Microbiology is the study of the millions of micro-organisms with which we share our world, dealing with those that cause disease and making use of those of benefit to us. It's a spellbinding subject as anyone who has gazed down a microscope into the world of swarming bacteria can testify. Identifying dangerous microbes, stopping their spread and treating their effects is vital and often life-saving work.
Our Biomedical Science courses have a burgeoning international reputation, due to our world-class research in areas including biomarkers, public health and bio modelling. Our Centre for Investigative and Diagnostic Oncology has pioneered techniques for cancer diagnosis and treatment, including our breakthrough in the development of a vaccine for bladder cancer.
Our course has a strong practical element, with an emphasis on developing the skills needed in a laboratory and gaining hands-on experience of diagnostic techniques. Our teaching and research facilities surpass those at some UK medical schools and are the perfect place to work on your own research project. Our £3 million specialist laboratories include a microbiology lab, a modern, well-equipped cell culture facility and cutting-edge equipment such as MALDI-TOF mass spectrometers and flow cytometers.
You'll study four core modules, common to all four postgraduate biomedical science courses: advanced bioanalytical techniques, biomedical ethics and law, laboratory leadership and management, and experimental design and statistics. Alongside these you'll study four specialist microbiology modules: infectious agents, human infectious disease, control of infectious disease, and laboratory diagnosis of infectious diseases and safety.
The core modules will cover how to design and carry out experiments and statistical analyses; literature searching, referencing and citation; techniques for analysing samples and molecules, including electrophoresis, gas and liquid chromatography and immunochemical techniques; aspects of managing a laboratory, from people management to business plans and budgets; safety, regulations and quality management; and ethical and legal issues, such as those surrounding research on animals and humans, assisted reproduction and genetics.
The specialist modules will cover all types of infectious agents, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, viruses and prions - how they replicate and are transmitted, identifying and classifying them; public health, and the control, treatment, prevention and eradication of human infectious diseases; the human immune system and immunisation and healthcare-associated infections.
You'll then work on a dissertation, which will involve planning and carrying out an independent and original research project in a laboratory or clinical setting. You'll work under the guidance of a supervisor, who you'll meet with for at least an hour a week, and can base your project at your workplace if you're in relevant employment. You'll carry out a literature review and draw up a research proposal, design and conduct your experiments, collect and analyse your data, and present your findings in a 15,000-word report and a presentation to your tutors and fellow students. The dissertation is accompanied by an experimental design and statistics module to hone your research skills.
The course will also improve your numeracy, IT, research, communication, presentation, management, teamwork, problem-solving and analytical skills. If you don't want to or aren't able to complete the full MSc, you can also obtain a PG Cert or PG Dip, studying four modules for a PG Cert and eight for a PG Dip, omitting the dissertation.
You'll spend your day doing practical work in our laboratories, and attend lectures, seminars, workshops and tutorials. Lectures will introduce you to key information and concepts, which seminars will allow you to explore through discussions, problem-solving and presentations. You will learn how to do literature searches and analyse research literature, as well as looking at case studies, which will allow you to apply the theory you've learned to real-life scenarios. In your spare time you'll undertake your own independent study and use our online learning resources.
You will be assessed through exams, your research project and dissertation, written assignments, including essays, laboratory reports and logbooks, data analysis exercises, presentations and papers made up of a literature review, hypothesis and research question. You will receive regular feedback on your work, including your assessed work, and will also be asked to evaluate your own work.
UK/EU and international students are eligible to apply for this course.
We accept the equivalent of the above qualifications from a recognised overseas qualification. To find out more about the qualifications we accept from your country please visit the relevant Support in your country page.
If you are unsure about the suitability of your qualifications or would like help with your application, please contact your nearest Regional office for support.
You will not need a visa to study in the UK if you are a citizen of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. If you are a national of any other country you may need a visa to study in the UK. Please see our Visas and immigration page for further information.
You must have competence in English language to study with us. The most commonly accepted evidence of English language ability is IELTS 6.5 (with minimum 6.0 in all components). We also normally require Grade C GCSE or an equivalent qualification. Visit our English language requirements page for a full list of accepted tests and qualifications.
If you don't meet our minimum English language requirements, we offer an intensive Pre-sessional English course.
Entry onto this course does not require an interview, portfolio or audition.
Applications for postgraduate study should be made directly to the university. Please visit our Postgraduate application page for further information and to apply.
Everyone, at some point in their lives, will benefit from the services of biomedical scientists - 70 per cent of patient diagnoses in the UK are based on laboratory results. Biomedical science is the second largest profession registered by the Health Professions Council and there is a high demand for well-qualified graduates.
The range of roles open to graduates from our medical microbiology course is huge. In hospitals, medical microbiologists work alongside doctors, diagnosing everything from tuberculosis to meningitis and advising on treatment. Others work in medical or pharmaceutical research, in primary care in surgeries and clinics, or in the community, identifying health risks, educating people about infection prevention and helping to stop the spread of disease. Yet more work in environmental health, investigating food poisoning outbreaks and ensuring that food and drink businesses meet health and hygiene standards. There are opportunities with Public Health England, the Medical Research Council and the Health and Safety Executive.
Recent graduates have taken up roles in diagnostic laboratories in both the public and private sectors, in research - for which an MSc is increasingly becoming a requirement - or have chosen to study microbiology at PhD level. Other sectors you could work in include biotechnology, academia, and even areas like patent law, forensic science and science journalism. If you're already working in microbiology, our MSc will help you progress to a more senior position.
As well as in-depth knowledge of your subject, our course will provide you with many transferable skills. It will improve your research, data collection and interpretation, IT, numeracy, communication, presentation, teamwork and problem-solving skills, as well as your confidence and your ability to work under your own initiative and manage your own time.
Course leader Chris Ring has worked in research at GlaxoSmithKline, Glaxo Wellcome and Cancer Research UK, and as a biomedical scientist at North Middlesex Hospital. He is an expert in virology and the development of viruses as therapeutics.
Other teaching staff include Professor Stephen Dilworth, an expert in tumour viruses; Professor Ajit Shah, an expert in proteomics and former principal scientist at GlaxoSmithKline; Dr Lucy Ghali, an expert in immunohistochemistry; and Professor Ivan Roitt, a world-renowned immunology expert.
External lecturers include Professor David Livermore, a world expert in antibiotic resistance; Professor Haroun Shah, a world expert in proteomics; Dr John Holton, an expert in infectious disease; Dr Shila Seaton from Public Health England; Dr Amrat Bhamra from the Royal Free Hospital; and Hilary Edwards from the Hospital for Tropical Diseases. All our teaching staff are active in research.
Find out about our postgraduate scholarships worth up to 50% of the tuition fee.
MSc Biomedical Science
This course is offered full-time or part-time. The fees below refer to the 2017/18 academic year unless otherwise stated.
MSc Full-time students: £8,500
Part-time per taught credit: £57
Part-time per dissertation credit: £28
MSc Full-time students: £12,500
Part-time per taught credit: £84
Part-time per dissertation credit: £42
Find out about our flexible payment plans for UK/EU students, and how they can help you spread the cost of your course.*Course fees are subject to annual inflation so the total costs for part time study are shown here as a guide.