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Biomedical Sciences (Medical Microbiology) (MSc)

Course Description

This course is designed to give you the opportunity to study and analyse the theoretical and practical basis of medical microbiology and many of the specialist areas within it. You will gain greater insight into the importance and role of medical microbiology, with an emphasis on cutting edge areas such as molecular diagnostics and genomics, emerging pathogens and antibiotic resistance.

You will study a range of core and option modules that will allow you to tailor studies to your own requirements. You will expand your knowledge of the basic science and analytical techniques relating to medical microbiology and gain an up-to-date understanding of the application of medical microbiology in bioscience/pharmaceutical research, as well as in diagnostic and therapeutic medicine. There will be an emphasis in the course on development of critical analysis skills in assessment of scientific literature and laboratory data. In addition you will have the opportunity to design and execute your own research project. The course team is supported by visiting lecturers who are practising scientists in the field, which helps to ensure that taught material is current and relevant.

Core Modules

• Clinical Aspects of Microbial Physiology and Chemotherapy
The module aims to enable you to analyse critically aspects of microbial physiology, metabolism and chemotherapy and relate these to appropriate areas of medical microbiology, such as pathogenicity, disease diagnosis, treatment and control.

• Infectious Diseases and Public Health
The module explores the factors determining the importance of infectious diseases and the role of surveillance in their control. You will develop a critical approach to contemporary literature on selected diseases, evaluating the relative importance of epidemiology, routine laboratory investigations, laboratory-based research, clinical diagnosis and control of infectious diseases.

• Molecular Science and Diagnostics
This module is designed to make you aware of the impact of molecular biology on the diagnosis of human diseases. You will critically review the technologies and determine the advantages and disadvantages associated with each diagnostic strategy. Issues of accuracy, implementation, ethics and safety will be addressed.

• Postgraduate Project
This module aims to enhance your skills of self-management, experimental design, critical analysis and interpretation of data, enabling you to present and justify your research.

• Postgraduate Research Methods
You will be able to develop your skills in information retrieval, critical analysis and presentation relevant to your research topic, and form a clear plan for your project.

Option Modules

• Automation in Biomedical Sciences
This module will explore the current and potential impact of laboratory automation on the practice of biomedical science in the context of diagnosis and research. You will explore automation from the perspectives of technology, quality, impact on skill requirements, cost/benefit and laboratory organisation. The module will include site visits to laboratories using state-of-the-art automation.

• Communicating Science
Introducing you to key concepts in science communication, its challenges, rewards and applications, this module is designed to incorporate scenarios related to your interests, such as health, drug discovery and water science. The roles of science and scientists in society and how the public perceives, interacts with and responds to the information produced by scientists are explored, with the history of communicating science used to contextualise current issues in disseminating information.

• Extended Postgraduate Project
This module gives you the opportunity to investigate an appropriate research topic, generate and critically analyse data, and present your results and discuss findings in the context of previously published work. The project proposed and undertaken must include rigorous and critical analysis of data with a high level of initiative. This module is intended for students wishing to gain greater research experience and includes an extended period of research activity and extended assessment regime.

• Immunopathology
You will analyse and discuss cellular and molecular aspects of innate and adaptive immune responses, and advances in modern methods for disease diagnosis and treatment. This will include strategies available for the diagnosis of inherited and acquired immunological disorders, normal and pathological immune responses to extracellular and intracellular pathogens, transplantation of organs and tissues, immune surveillance of tumours, autoimmune and immunodeficiency disorders.

• Molecular Bioinformatics
Bioinformatics is an exciting new discipline at the interface of computer science, information and biology and is playing a crucial role in the development of personalised medicine. From genome sequencing projects thigh to rational drug design protein engineering it offers great opportunities for enhancing our understanding of biology at the molecular level and for the developments of new therapeutics. Topics covered include: analysis of protein sequences and structure, modelling protein structure and function, rational drug design, protein structure predication and protein engineering.

• Principles of Molecular Medicine
The module provides you with a critical appreciation of the human genome, its regulation, functional significance of gene mutations and current approaches of identification of human genetic disorders. Topics covered include: molecular basis of host-pathogen interaction; molecular pathology of disease with simple genetics; molecular genetics of disease; complex systems, immunogenetics and disease; and molecular genetics of cancer.

• Systems Biology
This module will introduce the theoretical and practical underpinnings of systems biology. The emphasis is on studies of entire systems, assisted by the use of bioinformatics and how the knowledge from these may be applied to medicine. The module will examine databases and other resources as well as discuss issues key to the studies of entire systems.

Professional recognition

The course is accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS).

Associated careers

As well as gaining knowledge and skills in medical microbiology and other associated subject areas you will develop numerous other skills that are designed to make you competitive in the jobs market. Some students will already be working in healthcare and public health laboratories in the UK and overseas while others will be gaining the skills they need to work as a Biomedical or Clinical Scientist.

The course will also allow you to work in industry including the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors as well as regulatory affairs. You will also be well prepared for a career in research including further study at PhD level.


At Westminster, we have always believed that your University experience should be designed to enhance your professional life. Today’s organisations need graduates with both good degrees and employability skills, and we are committed to enhancing your graduate employability by ensuring that career development skills are embedded in all courses.

Opportunities for part-time work, placements and work-related learning activities are widely available, and can provide you with extra cash and help you to demonstrate that you have the skills employers are looking for. In London there is a plentiful supply of part-time work – most students at the University of Westminster work part time (or full time during vacations) to help support their studies.

We continue to widen and strengthen our links with employers, involving them in curriculum design and encouraging their participation in other aspects of career education and guidance. Staff take into account the latest data on labour market trends and employers’ requirements to continually improve the service delivered to students.

Visit the Biomedical Sciences (Medical Microbiology) (MSc) page on the University of Westminster website for more details!

Entry Requirements

You must have at least a BSc Honours in Biomedical Sciences or a closely related subject, a professional qualification of equivalent status and associated work experience or an equivalent qualification deemed suitable by the course team. If you are applying for part-time study, you will normally be working in a relevant area and will require written support from your employer including confirmation that facilities will be available in your workplace for you to carry out your research project. If your first language is not English you should have an IELTS score of at least 6.5, with 6.0 in each element.

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