Microbiology, MSc

Microbiology, MSc

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.

Study Information

Study Options

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

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.

This programme is available to start in September or January.

Available Programmes of Study

MSc

Microbiology

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

Programme Fees

Fee information
Fee category Cost
EU / International students £27,000
Tuition Fees for 2024/25 Academic Year
UK £12,200
Tuition Fees for 2024/25 Academic Year

Stage 1

Compulsory Courses

You will study four compulsory courses: MT5010 Basic Skills – Induction (0 credit points), PD5006, MC5009, PU5017

Plus one or both of the following: MB5021 Bioinformatics or BT5014 Biotechnology

Current Microbiology (MC5009)

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), academic and practical understanding of laboratory techniques required for the culture, identification and characterisation of microbes, and increased confidence in reading and critiquing primary research literature.

Please note that some of the material on this course may describe animal research and/or may discuss disease outbreaks.

Applied Statistics (PU5017)

15 Credit Points

This course in Applied Statistics focuses on the application of statistical techniques in postgraduate research for health professionals, with a particular emphasis on the correct interpretation of statistical analyses results. The course will NOT focus on the statistical theory underlying the subject. An important component of the course is the use of a statistical package (IBM SPSS), which can be used to implement all the methods taught on this course.

Getting Started at the University of Aberdeen (PD5006)

This course, which is prescribed for all taught postgraduate students, is studied entirely online, takes approximately 5-6 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks.

Topics include orientation overview, equality and diversity, health, safety and cyber security and how to make the most of your time at university in relation to careers and employability.

Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’.

Biotechnology (BT5014)

15 Credit Points

Modern biotechnology is absolutely dependent upon our increasingly sophisticated ability to use microbial and mammalian host cells as factories to produce high quantities of protein pharmaceuticals, e.g. insulin. Increasingly, cells engineered with multiple foreign genes are also being used to drive small molecule drug production. This course will explore how such heterologous protein expression processes can be engineered and optimised to drive efficient synthesis of the next generation medicines on which healthcare systems are increasingly depending.

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 a series of in-depth workshops that teach the principles and practice of next generation sequence analysis, transcriptomics, proteomics and sequence similarity analysis.

Optional Courses

Choose one of the following (if additional credits required):

Molecular Genetics (MB5025)

15 Credit Points

The course provides a detailed exploration of the structure and function of genes at the molecular and biochemical level. It covers the analysis of genome activity from the 3D structure of chromosomes through to RNA and DNA-protein interactions. The course will provide you with a thorough understanding of the approaches and molecular biology techniques used in modern molecular genetics research and its applications in gene editing and gene therapies.

Profiles of Immunology (MB5028)

15 Credit Points

Today, the profound influence of novel immunotherapies to treat cancers, autoimmune disease, infection and even to maintain transplant survival strategies means that a good understanding of basic immunology is valuable in many aspects of Biomedical Science. This course provides background knowledge of the innate and adaptive immune system and how that understanding is being used in a range of disease scenarios to provide new therapeutic options for patients.

Stage 2

Compulsory Courses

Students complete two compulsory courses:

  • MB5518 and MB5516

Plus one or both of the following:

  • MB5522 and/or
  • BT5511: Advanced Biotechnology with Computation
Research Tutorials (MB5518)
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 working as a group to review a specific disease selected by the students. In addition, students will enhance their ability to work within teams and will develop their skill in academic writing, creating a group-written review article.

Course workshops discuss experimental design for analysis of host-pathogen interactions, virulence and evaluation of novel drug treatments.

The course materials will enable students to develop and refine their understanding of the roles of host and pathogen in infectious disease.

Please note that some of the material on this course may describe animal research and/or may discuss disease outbreaks.

Advanced Bioinformatics and Genome Sequencing (MB5522)

15 Credit Points

An exciting course that brings a student right up to date with bioinformatics, genome assembly and annotation technology. You, the student, will analyse the genome of an unknown bacterium from the environment. The genome of this isolate has been extracted and whole genome sequenced. You will assemble your own bacterial genome and functionally annotate it, taught by expert bioinformaticians from our Centre for Genome-Enabled Biology and Medicine. Your analysis will enable you to identify the species you have isolated, produce a full inventory of genes and their presumptive functions, allowing an exploration of the antibiotic resistance potential of the bacteria. Overall, the course prepares a student for future employment in a biosciences' workplace, where genome sequencing, assembly and annotation is becoming an everyday tool of modern biotechnology.

Advanced Biotechnology with Computation (BT5511)

15 Credit Points

This course will take the student through in-depth study of how synthetic biology, systems biology and computation are transforming the principles and practice of modern biotechnology. The course will teach modern methods of biotechnology including host cell design and optimisation using modern modelling techniques, leading to an understanding of how multiple genes under precise regulatory control can be introduced into a species to endow it with new biotechnologically valuable properties. The course will demonstrate the application of computer programming to bioinformatic analysis with direct relevance to modern biotechnology.

Through hands on study of synthetic biological processes in a series of workshops, students will learn how advanced genetic engineering of host expression systems can transform production of pharmaceuticals, chemical feedstocks and biofuels. Through workshop study of computer programming, students will gain hands-on knowledge of introductory programming skills relevant to genomic analysis and modern biotechnology. The course will equip students with a range of knowledge and skills directly relevant to modern biosciences, including the biotechnology industry.

Optional Courses

If additional credits are required students can choose one of the following:

Biologic Drug Discovery (BT5509)

15 Credit Points

Biologic therapies represent one of the most important and novel areas of drug discovery in the 21st century. The aim of this course is to provide an insight into the success of protein, peptide or antibody based biologic therapies and to examine how this exciting new area will develop over the next decade.

Advanced Genomic Tools in Biomedical Research (MB5528)

15 Credit Points

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

Contains material detailing a range of examples of advanced genomic tools and technologies and their applications in biomedical science.

A course that makes wide use of the literature, allowing you to read about and understand the latest genomics-based methods.

A course placing a high value on its teaching and learning; lecture material supported by workshops – your chance to put knowledge into practice, ask questions and enjoy the science.

Stage 3

Compulsory Courses

Students must complete one research project.

Masters Research Project (Laboratory) (MB5904)

60 Credit Points

This course offers students the opportunity to complete a substantial piece of data-driven, empirical work within their field of study under the supervision of an experienced researcher.

Topics available will be varied but within the domain of their field of study. Alongside supervisors, students will identify a suitable topic area, describe an appropriate study design and implement an empirical study to be completed within a laboratory setting. Students will be involved alongside the supervisors in the process of defining the research question, and developing the research plan and, where appropriate, obtaining regulatory approvals. This course is for laboratory-based projects (if you are intending to undertake a project in non-laboratory setting you should register on PU5913)

Masters Research Project (PU5922)

60 Credit Points

This course offers students the opportunity to complete a substantial piece of data-driven, empirical work within their field of study under the supervision of an experienced researcher.

Topics available will be varied but within the domain of their field of study. Alongside supervisors, students will identify a suitable topic area, describe an appropriate study design and implement an empirical study to be completed within a laboratory setting. Students will be involved alongside the supervisors in the process of defining the research question, and developing the research plan and, where appropriate, obtaining regulatory approvals. This course is for non-laboratory based projects (if you are intending to undertake a project in a scientific laboratory setting you should register on MB5913)

MSc 12 months On Campus Learning Full Time January Aberdeen More

Fees for individual programmes can be viewed in the Programme(s) above.

We will endeavour to make all course options available. However, these may be subject to change - see our Student Terms and Conditions page.

Fee Information

Additional Fee Information

  • Fees for individual programmes can be viewed in the Programmes section above.
  • 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 Tuition Fees page.

Scholarships

Self-funded international students enrolling on postgraduate taught (PGT) programmes will receive one of our Aberdeen Global Scholarships, ranging from £3,000 to £8,000, depending on your domicile country. Learn more about the Aberdeen Global Scholarships here.

To see our full range of scholarships, visit our Funding Database.

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, reports and by examination. Candidates will present the results of their research project in an oral presentation and as a thesis and may be required to attend an oral examination with the external examiner. Candidates must pass all courses at an appropriate standard for the award of the MSc degree.

Why Study Microbiology?

  • 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.
  • Teaching on the course is delivered by world renowned researchers including staff from the Aberdeen Fungal Group.

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 - 6.0; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0

TOEFL iBT:

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

PTE Academic:

OVERALL - 62 with: Listening - 59; Reading - 59; Speaking - 59; Writing - 59

Cambridge English B2 First, C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency:

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

Aberdeen Global Scholarship

Eligible self-funded postgraduate taught (PGT) students will receive the Aberdeen Global Scholarship. Explore our Global Scholarships, including eligibility details, on our dedicated page.

Aberdeen Global Scholarships

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.

Our Experts

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

Other Experts
Professor Ian Stansfield
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. However, these may be subject to change - see our Student Terms and Conditions page.

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.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

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