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Microbiology Master of Biology

  • Level(s) of Study: Undergraduate
  • UCAS Code(s): C501 (full-time); C502 (sandwich)
  • Start Date(s): September 2023
  • Duration: Four years FT or five years FT with a placement
  • Study Mode(s): Full-time / Sandwich
  • Campus: Clifton Campus
  • Entry Requirements:
    More information

Introduction:

Microbiology focuses on the amazing hidden world of microorganisms that are too small to see with the naked eye. Microbes are everywhere and influence all aspects of our lives - their activities underpin the air we breathe, the food we eat, and even our own bodies are "mostly microbe"!

Taught by internationally renowned experts, you will learn about the microorganisms associated with global health issues such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), tuberculosis (TB) and influenza, paying particular attention to microbes of medical importance.

We’ll also show you how microorganisms influence the world around us, and how microbiology knowledge can help solve big global problems such as climate change, pollution and antibiotic resistance.

To us, it’s all about courses that mirror the real world. We’re committed to giving you life-like microbiology workplace experiences from medical research and biotechnology to food safety and diagnosing infections.

We know the time to practice goes hand-in-hand with confidence, so you’ll get lots of opportunities to sharpen your lab skills. Your substantial research project gives you a taste of a career in research but with the benefit of being supported every step of the way by our staff.

You’ll be advancing your bioinformatics and communicating science skills too – together they all go towards making you a stand-out microbiologist.

You might also be interested in BSc (Hons) Microbiology.

Why study MBiol (Hons) Microbiology at NTU?

Get industry experience
Through group work and the Practical Techniques for Biology and Experimental Design modules, you’ll start designing your own experiments and trying things out. Problem-solving skills are valuable for any graduate and we make sure you develop these right from the start of your course, with lots of opportunities to test things out and learn by doing.  We’ve also embedded employability skills in the course, so you are not only learning theory and skills, but you know where to find your dream job and how to apply for it.

In your second year, you’ll take part in the Microbiology Society’s Unearthed Scheme. Through testing your own soil samples you’ll be trying to isolate antibiotic-producing bacteria. Your results will be used as part of the data collected from around the world.

Research-informed teaching
Our research is tackling real-world issues – and the people working on this research will be teaching you. This means you can be sure that what you are learning is at the cutting edge of new biological discoveries. For example, Professor Lesley Hoyles has used her expertise to show how the microbes that live in our guts have wide-ranging impacts on human health and Dr Jody Winter is part of a project which aims to tackle antibiotic resistance in Uganda.

During your final year research project, you’ll get to work closely with a research-active member of staff. Your project will focus on a specific area within their research, so you’ll be working on real-world problems and gaining valuable experience at the same time.

Meet our staff
Whether your interest is working in research or in the industry we have experienced teaching and technical staff from a wide range of backgrounds including chemical companies, the NHS, clinical diagnostics and medical research. They’ll be teaching you the latest thinking in microbiology and their contacts help us secure guest speakers and support you in finding great placement opportunities.

Community and support
With support from your lecturers, personal tutors and technical staff, you can be sure we'll be here for you during your studies. Alongside your lectures and lab classes, you’ll also have tutorial sessions. These are a chance to regularly meet in small groups with your personal tutor and members of your course to discuss the topics you are studying.

Got any feedback on your course? You’ll have lots of opportunities to discuss your course, for example in your tutorial sessions, with your course leader and course reps and you even have the chance to feedback on every module you study with an end of module survey.  We love to hear your feedback and how we can make improvements. Following your feedback, we have recently added Professional Skills modules which are specific to the area of the Biosciences course you are studying. We’ve also increased our support for your coursework assignments too, through drop-in sessions accessible when you need them most.

There’s support from your peers too. Our mentoring schemes give you support from other students on your course. Whether you need help with your studies or university life in general, they’ve been there and can give you a students’ perspective. Find out more about the support you’ll receive at NTU

  • An MBiol qualification gives you an extra year to develop and expand your microbiology knowledge up to the Master's level. You’ll study Master's level modules in your final year and spend time building your research experience by working on your extended year-long project alongside our bioscience researchers. It’s ideal preparation if you’d like to continue with your studies with a PhD.
  • In Year Three, you’ll be encouraged to take a year-long placement overseas, or in the UK. You'll be supported throughout your placement year and will write a reflective report and diary during your placement. When you successfully complete your placement, you will be eligible to receive an additional award of a Diploma in Professional Practice.
  • While you are at NTU you’ll create a skills portfolio. This is where you’ll keep evidence of all the techniques and skills you’ve mastered. These portfolios help you to document and develop your skills while you are with us. And they are a valuable tool when you graduate too, as they can be used to show future employers you are ready to work in a professional environment.

Course accreditation

The Royal Society of Biology has granted this course advanced accreditation. Accreditations are a seal of approval from professional bodies and our assurance to you that your course is relevant and valued by the industry. Advanced accreditation goes one step further to develop graduates that have substantial practical research experience and to support the UK’s excellence in biosciences innovation.

  • RSBlogo

What you’ll study

During your course, you’ll be focusing on microbes and the diseases they cause. You’ll study global health issues such as HIV, TB and influenza and recognise the microorganisms that cause them. 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.

In your final year, you’ll take a Master's level module, Science Communication. This takes your knowledge and skills to the next level and is part of the MBiol qualification.

In your final year, you’ll focus on a substantial research project that will run for the whole year. You choose the subject of your project and the length of the project really lets you develop your knowledge in a specialist area and work closely with a member of staff who is an expert in the subject. It is ideal if you have the ambition to progress into a professional scientific career in industry or onto a PhD.

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. Find out more about the ULP.

Living Systems

Introduces levels of biological organisation from molecules to cells and ecosystems, providing a platform of knowledge and skills upon which other modules are developed.

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 Biochemistry

Study the key aspects of macromolecules, cell structure and function, and interrelationships in both practical and theoretical contexts.

Introduction to Microbiology

Study various groups of microbes, their function and roles, and consider the importance of the microbial world, the
biology of micro-organisms, and medical, environmental and industrial microbiology.

Human Physiology

Introduces the physiology of human organ systems (respiratory, nervous, cardiovascular,
urinary, endocrine and muscular) and examines the process of homeostasis.

Bioinformatics and Biomathematics

Develop an understanding of the fundamental principles of bioinformatics using web-based resources, database structures and Bayesian and maximum likelihood theories.

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.

Microbial Metabolism and Genetics

Investigate the energy-yielding mechanisms in aerobic, anaerobic and fermentative systems and their diversity and importance
to humans.

Experimental Design

Gain an underpinning in research skills relevant to the independent study required for an undergraduate project. Formulate a research question, search literature, practice experimental design and practice data collection and statistical analysis.

Applied Microbiology

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.

Host Pathogen Interactions

Explore how pathogenic organisms and their human hosts interact with each other, and learn how we might exploit this knowledge to develop new drugs and vaccines.

Optional placement year

Optional year-long work placement.  If you are not taking a placement, you will progress directly to your final year in year three.

Core modules

Honours Project

Learn practical research techniques, including a review of scientific writing and critical appraisals of published work, as well
as oral presentations and plagiarism.

Molecular Microbiology

Study advanced concepts in bacterial genetics, including regulation of bacterial gene expression, molecular biology of bacterial pathogenesis and the application of knowledge in the industry.

Forensic Microbiology

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.

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.

Advanced Bioinformatics

Using artificial neural networks, discover how to find biomarkers and validate them. Carry out proteomic and genomic data analysis, and examine phylogenetics and genome assembly.

This will be Year Five for placement students.

Science Communication

Prepare for engagement in medical and science writing, education and policy making, where communicating knowledge to national and international audiences is key.

MBiol Research Project

This substantial independent research project runs for the whole of your final year giving you the opportunity to explore and expand your research skills in an area that interests you.

How you’re taught

You will typically study six modules every year for your first three years. Each module involves substantial amounts of practical work, in addition to around 20 one-hour lectures. You will also take part in regular seminars and tutorials to support you with your studies. In your final year, you will focus on your research project alongside one module, Communicating Science. You’ll regularly meet with your project supervisor (or supervisors if your project covers multiple areas) to discuss ideas and your progress.

Hands-on learning
The course is very practical and you’ll be spending lots of time in our industry-standard laboratories. This is because we believe the amount of time you spend getting hands-on experience in a laboratory is very important to prepare you for the world of work.

You’ll get to work in our state-of-the-art laboratories, right from the very start of your course. You’ll get to know how a professional lab works, how to work safely with bacteria at containment level 2 and how to follow laboratory processes and protocols used in industry – all valuable skills to have before you graduate.

We have a focus on using digital skills to support you in your practice sessions. For example, you might do an online simulation of the experiment you are going to perform in the lab. This will get you familiar with the techniques and protocols so you can be confident and really make the most of your time in our labs. We give you access to a wide range of other e-learning resources too including ebooks, videos and instructional resources we’ve filmed in our own labs. These can help you develop your lab skills even further outside of the lab environment.

Contact hours

Year 1 - lectures/seminars/workshops (23%) and independent study (77%)

Year 2 - lectures/seminars/workshops (21%) and independent study (79%)

Year 3 - lectures/seminars/workshops (21%) and independent study (79%)

Year 4 - lectures/seminars/workshops (17%) and independent study (83%)

Research informed teaching

Our research is tackling real-world issues – and the people working on this research will be teaching you. It also informs the subjects you’ll be studying with us so you can be sure your knowledge will be cutting-edge in your field. In the last Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021) - the UK's system for assessing the quality and impact of research in universities - we’re proud that 99% of NTU’s Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy submission was assessed to be world-leading or internationally excellent.

Staff Profiles

Jody Winter

Principal Lecturer

School of Science & Technology

Jody Winter

Michael Loughlin

Principal Lecturer (Learning and Teaching Manager)

School of Science & Technology

Michael Loughlin

Lesley Hoyles

Professor

School of Science & Technology

Professor Lesley Hoyles - Microbiome and Systems Biology

Gareth McVicker

Senior Lecturer

School of Science & Technology

Gareth McVicker staff profile at Nottingham Trent University

David Negus

Senior Lecturer

School of Science & Technology

Dr Negus is a lecturer and researcher in Microbiology at Nottingham Trent University. Dr Negus teaches on various microbiology modules at all degree stages. He supervises Masters and Undergraduate research

How you’re assessed

Year 1 - coursework (42%), written (50%) and practical (8%)

Year 2 - coursework (42%), written (33%) and practical (25%)

Year 3 - coursework (58%), written (30%) and practical (12%)

Year 4 - coursework (90%), written (0%) and practical (10%)

Careers and employability

Your career development

As well as the Masters-level practical laboratory skills, this course will equip you with transferable skills in critical analysis and understanding, qualities and attributes necessary for a wide range of careers in industry, commerce, teaching, and research.

You will be well placed to pursue positions in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry and the majority of biological science-related disciplines.

Recent microbiology graduates have secured positions at:

  • Diageo alcoholic beverages
  • Northern Foods
  • 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 by taking an MPhil or PhD research degree.

Excellent placement opportunities

NTU is one of the most employment-focused universities. Increasingly, employers want to recruit graduates who have real-world work experience. That’s why all of our courses, across every subject area, offer you a work experience opportunity. Our experts help build and support your future with a range of career programmes and events.

On this course, after your second year, you will have the opportunity to take a year's work placement (sandwich placement). This will give you the chance to gain vital experience and put your knowledge into practice. You're also twice as likely to secure a graduate job within six months if you take a work placement.

Our recent students have taken placements across a wide range of companies including the NHS, Scancell and GlaxoSmithKline. They secured varied roles such as Research Assistant, Trainee Biomedical Scientist (Microbiology) and Assistant Project Worker.

You'll be supported and assessed throughout your placement year and will write a reflective report and diary at the end of your placement. When you successfully complete your placement, you will be eligible to receive an additional award of a Diploma in Professional Practice.

Find out more about work placements.

NTU Enterprise

You'll also have the opportunity to turn your ideas into a viable business with help from NTU Enterprise, NTU's purpose-built Centre for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise, a support centre to help students create, develop and grow their own businesses.

Campus and facilities

Where will I study?

Teaching events are held across Clifton Campus and include interactive workshops in spaces specifically designed for collaborative, hands-on learning.

We have the stimulating and creative environment needed to equip students with the knowledge and transferable skills to put them ahead of the graduate crowd. We provide first-class facilities that enhance the quality of our education and push the boundaries of our research, these include:

Rosalind Franklin building

You will have access to some of the best laboratory facilities for Bioscience and Chemistry in the UK. The large teaching laboratory can house up to 200 students all studying at the same time. You'll be hands-on in the lab from your very first day with us, using the pioneering IT facilities and equipment to ensure that you get the practical experience employers are looking for.

Natural Sciences Research Facility

The Natural Sciences Research Facility supports and enhances the School’s research in Physics, Biosciences, Chemistry, Imaging, Materials and Sport.

Entry requirements

  • 128 - 136 UCAS Tariff points from up to four qualifications including A-level equivalent Biology grade C and Chemistry, Physics or Maths grade C
  • GCSEs – English, Maths and Science grade C / 4

To find out what qualifications have tariff points, please use our tariff calculator.

Contextual offers

A lower offer may be made based on a range of factors, including your background (such as where you live and the school or college you attended), your experiences and individual circumstances (you may have been in care, for example). This is called a contextual offer and we get data from UCAS to make these decisions. NTU offers a student experience like no other and this approach helps us to find students who have the potential to succeed here but who may have faced barriers that make it more difficult to access university. Find out how we assess your application.

Other qualifications and experience

We may also consider credits achieved at other universities and your work/life experience through an assessment of prior learning. This may be for year one entry, or beyond the beginning of a course where applicable, for example, into year 2. Our Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfer Policy outlines the process and options available for this route.

Getting in touch

If you need more help or information, get in touch through our enquiry form

  • 136 UCAS Tariff points from up to four qualifications including A-level equivalent Biology grade C and Chemistry, Physics or Maths grade C
  • GCSEs – English, Maths and Science grade C / 4

International qualifications

We accept qualifications from all over the world – check yours here:

Undergraduate preparation courses (Foundation)

If you don’t yet meet our entry requirements, we offer Foundation courses through our partner Nottingham Trent International College (NTIC), based on our City Campus:

English language entry requirements

You can meet our language requirements by successfully completing our pre-sessional English course for an agreed length of time, or by submitting the required grade in one of our accepted English language tests, such as IELTS:

Advanced standing (starting your undergraduate degree in year 2 or 3)

You may be able to start your undergraduate course in year 2 or 3 based on what you have studied before.  This decision would be made in accordance with our Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfer Policy.

Would you like some advice on your study plans?

Our international teams are highly experienced in answering queries from students all over the world. We also have members of staff based in Vietnam, China, India and Nigeria and work with a worldwide network of education counsellors.

Fees and funding

Preparing for the financial side of student life is important, but there’s no need to feel anxious and confused about it. We hope that our fees and funding pages will answer all your questions.

Getting in touch

For more advice and guidance, you can contact our Student Financial Support Service.

Tel: +44 (0)115 848 2494

Additional Costs

Your course fees cover the cost of studies and include loads of great benefits, such as the use of our library, support from our expert Employability team, and free use of the IT equipment across our campuses.

Library books
Most study modules will recommend one or more core textbooks, which most students choose to purchase. Book costs vary and further information is available in the University’s bookshop. Our libraries provide a good supply of essential textbooks, journals and materials (many of which you can access online) – meaning you may not need to purchase as many books as you might think! There may also be a supply of second-hand books available for purchase from previous year students.

A good supply of these essential textbooks is available in the University libraries which students can easily borrow or access directly whilst studying in the library.

Field trips
All essential field trip costs will be included in your course fees. There may be the opportunity to take part in optional field trips, which do incur additional costs.

Placements
If you're undertaking a placement year, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst on placement. Many of our placement students do earn a salary whilst on placement which can help to cover these living costs.

Students may choose to apply for a placement option during their course.  If successful, students will be expected to pay for accommodation, travel and living costs whilst on placement.

Print and copy costs
The University allocates an annual printing and copying allowance of £20 depending on the course you are studying. For more details about costs for additional print and copying required over and above the annual allowance please see the Printing, photocopying and scanning information on the Library website.

Students will also be required to pay additional costs for poster preparation in their final year - estimated costs of approximately £20 -£30.

Laboratory lockers
A deposit is required for laboratory lockers (approximately £5).

Tuition fees 

Tuition fees are payable for each year that you are at the University. The level of tuition fees for the second and subsequent years of your undergraduate course may increase in line with inflation and as specified by the UK government. See our fees.

Scholarships

We offer scholarships of up to 50% of your tuition fee. You can apply for your scholarship when you have an offer to study at NTU.

Living costs

Get advice on the cost of living as an international student in Nottingham and how to budget:

Paying fees

Find out about advanced payments, instalment plan options and how to make payments securely to the University:

Would you like some advice on your study plans?

Our international teams are highly experienced in answering queries from students all over the world. We also have members of staff based in Vietnam, China, India and Nigeria and work with a worldwide network of education counsellors.

Additional Costs

Your course fees cover the cost of studies and include loads of great benefits, such as the use of our library, support from our expert Employability team, and free use of the IT equipment across our campuses.

Library books
Most study modules will recommend one or more core textbooks, which most students choose to purchase. Book costs vary and further information is available in the University’s bookshop. Our libraries provide a good supply of essential textbooks, journals and materials (many of which you can access online) – meaning you may not need to purchase as many books as you might think! There may also be a supply of second-hand books available for purchase from previous year students.

A good supply of these essential textbooks is available in the University libraries which students can easily borrow or access directly whilst studying in the library.

Field trips
All essential field trip costs will be included in your course fees. There may be the opportunity to take part in optional field trips, which do incur additional costs.

Placements
If you're undertaking a placement year, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst on placement. Many of our placement students do earn a salary whilst on placement which can help to cover these living costs.

Students may choose to apply for a placement option during their course.  If successful, students will be expected to pay for accommodation, travel and living costs whilst on placement.

Print and copy costs
The University allocates an annual printing and copying allowance of £20 depending on the course you are studying. For more details about costs for additional print and copying required over and above the annual allowance please see the Printing, photocopying and scanning information on the Library website.

Students will also be required to pay additional costs for poster preparation in their final year - estimated costs of approximately £20 -£30.

Laboratory lockers
A deposit is required for laboratory lockers (approximately £5).

How to apply

Ready to join us? Then apply as soon as you can. Just click the Apply button at the top of the page and follow the instructions for applying. Make sure you check the entry requirements above carefully before you do.

Writing your application and personal statement

Be honest, thorough and persuasive in your application. Remember, we can only make a decision based on what you tell us. So include all of your qualifications and grades, including resits or predicted grades.

Your personal statement is a really important part of your application. It’s your chance to convince us why we should offer you a place! You’ve got 4,000 characters to impress us. Make sure you use them to show how your skills and qualities are relevant to the course(s) you’re applying for. For more hints and tips, take a look at our page on how to write a good personal statement.

Keeping up-to-date

After you’ve applied, we’ll be sending you important emails throughout the application process so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

You can get more information and advice about applying to NTU on our Your Application page. Good luck with your application!

You can apply for this course through UCAS. If you are not applying to any other UK universities, you can apply directly to us on our NTU applicant portal.

Application advice

Apply early so that you have enough time to prepare – processing times for Student visas can vary, for example.  After you've applied, we'll be sending you important emails throughout the application process – so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

Writing your personal statement

Be honest, thorough, and persuasive – we can only make a decision about your application based on what you tell us:

Would you like some advice on your study plans?

Our international teams are highly experienced in answering queries from students all over the world. We also have members of staff based in Vietnam, China, India and Nigeria and work with a worldwide network of education counsellors.

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