Molecular Medical Microbiology MSc


Fact file

MSc Molecular Medical Microbiology
1 year full-time
Entry requirements
2.1 - upper second class UK honours bachelor degree (or international equivalent) from a recognised institution.
Other requirements
Applicants with a lower second class degree (or international equivalent) may be considered on an individual basis.
7.0 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses are available
Start date
Queen's Medical Centre
Tuition fees
You can find fee information on our fees table.


This fully accredited course provides training in theoretical and practical aspects of medical microbiology with particular emphasis on molecular biological techniques.
Read full overview

The MSc Molecular Medical Microbiology was set up to enhance the training of biomedical scientists pursuing a career in diagnostic medicine, and for those students wishing to enter a research career and gain high-level skills in molecular medical microbiology.

The course aims to provide training in theoretical and practical aspects of medical microbiology with particular emphasis on molecular biological techniques. You will gain basic and advanced knowledge of important viral, bacterial and parasitic infections and how these infections are diagnosed and treated in the clinic.

Students who have completed the course will acquire relevant transferable skills such as data management, interpretation and presentation, time management and organisation, critical analysis and effective verbal and written communication skills. In addition, your ability for analytical and creative thinking will also be improved whilst undertaking the course.

The course has full accreditation of the Institute of Biomedical Sciences (IBMS), which is a professional acknowledgement of the quality and relevance of the course to individuals employed as biomedical scientists. It helps career progression of biomedical scientists already employed and state registered, allowing those BMS1 technical officers to apply for promotion and higher grades.

Key facts

  • Together with the MSc Clinical Microbiology, the MSc Molecular Medical Microbiology is chosen by the Scottish Office to provide the necessary postgraduate training for their trainee Clinical Scientists in Microbiology.
  • The course has received full accreditation by the Institute of Biomedical Sciences (IBMS).
  • One of the many strengths of the course is the five-month research project that is conducted in the laboratory of an academic within the School or Faculty of Medicine and Healthcare Sciences.
  • The latest Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) confirmed the University of Nottingham's position as a world-class research-led institution. Over 60% of the University's RAE scores identified research as being of a level of international excellence. This achievement has helped put Nottingham in the world’s top 75 universities according to The Newsweek World University Rankings.
  • The research carried out within Molecular Medical Microbiology is recognised at an international level.

Course details

In addition to the taught modules, you will also undertake a 60-credit research project conducted over five months in the laboratory of a member research staff within the school or faculty. This module will enable you to experience contemporary research methods by designing a research programme and performing experiments, surveys, or other research activities aimed at solving a specific biomedical problem or hypothesis.

The MSc Molecular Medical Microbiology is taught on a full-time basis over one year.

This course comprises 180 credits, split across 120 credits worth of taught modules and a 60-credit Research Project - five of the taught modules are delivered through lectures or Problem Based Learning (PBL), while three modules involve student-centred learning methods in which you will direct and manage your teaching and learning.

The last module, the Research Project, is a practical module which allows an efficient cooperation between the student, bench supervisor and the principle investigator of the project, and provides you with hands-on experience of practical techniques and time management skills that you can develop during your research project.

We have recently introduced a problem-based learning (PBL) theme to the Applied Molecular Microbiology and Bacterial Pathogenesis and Infections modules. This allows you freedom for investigative research of a given topic. You can work as individuals, in pairs or collectively in groups to solve a problem.

Each student is allocated a personal tutor at the beginning of the course, and regular meetings are scheduled throughout the year. 

The research project module is conducted during the spring and summer semesters.

This course uses a variety of assessment methods that are adopted by the nature of the module. Forms of assessment include examinations - both essay and multiple-format questions, assessed coursework - both written and verbal, and a practical examination in the Microbial and Molecular Techniques module and a viva voce examination for the Research Project module.

Multiple choice assessments for all the five taught course modules are delivered online through Rogo software which is accessed through the Student Portal. This allows each test to be marked by the computer programme quickly and accurately.

The Research Methods module has an element of peer assessment where student members of the audience are invited to assess their colleagues’ performances according to set criteria and descriptors, and the research project dissertation will be written up as a scientific paper.

SOLAR, the student online learning and administrative system of the school can be accessed through the University portal and provides a central point for you to access your timetable, assessment results, tutorials and easy access to additional module resources and information provided by staff.

You will be expected to work both independently and as part of a group.



This course requires you to complete the following core modules: 

Introduction to Medical Microbiology (10 credits)

This module will highlight the properties and host range of various micro-organisms involved in infection such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites, and outlines the development of appropriate immune responses against these micro-organisms. This will give students the necessary foundations in medical microbiology.


Microbial and Molecular Technology (10 credits)

During the microbiology practicals students will gain experience in conventional techniques related to the characterisation of some important pathogens. From this they will appreciate the key features of bacterial identification and the spectrum of activity of commonly used antibiotics. The student will gain hands-on experience of a number of molecular biological techniques used in the study of microbial and molecular biological techniques.

Applied Molecular Microbiology (20 credits) 

This module aims to give the students a thorough understanding of the theory and potential applications of modern molecular biological techniques in diagnostic and research microbiology. This will be achieved via a series of lectures to provide theoretical support of the practical module, and problem based learning (PBL) to extend student knowledge on important topics in molecular microbiology related to diagnostic medicine.

Viral Pathogenesis and Infections (20 credits)

This module will illustrate how viruses interact with cells, what are the underlying molecular mechanisms of infection and replication, and how these interactions lead to clinical disease. Treatment options for a number of important viral pathogens will be discussed.

Bacterial Pathogenesis and Infections (20 credits) 

Initial lectures for this module will highlight the different mechanisms associated with disease pathogenesis for a selection of medically important bacteria. Subsequent lectures and tutorials will give students an understanding of clinical syndromes - a systematic approach, including the microbiology of important diseases of bacterial pathogens, diagnostic approaches and choice of antibiotic.

Prevention and Treatment of Infection (20 credits) 

This module will facilitate an understanding of antimicrobial therapies for the control of infection and disease. This will encompass studies of the action of specific antimicrobial compounds, mechanisms of resistance and the development of preventative and therapeutic vaccines.

Research Methods (10 credits)

The module is designed to facilitate the analysis of scientific literature through a critical appraisal of two independent research papers. The module will (1) encourage a critical approach to the principles and practice of laboratory research, (2) develop core skills necessary for the analysis of scientific data, and (3) develop key presentation skills of content and appropriate timing. 

Research Project (60 credits)

This module enables students to experience contemporary research methods by engaging them to implement a research programme and perform experiments, surveys, or other research activities aimed at solving a specific biomedical problem. Each student will be allocated an academic supervisor within the Faculty of Medicine and Healthcare Sciences whom they will discuss the research project prior to commencement. Students will first collect, analyse data, read and collate previous results relevant to their project, then embark on a period of research before preparing, writing and submitting a scientific paper. They will discuss their work with members of the research group and may be required by their research group to present a presentation of their work to the group. The form of the project may vary and it will be based on laboratory work, audit, patient studies or an extended literature review. The principal activities will be completion of the practical work and submission of a final report in the form of a scientific paper, and viva voce on their project work with an external and internal examiner.


In addition, you will be able to choose from one of the following optional modules: 

Scientific Review of Writing (10 credits)

In this optional module students will write a dissertation of approximately 4,000 words from a list of topics provided by academic staff. The primary aim of the module is the development of the students' ability to research a subject in depth, and to produce written and oral presentations.


Science, Technology and Business (10 credits)

This optional 10 credit module will introduce students to the importance of, and the processes involved in the commercialisation of science and technology. The content of the course is highly relevant in the current climate where Government is placing much evidence on the wealth creation process. The aims of the module are achieved by experiential learning.

Please note that all module details are subject to change.

We also provide some background material for students to look at prior to starting the course, to make sure that everyone is starting off from a similar level of knowledge. This material is delivered online, with quizzes that enable self-testing. The same software is used throughout the course to provide additional learning material.


For more details on our modules, please see the module catalogue.

The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. This list is an example of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.



Home/EU students 


The School of Life Sciences is offering a number of scholarships amounting to £1,000 each for students starting in September 2016.  To apply for these scholarships you need a copy of an acceptance letter confirming that you have a place to study.  This is a competitive scheme and students will be awarded on academic and individual merit.

The closing date is 12 mid-day (UK time) 12th August 2016.

Full details and application forms for these scholarships can be obtained by contacting:

Anita Purshottam
T: +44 (0)115 8232100

The Graduate School website at The University of Nottingham provides more information on internal and external sources of postgraduate funding.

Please also visit our funding pages.

International students

The School of Life Sciences is offering a number of scholarships amounting to £1,000 each for students starting in September 2016.  To apply for these scholarships you need a copy of an acceptance letter confirming that you have a place to study.  This is a competitive scheme and students will be awarded a scholarship on academic and individual merit.

The closing date is 12 mid-day (UK time) 24th June 2016.

Full details and application forms for these scholarships can be obtained by contacting:

Anita Purshottam
T:  +44 (0)115 8232100

Opportunities for funding may be available to overseas students through the International Office at The University of Nottingham. 
Please also visit our funding pages.


The MSc Molecular Medical Microbiology is very desirable for employers in both the private and public sectors. Our graduates go on to establish a range of successful careers. Many of them pursue a higher degree such as a PhD in very strong research laboratories in the UK, Europe or the US; others take up positions as trainee diagnostic microbiologists or Biomedical Scientists (BMS); while others gain employment in industry such as large pharmaceutical companies or other private enterprises.

The course is the choice for Trainee Clinical Scientists of NHS Education, Scotland. These trainees generally have previous experience of diagnostic microbiology but come to us to increase their awareness of the uses of molecular biology in the diagnostic laboratory and increase their understanding of current advances in medical microbiology.

Students from our full suite of MSc courses have gone on to a wide variety of positions - here are a few examples:

  • SHO in Medical Microbiology 
  • Research Technicians - Oncology 
  • SpR in Medical Microbiology 
  • PhD - London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine 
  • Infection Control Nurses 
  • NHS Clinical Scientists 
  • Regulatory Affairs Specialist - AMGEM Biotech 
  • PhD - School of Veterinary Sciences, University of Cambridge 
  • Clinical Trial Data Managers 
  • Application Specialist Biological Sciences - Japan 
  • Biomedical Scientists (BMS1) 
  • PhD - School of Molecular Medical Sciences, University of Nottingham
  • Research Technician - School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Nottingham 
  • Research Scientist – Glaxo SmithKline


Average starting salary and career progression

In 2014, 90.9% of postgraduates from the School of Life Sciences who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £23,717 with the highest being £40,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home and EU postgraduates, 2013/14.

Career prospects and employability

The acquisition of a masters degree demonstrates a high level of knowledge in a specific field. Whether you are using it to enhance your employability, as preparation for further academic research or as a means of vocational training, you may benefit from  careers advice as to how you can use your new found skills to their full potential. Our Careers and Employability Service will help you do this, working with you to explore your options and inviting you to attend recruitment events where you can meet potential employers, as well as suggesting further development opportunities, such as relevant work experience placements and skills workshops.  



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