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MBiol (Hons) Microbiology Master of Biology

  • Level(s) of Study: Undergraduate
  • UCAS Code(s): C501 (full-time); C502 (with placement)
  • Start Date(s): September 2022
  • 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 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?

Take your studies to Masters level
An MBiol qualification gives you an extra year to develop and expand your microbiology knowledge up to Masters level. You’ll study Masters 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.

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 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. 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 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 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.

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 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 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 the 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.

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

In your final year you’ll focus on a substantial research project 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 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 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.

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 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.

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%)

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

Staff Profiles

Jody Winter

Principal Lecturer

School of Science & Technology

Jody Winter

Gareth McVicker

Senior Lecturer

School of Science & Technology

Gareth McVicker staff profile at Nottingham Trent University

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

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%)

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

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 our you get 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

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.

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).

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 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!