Open to UK, EU and international students from a medical, veterinary or biological sciences background, our course is suited to students who want a balanced training in microbiology and immunology. The depth of study into both areas is a speciality of the course.
Key topics that the course will cover include:
- medical microbiology
- the immune system
You’ll be taught by active researchers in both areas with exposure to research groups in the University who are tackling the latest problems such as the Zika virus, Ebola and Antimicrobial resistance.
At Nottingham, we research to bring about positive change. Our innovative ideas are designed to work in the real world. Postgraduate students directly contribute to the impact of our research and are important to the work we do.
The school is responsible for the main biological and biomedical research in the University. Current research divisions include:
- Cells, Organisms and Molecular Genetics
- Infections, Immunity and Microbes
- Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience
By studying this course, you will:
- acquire basic and advanced knowledge of medical microbiology and immunology which will prepare you for future scientific research
- gain direct experience of a variety of molecular biology, microbial and immunological techniques
- train to carry out critical evaluation of published scientific papers, and understand the applicability of the techniques used and results obtained to a variety of related and unrelated scientific problems
- study in greater depth one aspect of microbiology and/or immunology by conducting research and develop reporting and result interpretation skills through completion of a dissertation
Through the taught modules and the research project, you’ll gain practical skills in various areas. The school has excellent research facilities to support your practical training.
- tissue culture
- sterile microbiology
- molecular genetic engineering
- interface with biosurfaces
In addition to subject-specific skills, you’ll also gain the following transferable skills:
- time management
- critical analysis
- research ethics
- study design
- presentation – short, long and oral
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.
To define the basic mechanisms and concepts underpinning the science of Immunology and Allergy.
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.
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.
Innate Immune Recognition
This module focuses on the basic mechanisms and concepts underpinning: immune activation within the context of infection with extracellular and intracellular pathogens; tumour recognition; immunoevasion and immunopathology. You will also gain insight in to how this understanding could be used for developing new vaccination or therapeutic strategies.
Core Research Methods: Transferable Research 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.
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.
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 analysis of current and potential therapeutic strategies of immunological-based clinical conditions is covered on this module. You will also assess the use of cytokines, engineered antibodies, in utero stem cell transplantation and peptide vaccines for treating immunological diseases.
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’ll have 120 credits of taught modules and undertake a 60 credit research project and dissertation. A full list of the modules is available under the modules tab.
For the research project, you’ll have a choice from topics provided by academics across multiple research areas such as microbiology, immunology, host-pathogen interaction, genetic engineering, microbial virulence, biotechnology and biochemistry. Many students work on exciting novel research projects.
You could be working with a team in the Medical School or on University Park Campus. Alternatively, some projects will take you to City Hospital in Nottingham or Sutton Bonington Campus.
Past projects have included:
- Impact of an educational intervention upon the hand hygiene compliance of children
- A novel virulence strategy for Pseudomonas aeruginosa mediated by an autotransporter with arginine-specific aminopeptidase activity
- TLR-induced miRNA in HBD9 regulation during Pseudomonas infection
- Forward genetics in Clostridium acetobutylicum
- Re-use of antimicrobial solution for antimicrobial biomaterials
- Engagement of inhibitory signalling on human basophils
- Changes in the bacterial biofilm due to sub-inhibitory antimicrobial
- Viral Discovery
- Interbacterial interactions within a polymicrobial model
- Development of next generation biosensors for Pseudomonas aeruginosa
- RT-qPCR for meningococcal carriage density
- Role of cigarette smoking in multiple sclerosis
Course material is delivered through lectures, problem-based learning, practical sessions and tutorials.
Assessment varies depending on the topic being studied but you can expect:
- examinations delivered electronically (multiple choice, multiple response and extended matching questions)
- written examinations
- oral presentations
- poster preparation
The skills gained from this course will provide knowledge and practical skills at the host-pathogen interface, which will prepare you for a range of career paths.
The molecular medical microbiology aspects of the course are very desirable for employers in both the private and public sectors. Moreover, the comprehensive understanding of immunological mechanisms enables you to gain entry to careers in research, industry and clinical settings.
Whatever your career path, the research background provided by the research project/dissertation component of the course will ideally place you to establish a career at a higher level.
Students from our MSc courses have gone on to positions including:
- PhD – Immunology
- PhD - School of Veterinary Sciences, University of Cambridge
- PhD - University of Nottingham
- Senior House Officer (SHO) in Medical Microbiology
- Research Assistant in Immunology
- Research Technicians
- 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
- Clinical Trial Data Managers
- Application Specialist Biological Sciences – Japan
- Biomedical Scientists (BMS1)
- Graduate Entry Medicine
- Biomedical Scientist Scientific Training Programme (STP)
To help you decide on the best career choice, an annual event is held which includes presentations from people currently working within different environments eg Big Pharma, SME, Biomedical Science, Clinical Science, Media relations and as a Patent Attorney. Tips on application procedures, qualification requirements and daily responsibilities are provided.
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
The School of Life Sciences is offering 12 scholarships amounting to £1,000 each for international students joining our MSc courses in 2019/20. 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 for applications is 12 noon (GMT) Friday 24 May 2019. Successful applicants will be notified via email by Friday 14 June 2019.
Full details and application forms for these scholarships can be obtained by contacting:
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.