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MSc Veterinary Microbiology

Course Description

This novel programme is run in partnership with local world-leading veterinary research institutes the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) and the Pirbright Institute.


Our MSc Veterinary Microbiology programme will provide you with an in-depth understanding of veterinary infectious diseases and their associated impact on man. As well as taught components, it offers specialist practical training in the diagnosis of important viral and bacterial diseases of global importance.

Visit the website http://www.surrey.ac.uk/postgraduate/veterinary-microbiology

Programme overview

On this programme, you will acquire an excellent grounding in molecular biology, immunology and microbiology relevant to the study of veterinary microbiology. This will lead on to the study of the complex mechanisms of host/microbe interactions that are involved in the pathogenesis of specific animal diseases, and will provide insights into diagnosis and interventions, such as vaccines, essential for disease control.

The MSc has been designed to increase your understanding and development of critical and analytical skills, such that you may identify problems, formulate hypotheses, design experiments, acquire and interpret data, and draw conclusions.

You will have the unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the diagnosis of important veterinary diseases within the world reference laboratories of the APHA and Pirbright Institute (PI). There will also be an opportunity to visit Public Health England (PHE) to gain a detailed knowledge of how zoonotic diseases outbreaks are investigated, and to visit the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD), a livestock abattoir and an intensive livestock farm. Colleagues from the CEFAS laboratory will also contribute to the programme, and further research training will be provided during your practical research project.

This is a full or part-time programme, intended mainly for graduates, those already working in veterinary diagnostic/research laboratories and staff from other laboratories who want to enhance their understanding of the role of microorganisms in animal health and disease. Pharmaceutical research personnel, policymakers, veterinarians, public health personnel and environmental biologists will also benefit.

Programme structure

The programme consists of nine taught modules totalling 135 credits, practical modules (split over two/three weeks) worth 15 credits, and a research project worth 30 credits.

Most modules are offered as standalone short courses. The fee structure for short courses is different to that for registered students, and details may be obtained via admissions enquiries, please refer to the contact details on this page.

- Part-time study

The option to study the MSc on a part-time basis is only available following successful completion of three modules as stand-alone/CPD. Please contact the Faculty Student Services Team for further information: .


• Microbiology and Veterinary Immunology
• Microbial Genetics
• Molecular Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases
• Transmission and Control of Infectious Diseases of Animals (Non-Vector)
• Transmission and Control of Infectious Diseases of Animals (Vector)
• Infectious Diseases of Animals (Practical Session PI/APHA/Public Health England)/ Veterinary Medicines Directorate)
• Diseases of Animal Systems: Gastro-intestinal Diseases of Animals
• Diseases of Animal Systems: Respiratory Diseases of Animals
• Diseases of Animal Systems: Multi-systemic Diseases of Animals
• Diseases of Animal Systems: CNS and Skin Diseases of Animals
• Veterinary Microbiology Research Project

Teaching and assessment

Each taught module will be assessed by examination and/or coursework. This may take the form of essays, data manipulation and analysis, practical reports, presentations, multiple choice questions or literature searches.

Programme objectives

The programme leads to the award of Master of Science. It will provide advanced training in veterinary microbiology for those working in veterinary research, veterinary medicine, disease control, veterinary public health, all branches of microbiology and environmental health. The programme has been designed to increase your understanding and development of critical and analytical skills, such that you may identify problems, formulate hypotheses, design experiments, acquire and interpret data, and draw conclusions. Upon successful completion of the programme, you will have a greater depth of knowledge of animal infectious diseases and research skills.

Why study Veterinary Microbiology?

- The programme is unique in being run jointly with local world-leading veterinary research institutes the APHA and the PI. It also provides you with the unique opportunity to undertake practical training and a research project within these laboratories

- The programme covers both endemic and exotic animal diseases, with much of the teaching by experts from the APHA and the PI which host WHO and OIE reference laboratories

- You will gain a broad appreciation of subjects such as biological and pathogenic properties of microorganisms, their role in health and disease of animals (and indirectly humans), the response of the host to infection, and the scientific basis for the detection, control and anti-microbial treatment of infectious diseases

- You will learn about the latest advances in research that are contributing to our understanding of animal health and disease

- You will be uniquely positioned as a veterinary microbiologist to contribute to a number of scientific disciplines including animal, human and environmental health issues

- You will acquire knowledge that provides a global perspective on animal and zoonotic diseases and gain unique insights into how to control diseases that have social, economic and political impact

- The programme offers flexibility in the method of study, allowing you to meet personal and professional commitments. You may choose to undertake the whole MSc at once or build up modules over time (up to five years)

- You will benefit from the facilities at the University’s new School of Veterinary Medicine, which opened in October 2015

- The University of Surrey has a long tradition as an international university and you will have access to all the facilities that such an institution can provide

Academic staff associated with the programme have research expertise in the fields of microbial physiology and biochemistry, molecular biology, virology, mycology, parasitology, bacteriology, food microbiology, immunology, toxicology, nutrition, veterinary microbiology, pathology and epidemiology.

Find out how to apply here - http://www.surrey.ac.uk/apply/postgraduate

Visit the MSc Veterinary Microbiology page on the University of Surrey website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Sarah Bolger

“Although the demands on my time and energy were challenging, I received unbeatable support from the team at Surrey.”

Sarah, a Practice Development Midwife with 15 years’ experience as a qualified nurse and 11 years’ experience as a qualified midwife, explains how a Masters from the University of Surrey has boosted her career prospects.

“I wanted a course that would enable me to consolidate my previous experience and give me the qualification I needed for career progression. I chose the University of Surrey because it offers higher education as part of a contract with local Trusts. I was also looking to study at a university that could rival others at a national and even an international level.

The most challenging aspect of the course was juggling my academic work, working for the Trust and family life. The impact of studying for a Masters on family life can never be underestimated, so time management is key. For me, this often meant studying in the evening, which after a long day at work was gruelling.

Although the demands on my time and energy were challenging, I received unbeatable support from the team at Surrey. The emphasis wasn’t on taking away my challenges, but providing me with guidance so I could find a path that enabled me to achieve my full potential.

Now I have completed the course, the sense of achievement I have is immeasurable. At Surrey, you’re encouraged to think outside the box and consider new ideas.

Based on the results of my Masters, I have been awarded a full-time funded PhD studentship at Surrey. It’s thanks to the experience I had during my Masters that I had the confidence to even apply.”


Discounts for Surrey graduates - No. of awards TBC

If you are a self-funded UK, EU or international student who has studied for an undergraduate degree at the University of Surrey campus in Guildford, you could be eligible for a ten per cent discount on our taught postgraduate Masters programme fees. This scheme is for applicable to Postgraduate Taught entry students only and is reviewed annually.Students who graduated in 2013 are eligible, as well as alumni from previous years, on receipt of evidence of the award from Surrey and where we can identify that you actually studied in Guildford. Students from SII-DUFE are eligible for this scheme.Associated Institution students are not eligible. Not available to modular self-pacing students.

Value of Scholarship(s)

10% tuition fee discount


Self-funded UK, EU or international student who has studied for an undergraduate degree at the University of Surrey campus in Guildford

Application Procedure

If you have any enquiries regarding this matter please contact the Student Fees and Funding Office on [email protected]

Entry Requirements

Applicants should normally possess at least a 2.2 honours degree in a relevant subject (biosciences) or a degree in medicine or veterinary medicine. However, relevant research experience may also be considered. Selection will be based upon the candidate’s application, references and an informal interview. In special circumstances, a student may be set work for assessment before being offered a place on the programme.English language requirements-IELTS minimum overall: 7.0-IELTS minimum by component: 6.5

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