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BSc (Hons)

Microbiology

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Year Of Entry

2021
  • UCAS code(s): C510 / 350S
  • Level(s) of study: Undergraduate
  • Study mode(s): Full-time / Sandwich
  • Location: Clifton Campus
  • Starting: September 2021
  • Course duration: 3 / 4 year(s)
  • Entry requirements: More information


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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"!

At NTU, it’ll all start with getting to know your way around a lab – picking up all the techniques, tests and applications a future employer could wish for. Then we’ll replicate workplace-like experiences for you, whatever area of microbiology you are interested in whether it is medical research, biotechnology, food safety or infection diagnostics. In each area, you will learn how to analyse and communicate your results.

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.

You might also be interested in MBiol (Hons) Microbiology, a four-year course that takes your microbiology studies to Masters level.

Why study BSc (Hons) Microbiology at NTU?

Get industry experience
Through group work and the Practical Techniques for Biology and Professional Skills in Microbiology 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 collect from around the world.

Take a work placement
Placements tell future employers you know how to do it as well as why. Our industry connections as well as the support you'll get from our Employability team all add up to a valuable work placement experience.

In Year Three, you’ll be encouraged to take a year-long placement overseas, or in the UK. 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 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.

Develop your portfolio
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.

Professional accreditation
The Royal Society of Biology have accredited this course. Accreditations are a seal of approval from professional bodies and our assurance to you that your course is relevant and valued by industry.

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. https://www.ntu.ac.uk/about-us/news/news-articles/2019/03/university-funded-for-international-project-to-tackle-antibiotic-resistance

During your final year research project you’ll work closely with a member of staff, either on an aspect of their research or in their general area. You may be asked to help develop a new idea that can be incorporated into future research or help with our teaching. 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 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 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 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 gives 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 https://www.ntu.ac.uk/life-at-ntu/support

Satisfied students
You can be sure you’ll be joining a high-quality course. But don’t just take our word for it - we consistently rank highly in the annual National Student Survey for student satisfaction in biosciences. We are very proud to currently be second in the UK (NSS 2021).

Second in the UK for student satisfaction in Biosciences (NSS 2021)

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.

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

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.

  • Year One

    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.

    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.

    Introduction to Biochemistry

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

    Human Physiology

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

  • Year Two

    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.

    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.

    Host-Pathogen Interactions

    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 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.

  • Final year

    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.

    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 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.

    Research Project (40 credit points)

    You have the option of either completing a 40 credit point project / 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.

How you’re taught


You will typically study six modules in Year One and Two. Each module involves substantial amounts of practical work, in addition to around 20 one-hour lectures. In your final year you’ll study five modules and a substantial research project. You will also take part in regular seminars and tutorials to support you with your studies.

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 practical 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.

Assessment methods

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

Year 2 - coursework (50%), written (33%) and practical assessment (17%)

Year 3 - coursework (42%), written (40%) and practical assessment (18%)

A placement year may be taken between year 2 and year 3 of study

Contact hours

A full-time student on average can expect to spend 1200 hours a year learning which will typically be broken down as follows:

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%)

A placement year may be taken between year 2 and year 3 of study

Careers and employability

Your career development

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

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.

Entry requirements

What are we looking for?

  • A-levels – BBB, including Biology; or
  • BTEC Extended Diploma – DDM, including relevant Biology modules; or
  • 120 UCAS Tariff points from three A-levels or equivalent qualifications, including an A-level grade B equivalent in Biology; and
  • GCSEs – English, Maths and Science grade C / 4

Other qualifications and experience

We consider equivalent qualifications and combinations, please see UCAS course search for details and use our calculator to help you work out how many UCAS points your qualifications relate to.

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.

Contextual offers

As well as assessing your application and qualifications, we use contextual data and information to make offers for this course. Depending on your circumstances, we may make you an offer up to two grades below the standard entry criteria. Find out how we assess your application.

Getting in touch

If you need any more help or information, please email our Admissions and Enquiries Team or call on +44 (0)115 848 4200.

What are we looking for?

  • A-levels – BBB, including Biology; or
  • BTEC Extended Diploma – DDM, including relevant Biology modules; or
  • 120 UCAS Tariff points from three A-levels or equivalent qualifications, including an A-level grade B equivalent in Biology; and
  • GCSEs – English, Maths and Science grade C / 4

Applicants without A-levels will have their qualifications assessed for subject compatibility. We also consider equivalent qualifications and combinations. Please see UCAS Course Search for more details.

NTU may admit a student with advanced standing beyond the beginning of a course, through an assessment of that student's prior learning, whether it is certificated or uncertificated. Our Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfer Policy outlines the process and options available to these prospective students, such as recognising experiential learning or transferring to a similar course at another institution, otherwise known as credit transfer.

All prospective students who wish to apply via Recognition of Prior Learning should initially contact the central Admissions and Enquiries Team who will be able to support you through the process.

International qualifications

We accept qualifications from schools, colleges and universities all over the world for entry onto our UG and PG degrees. If you’re not sure how your international qualification matches our course requirements please visit our international qualifications page.

Foundation courses

If you are an international student who does not meet the direct entry requirements for this course, you can prepare for it at Nottingham Trent International College. Their Foundation Certificate in Science and Engineering (life sciences) offers students a guaranteed progression route to this degree on successful completion to the required level.

English language entry requirements

If English is not your first language you need to show us that your language skills are strong enough for intensive academic study. We usually ask for an IELTS test and we accept some alternative English language tests.

  • For a list of our language requirements please visit our English language page.
  • If you need to do a pre-sessional English language course to meet the English requirements please visit our pre-sessional English course page.

Help and support

If you have any questions about your qualifications or about making an application to the University please contact our International Team for advice.

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!

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

You can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year. If you are applying to more than one UK university you must apply through UCAS.

Apply as early as you can so that you have time to prepare for your studies. If you need a visa to study here you need to plan this into your application.

  • For a step-by-step guide on making an application to the University please visit our how to apply page.
  • For advice on applying for a visa please visit our visa information page.
  • For advice on how to write a good personal statement please visit our personal statement page.

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.

Good luck with your application!

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

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 on telephone +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 text books, 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 text books, 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 text books are 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 approximately £20 -£30.

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

We offer prestigious scholarships to new international students holding offers to study at the University.

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 text books, 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 text books, 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 text books are 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 approximately £20 -£30.

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

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418