MSc Medical Microbiology / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course description

The course's extensive opportunities to gain practical experience in microbiological techniques really appealed to me.

I was also impressed by the range of placements available for the dissertation project. I would highly recommend studying in Manchester.

Emily Beswick / MSc Medical Microbiology graduate

Our long-running MSc Medical Microbiology course is ideal if you are a graduate or professional looking to develop or enhance your skills as a microbiologist.

The course is unique because you will spend much of your time in the laboratory, learning how to be a hands-on microbiologist. You will cover medical and molecular aspects of microbiology and immunity to infection, incorporating traditional and current methods of laboratory diagnosis, treatment, epidemiology and management of infection.

We aim to give you a significant level of theoretical and practical understanding of the subject, which will be important if you want to follow a career in the diagnosis and study of infectious diseases.

Since its origins in the 1920s, the course has been taken by many UK and international medical microbiology consultants, clinical or biomedical scientists, along with those who have progressed into academic or industrial research.

During the course, and particularly your research project, you will have the opportunity to specialise in your preferred area (bacteriology, virology, mycology, parasitology, antimicrobials, molecular diagnostics, global health) whilst maintaining an understanding of integrated microbiology.

PhD with integrated master's

If you're planning to undertake a PhD after your master's, our Integrated PhD programme will enable you to combine your postgraduate taught course with a related PhD project in biology, medicine or health.

You can also visit this page for examples of projects related to integrated master's courses.


We aim to provide you with an understanding of the scientific basis of traditional and modern microbiological concepts.

In addition, you will develop the knowledge, specialist practical skills and critical awareness needed to pursue a career in medical microbiology.

Special features

Extensive practical learning

The lab-focused nature of this course means you will gain maximum exposure to both the practical and theoretical aspects of a wide range of clinically relevant pathogens, helping develop practical skills that are valued by potential employers.

Various study options

You can study either full-time or part-time on the MSc route, enabling you to fit learning around your other commitments if needed. Our part-time option comprises full-time study, one semester per year (approximately 12 weeks).

Research experience

You will typically carry out research projects within one of the University's microbiology, virology or mycology research groups. The close relationship between the diagnostic services in Greater Manchester and the University department enable our research activities to be directly related to current relevant issues in medical microbiology.

Teaching and learning

This course is delivered by academics from the University and NHS specialists in infectious disease and medical microbiology.

You will learn via a range of methods, including lectures, seminars, tutorials and comprehensive practical classes.

We use both face-to-face sessions and blended learning methods, with some material delivered and assessed online.

Find out more by visiting the postgraduate teaching and learning page.

Coursework and assessment

You will be assessed via continual assessment and formal theory and practical examinations.

Course unit details

The course consists of 120 credits of taught material and followed by 60 credits of research (MSc only)
  • Understanding Infection (30 credits)
  • Practical Microbiology (15 credits)
  • Molecular Diagnostics (15 credits)
  • Vaccination, Antimicrobials and Resistance (15 credits)
  • Clinical Microbiology (30 credits)
  • Global Health and Epidemiology (15 credits)

All MSc students carry out three-months of research after the taught components have been successfully completed. In some instances this can be undertaken in your workplace.

Full-time students take the above units and research project in Year 1. Part-time students can undertake the MSc over two years, one full semester per year.

Course unit list

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Practical Microbiology MEDN68511 15 Mandatory
Understanding Infection MEDN68621 30 Mandatory
Molecular Diagnostics MEDN68631 15 Mandatory
Global Health and Epidemiology MEDN68642 15 Mandatory
Vaccinations, Antimicrobials and Resistance MEDN68652 15 Mandatory
Clinical Microbiology MEDN68662 30 Mandatory
Microbiology Research MEDN68680 60 Mandatory
Research Methods (Non-Credit) MEDN69920 0 Optional

What our students say

Read a blog post by a recent graduate, Emily, on our student blog .


This course is based in Stopford Building on Oxford Road, where you will find state-of-the-art teaching and research laboratories, a student common room and good access to University computing clusters.

You will attend lectures across the University campus.

You will be able to access a range of facilities throughout the University.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service .

CPD opportunities

We offer units from this MSc as standalone courses for continuing professional development (CPD).