Course overview

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.

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 Covid-19, Zika virus, Ebola, and Antimicrobial resistance.

Key topics that the course will cover include:

  • immunity
  • infections
  • medical microbiology
  • pathogens
  • the immune system
  • viruses

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.

Why choose this course?

World-Leading research

100% of UoA24 (Sport and Exercise Sciences, Leisure and Tourism) and 84% of the UoA5 (Biological Sciences) research submitted was judged to be "world-leading" (4*), or "Internationally Excellent" (3*).

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021

Gold-standard teaching

Our teaching is recognised as the highest standard

Course content

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.

Past projects have included:

  • Genetics and immunology of SARS-CoV-2, antigenic influence on vaccines
  • Impact of an educational intervention on 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


Core modules (15 credits)

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.

Immunity and the Immune System 10 credits

This module provides an overview of the 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 20 credits

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 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.

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.

Therapeutic Immunology

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.

Research project (60 credits)

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.

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 20 July 2022.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

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

Teaching on this MSc is heavily varied.  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.

How you will be assessed

  • Examinations
  • Written exam
  • Presentation
  • Poster presentation
  • Essay
  • Dissertation

Assessment methods vary depending on the topic being studied.

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, and 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 2023 entry.

Undergraduate degree2:1 honours degree in any relevant subject


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

How to apply


UK fees are set in line with the national UKRI maximum fee limit. We expect fees for 2023 entry to be confirmed in August 2022.

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

All students will need at least one device to approve security access requests via Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We also recommend students have a suitable laptop to work both on and off-campus. For more information, please check the equipment advice.

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.


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


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

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)

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.

Two masters graduates proudly holding their certificates

Related courses

This content was last updated on Wednesday 20 July 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.