MSc Clinical and Molecular Microbiology is ideal for biomedical scientists pursuing a career in diagnostic medicine, or students wishing to enter a research career and gain high-level skills in molecular medical microbiology.
You can choose to study this course full-time for one year or part-time for two years. Students wanting to register on a part-time basis must be affiliated to a NHS trust laboratory whereby they can attend academic lectures at the University of Nottingham on one day release per week from their place of work, and conduct their research project in their employer laboratory. We welcome applications from home, EU and international students.
The course aims to provide training in theoretical and practical aspects of medical microbiology with a focus on clinical methods for diagnosis and patient management and molecular biological techniques in research and diagnostic labs. 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.
On this course, you will learn state-of-the-art microbiology techniques, acquire a broad base of theoretical knowledge and gain hands-on practical experience in clinical microbiology. Lectures are delivered by national and international experts including academics and clinicians from the University of Nottingham as well as other leading institutions and relevant organisations.
In addition to taught modules, you will also undertake a 60-credit Research Project conducted over four months in the laboratory of a member of research staff within the school or faculty. This module will enable you to experience contemporary research methods by performing experiments, systematic reviews, or other research activities aimed at solving a specific biomedical problem or hypothesis. The Research Project is conducted during the spring semester and continues into the summer months.
The problem-based learning approach on the Applied Molecular Microbiology and Bacterial Pathogenesis and Infections modules 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.
All modules and module resources, such as lecture PowerPoints, podcasts and supporting literature are uploaded and accessed through Moodle, the University’s online virtual learning environment. The University has invested in the lecture capture software, Echo 360 which allows faithful recording of all lectures that are timetabled in University lecture rooms.
On completion of the course you will have acquired transferable skills such as:
- data management
- interpretation and presentation
- time management and organisation
- critical analysis
- effective verbal and written communication skills
- analytical and creative thinking
- Undertake a four-month research project in the laboratory of an academic within the School of Life Sciences or Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
- The course has received full accreditation by the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS)
- The School of Life Sciences has an excellent reputation for cutting-edge research in a range of biomedical and related fields – 95% of the School of Life Sciences research was deemed to be of international quality in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014
- The school has been awarded Athena SWAN Silver status. Athena SWAN champions good working practices to advance the representation of women in STEMM subjects
- Our alumni have varied prospects and inspirational careers – including working for NASA as a Planetary Protection Engineer
This course requires you to complete the following core modules:
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.
Core Research Methods: Transferable Skills
You will gain an understanding of how to plan, prepare and execute research in the field of molecular biology, microbiology immunology and genetics. As well as learning how to manage the various stages of research projects, you will gain experience presenting research data and preparing publications. This module will also enhance your ability to critically assess published literature and analyse data.
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.
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.
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.
You will undertake an individual piece of original research on a topic in building/environmental services engineering. You will be allocated a supervisor and moderator who are both normally members of staff within the department in order to provide guidance in choosing and carrying out the project, while the moderator helps judge the effectiveness of your understanding and presentation of work.
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
This course uses a variety of assessment methods that are adopted by the nature of the module.
Forms of assessment include:
- examinations – essay paper in the form of short answer questions (SAQ) and online multiple-format questions (MFQ)
- assessed coursework – both written and verbal
- practical examination in the Research Methods module
- viva voce examination for the Research Project module
MFQ for all taught course modules are delivered online through the University’s Rogo™ software which is accessed through the Student Portal. This allows each test to be marked by the software quickly and accurately.
The Core Research Methods: Molecular Techniques 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.
BlueCastle, 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 assessment results and tutorial records. Timetables are accessed through University central timetabling.
You will be expected to work both independently and as part of a group.
The course has full accreditation of the Institute of Biomedical Science (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.
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.
Some graduates will go on to do MRCPath exams, take up positions as trainee diagnostic microbiologists (biomedical scientists) or clinical scientists, or pursue higher degrees such as PhD or MD. Others gain employment in industry such as large pharmaceutical companies or other private enterprises.
The course is the choice for healthcare professionals of NHS England, Nottingham Trust. These trainees generally have previous experience of diagnostic microbiology but come to us either to increase their awareness of the uses of molecular biology in the diagnostic laboratory or to 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:
- Senior House Officer (SHO) in Medical Microbiology
- Research Technicians - Oncology
- Senior Registrar (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 Life Sciences, University of Nottingham
- Research Technician – School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Nottingham
- Research Scientist – Glaxo SmithKline
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.
Scholarships and bursaries
Government loans for masters courses
Masters student loans of up to £10,906 are available for taught and research masters courses. Applicants must ordinarily live in the UK or EU.
International and EU students
Masters scholarships are available for international and EU students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study. You must already have an offer to study at Nottingham to apply. Please note closing dates to ensure you apply for your course with enough time.
We provide guidance on funding your degree, living costs and working while you study. You can also access specific funding opportunities, entry requirements and other resources for students from specific countries.