Triangle

Course overview

Learn state-of-the-art microbiology techniques, acquire a broad base of theoretical knowledge and gain hands-on practical experience in clinical microbiology. This masters programme is ideal for NHS staff looking to expand their understanding of microbiology in a hospital or clinical setting.  

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'll gain basic and advanced knowledge of important viral, bacterial and parasitic infections and how these infections are diagnosed and treated in the clinic.

Part-time for NHS trust laboratory workers

You can choose to study this course full-time for one year or part-time for two years. If you wish to register on a part-time basis, you must

  • be affiliated to an NHS trust laboratory and be able to attend academic lectures at the University of Nottingham on one day release per week from your place of work.
  • conduct your research project in your employer's laboratory.

We welcome applications from home, EU and international students.

Why choose this course?

We're accredited

The course has received full accreditation by the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS)

Novel research project

Undertake a four-month research project in the laboratory within the faculty.

International Research

95% of the School of Life Sciences research was deemed to be of international quality.

Research Excellence Framework 2014

9th for research power

The School of Life Sciences was ranked 9th for research power in our unit of assessment.

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014

Gold-standard teaching

Our teaching is recognised as the highest standard

Course content

During this course, you'll be able to choose between two specialist pathways: 

  • Clinical - this pathway enables you to learn more about infectious diseases and classical laboratory-based methods of diagnosis.
  • Molecular - this pathway is ideal for those who are interested in molecular microbiology research and development.

In addition to 120 credits of taught modules, you'll 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.

Modules

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 Research Skills 10 credits

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.

Human Pathogens

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.

Research project

Research Project 60 credits

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.

Clinical pathway

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.

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.

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

Molecular pathway

Bacterial Pathogenesis and Infections

This introductory module will enable you to obtain practical experience in using bioinformatics software available for the analysis of genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic data.

The module is taught using a combination of lectures and practical sessions. You are required to produce a poster for assessment which includes information gathered from online databases about a particular gene or disease.

Core Research Methods: Molecular Techniques

During these practical laboratory sessions, you will gain experience of standard techniques related to laboratory research in the fields of immunology, microbiology and molecular genetics. From this, you will appreciate the workflow of gene cloning, followed by sequence analysis of genes and their variability, as well as cloning and expression of recombinant proteins.

Applied Molecular Microbiology 10 credits

This module provides you with the opportunity to gain an understanding of the theory and potential applications of molecular biological techniques in diagnostic and research microbiology. You'll do this by completing a series of problem-based learning activities.

The above is a sample of the typical modules 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. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Wednesday 02 March 2022.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

  • Lectures
  • Problem-based learning
  • Practical classes
  • Tutorials

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.

How you will be assessed

  • Examinations
  • Coursework
  • Practical exams
  • Presentation
  • Dissertation

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.

Contact time and study hours

As a guide, one credit equals approximately 10 hours of work. For the taught-stage of the course, you will spend approximately a third of your time (around 400 hours) in lectures, tutorials, workshops, practical classes, including the directed study which is necessary in preparation for workshops/practical classes. The remaining time will be completed as independent study. Tutorial sessions are built into the timetable and there are several group and individual meetings timetabled throughout the year. Additional meetings can be requested as needed.

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2022 entry.

Undergraduate degree2:1 honours degree in any relevant subject

Applying

Our step-by-step guide covers everything you need to know about applying.

How to apply

Fees

UK fees are set in line with the national UKRI maximum fee limit. We expect fees for 2022 entry to be confirmed in August 2021.

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you may be asked to complete a fee status questionnaire and your answers will be assessed using guidance issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) .

These fees are for full-time study. If you are studying part-time, you will be charged a proportion of this fee each year (subject to inflation).

Additional costs

Our libraries contain all relevant books and research journals you might require, however, if you wish to purchase these materials for yourself, you should take this into consideration.

Funding

There are many ways to fund your postgraduate course, from scholarships to government loans.

We also offer a range of international masters scholarships for high-achieving international scholars who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers.

Check our guide to find out more about funding your postgraduate degree.

Postgraduate funding

Careers

We offer individual careers support for all postgraduate students.

Expert staff can help you research career options and job vacancies, build your CV or résumé, develop your interview skills and meet employers.

Each year 1,100 employers advertise graduate jobs and internships through our online vacancy service. We host regular careers fairs, including specialist fairs for different sectors.

International students who complete an eligible degree programme in the UK on a student visa can apply to stay and work in the UK after their course under the Graduate immigration route. Eligible courses at the University of Nottingham include bachelors, masters and research degrees, and PGCE courses.

Graduate destinations

Our alumni have varied prospects and inspirational careers – including working for NASA as a Planetary Protection Engineer

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

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.

Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS)

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.

Two masters graduates proudly holding their certificates
" It has always been a dream of mine to study abroad at a prestigious university that allows exploration of the field of microbiology. The highlight of the course was having a suite of research projects to choose from while given the opportunity to learn and work with leading experts in the field. "
Emily Pui-Yee Seto, MSc Clinical Microbiology

Related courses

This content was last updated on Wednesday 02 March 2022. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur given the interval between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.