This is a research-based degree, providing you with essential training in scientific research methodology and data analysis, as well as specific scientific techniques appropriate to the research microbiologist.
The course draws from the Department of Biological Sciences research strengths and expertise in cell biology of infectious diseases, host-parasite relationships and drug discovery across a wide range of infectious pathogens/bacteriology, mycology and parasitology. You will undertake a research project in the laboratories of internationally recognised researchers.
The programme consists of lectures and practicals, with a research project in the second year. All modules are compulsory.
Global infectious diseases are rarely out of the news, as new communicable diseases - Ebola, Zika, bird flu - along with some old familiar ones - tuberculosis (TB), cholera, HIV, malaria - raise concerns about outbreaks and global pandemics. In our ever-changing, rapidly globalising world, the free movement of people and goods, social change, urbanisation and environmental degradation mean that microorganisms can move quickly between and across populations, crossing natural and human-made borders with ease. A communicable disease that develops in one country has the potential for global impact. On top of this, microorganisms are constantly adapting and developing resistance to existing antibiotic and other treatments, leading to the resurgence of old diseases and the evolution of new ones.
In response, new and improved treatments are constantly required to combat parasitic, bacterial and viral infections. These pathogens have the potential to adversely affect the health of millions of people and they challenge scientists, particularly in the field of microbiology, to respond swiftly and preemptively.
This course is ideal if you have an undergraduate degree in a relevant scientific subject and you would like to develop an academic or professional career as a researcher into global infectious diseases. The course is research-focused and it will help you develop the research skills and subject-specific, laboratory-based expertise you need to develop as a microbiological researcher. You will develop the knowledge and learn the skills you need to undertake an original, independent research project and dissertation.
In addition to your own laboratory work, you will attend group laboratory meetings and seminars, to deepen your theoretical knowledge and practical skills, and to contextualise your research.
The research component of this degree occupies about two-thirds of the programme. The remaining third comprises postgraduate taught modules that will provide the necessary theoretical and practical background for you to pursue your chosen research topic.
You take the compulsory module Research in Microbiology (30-credit taught module, taught in the day), choose taught option modules (worth 30 credits) and complete a research project and dissertation (120 credits, full-time laboratory work, attendance at seminars, journal club, etc.).
The language and concepts of infection and immunity, from basic science to translational clinical research, are taught by our world-class investigators. The programme emphasises data interpretation, critical analysis of current literature and culminates in a full-time research project: excellent preparation for a research career.
The programme provides insight into state-of-the-art infection and immunity research, current issues in the biology of infectious agents, the pathogenesis, prevention and control of infectious diseases, and immunity and immune dysfunction.
Students learn from UCL scientists about their research and are trained in the art of research by carrying out a full-time research project in a UCL laboratory.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of five core modules (75 credits), three optional modules (45 credits) and a research dissertation (60 credits).
A Postgraduate Diploma comprising four core modules and four optional modules (120 credits, full-time nine months, part-time, flexible study two to five years) is offered.
A Postgraduate Certificate comprising four core modules (60 credits, full-time three months, and flexible study up to two years) is offered.
All MSc students undertake independent research which culminates in a 4,000-word dissertation.
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, tutorials, paper review sessions, laboratory practicals, an independent research project and self-directed learning. A diverse range of assessment methods is used; coursework may be in the form of presentations, essays, data interpretation exercises, poster preparation, and group working. Many modules also have unseen written examination.
Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Infection and Immunity MSc
The programme produces graduates who are equipped to embark on research careers. Immersion in the superb research and teaching environment provided by UCL and the Division of Infection & Immunity, gives our graduates a unique understanding of the cutting edge of infection and immunity research and how world-class research is carried out.
Opportunities for networking with UCL senior investigators with international reputations and their worldwide collaborators can provide the inside track for career development. Graduates are well placed to move onto PhD programmes, research positions in diverse biomedical fields, clinical research positions, further training and positions in associated professions.
Recent career destinations for this degree
Graduates are exceptionally well prepared for a career in research. The combination of research-informed teaching and practical research training provides an ideal preparation for a PhD and is equally applicable for clinicians seeking specialist training or wishing to pursue the clinical academic career track.
More broadly, a rigorous grounding in scientific method, critical analysis, data interpretation and independent thinking provides a pallet of marketable and transferable skills applicable to many professional career paths.
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
The UCL Division of Infection & Immunity is a vibrant and world-class research community. Students are embedded in this superb training environment which provides a challenging and stimulating academic experience.
Programme content reflects the research and clinical excellence within the division as well as cross-disciplinary research from all over UCL. First-class teaching and research supervision is provided by UCL academics, many of whom have international reputations.
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: Division of Infection & Immunity
80% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
Our Molecular Microbiology MRes is a research-based course with a taught component that is equivalent to an MSc. It provides a springboard into a career that involves a working knowledge of scientific research.
The course is designed for graduates with a BSc in the life sciences or other science disciplines, and for intercalating and fully qualified MBBS or BDS students. It can be taken either as a stand-alone qualification or as an entry route onto a PhD or MD.
The taught component of the course includes subject-specific content in the area of molecular microbiology. You have the flexibility to develop your own bespoke course by selecting additional, complementary modules. You will also participate in training in general research principles, and other professional and key skills.
A subject-based module in molecular microbiology focuses on how model organisms, representative of the diversity of the bacterial sub-kingdom, are helping to add clarity to central biological questions in bacteriology, such as the control and regulation of cell division and of gene expression.
Your research project comprises the major element of the course. This project will involve 24 weeks of research in an area of molecular microbiology under the supervision of an expert academic researcher in the field.
The course allows you to experience an internationally competitive research area, predominantly in academia but also potentially in industry.
Molecular Microbiology MRes is closely linked to a suite of MRes courses that you may also be interested in. See Programme information in our online Prospectus for full details.
Our Medical Sciences Graduate School is dedicated to providing you with information, support and advice throughout your research degree studies. We can help and advise you on a variety of queries relating to your studies, funding or welfare.
Our Research Student Development Programme supports and complements your research whilst developing your professional skills and confidence.
You will make an on-going assessment of your own development and training needs through personal development planning (PDP) in the ePortfolio system. Our organised external events and development programme have been mapped against the Vitae Researcher Development Framework to help you identify how best to meet your training and development needs.
Despite incredible advances in medicine, there is still plenty of work to be done in the 21st century to create healthier communities across the globe – and microbiologists are leading the way.
Tuberculosis and cholera still devastate populations around the world. New and deadly strains of influenza are appearing. Zika virus is spreading rapidly with warmer global temperatures – as are other parasitic diseases.
For almost a century, we’ve relied on vaccines and antibiotics to prevent and treat infectious disease. But as new pathogens emerge, and antimicrobial drug resistance spreads, innovative approaches are needed. The stakes for microbiologists are higher than ever.
GCU’s MSc Clinical Microbiology will give you the expertise you need to help conquer these challenges – building knowledge, advancing cures and contributing to the common good.
The curriculum takes a scientific approach to the field of clinical microbiology, keeping it career-focused with an emphasis on research and development.
The programme brings together lectures, seminars and practical laboratory classes, ensuring you’ll acquire both cutting-edge theoretical knowledge and hands-on practical skills. You’ll keep pace with the latest advances in microbiology – including the big breakthroughs happening now in the top microbiology labs across the world.
Finally, you’ll undertake a laboratory-based research project with real-world impact, practising the skills required of a successful independent researcher in clinical microbiology.
(Re)Emerging Infectious Disease; Microbial Pathogenicity; Medical Microbiology; Skills for Professional Practice for Biosciences; Applied Molecular Microbiology; Microbial Genetics; Case Studies in Infectious Diseases; and Research Project.
Through GCU’s MSc Clinical Microbiology, you will acquire the skills necessary for success in this highly competitive and important field.
With an understanding of this fast-changing sector and in-demand lab experience, our graduates make competitive candidates for jobs in health, medicine and life sciences, and in university and industry research departments. You’ll also be well prepared to pursue further study at the PhD level.
The taught Infection Biology MSc will help you to develop your knowledge and understanding of the molecular mechanisms by which bacteria, viruses and parasites cause disease in humans and in domesticated animals, and the immune responses generated by these hosts to such pathogens. You can choose to specialise in virology, microbiology (bacteriology) or parasitology.
The MSc programme will consist of five taught courses and a project or dissertation, spread over 11-12 months. Three courses are compulsory, and two are chosen from a series of options.
The PgDip programme will consist of five taught courses, spread over 7-8 months, with three compulsory courses and two chosen from a series of options.
The PgCert programme consists one core taught course over 3-4 months.
Teaching and learning methods
A variety of methods are used, including lectures, tutorials, workshops, laboratories and problem-based learning. These are supplemented by a wide range of course specific electronic resources for additional learning and self assessment. As a result, you will develop a wide range of skills relevant to careers in infection biology research, diagnostics or drug development. These skills include team-working, data interpretation and experimental design. You will use primary scientific literature as an information resource.
Our online resources were voted the best in the United Kingdom in the International Student Barometer in 2012, and include
About half of our MSc students enter a research career, mainly by undertaking further postgraduate research studies towards a PhD, or by working in research laboratories in clinical or academic settings, including national government laboratories.
Other students go on to work in the pharmaceutical, diagnostic or biotechnological industries.
Our long-running MSc Medical Microbiology course is ideal if you are a graduate looking to develop your skills as a microbiologist.
The course is unique because you will spend much of your time actually in the laboratory, learning how to be a microbiologist. You will cover the medical and molecular aspects of bacteriology, virology, mycology and immunity to infection.
We aim to give you a significant level of theoretical and practical understanding of the subject, which will be important if you want to follow a career in clinical sciences or academic and industrial research.
This course runs alongside our MSc Medical Virology course.
We aim to provide you with an understanding of the scientific basis of traditional and modern microbiological concepts.
In addition, you will develop the knowledge, specialist practical skills and critical awareness needed to pursue a career in medical microbiology.
This course is accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science and meets the requirements for registration with the Science Council as a Chartered Scientist (CSci).
Extensive practical learning
The lab-focused nature of this course means you will gain maximum exposure to both the practical and theoretical aspects of a wide range of clinically relevant pathogens, helping develop practical skills that are valued by potential employers.
Various study options
You can study either full-time or part-time on both the MSc and PGDip routes, enabling you to fit learning around your other commitments if needed.
You will typically carry out research projects within one of the microbiology, virology or mycology research groups. The close relationship between the diagnostic microbiology and virology services and the University department enable our research activities to be directly related to current relevant issues in medical microbiology.
This course is delivered by academics from the University and NHS specialists in infectious disease and medical microbiology.
You will learn via a range of methods, including lectures, seminars, tutorials and comprehensive practical classes.
We use both face-to-face sessions and blended learning methods, with some material delivered and assessed online.
Find out more by visiting the postgraduate teaching and learning page.
You will be assessed via continual assessment and formal theory and practical examinations.
The course consists of 120 credits of taught material and followed by a 60-credit research project (MSc only). There are shared and course-specific units across the Medical Microbiology and Medical Virology courses as follows:
MSc Medical Microbiology students should take Clinical Microbiology 1 and 2. Students wishing to have a more virology-focused curriculum should enrol on the MSc Medical Virology course and will take Clinical Virology 1 and 2.
All MSc students carry out a three-month research project after the taught components have been successfully completed.
Full-time (FT) students take the above units and research project in Year 1. Part-time (PT) students can undertake the MSc over two years, one full semester per year.
Our graduates typically find employment in the NHS and related organisations, or as medical microbiologists in industrial and pharmaceutical settings.
In addition, many graduates progress to PhD study and a research or academic career.
Our MSc is accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS).