Expand your knowledge of some of the planet's most dominant life forms, and take part in research projects with a global impact.
As part of the UK's oldest microbiology department you can develop laboratory skills in purpose-built microbiology facilities and be taught by world-leading experts, with particular strengths in virology and bacteriology. Furthermore, you will benefit from membership of the Society for General Microbiology and strong links with industry.
Through the course, you will learn about the fundamental properties, genetics and physiology of diverse microbes. Options will then allow you to focus on areas that most interest you, including medical, environmental or food microbiology. You will also have the chance to carry out a year-long industrial placement or a paid vacation studentship in order to gain valuable work and research experience.
BSc Microbiology has a strong practical basis, and you will learn a wide variety of techniques such as microbial genetics, biochemistry and propagation. During your final year you will have the chance to spend three months working on an original research project of your choice. Recent projects have included the molecular engineering of viruses, and the mechanisms of bacterial pathogenicity and host colonisation.
In your final year you will also have the opportunity to take part in our unique Arctic microbiology field course in Iceland. There you will be able to examine the unusual microbes that inhabit extreme environments and learn field-based sampling techniques.
You will have the opportunity to carry out a year-long industrial placement between your second and final year. Student in previous years have worked at Public Health England’s Porton Down and Colindale laboratories, GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca and Covance. You can also choose to spend a year abroad, typically carrying out research in an academic laboratory.
You will be able to undertake paid vacation studentships funded by organisations such as the Wellcome Trust and the Society for General Microbiology. These can take place over six weeks during the summer break, or be carried out part-time over a longer period. During studentships you will typically work on a set project and benefit from valuable training in techniques, experimental design and the interpretation of data.
Additionally, you can take a work placement module.
Our department has a dedicated academic in charge of placements, who can provide you with advice and support.
Subject to the Government passing legislation to raise the minimum fee cap, we will raise undergraduate tuition fees from £9,000 to £9,250 for new UK/EU students applying to start courses in the 2017/18 academic year. You will not be affected by this rise if you have deferred entry to the 2017/18 academic year. The Government will confirm future arrangements for EU students in due course.
The tuition fee will remain £9,000 per year for the full duration of this course if you start in the 2016/17 academic year or have accepted an offer but deferred your entry until the 2017/18 academic year. This is unlike other institutions who are planning to raise fees midway through courses.
These course fees cover the cost of your tuition. Some courses will require additional payments for field trips and extra resources. You will also need to budget for your accommodation and living costs. See our information on living costs for more details.
Financial support for your studies
You may be eligible for a scholarship or bursary to help pay for your study. Students from the UK and other EU countries may also be eligible for a student loan to help cover these costs. See our fees and funding information for more information on what's available.
What career can you have?
What career can you have?
BSc Microbiology graduates have a range of transferable skills that make them highly employable in both scientific and non-scientific job sectors. Additionally, graduates can become members of the Society of Biology and apply for Chartered Biologist status.
You can move on to a career as a researcher or scientist. You may also decide to move on to further study or a research studentship at a British or international university. Recent graduates have gone on to work for organisations such as such as the Medical Research Council, Royal Berkshire Hospital, South East Water, ThermoFisher and Nexus Support.