MSc Microbiology

Microbiologists around the world are working to make a difference to our lives - ensuring our food is safe, treating and preventing disease, developing green technologies, or tracking the role of microbes in climate change.

The Course

The MSc Microbiology aims to equip graduates 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, clean drinking water, and food security.

This programme is designed to provide 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 graduates for a broad range of careers within industrial, commercial, government and environmental settings and further postgraduate study.

During the course, you will have the opportunity to investigate diverse areas of microbiology which are of concern to the healthcare, environmental, ecological and biotechnological sectors. You will 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.

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. In addition to this, students can also hear from external guest speakers from industry and other schools within the University.

The programme includes a combination of lectures, workshops, laboratory practicals, seminars, problem-based-learning group sessions, independent learning and research projects. The programme also has a major emphasis on the development of professional and research skills, which can enhance employability.

Term 1 features modules which have been designed to provide students with core theoretical knowledge on current microbiology topics and practical training on techniques used in modern microbiology.


  • The Microbial World
  • Molecular Virology
  • Identification of Infectious Disease
  • Professional and Research Skills in Biosciences A

Term 2 builds on the modules studied in the first term and aims to enhance practical skills and provide specialist training in medical, industrial and environmental microbiology.


  • Infection and Control
  • Industrial and Environmental Microbiology
  • Fermentation Biotechnology
  • Professional and Research Skills in Biosciences B

Over the summer, students then progress to an independent research project within a microbiological discipline.

Contact and Independent Study

Weekly contact hours on this programme vary depending on the module being delivered and the stage of study. Postgraduate level study involves a significant proportion of independent study, exploring the material covered in lectures and seminars. As a general guide, for every hour in class students are expected to spend at least two - three hours in independent study. For more detailed information please contact the programme leader.

Please note that this course is only available in the full-time format.

Fermentation Biotechnology (Core)
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Fermentation Biotechnology (Core)

This module aims to provide specialised training in larger scale growth and utilisation of microbial and cell cultures. Lectures, practicals and workshops will focus on the analysis of growth kinetics and product yield optimisation with the aim of providing insight into historical and cutting-edge large-scale implementation of these biotechnologies. The practical component of this module provides students with the chance to propose and carry out their own fermentations.

Identification of Infectious Diseases (Core)
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Identification of Infectious Diseases (Core)

This module aims to reinforce the underlying concepts and principles of identification of infectious diseases developed through the student’s existing knowledge of basic microbiology and medical microbiology. Students are expected to become familiar with diagnostic and identification techniques involved in the field of clinical microbiology, and be able to apply developing knowledge and skills in molecular biology to contemporary issues and concerns in the field of microbiology.

Independent Research Project (Core)
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Independent Research Project (Core)

The research projects run over the summer, although elements of them are likely to take place in the second term (research plan and literature review). Students are able to choose a research topic from a very broad spectrum of options, primarily linked to the research focuses of the teaching staff. Supervisors of the projects will provide outline projects but students will also have the opportunity to develop their research projects in specific directions relating to their individual interests.

Industrial and Environmental Microbiology (Core)
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Industrial and Environmental Microbiology (Core)

This module aims to describe the applications of microbiology in industrial and environmental processes. The industrial aspect of the module will emphasise how microbiological knowledge and understanding can be used to improve commercial processes relevant to industries such as food production and water treatment. The environmental aspect of the module will consider the role of microbial communities, interactions and processes in the environment.

Infection and Control (Core)
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Infection and Control (Core)

This module aims to enable students to understand the microbiological and environmental factors that contribute to the incidence, prevalence, transmission and control of healthcare-associated and communicable infection. The theory underpinning this module will be supported by key current examples of infectious diseases. Some key theories discussed will be microbial pathogenesis, prevention and treatment of infectious disease, alongside case studies and consideration of the role of professional bodies.

Molecular Virology (Core)
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Molecular Virology (Core)

This module will examine the molecular interactions between viruses and host cells with a focus on the mechanisms by which viruses subvert host cell processes. This will involve the use of example viruses from both the DNA and RNA groups of viruses. The roles of virus infections in inflammatory diseases, oncology, as well as emerging diseases will be considered.

Professional and Research Skills in Biosciences A (Core)
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Professional and Research Skills in Biosciences A (Core)

This module is designed to accomplish two goals: support the students by developing the necessary skills to proficiently face the assessments on the other modules, and improve the student employability by developing their transferable skills.

Professional and Research Skills in Biosciences B (Core)
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Professional and Research Skills in Biosciences B (Core)

This module is the follow up of the transferable skills module of semester A. It is also designed to support assessments performance and help to improve transferable skills.

The Microbial World (Core)
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The Microbial World (Core)

This module aims to introduce students to the more advanced concepts needed to develop their microbiological understanding to that expected at Master's level, building on their undergraduate experience. The module considers the diversity of microbial life, growth and reproduction alongside relevant areas of biochemistry, genetics, ecology and evolution.

† Some courses may offer optional modules. The availability of optional modules may vary from year to year and will be subject to minimum student numbers being achieved. This means that the availability of specific optional modules cannot be guaranteed. Optional module selection may also be affected by staff availability.

Assessment is conducted through coursework and examination. Coursework includes literature reviews, oral and poster presentations and ultimately the preparation of a research dissertation for the research project.

Specific training on each form of assessment is included in the programme, with the aim of improving your performance as a postgraduate student as you progress.

The University of Lincoln's policy on assessment feedback aims to ensure that academics will return in-course assessments to you promptly – usually within 15 working days after the submission date.

All applicants meeting the initial academic requirements for this course are required to undertake an interview with academic staff before a decision concerning the offer of a place can be made. In order to make this process available to all applicants, we utilise Skype for those applicants who are not able to travel to Lincoln prior to the start of the programme.

The aim of the interview is to assess each candidate’s personal attributes in relation to the demands of this course. No specific preparation is necessary.

 2019/20 Entry*
Home/EU £7,400
(including Alumni Scholarship 20% reduction)**
International £16,000
(Including International Alumni / Global Postgraduate Scholarship £2,000 reduction)**

* Academic year September- July
** Subject to eligibility


Postgraduate Master's Loan can help with course fees and living costs while you study. Individuals** will be able to borrow up to £10,906 for the purpose of completing an eligible postgraduate Master's qualification. The amount available will depend on the start date of your course.

- £10,906, if your course starts on or after 1 August 2019
- £10,609, if your course starts between 1 August 2018 and 31 July 2019


As a postgraduate student you may be eligible for scholarships in addition to those shown above.

Guidance for Part-time Postgraduate Fees

To complete a standard Master's Taught programme, you must complete 180 credit points.

Full time students will be invoiced for the programme in full upon initial enrolment.

For part-time students, tuition fees are payable each credit point enrolled. To calculate your part-time fees, multiply the part-time fee per credit point by the number of credits you intend to complete within that academic year. This is usually between 60 and 90 credit points per year.

For example, if the fee per credit point for your programme is £38, and you enrol on 60 credits, the tuition fee payable for that academic year will be £2280.

Fees for enrolment on additional modules

Tuition fees for additional activity are payable by the student/sponsor and charged at the equivalent £ per credit point rate for each module. Additional activity includes:

- Enrolment on modules that are in addition to the validated programme curriculum

- Enrolment on modules that are over and above the full credit diet for the relevant academic year

- Retakes of modules as permitted by the Board of Examiners

Exceptionally tuition fees may not be payable where a student has been granted a retake with approved extenuating circumstances.

For further information and for details about funding your study, scholarships and bursaries, please see our Postgraduate Fees & Funding pages [].

Other Costs

For each course you may find that there are additional costs. These may be with regard to the specific clothing, materials or equipment required. Some courses provide opportunities for you to undertake field work or field trips. Where these are compulsory, the cost for travel and accommodation will be covered by the University and so is included in your fee. Where these are optional, you will normally be required to pay your own transport, accommodation and general living costs.

With regards to text books, the University provides students who enrol with a comprehensive reading list and you will find that our extensive library holds either material or virtual versions of the core texts that you are required to read. However, you may prefer to purchase some of these for yourself and you will be responsible for this cost.

First or second class honours degree in a relevant subject.

Your undergraduate background may be in a wide range of Science subjects including, but not limited to, Biology, Biochemistry, Biomedical Science, Bioveterinary Science, Forensic Science or Microbiology. If you are unsure if your background is suitable, please get in touch with the academic contact detailed below.

If you have studied outside of the UK, and are unsure whether your qualification meets the above requirements, please visit our country pages for information on equivalent qualifications.

Overseas students will be required to demonstrate English language proficiency equivalent to IELTS 6.0 overall, with a minimum of 5.5 in each element. For information regarding other English language qualifications we accept, please visit the English Requirements page

If you do not meet the above IELTS requirements, you may be able to take part in one of our Pre-session English and Academic Study Skills courses. . These specialist courses are designed to help students meet the English language requirements for their intended programme of study.

Learn from Experts

Throughout this degree, students may receive tuition from professors, senior lecturers, lecturers, researchers, practitioners, visiting experts or technicians, and they may be supported in their learning by other students.

Clare Miller

Dr Clare Miller

Programme Leader

Dr Miller's research interests encompass a broad range of topics relevant to the field of microbiology. This includes using a range of microscopy techniques to visualise bacteria and study interactions between antimicrobial agents and bacterial cells. She is also interested in the dissemination of microbiological information, particularly bacteria and antibiotic resistance, through traditional and social media.


Your Future Career

Career and Personal Development

The overall aim of the MSc Microbiology degree is to provide students with the chance to develop the knowledge and practical skills in the cross-disciplinary applications of microbiology which are relevant to science and society.

This includes the healthcare sector which is particularly interested in the control, treatment and prevention of infectious disease as well as environmental and ecological sectors which are interested in microbial communities, interactions and processes in the environment. These sectors also have relevant industrial applications with a diverse range of career options that may be accessible to graduates from the MSc Microbiology.

The programme also looks to provide students with experience of undertaking microbiology-related research, in particular in relation to medical, environmental or industrial microbiology. Course content is research-engaged and, in particular, students have the chance to undertake a period of independent scientific research.

This is designed to equip graduates with the necessary theoretical understanding, practical, research, professional and transferable skills to undertake further postgraduate training (PhD level) or employment within academic research and in industrial, commercial, government and environmental settings.

To improve employability, students will also receive training and support to develop a broad range of professional and research skills, including science communication and dissemination, scientific writing and career planning.


At Lincoln, we constantly invest in our campus as we aim to provide the best learning environment for our students. Whatever the area of study, the University strives to ensure students have access to specialist equipment and resources, to develop the skills, which they may need in their future career.

Students can conduct practical work with industry-standard apparatus. Equipment and facilities available for students undertaking research projects include a cell culture suite, analytical chemistry instrumentation, protein purification equipment, a scanning electron microscope and real-time polymerase chain reaction equipment for the amplification and quantification of DNA samples.

Our School of Life Sciences' courses are based in The Joseph Banks Laboratories and Minster House, the first buildings of the Lincoln Science and Innovation Park. These are in addition to our fantastic purpose-built Janet Lane-Claypon Building, and is a direct example of our growth as a School over recent years.

The University intends to provide its courses as outlined in these pages, although the University may make changes in accordance with the Student Admissions Terms and Conditions.