Introduction

Designed to develop both your research and practical skills, our MSc in Microbiology will enhance your academic knowledge of the latest advances in microbiology and improve your employability and career prospects.

This programme is studied on campus.

The MSc degree in Microbiology will take you through a wide-ranging curriculum describing some of the latest advances in microbiology. It includes courses on microbiology, applied statistics, bioinformatics, regulation of microbial adaptation and host-pathogen interactions in infection and disease. The MSc Microbiology aims to provide you with:

  • An understanding of the general principles of microbiology
  • An ability to apply knowledge in academic and health contexts
  • Opportunities to learn from world renowned researchers

This programme is ideal for students and scientists who would like to improve their career prospects, fill skills gaps and further their hands-on microbiology research experience.

Key Programme Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
MSc
Duration
12 months or 24 months
Study Mode
Full Time or Part Time
Start Month
September

What You'll Study

Semester 1

Semester 1

Compulsory Courses

Basic Skills - Induction (MT5010)

This course is designed to provide or revise the basic skills you will require for your MSc. The course will revise basic laboratory skills and techniques and advance these to a level required to undertake graduate practical classes and projects by developing hands-on experience, competence and confidence in key laboratory skills.

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Introduction to Microbiology (MC5008) - 15 Credit Points

This course will provide students with microbiology knowledge for further advanced studies and will provide training in microbiological laboratory techniques. At the end of this course students will have an understanding of microbes associated with health and disease (including bacteria, fungi and viruses), practical and academic understanding of laboratory techniques required for the culture, identification and characterisation of microbes, and increased confidence in reading and critiquing primary research literature.

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Applied Statistics (PU5017) - 15 Credit Points

This course intends to develop the student's awareness of the fact that statistical techniques are integral to scientific research. Researchers must be able to specify a precise research question in statistical terms and then select an appropriate study design in order to carry out an effective research project. They must also be able to assess the adequacy of the research presented in scientific or medical literature. The same skills are also required for many MSc dissertation projects.

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Bioinformatics (MB5021) - 15 Credit Points

A course containing a series of lectures describing 'latest-methods and discoveries' in areas of bioinformatics and functional genomics including transcriptomics, proteomics, and DNA sequence analysis

Contains an extended research practical; you carry out computer analysis of transcriptome datasets to understand how cells respond to starvation stress, and write up in research paper format.

Contains a series of in-depth workshops that teach the principles and practice of DNA and protein sequence analysis.

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Study Skills for Life (GS50M2)

This course gives students the opportunity to develop the transferable skills required to both complete their degree programme and progress in their future career. The course provides guides and workshops on a variety of skills, including literature appraisal, academic integrity, writing, presentations, note taking and time management. It provides online resources for developing IT and numeracy skills, and acts as a resource for advertising development opportunities both within and outside the university.

The course strongly relies on self-reflection and identification of opportunities by the students to use the support sessions and online resources available. Although completion of the course itself is compulsory the majority of the course sessions offered are optional, and support is given to the students to help them identify what they most need to work on. Completion of the course is achieved through formative assignments.

This course is the first of two courses relating to cross-discipline skills development that is compulsory for all taught postgraduate students in the School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition.

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Optional Courses

Molecular Genetics (MB5025) - 15 Credit Points

Series of lectures covering fundamental topics such as RNA (coding, non-coding transcription), DNA –protein interactions (e.g. chromatin, transcription factors), 3D structure of chromosomes and regulation of gene activity) as well as on genome structure/genetic mapping and advanced analytical methods such as CRISPR and genome editing technology. Lectures are complemented by tutorials and workshops covering related topics.

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Introductory Immunology (MB5023) - 15 Credit Points

This course provides information on the basic immune system, how it functions in health and disease, and how we can enhance its activity using novel therapies for autoimmune disease, infection, allergy and most notably cancer. All aspects of both the innate and the adaptive immune system are covered to provide a very good background understanding of the immune system and how it can be used to maintain health.

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Semester 2

Semester 2

Compulsory Courses

Regulation in Microbial Adaption (MC5510) - 15 Credit Points

A course describing the principles behind how microorganisms respond to environmental stresses

A range of microbial stress responses are detailed using a range of model systems, pathogens and non-pathogens, showing how gene expression is regulated by stress.

Contains an extended research practical; you carry out computer-based modelling to understand how cells responds to starvation stress, and write up in research paper format.

We teach with reference to the scientific literature allowing you to place your learning in the context of the latest published research.

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Genome - Enabled Medicine (MB5517) - 15 Credit Points

A course describing the wide range of ways in which genome sequencing has transformed our understanding of medicine and human disease

A course placing a high value on its teaching and learning; all lecture material supported by workshops – your chance to team-work, ask questions and enjoy the science.

Contains a material detailing a range of examples of genome science and its applications in medicine, ranging from the human genome (genome-wide association studies) to microbial (pathogen genome sequencing).

A course that makes wide use of the literature, allowing you to read about and understand the latest methods in genome science

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Research Tutorials (MB5518) - 15 Credit Points

A course that leads you through research-level study of your subject through study of a range of areas of the science literature

An introduction to the subject of your summer research project through the writing of an extended essay on the subject of your forthcoming research project.

The course provides an opportunity to study advanced science concepts led by an experienced member of academic staff.

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Host - Pathogen Interactions (MB5516) - 15 Credit Points

Why do some microorganisms cause disease, yet others don’t? This course explores host-pathogen interactions from bacterial, fungal, parasite, viral and host perspectives in a lecture series, examining virulence factors, host defences and immune responses. Students develop a detailed knowledge of one specific host-pathogen interaction through self-directed study and review of a specific disease selected by the student. In addition, workshops discuss experimental design for analysis of host-pathogen interactions, virulence and novel drug treatments. The material on the course will enable students to develop and refine their understanding of the roles of host and pathogen in infectious disease.

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Beyond Your Degree (GS55M2)

This course gives students the opportunity to develop the skills needed to progress in their degree programme and beyond into their chosen career. It focuses on the job application process, the support available from the university both during and after their degree, and the skills that apply to undertaking projects. Sessions include an introduction to the careers service, CV, cover letter and interview skills, workplace professionalism and managing projects. Online resources are provided to support transferable skill development.

The course strongly relies on self-assessment and identification of opportunities by the students to use the support sessions and online resources available. Although completion of the course is compulsory, most of the course sessions offered are optional, and completion of the course is achieved through formative assignments.

This course is the second of two courses relating to generic skills that are compulsory for all taught postgraduate students in the School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition.

View detailed information about this course

Semester 3

Semester 3

Students will be offered a choice of research projects which cover a range of different research areas, including ion channel research, microbiome research, mycology, synthetic biology, oomycete research and bacteriology.

Compulsory Courses

Masters Research Project (MB5902) - 60 Credit Points

The topic of the project will be subject and supervisor dependant.

View detailed information about this course

Course Availability

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

How You'll Study

The programme is taught through a flexible mix of lectures and small group tutorials, practical classes, practical computer workshops and research tutorials. There is also an expectation of self-learning, where you will engage with current microbiology research literature to enhance your knowledge gained and discussed in taught sessions. All lecture material is available on MyAberdeen, the University’s Virtual Learning Environment.

The programme also involves an extended, hands-on laboratory-based research project, supervised by experienced and research-active academic staff. Much of the teaching on this course is participatory and students are expected to consolidate all taught content by completing related tasks and activities and engaging in independent study in their own time.

Learning Methods

  • Lab Work
  • Lectures
  • Research
  • Tutorials

Assessment Methods

Taught courses are assessed by a combination of written assignments and reports, oral presentations, and by examination. All students undertake a research project, which is submitted for assessment in the form of a short research thesis. Students also present an oral presentation on their project.

Why Study Microbiology?

  • We are one of the top 10 UK Universities to offer a MSc Microbiology programme.
  • You will be taught by world leading microbiology and bioscience researchers and have an opportunity to contribute to cutting edge research during your project.
  • You will have access to the University and large teaching hospital all on one campus. The Foresterhill Health Campus is one of the largest clinical complexes in Europe which includes a large teaching hospital, Medical School and the Institute of Medical Sciences.
  • Embedded within an active and dynamic research culture, you will have the opportunity to gain the knowledge and skills required to enhance your employability and further your career as a microbiologist.
  • You will benefit from skills training to help with scientific writing, analytical skills, CV writing, interview skills and reading scientific literature.
  • Our small class sizes give you the opportunity to participate in class discussions and to have good access to the teaching staff.
  • Teaching on the course is delivered by world renowned researchers including staff from the Aberdeen Fungal Group, recently awarded MRC Centre for Medical Mycology status.
  • Our support services rank with the best in the UK and we aim to make sure, right from the start, that you have access to any guidance you might need. Our Graduate School also provides additional on-site support and advice.
  • The University is ranked 9th in the World and 5th in Europe for its international research collaboration in Biomedical and Health Sciences (Leiden Ranking 2015).
  • 85% of all research submissions were rated as "outstanding" or "very considerable" for impact
  • The University of Aberdeen is a World Top 170 University (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020)
  • The University of Aberdeen is a Top 30 UK University, Complete University Guide 2020

What Our Students Say

Aisha Gidado

Aisha Gidado

Aisha Gidado

I was drawn to the university because of its reputation in academic excellence, modern laboratories and teaching facilities and the content of the course curriculum.

Nika Ivanovova

Nika Ivanovova

Nika Ivanovova

The education provided by teaching staff is amazing and they are so willing to help students and give them advice whenever needed (whether personal or study-related).

Entry Requirements

Qualifications

The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.

A second class Honours degree (2:2 or above) or equivalent qualification in Microbiology or other biological science degree is required for entry onto this programme.

Please check the In My Country pages to find out if your degree is equivalent.

Please enter your country to view country-specific entry requirements.

English Language Requirements

To study for a Postgraduate Taught degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:

IELTS Academic:

OVERALL - 6.5 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 5.5; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0

TOEFL iBT:

OVERALL - 90 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 18; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21

PTE Academic:

OVERALL - 62 with: Listening - 51; Reading - 51; Speaking - 51; Writing - 54

Cambridge English Advanced & Proficiency:

OVERALL - 176 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 162; Speaking - 162; Writing - 169

Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Document Requirements

You will be required to supply the following documentation with your application as proof you meet the entry requirements of this degree programme. If you have not yet completed your current programme of study, then you can still apply and you can provide your Degree Certificate at a later date.

CV
an up-to-date CV/Resumé
Degree Certificate
a degree certificate showing your qualifications
Degree Transcript
a full transcript showing all the subjects you studied and the marks you have achieved in your degree(s) (original & official English translation)
Personal Statement
a detailed personal statement explaining your motivation for this particular programme

Fees and Funding

You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.

Fee information
Fee category Cost
Home / EU / RUK Students £6,700
Tuition Fees for 2019/20 Academic Year
International Students £20,000
Tuition Fees for 2019/20 Academic Year

Additional Fees

  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Funding Opportunities

The following options are available to support your studies. Please click the links for full details and eligibility criteria.

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.

Careers

The MSc Microbiology Programme will provide you with the academic, analytical and practical skills to assist you in to many careers.

Many of our graduates choose to continue in research careers and begin PhDs or become research scientists (research assistants or technicians). Our scientists have obtained posts in Universities, industry (including oil and gas), biotechnology and hospital diagnostic and pathology laboratories.

More generally, microbiologists can use their training in education, working in schools, colleges of further education and in Universities. Further opportunities are available to apply microbiology training in scientific publishing, in patent offices working on biological patents, in science outreach and contributing to the public understanding of microbiological issues.

Top Ten in UK for Microbiology

We are one of the top 10 UK Universities to offer a MSc Microbiology programme.

Our Experts

The programme will be delivered by an experienced, multidisciplinary team of internationally renowned experts in microbiology.

Other Experts
Dr Stefania Spano
Professor Ian Stansfield
Dr Allison Carrington
Dr Gordon Prescott
Dr Shona Fielding
Programme Coordinator
Dr Donna MacCallum

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

Facilities

Image for The Institute of Medical Sciences
The Institute of Medical Sciences

The Institute of Medical Sciences

Focused on developing future effective therapies, the Institute of Medical Sciences houses nearly 400 researchers and support staff working on cutting-edge biomedical subjects aimed at understanding the human body's response to infection and disease.

Image for Foresterhill Health Campus
Foresterhill Health Campus

Foresterhill Health Campus

The Foresterhill Health Campus is one of the largest clinical complexes in Europe which includes the Medical School, large teaching hospital, the Institute of Medical Sciences and the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health.

Image for Sir Duncan Rice Library
Sir Duncan Rice Library

Sir Duncan Rice Library

The University’s award winning Sir Duncan Rice Library is listed in the “Top 20 spellbinding University libraries in the World”. It contains over a million volumes, more than 300,000 e-books and 21,000 journals.

Find out more

Get in Touch

Contact Details

Address
Student Recruitment & Admissions Service
University of Aberdeen
University Office
Regent Walk
Aberdeen
AB24 3FX