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Microbiology (with foundation year) BSc (Hons)

Start date

  • Level(s) of Study: Undergraduate
  • Typical Offer: 72 UCAS tariff points
  • UCAS Code(s): C503 (full-time)
  • Start Date(s): September 2024
  • Duration: Four years full-time
  • Study Mode(s): Full-time
  • Campus: Clifton Campus
Information for 2024

Introduction:

During the foundation year, you’ll develop core bioscience and study skills using an active and collaborative approach to your learning. This will enable you to build your confidence as you move onto BSc (Hons) Microbiology in Year Two. Learn about the micro-organisms associated with global health issues such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), tuberculosis (TB) and influenza. Focusing on microbes of medical importance, you’ll explore their impacts on food safety, biotechnology and infection diagnostics.

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.

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.

If you change your mind at the end of your foundation year you can transfer onto one of our other BSc Bioscience courses at NTU.

Why study 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.

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.

  • 91% of microbiology and cell science students were positive about the teaching on their course. (NSS2023)

Course accreditation

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.

  • Royal Society of Biology logo

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.

Applied Biology

Using case studies, you’ll consider the science and ethical considerations in bioscience and medical fields, research and therapeutics as well as topical issues in environmental science. In addition to exploring a variety of topics in health and disease such as infectious diseases inherited and non-inheritable disorders, you will touch on therapeutic approaches.

Data Handling and Analysis

This module will use group work and problem-based learning to give you a strong base of mathematical skills can be applied in biosciences. You’ll learn concepts such as rearranging equations, concentration calculations, metric prefixes, probabilities and exponentials through the lens of real-world biology labs and data analysis of disease scenarios.

Introductory Science for Biologists

This module focuses on the key scientific principles of physics and chemistry that are vital to Bioscientists. In the physics part of the module you’ll be introduced to topics such as wave motion, vibration and methods of heat transfer. The Chemistry part of the module covers some inorganic, organic and physical chemistry, providing biochemical foundation knowledge.

Foundation Biology

You’ll be introduced to core concepts across different areas of biology to ensure you have a broad core biology knowledge. Practical classes in our labs put the theory you’ve learned into context and you’ll also learn good laboratory practice, basic laboratory skills and problem-solving.

Professional Practice and Skills

Bio scientists require an understanding, and in many cases experience, of working in a laboratory environment. This module give you a chance to evidence your practical skills as well as drawing on topics and techniques used in other modules. You’ll work on a group project that will give you experience of working on all elements of a project e.g. research , design, development, testing, evaluation and presentation.

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.

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.

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.

Video Gallery

Watch our facility tour video to get an insight into the equipment you'll use and what you'll study on the course.
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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.

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.

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.

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.

Staff Profiles

Sarah Rayment - Senior Lecturer

School of Science & Technology

Find out more about Dr Sarah Rayment, Senior Lecturer in Molecular Sciences in the Department of Biosciences at Nottingham Trent University.

Daniel Dimmock - Academic Associate

School of Science & Technology

Find out more about Daniel Dimmock, Academic Associate in the Biosciences department at Nottingham Trent University.

Carl Nelson - Principal Lecturer

School of Science & Technology

Find out more about Carl Nelson, Principal Lecturer, in the Department of Biosciences at Nottingham Trent University.

Jody Winter - Principal Lecturer

School of Science & Technology

Find out more about Jody Winter, Principal Lecturer, in the Department of Biosciences at Nottingham Trent University.

Aldo Gutierrez - Senior Lecturer

School of Science & Technology

Find out more about Aldo Gutierrez, Senior Lecturer, in the Department of Biosciences at Nottingham Trent University.

Jessica Dale - Senior Lecturer

School of Science & Technology

Dr Jessica Dale is a Lecturer in Biosciences within the Biomedical Sciences group. She has research interests in Pedagogy, Virology and Immunology.

Michael Loughlin - Principal Lecturer (Learning and Teaching Manager)

School of Science & Technology

Find out more about Michael Loughlin, Principal Lecturer in the Dept. of Biosciences and Learning and Teaching Manager for the School of Science & Technology.

Selman Ali - Senior Lecturer

School of Science & Technology

Find out more about Selman Ali, Senior Lecturer, in the Department of Biosciences in the School of Science and Technology.

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.

Our recent graduates have secured roles at companies including:

  • Microbiotica
  • NHS
  • Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
  • Diageo alcoholic beverages
  • Northern Foods

They have gone into a wide variety of job roles including:

  • Food Microbiologist
  • Genome Sequencing Assistant
  • Development Technician
  • Microbiological laboratory technician

Many graduates also choose to undertake further study on one of our Masters-level courses or MPhil and PhD research degrees.

Excellent placement opportunities

Top 10 for the number of Microbiology students on year-long placements (HESA 2021/22)

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

The Rosalind Franklin building provides some of the best laboratory teaching facilities for Bioscience and Chemistry in the UK. The large teaching laboratory space is equipped with specialist IT facilities and equipment to ensure that our students get excellent training in practical laboratory techniques and modern analytical methods.

Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Facility

This facility supports the School's extensive biomedical research activities.

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

  • 72 UCAS Tariff points from three A-levels or equivalent
  • GCSE English and Maths 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

  • 72 UCAS Tariff points from three A-levels or equivalent

International qualifications

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

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:

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:

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.

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).

Getting in touch

For more advice and guidance, you can contact our Student Financial Support Service on telephone +44 (0)115 848 2494.

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.

What do the course fees cover?

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.

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.

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 printing, poster preparation and final dissertation copies in their final year - estimated costs approximately £20 - £30.

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

Getting in touch

For more advice and guidance, you can contact our Student Financial Support Service on telephone +44 (0)115 848 2494.

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!

This course is not open to International applicants who require a Student Visa. For alternative courses please see Nottingham Trent International College.

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