Skip to content

Master of Biology

Microbiology

Student taking photo of science experiment with tablet
Course places still available for September 2021

Year Of Entry

2021
  • UCAS code(s): C501 / C502
  • Level(s) of study: Undergraduate
  • Study mode(s): Full-time / Sandwich
  • Location: Clifton Campus
  • Starting: September 2021
  • Course duration: 4 / 5 year(s)
  • Entry requirements: More information


FIND US ON

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 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.

Number three in the UK for student satisfaction in Microbiology and Cell Science (NSS 2020)

What you'll study

This four year MBiol courses combine course material and content from undergraduate and postgraduate levels, giving you a Masters-level qualification.  If you have drive and ambition to progress into a professional scientific career in industry or academia or onto a PhD, then this course is ideal for you. It provides tailored knowledge, technical skills and research expertise to help you stand out in the jobs market.

The course begins by giving you an understanding of how microbiology and physical principles are integrated in, and used to investigate broad living processes from cells to organisms. After this, an understanding and application of microbiology is developed, and the course aims to provide a multidisciplinary approach to the study of the microbial world. You'll study the key concepts associated with micro-organisms in both practical and theoretical contexts and then consider the role of microbes in health, disease and in the natural environment. The microbiology degree also provides specialisations in molecular microbiology, forensic microbiology and virology.

Meet the Biosciences Team

The biosciences team prepares our students well for careers in industry and academia and we continue to develop and welcome collaborations from universities and commercial organisations.

Visit our academic team pages to find out more about our approach to teaching, our partners and research interests.

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

    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.

  • Year Two

    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.

  • Year Three

    Placement year (optional)

    You have the opportunity to take a work placement during your third year. The below modules will be Year Four for placement students.

    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 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, examine phylogenetics and genome assembly.

  • Final year

    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.

Number four in the UK for student satisfaction in biology (NSS 2020)

How you’re taught

You will typically study six modules each year. Each module normally has around 20 to 24 one-hour lectures. In addition there are regular seminars and tutorials to help with your studies. Across the three years you will have approximately 500 hours of laboratory experience. We believe the amount of time a student spends getting hands on experience in a laboratory is very important to prepare them for the world of work, which is why we incorporate such high levels of contact time in the labs.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed on a variety of components including the following.

Written

  • Exams
  • Multiple completion tests

Coursework

  • Assignments
  • Group projects and reports
  • Dissertation / research project
  • Poster presentations

Practical

  • Laboratory assessments
  • Oral presentations

Research

Because of our ambitious research agenda and ongoing activities, students can expect to approach problems with the latest methods, including those used in industry.

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.

Assessment methods

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%)

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%)

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

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

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

After Year Two, you have the opportunity to undertake a one years' work placement in industry, including overseas options. This will give you the chance to gain vital experience and put your knowledge into practice.

You will be assessed throughout the year and will be required to write a reflective report and diary. On completion of a successful placement, you will be eligible to receive an additional award – the Placement Diploma in Professional Practice, an excellent addition to your CV.

Recent placements include:

  • National Institute for Medical Research
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Veterinary Laboratories Agency
  • Health Protection Agency.

You will be actively encouraged and supported by our dedicated placement team who will help you find and apply for positions that will benefit your study. They will also provide support while you are in your place of work, whether that is at home or abroad.

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 – AAB, including Biology grade A and Chemistry, Physics or Maths grade B; or
  • BTEC Extended Diploma – DDD, including relevant Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Maths modules; or
  • 136 UCAS Tariff points from three A-levels or equivalent qualifications, including an A-level grade A equivalent in Biology and grade B equivalent in Chemistry, Physics or Maths; 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 – AAB, including Biology grade A and Chemistry, Physics or Maths grade B; or
  • BTEC Extended Diploma – DDD, including relevant Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Maths modules; or
  • 136 UCAS Tariff points from three A-levels or equivalent qualifications, including an A-level grade A equivalent in Biology and grade B equivalent in Chemistry, Physics or Maths; 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.

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.

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 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