BSc Honours Microbiology with Professional Studies (UCAS Code: C504)
For entrance requirements
T: +44 (0)28 9097 3838
For students whose first language is not English
An IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each test component or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University. Further information on other acceptable English Language qualifications is available here
If you are an international student and you do not meet the entrance requirements, you should consider a preparation course at INTO Queen's University Belfast, which will prepare you for successful study on these degree courses. INTO Queen's University Belfast is based on the University campus and offers a range of courses including:
International Foundation in Engineering and Science
Microbiology is the study of bacteria, fungi, algae, protozoa and viruses, and is of immense importance in relation to the environment, agriculture and food, biomedical sciences and biotechnology. Micro-organisms play a central role in the biosphere through environmental processing or recycling of elements and waste products. They are also crucial in the manufacture of fermented foods and beverages. Viruses, bacteria and fungi play major roles in the diseases of man, animals and plants. Microbiologists have been central to their diagnosis and in combating such diseases through the discovery of effective therapies. As there is currently a shortage of microbiologists, job opportunities exist across a number of areas.Back to top
The syllabus offers a unique opportunity for students to choose to study the fundamental science underpinning the subject and also to develop applied aspects in biomedical science, biotechnology and the environment.
Genetics and Molecular Biology
Introductory Skills for Biosciences
plus two further modules out of Chemistry, Environmental Biology and Biological Diversity
All are relevant in developing a sound basis for further studies in Microbiology.
The science behind the roles of viruses and bacteria in the diseases of animals and plants and the ecological, environmental and industrial aspects of microbiology is studied. Required modules are:
Environmental and Applied Microbiology
Microbial Metabolism and Physiology
and one other module, for example Cell Biology, Biochemical Methods or an optional Work Placement
During the final year, students in Microbiology take a two-module research project carried out under the supervision of one or more members of the academic staff, and choose four modules from:
Genetic Manipulation and Bacterial Genetics
Microbial and Environmental Biotechnology
The Immune System
At Queen’s, we aim to deliver a high quality learning environment that embeds intellectual curiosity, innovation and best practice in learning, teaching and student support to enable student to achieve their full academic potential. On the BSc (Hons) in Microbiology we do this by providing a range of learning experiences which enable our students to engage with subject experts, develop attributes and perspectives that will equip them for life and work in a global society and make use of innovative technologies and a world class library that enhances their development as independent, lifelong learners. Examples of the opportunities provided for learning on this course are:
Assessment (general): The way in which you are assessed will vary according to the Learning objectives of each module. Some modules are assessed solely through project work or written assignments. Others are assessed through a combination of coursework and end of semester examinations. Details of how each module is assessed are shown in the Student Handbook which is provided to all students during their first year induction.
Feedback (general): As students progress through their course at Queen’s they will receive general and specific feedback about their work from a variety of sources including lecturers, module co-ordinators, placement supervisors, personal tutors, advisers of study and peers. University students are expected to engage with reflective practice and to use this approach to improve the quality of their work. Feedback may be provided in a variety of forms including:
Once you have reviewed your feedback, you will be encouraged to identify and implement further improvements to the quality of your work.Back to top
Microbiology is an interdisciplinary subject with key links to the other Biological Sciences, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Environmental Engineering and Medicine. Graduates are qualified to take up both scientific and nonscientific careers. Many job opportunities are available in biomedical, industrial and government organisations, and in universities and colleges of higher education. These jobs cover innovative research, the development of new products, advisory and consultancy work or teaching. All are aimed at improving the health, environment and economy of countries in both the developed and developing world. In particular, companies and organisations concerned with animal and plant health, food and beverage processing, water quality, environmental management, pharmaceutical products and biotechnology require graduates in Microbiology. As there is currently a shortage of microbiologists, job opportunities exist across a number of areas including:
Healthcare: Microbiologists are essential in the fight against infectious diseases working in hospitals and Health Protection Laboratories. Here they diagnose infections, monitor treatments, develop vaccines, provide advice or track disease outbreaks.
Basic research: In order to either solve the problems caused by microorganisms or exploit their capabilities fundamental research on their biochemistry and genetics is required. Many microbiologists work in universities and research institutes exploring the detailed workings of microbial cells.
Environment: One of the greatest challenges currently facing society is that of climate change and environmental protection. Microbiologists are key players in the development of waste treatment technologies, recycling processes, pollution warning systems and in the production of green energy.
Agriculture: Pest management is an essential component of modern agricultural practice. Microbiologists have key roles to play in the development of pest control systems and in the diagnosis and treatment of animal pathogens.
Business: Microbiologists work in many bioscience and food companies, carrying out research, developing new products or carrying out quality control of manufacturing processes to ensure the microbiological safety of goods such as medicines, cosmetics, food, drink etc.
Outside the lab: Many trained microbiologists never go on to work in the microbiology field. However, they can use their skills and knowledge to pursue careers in marketing, technical support, regulatory affairs, education, as patent attorneys, and in public relations, journalism and publishing.
The combination of courses within the Microbiology degree in part fulfils many of the requirements for accreditation by the Institute of Biomedical Sciences in the UK: Accreditation may be achieved through some additional postgraduate training.
The School of Biological Sciences employs a dedicated careers advisor who has developed an extensive portfolio of employers, both nationally and internationally, within the science sector. Advice is also provided on CV preparation, interview techniques and securing summer work or longer placements.
Our past students have also gained work placement with organisations such as:
Further study is also an option open to Microbiology graduates. Students can choose from a wide range of Masters programmes as well as a comprehensive list of research topics as shown on the School website.
Other Career-related information: Queen’s is a member of the Russell Group and, therefore, one of the 20 universities most-targeted by leading graduate employers. Queen’s students will be advised and guided about career choice and, through the Degree Plusinitiative, will have an opportunity to seek accreditation for skills development and experience gained through the wide range of extra-curricular activities on offer. See Queen’s University Belfast fullEmployability Statementfor further information.
Degree Plus and other related initiatives: Recognising student diversity, as well as promoting employability enhancements and other interests, is part of the developmental experience at Queen’s. Students are encouraged to plan and build their own, personal skill and experiential profile through a range of activities including; recognised Queen’s Certificates, placements and other work experiences (at home or overseas), Erasmus study options elsewhere in Europe, learning development opportunities and involvement in wider university life through activities, such as clubs, societies, and sports.
Queen’s actively encourages this type of activity by offering students an additional qualification, the Degree Plus Award (and the related Researcher Plus Award for PhD and MPhil students). Degree Plus accredits wider experiential and skill development gained through extra-curricular activities that promote the enhancement of academic, career management, personal and employability skills in a variety of contexts. As part of the Award, students are also trained on how to reflect on the experience(s) and make the link between academic achievement, extracurricular activities, transferable skills and graduate employment. Participating students will also be trained in how to reflect on their skills and experiences and can gain an understanding of how to articulate the significance of these to others, e.g. employers.
Overall, these initiatives, and Degree Plus in particular, reward the energy, drive, determination and enthusiasm shown by students engaging in activities over-and-above the requirements of their academic studies. These qualities are amongst those valued highly by graduate employers.Back to top
Accreditation: the degrees follow the National Subject Profile for Higher Education Programmes in Microbiology as published by the Centre for Bioscience (Higher Education Academy). The degrees also adhere to the core curriculum in Microbiology as described by the American Society of Microbiology. The combination of modules provided in part fulfils many of the requirements for accreditation by the Institute of Biomedical Sciences in the UK. Accreditation may be achieved through some additional postgraduate training.
Placement: Microbiology students can complete an optional 16-week work placement period as a component of Stage 2. Microbiology with Professional Studies students, on completion of Stage 2, are required to undertake a compulsory 46-week period of work experience, including a project agreed between the student, the School and the employer. The placement is assessed during the year out and contributes 10 per cent of the overall degree mark.Back to top