Postgraduate study
Life & Physical Sciences

MSc Microbiology (with Advanced Practice)*

The MSc Microbiology aims to equip you with the advanced knowledge and skills required to embark on further research or employment in industries striving to solve major global challenges such as antibiotic resistance and the supply of safe drinking water.

Course information

Full-time

  • September enrolment: 20 months, including a summer break; January enrolment: 2 years, including two summer breaks

More full-time details

2019 entry

Part-time

  • Not available part-time

Contact details

Further information

 

The course provides the theoretical knowledge, understanding and practical skills to ensure a solid grounding in core and applied microbiology, along with the transferable skills which are essential to enhance your employability options. This aims to prepare you for a broad range of careers within industrial, commercial, government and environmental settings and further postgraduate study.

The course is delivered at Teesside University National Horizon Centre, at its Darlington Campus. The National Horizons Centre is a new £22m biological research, teaching and training facility, due to open in March 2019, which aims to address the growth needs of the emerging bio-based industries set to transform the UK economy, including biologics, industrial biotechnology and bio-pharmaceuticals.Our extensive links with NHS and private laboratories, enable us to ensure course content is kept up-to-date and relevant to employers. You are introduced to some of the contemporary issues facing the industry and the course provides hands-on practical experience of both laboratory and bioinformatics techniques. Staff can offer expertise in medical, industrial and environmental microbiology, molecular, cell and system biology, recombinant DNA technology, protein biochemistry, structural biology, fermentation, bioengineering and many other areas. During the course, you have the opportunity to investigate diverse areas of microbiology which are of concern to the healthcare, environmental, ecological and biotechnological sectors. You also have the chance to undertake research in relation to medical, environmental or industrial microbiology, which can further enhance your knowledge, skills and career options.There are three routes you can select from to gain a postgraduate master’s award:

  • MSc Microbiology – one year full time
  • MSc Microbiology – two years part time
  • MSc Microbiology (with Advanced Practice) – two years full time

The one-year programme is a great option if you want to gain a traditional MSc qualification. The two-year master’s degree with advanced practice enhances your qualification by adding to the one-year master’s programme an internship, research or study abroad experience. The MSc with Advanced Practice offers you the chance to enhance your qualification by completing an internship, research or study abroad experience in addition to the content of the one-year MSc. The two-year programme is an opportunity to enhance your qualification by spending one semester completing a vocational internship, research internship or by studying abroad. Although we can’t guarantee an internship, we can provide you with practical support and advice on how to find and secure your own internship position. A vocational internship is a great way to gain work experience and give your CV a competitive edge. Alternatively, a research internship develops your research and academic skills as you work as part of a research team in an academic setting – ideal if you are interested in a career in research or academia. A third option is to study abroad in an academic exchange with one of our partner universities. This option does incur additional costs such as travel and accommodation. You must also take responsibility for ensuring you have the appropriate visa to study outside the UK, where relevant.

Book your place on our postgraduate biosciences open day at the NHC on 14 May

For the MSc with advanced practice, you complete 120 credits of taught modules, a 60-credit master’s research project and 60 credits of advanced practice.

Course structure

Core modules

Analytical Techniques

You focus on a range of analytical instrumentation used in bioscience research applications. Emphasis will be placed upon chromatography, mass spectrometry and spectroscopy instrumentation. The importance of these practical instrumentation techniques to modern investigations, including proteomics, metabolomics and genomics, will be explored. You will learn advanced laboratory skills for sample extraction, sample preparation, instrumentation methodology and how to interpret spectra. You will develop essential data handling skills, including the use of a range of statistical programmes.

Fermentation Biotechnology

You explore the fundamentals of fermentation technology, a multi-disciplinary area of biotechnology which involves skills in science and engineering. Fermentation technology is ubiquitous – it ranges from the production of food in a kitchen to the synthesis of sophisticated, extremely high-value, cutting-edge therapeutics. The principle of bioprocess technology involve the use of cells as micro-factories to manufacture the product of interest. The cellular products can be directly utilised or, alternatively, the cells can be engineered to produce products of interest.

Genomics and Bioinformatics

You gain an in depth understanding of advances genomics, proteomics and bioinformatics knowledge and their applications in specific disease state. You learn about the most recent technologies including next generation gene sequencing, genome editing, genomic and bioinformatics analyses. This module also explores the genomic application for disease treatment and prevention (pharmacogenomics), personalised medicine as well as ethical challenges in this field.

Microbial Diversity and Environmental Microbiology

You examine the scale of microbial diversity, its ubiquitous nature and biogeographic patterns. This will be followed by analysis of how environmental variables can impact on microbial diversity and ultimately ecosystem function with the use of case studies. You critically discuss modern methodologies used for studying microbial diversity within varied environmental samples.

Pathobiology of Infectious Diseases

You gain a deep understanding of infectious disease and will cover a wide range of medically-important human pathogens. Key aspects of pathobiology will be taught including pathogen genomics and evolution, bioinformatics, and the cellular and molecular biology that underpin these host pathogen interactions. Subversion of key mammalian cell biological processes, including immunology, that are targeted by pathogens will also be described. Advanced laboratory techniques and bioinformatics will be introduced that are commonly used to uncover mechanisms of pathogenesis.

Research Project

Investigate an area of engineering or science for an extended period through a research project or design project, working independently at a level recognised as at the forefront of the discipline. You develop key research skills, applying and creating your knowledge through keynote lectures and self-managed independent study. You will demonstrate your capacity for comprehensive and objective analysis, and for developing innovative and constructive proposals as a solution to the project topic. We support you through tutorials and/or one-to-one guidance but you require a high degree of autonomy.

 

Optional modules

Clinical Biochemistry and Diagnostic Techniques

You explore advanced topics in biochemistry with special focus on clinical applications and diagnostic techniques. This involves the study of clinical analysis of bodily fluids and other biological materials to aid in the diagnosis, therapy and monitoring of a variety of diseases. You will acquire the knowledge necessary for understanding the essential concepts of clinical biochemistry and of the associated diagnostic techniques.

Omics and Systems Approaches in Biology

You gain an extensive, critical and integrative understanding of how modern ‘omics’ analysis approaches are used to make inferences about biological functions. ‘Omics’ includes genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics. In addition, you gain a detailed overview of the use of ‘omics’ data in analysis at a systems level - systems biology - and of the relationship between protein structure analysis and the proteome. You cover experimental design and the practicalities of analysing large ‘omics’ datasets. You will put these analysis concepts into practice during extensive computer lab practicals.

 

Advanced Practice options

Research Internship

Develop your research and academic skills by undertaking a research internship within the University. Experience working as part of a research team in an academic setting – ideal if you are interested in a career in research or academia.

Study Abroad

Take part in an academic exchange with one of our partner universities and experience study, student life and culture in a different environment. This option offers a valuable life experience and enhances your ability to adapt to working and living internationally. This option does incur additional costs such as travel and accommodation. You must also take responsibility for ensuring you have the appropriate visa to study outside the UK, where relevant.

Vocational Internship

Spend one semester working full-time in industry. We have close links with a variety of local companies who can offer you the chance to develop your knowledge and professional skills in the workplace through an internship. Although we can’t guarantee you an internship, we will provide you with practical support and advice on how to find and secure your own internship position. A vocational internship is a great way to gain work experience and give your CV a competitive edge.

 

Modules offered may vary.

How you learn

Making the transition to postgraduate-level study can be challenging. Support with making this transition is seen as an important element of this programme. 

The Analytical Techniques and Fermentation Biotechnology modules help you understand the requirements of academic study at postgraduate level, to enhance your skills in academic writing and referencing, and to help you develop the skills necessary to operate professionally and ethically in planning and implementing a master’s-level research project.

By including work-based problem-solving projects and case study exercises this programme emphasises real-world working. This helps to blend theory and knowledge in the context of business, allowing you to develop the skills employers are seeking to set you on a successful career path. 

A significant feature of the programme is the opportunity to gain experience of working in state-of-the-art biomedical research facilities within the National Horizon Centre.

Our expertise in disciplines such as biochemistry, microbiology and biomedical science allows us to exploit technology and develop ground breaking ideas in the fields of genetics, molecular biology, and protein science.

How you are assessed

Modules are assessed by a variety of methods including exams and in-course assessment with some using other approaches such as group work, or verbal or poster presentations. 

Your Advanced Practice module is assessed by an individual written reflective report (3,000 words) together with a study or workplace log, where appropriate, and through a poster presentation.

Work placement

There may be short-term placement opportunities, particularly during the project phase of the course.

Career opportunities

The MSc Microbiology Programme provides you with the academic, analytical and practical skills to assist you in to many careers.

Many of our graduates choose to continue in research careers and begin PhDs or become research scientists (research assistants or technicians). Our scientists have obtained posts in universities, industry (including oil and gas), biotechnology and hospital diagnostic and pathology laboratories.

More generally, microbiologists can use their training in education, working in schools, colleges of further education and in universities. Further opportunities are available to apply microbiology training in scientific publishing, in patent offices working on biological patents, in science outreach and contributing to the public understanding of microbiological issues.

Entry requirements

Applicants are normally expected to have at least a UK 2.2 honours degree, or equivalent, in a subject related to science, engineering or technology. 

In addition, international students normally need at least a 6.0, with no component below 5.5, in the International Language Testing System (IELTS) test.

If your first degree is not in one of the subject areas listed above please contact our admissions team for guidance and advice on how you might become eligible. We may be able to offer you alternative access routes.

For additional information please see the entry requirements in our admissions section

International applicants can find out what qualifications they need by visiting Your Country

* Subject to University approval

Course information

Full-time

  • September enrolment: 20 months, including a summer break; January enrolment: 2 years, including two summer breaks

More full-time details

2019 entry

Part-time

  • Not available part-time

Contact details

Further information