You are viewing this course for September start 2024

If you are fascinated by microbes, you will thrive on our MBiol Microbiology degree course here at Aberystwyth University. By choosing to study MBiol Microbiology, you will give yourself a head start by combining a BSc with an extra year of study at postgraduate level to graduate with a Masters qualification. During the three years studying at undergraduate level, you will explore the fascinating world of bacteria, fungi, and viruses, and their role in infectious diseases in humans, animals and plants. During your final year studying at Masters level, you will have the opportunity to apply your subject-specific knowledge and understanding to an independent scientific research project conducted in close collaboration with one of our research groups.  

If you want to play a part in solving big global problems such as climate change, pollution and antibiotic resistance, a degree in Microbiology is a good place to start, and our MBiol Microbiology degree will give you the breadth and depth of knowledge required to pursue a successful career as a professional scientist.

Course Overview

Royal Society of Biology Accredited Degree

Our Microbiology degree courses have a strong practical emphasis, and you will learn a wide variety of techniques in areas such as microbial genetics, biochemistry and propagation. 

The study of microbiology requires expertise in immunology, genetics, biochemistry, cell biology and research methods, and you will receive training in these throughout your degree. You will learn about worldwide concerns such as antimicrobial resistance and emerging pathogens, as well as the beneficial use of microbes in biotechnology for food production and agriculture. Throughout the course there is a strong focus on practical training in microbiological and molecular techniques, which will prepare you for a career as a professional scientist. There are practical modules in Years One and Two and an advanced research project makes up one third of your final year. 

You will be taught by passionate teaching staff who are experts in their fields and who conduct research in all areas of microbiology. You will also have access to our state-of-the-art facilities that include a bio-imaging and microscopy suite, modern laboratories and fermentation facilities. In addition to these modern indoor facilities, Aberystwyth University has farms and woodlands for studying environmental microbes and those that impact on animal health.

Our Staff

The majority of teaching staff in the Department of Life Sciences are qualified to PhD level and are research active. Vocational courses also have staff whose background lies within industry. The Department has a large number of research only staff with whom students may have contact.

Modules September start - 2024

Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.


Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Cell Biology * BR17520 20
Ecology and Conservation * BR19320 20
Genetics, Evolution and Diversity BR17120 20
Microbial and Plant Diversity * BR19920 20
Skills for Biologists * BR16820 20


Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Biological chemistry BR17320 20
Disease Diagnosis and Control BR15420 20


Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Environmental Microbiology and Monitoring BR26020 20
One Health Microbiology BR26520 20
Practical and Professional Skills in Microbiology BR24720 20
Research Methods * BR27520 20


Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Applied Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics BR20620 20
Cell and Cancer Biology BR25920 20
Immunology BR22220 20
Proteins and Enzymes BR26620 20


Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Biotechnology BR35520 20
Microbial Pathogenesis BR33720 20
Research Project * BR36440 40


Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Bioinformatics and Functional Genomics BR37120 20
Molecular Pharmacology BR36120 20
Terrestrial Ecology Fieldcourse BR36620 20
Veterinary Infectious Diseases BR34120 20


Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Field and Laboratory Techniques BRM4820 20
Frontiers in the Biosciences BRM4920 20
MBiol Research Project BRM2860 60
Research Methods in the Biosciences BRM6420 20

* Also available partially or entirely through the medium of Welsh


What are our graduates doing now? 

Our graduates have been working successfully as: 

  • research scientists 
  • clinical molecular geneticists 
  • nature conservationists 
  • educators.

Students from our department have also progressed to undertake training in Dentistry and Medicine. 

What skills will I develop while studying Microbiology? 

Employability is embedded in our courses. Our students leave Aberystwyth University with skills in: 

  • research and data analysis 
  • enhanced mathematics and computing 
  • effective problem-solving and creative thinking 
  • a firm grounding in information technology 
  • independent working 
  • time management and organisational skills, including the ability to meet deadlines 
  • expressing ideas and communicating information in a clear and structured manner when speaking and writing 
  • self-motivation and self-reliance 
  • working as part of a team, with the ability to discuss concepts in groups, accommodating different ideas and reaching agreement. 

MBiol Microbiology Key skills and competencies 

Study skills 

You will develop an in-depth knowledge and critical understanding of the key contemporary topics in Microbiology. You will master the research process and contribute to the knowledge base of the subject through your final year research. Throughout this you will have many opportunities to develop as a reflective, autonomous researcher. At all times you will have the support of expert academics working at the forefront of their field. 

Self-motivation and discipline 

Studying at postgraduate level requires discipline and self-motivation. Though you will have access to the expertise and helpful guidance of experienced staff, you will be responsible for devising and completing a final year research project. This process will strengthen your skills as a self-sufficient worker – a trait prized by all employers. 

Transferable skills 

MBiol Microbiology is designed to give you a range of transferable skills that you can apply in a variety of employment contexts. The course is made up of a number of taught modules plus guided independent student-centred study. This provides you with a framework that allows you to develop your subject knowledge, through pursuing specific areas of interest and developing your skills of original thought, analysis, interpretation and reasoning. Regular assessment through reports, essays, seminar presentations, précis and case studies will prepare you for the many demands of the modern workplace. 

What work experience opportunities are available to me while I study?

Find out about the various opportunities that our Careers Service offers. 

Enhance your employability prospects with GO Wales and our Year in Employment Scheme.  

Teaching & Learning

What will I learn? 

In your first year, you will be introduced to the biochemical building blocks of cells and learn about the structure of molecules and their function, and the biotic and abiotic interactions that have occurred on earth over temporal and spatial timescales as well as the consequences of these dynamic interactions on the present-day flora and fauna. You will also examine the different major metabolic pathways and explore the diversity of microbial life and the importance of micro-organisms such as pathogens. You will explore ecology and future challenges such as responding to global climate and conserving biodiversity and study the amazing diversity of life on Earth. You will also learn about the key principles underlying the theory and practice of genetics and become aware of recent advances in the field. You will learn by undertaking a series of linked experiments that will develop basic practical skills required for research across biology. This will give you an opportunity to develop the key skills that are necessary for a successful academic and professional career, such as time management, critical thinking and reflective learning.  

During your second year, you will develop a knowledge and understanding of the roles played by microbes in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, focusing on their importance in biogeochemical cycling. You will develop the basic skills expected of a graduate working in a microbiology-related field, such as studying a broad range of culture-based microbes and learning independent methods of characterising them, interpreting data from quantitative and bioinformatic analyses, and developing perspectives on microbiology’s interface with society and policy. You will explore the relationship between heatlh and disease at the human, animal, insect vector and environment interfaces, which has become an important focus in both medical and veterinary science with the recognition that health is influenced by the presence of both beneficial and harmful microorganisms. You will examine the processes involved in planning good scientific research, including data handling and statistics, and examine the key principles underpinning experimental science. This will prepare you for your dissertation.  

During your third year, you will explore the use of organisms or biological material to develop or make products for human benefit. Traditional biotechnologies include bread-making and brewing while the products of modern biotechnology include molecular biology products, pharmaceuticals and biofuels. You will learn about the concept of disease resulting from attack from microbial organism as an important aspect of clinical and veterinary medicine as well as agriculture. You will consider the association between symptoms and pathogenic mechanisms through a series of case studies covering examples of viral, bacterial, fungal and oomycete pathogens as they infect human, animal and plant hosts, and explore mechanisms of disease control. Lastly, you will undertake in-depth research on a topic that is broadly relevant to your interests, based on laboratory experiments or fieldwork exercises, comprising a computer modelling exercise based on secondary data sources, or involving analysis of data obtained from published literature. You will work independently under the guidance of a supervisor. 

In your final year you will study at postgraduate level. This will involve the study of essential research skills that will prepare you for your final project - an independent scientific research project conducted in close collaboration with one of our research groups. You will practise and develop writing skills relevant to a professional research scientist and the output for your project will be a research paper. The research project is usually analytical in nature, investigating a topic of your choice, subject to your supervisor’s approval. You will explore the field and laboratory techniques that are used for conducting investigations into realistic problems in microbiology. You will also learn about the integration of topics and gain insights into various approaches to research, including how it is communicated and the way in which the information is used by stakeholders. 

How will I be taught? 

The course will be delivered through lectures, workshops, tutorials and practical sessions. 

How will I be assessed? 

You will be assessed through essays, practical exercises, oral presentations, worksheets, reports, statistical exercises, portfolios, Wikis, magazine articles, field notebooks, and exams. 

Typical Entry Requirements

UCAS Tariff 128 - 120

A Levels ABB-BBB with B in Biology or Human Biology

GCSE requirements (minimum grade C/4):
English or Welsh, Mathematics and a Science subject

BTEC National Diploma:
BTEC not accepted for this scheme

International Baccalaureate:
32-30 points overall with 6 points in Biology at Higher Level

European Baccalaureate:
75% overall with 7 in a relevant science

English Language Requirements:
See our Undergraduate English Language Requirements for this course. Pre-sessional English Programmes are also available for students who do not meet our English Language Requirements.

Country Specific Entry Requirements:
International students whose qualification is not listed on this page, can check our Country Specific Entry Requirements for further information.

The University welcomes undergraduate applications from students studying the Access to Higher Education Diploma or T-level qualifications, provided that relevant subject content and learning outcomes are met. We are not able to accept Access to Higher Education Diplomas or T-levels as a general qualification for every undergraduate degree course.
Our inclusive admissions policy values breadth as well as depth of study. Applicants are selected on their own individual merits and offers can vary. If you would like to check the eligibility of your qualifications before submitting an application, please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for advice and guidance.

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