus two at AS would also be considered. The minimum acceptable is two subjects at A-level plus one at AS though candidates offering this combination will be considered on an individual basis depending on the degree for which they have applied. The offer for repeat candidates may be one grade higher than for first time applicants. Grades may be held from the previous year.

Applicants offering two A-levels and one BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/National Extended Certificate (or equivalent qualification), or one A-level and a BTEC Diploma/National Diploma (or equivalent qualification) will also be considered. Offers will be made in terms of performance in individual BTEC units rather than the overall BTEC grade(s) awarded. Please note that a maximum of one BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/National Extended Certificate (or equivalent) will be counted as part of an applicant's portfolio of qualifications. The normal GCSE profile will be expected and all subject requirements must be met.

Applicants offering other qualifications, such as BTEC Extended Diplomas, Higher National Certificates and Diplomas, the International Baccalaureate, Irish Leaving Certificate or an Access course, will also be considered.

The current entrance requirements for applicants offering a relevant BTEC Extended Diploma are successful completion of the BTEC Extended Diploma (180 credits at Level 3) with 100 credits at Distinction grade and 80 credits at Merit grade. The same GCSE profile is usually expected of those candidates taking an Extended Diploma qualification.

For applicants offering a relevant HNC, the current requirements are successful completion of the HNC with 1 Distinction and remainder Merits.

For those offering a Higher National Diploma, there may be the possibility of advanced entry to Stage 2 depending on relevance of the HND and first year results (at least half of the first year units must be at Merit grade). Where offers are made for entry to Stage 2 students would be required to achieve 2 Distinctions and remainder Merits in all units assessed in final year. Those not eligible for entry to Stage 2 would be considered for entry to Stage 1 provided at least one first year unit is at Merit grade. Students would be required to achieve Merits in all units assessed in final year.

For those offering a HNC or HND, some flexibility may be allowed in terms of GCSE profile.

Candidates offering Access/Certificate in Foundation Studies courses will be considered individually on their own merits.

The information provided in the personal statement section and the academic reference together with predicted grades are noted but, in the case of degree courses in the School of Biological Sciences, these are not the final deciding factors in whether or not a conditional offer can be made. However, they may be reconsidered in a tie break situation in August.

A-level General Studies and A-level Critical Thinking would not normally be considered as part of a three A-level offer and, although they may be excluded where an applicant is taking four A-level subjects, the grade achieved could be taken into account if necessary in August/September.

Candidates are not normally asked to attend for interview.

If you are made an offer then you may be invited to a School Visit Day, which is usually held in the second semester. This will allow you the opportunity to visit the University and to find out more about the degree programme of your choice and the facilities on offer. It also gives you a flavour of the academic and social life at Queen's.

If you cannot find the information you need here, please contact the University Admissions and Access Service (admissions@qub.ac.uk), giving full details of your qualifications and educational background.

INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.

English Language Requirements

An IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each test component or an equivalent acceptable qualification, details of which are available at: http://go.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.

  • Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
  • Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.

INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS - FOUNDATION AND INTERNATIONAL YEAR ONE PROGRAMMES

INTO Queen's offers a range of academic and English language programmes to help prepare international students for undergraduate study at Queen's University. You will learn from experienced teachers in a dedicated international study centre on campus, and will have full access to the University's world-class facilities.

These programmes are designed for international students who do not meet the required academic and English language requirements for direct entry.

  • Foundation
    The INTO progression course suited to this programme is
    Foundation in Engineering and Science.

INTO - English Language Course(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)

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