Students progressing toward the MSc need to complete 180 credits, consisting of 120 credits of taught modules and a 60-credit Research Project.
All modules are compulsory.
Introduction to Medical Microbiology
You will gain the necessary foundations in medical microbiology through this introductory module, through studying the properties and host range of various micro-organisms involved in infection, as well as the development of appropriate immune responses.
Viral Pathogenesis and Infection
This module illustrates how viruses interact with cells, what are the underlying molecular mechanisms of infection and replication, and how these interactions lead to clinical disease.
An overview of the major bacterial, fungal and parasitic human pathogens of clinical importance is provided on this module.
Pathogens covered may include: Campylobacter jejuni; Legionella pneumophila; Staphylococcus aureus; Helicobacter pylori; Anaerobes of Clinical Importance; Coagulase negative Staphylococci; Haemophilus spp.; Listeria monocytogenes; Burkholderia and Stenotrophomonas; Pseudomonas aeruginosa; Yeast and yeast-like fungi; Filamentous and dimorphic fungi; Vibrionacea; Pathogenic Neisseria Spp.; Streptococcus pneumoniae; Group A Streptococci; Mycobacterium tuberculosis and atypical mycobacteria; Enterococcus; Escherichia coli; Enterobacteriaceae; Leishmania and Trypanosoma; Protozoa (Intestinal, Toxoplasma, Trichomonads and Amoebae); Bacillus Spp.
Diagnostic Microbiology and Laboratory Methods
Based on the campus based practical module, you will gain an understanding of conventional and molecular methods applied in routine and specialised laboratories – for the diagnosis of bacterial, fungal and parasitic infections using short videos, recorded podcasts and working case studies. You will study diagnostic microbiology, from specimen to final report: blood, cerebro-spinal fluid, respiratory, enteric, urinary and other tissue specimens.
Specimens from sterile sites and agar-based detection methods, such as molecular diagnostics and antibiotic sensitivity testing, are also covered by this module.
Research Methods and Statistics
The overall aim of this module is to ensure that the trainee has the underpinning knowledge of the importance of research, development and innovation across the NHS and in healthcare science in particular and to provide the underpinning knowledge for the research project.
Topics will include experimental research methods, statistics and critical analysis of data.
Clinical Syndromes in Infectious Disease
You will develop the ability to apply a clinical syndrome-focused view of important infectious diseases. This module is delivered primarily using lectures on clinical and scientific aspects of: bacterial, fungal and parasitic infections; management of infectious diseases; organ-based microbiology; management of the laboratory service and the management of human and financial resources.
Content includes: respiratory infections; anaerobes of clinical importance; bone and joint infections; STDs; pathogenesis of foodborne bacterial diseases; infections of travellers and rickettsiae; epidemiological, clinical and laboratory aspects of pneumonia due to atypical pathogens; cystic fibrosis; malaria; endocarditis and HACEK; septicaemia and bacteraemia; blood cultures; skin and soft tissue infection; central nervous system infections; UTIs; pyrexia of unknown origin; and infection in the immunocompromised host.
Prevention and Treatment of Infection
This module facilitates an understanding of antimicrobial therapies for the control of infection and disease – encompassing the study of the action of specific antimicrobial compounds, mechanisms of resistance and the development of preventative and therapeutic vaccines.
Infection Control and Public Health
This module examines aspects of:
- hospital infection control including: infection control team; infection control manual; sterilisation and dis-infection; surveillance and antibiotic policy
- alert organisms including MRSA, vancomycin-resistant enterococcus and multi-drug resistant bacteria, such as gram negatives and mycobacteria
- epidemiology and public health, as well as the management of natural, man-made or deliberate outbreaks in the community
- national and regional bodies and their roles, such as: the Health Protection Agency – with special reference to HPUS – the Centre for Infections, reference laboratories, Strategic Health Authorities, Primary Care Trusts, local authorities and Public Health.
- health professionals and their roles: Consultant in Communicable Disease Control, Health Protection Specialist, regional epidemiologists, district nurses, school nurses, environmental health officers
- reference facilities and their uses – through practical sessions on typing schemes, water and environmental microbiology, as well as antibiotic resistance monitoring
On this 60 credit module you will design and execute a research programme – performing experiments, surveys, analysing data and undertaking other research activities aimed at solving a specific biomedical problem in the subject area you are studying. You will discuss the research project with your academic supervisor before the project begins.
As well as gaining the technical and project management skills required for contemporary research, you will develop the ability to write scientific texts through producing a dissertation based on your research findings. This report is discussed with academic staff during an oral examination.
The topic and form of project may vary from laboratory-based work, bioinformatics or extended literature reviews, depending on the expertise of our academic staff and which course you are enrolled on.
The above is a sample of the typical modules that we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. This course page may be updated over the duration of the course, as modules may change due to developments in the curriculum or in the research interests of staff.
Teaching methods and assessment
You will be taught through a blended learning approach, using different mediums such as:
- PowerPoint presentations
- interactive learning materials
- lecture notes and handouts
Materials are prepared by a panel of leading national and international experts including:
- academics from the University of Nottingham
- experts in their respective fields from other leading institutions
- practicing healthcare professionals working in the National Health Service (NHS), Public Health England and other relevant bodies
The online learning environment also supports development of online networks to facilitate communication between students on the course and the tutors.
It is assessed similarly to the campus based Clinical and Molecular Microbiology course. Thus the majority of the modules are taught by on-line examination through Rogo. Either MCQ or SAQ papers. The course is also taught through coursework, such presentations and written dissertations. There is also a vive voce examination through skype of the research project.
You'll gain a wide range of knowledge and skills relating to clinical microbiology including:
- knowledge of key human infections, with particular emphasis on medically important bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites
- management of patients with infections
- diagnostic tests carried out in routine and specialised laboratories
- anti-microbial chemotherapy
- infection control and management of outbreaks in hospitals and the community
- research in clinical microbiology and transferable (generic) research methods
- capability to assess and provide leadership in investigating complex clinical scenarios relating to infection
- analyse and critically assess scientific data and make decisions on their significance
- understand, assess and assist in management and prevention of outbreaks of communicable diseases
- independently acquire knowledge and utilise it for applied or research purposes
- recognise signs and symptoms of infection and manage patients effectively
- process laboratory specimens competently and offer sound advice on diagnostic issues
- carry out audit and surveillance to monitor infection and antibiotic resistance in hospitals and community
- investigate and manage outbreaks of infection in hospitals and community
In addition, you will gain the following transferable skills:
- plan and organise workload and time
- use available resources (computer programmes, specialised services etc) effectively
- undertake self-education and analytical self-assessment
Our MSc graduates are very much in demand by employers in both the private and public sectors and have the opportunity to establish successful careers in a range of areas.
The Clinical Microbiology MSc (Distance Learning) enables you to acquire advanced knowledge of molecular and clinical microbiology to prepare you for hospital-based clinical microbiology, infectious disease and public health positions. In addition, you will gain numerous transferable skills which are applicable to a wide variety of vocations and career opportunities.
Many UK-based students will go on to do FRCPath exams, take up positions as trainee diagnostic microbiologists (Biomedical Scientists) or Clinical Scientists, or pursue higher degrees such as PhD or MD.
Students from our microbiology courses have found employment and further training in a very wide variety of positions, including:
- Senior House Officer in Medical Microbiology
- Research Technician in Oncology
- Senior Registrar 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 Manager
- Application Specialist in Biological Sciences (Japan)
- Biomedical Scientists (BMS1)
- PhD (School of Molecular Medical Sciences, University of Nottingham)
- Research Technician (School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Nottingham)
Average starting salary and career progression
94.9% of postgraduates from the School of Life Sciences secured work or further study within six months of graduation. £21,400 was the average starting salary, with the highest being £40,000.*
* Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates who were available for employment, 2016/17. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.
Careers support and advice
We offer individual careers support for all postgraduate students whatever your course, mode of study or future career plans.
You can access our Careers and Employability Service during your studies and after you graduate. Expert staff will help you research career options and job vacancies, build your CV or résumé, develop your interview skills and meet employers.
More than 1,500 employers advertise graduate jobs and internships through our online vacancy service. We host regular careers fairs, including specialist fairs for different sectors.