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MSc Molecular Microbiology

Key facts

  • Start date: September
  • Study mode and duration: 12 months full-time; 24 months part-time

Study with us

  • develop knowledge and skills in areas such as genomics, molecular genetics and synthetic biology
  • gain transferable skills in statistics, communication, ethics, science writing and critical analysis of data
  • design experiments and analyse complex datasets
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Why this course?

Firstly, we offer you dedicated training in a broad suite of practical laboratory skills.

Secondly, this is complemented by two unique classes that develop your transferable skills in statistics, presentations, career development, and ethics, as well as honing your science writing skills and your ability to design experiments and analyse sophisticated datasets.

Thirdly, our taught classes capture the excitement of cutting-edge research fields and you'll be taught by active researchers or practising clinical professionals. There is a choice of classes that allows you to select a pathway to suit your future aspirations.

The Molecular Microbiology Masters provides the perfect springboard to future training at PhD level or gives you a range of skills and experience that will prove attractive to employers from industry or the healthcare provision sector.

Gloved hand holding bottle with red liquid under microscope

THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner

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What you'll study

You'll focus on the molecular biology of important microbial pathogens and industrial microorganisms and study the molecular mechanisms by which bacteria cause disease or can be exploited for the synthesis of biotechnologically important products.

The course content and research projects are driven by the expertise in microbial genomics, genetics and biochemistry research that exists within the Institute.

Studying a combination of compulsory and optional classes and a research project, you'll gain vital transferable skills in statistics, communication, ethics, science writing and critical analysis of data. In addition, you'll undertake:

  • two semesters of postgraduate laboratories, developing the practical abilities and interpretational skills that will prepare you for your project and future career
  • short optional classes - in vivo biology or drug discovery
  • a compulsory microbiology class in clinical and applied microbiology
  • a summer research project in molecular microbiology in an active research laboratory

Facilities

The course is taught in the Strathclyde Institute for Pharmacy & Biomedical Sciences.

State-of-the-art research facilities include:

  • our own genome sequencer
  • protein purification facilities
  • mass spectrometers
  • fluorescence microscopes

This allows you to benefit from first-hand experience in the latest molecular microbiological techniques.

Teaching Staff

The following staff are all involved in the teaching and research project supervision on the MSc Molecular Microbiology (project availability may vary year-to-year).

Staff memberResearch expertise
Dr Arnaud Javelle

Research in Dr Javelle’s laboratory is focused on membrane proteins involved in transport of ions across cellular membranes and in signalling processes relating to ion availability.

Studies of membrane transporters/channels have had a great impact on our understanding of human disease and drug design; indeed, ion channels are, at present, the third biggest target classes in drug discovery and about 30% of current clinically marked drugs are targeted against these proteins.

Dr Katherine Duncan Dr Duncan’s research group investigates the chemical 'language' of marine microorganisms. This includes the influence and patterns of environment, ecology, biogeography and evolution on this metabolite exchange, with a focus on accelerating the biodiscovery of novel antibiotics from our underexplored oceans.
Dr Paul Herron Dr Herron’s research interests include chromosome segregation in Streptomyces, Oxytetracycline productivity in Streptomyces rimosus and exploitation of Bacteriophages.
Professor Paul Hoskisson

Research in Professor Hoskisson’s group is focused on the synthesis of antibiotics and the evolution of bacterial pathogens, using a range of techniques from molecular biology and biochemistry through to mathematical modelling and image analysis.

The bacterial genus Streptomyces is the main focus of work in the research group due to its industrial importance, being responsible for producing around two-thirds of all commercially important antibiotics as well as numerous anti-fungal, anti-helminthic and anti-cancer drugs.

Dr Nicholas Tucker

Research in the Tucker lab is focused on the application of genomics to the following areas:

  • exploiting Pseudomonas for industrial biotechnology and the sustainable production of plastics
  • investigating the mode of action of DNA binding antibiotics and their impact on transcription
  • using metagenomics to identify useful microorganisms from the environment
  • pathogen genomics and antimicrobial resistance
Dr Morgan Feeney

Dr Feeney’s research interest involves developing new techniques for discovering new antibiotic-producing organisms such as from the genus Streptomyces - the most prolific producer of antimicrobial agents which is used to make more than 70% of antibiotics currently in production today.

Dr Leighton Pritchard

Dr Pritchard’s lab focuses on computational biology and bioinformatics involving microbial whole-genome database and diagnostic marker design resource for classification, identification, and data sharing.

The Queen's Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education 2019 and 2021.
The Queen's Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education 2019 and 2021.
The Times / The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021. University of the Year shortlisted.
The Times / The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021. University of the Year shortlisted.
The Times & Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020 - Scottish University of the Year.
The Times & Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020 - Scottish University of the Year.
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Course content

If you choose to study this programme part-time over two years you can choose to take your classes so that they fit in with your work schedule. Module supervisors will be able to discuss this with you and help you with your timetable.

Learning & teaching

The course is delivered through lectures, tutorials and hands-on practical sessions. If you successfully complete the required taught classes, you may undertake a laboratory project for the MSc.

Assessment

Assessment of taught classes is through:

  • multiple choice tests
  • computer quizzes
  • problem-solving scenarios
  • poster and oral presentations
  • essays
  • formal written exams

The laboratory project is assessed through a written thesis.

Compulsory classes

Essential Skills and Employability for Masters Students (20 credits)

Refine your core skills in statistics, data presentation and career development while also learning about the ethical choices and dilemmas that you might face in your scientific careers.

Postgraduate Studies in Microbiology (20 credits)

In this module, you'll be exposed to the key concepts of bioreactor and process design, including the importance of downstream processing and process monitoring.

This module will also introduce the importance of systems and synthetic biology in advanced IB, and the roles of microorganisms in wastewater treatment, bioremediation and biofouling.

Learning will be achieved through lectures, tutorials and workshops.

Entrepreneurship (10 credits)

Learn from experts from the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship, what it takes to translate bright ideas in biomedical sciences into patents, business plans and spin-out companies.

Advanced Techniques in Biomedical Research 1 (10 credits)

This is a two-semester compulsory laboratory module. Both modules will help develop your skills in data analysis and report writing. This will help pave the way for a smooth transition into your summer research project, Advanced Topics in Biomedical Research.

This first module, which is delivered in the first semester will provide you training in key research skills in a range of standard techniques to be applied to specific problems in molecular biology research.

Elective Module

Choose one 10-credit module from the two optional practical modules across Semester 1 & 2.

In Vivo Biology (10 credits)

Gain real practical experience in the safe and ethical application of in vivo research by being trained to Home Office Personal License standard. Discover how in vivo biology has driven the development and testing of new drugs and medical techniques that save and improve human lives.

Compulsory classes

Advanced Techniques in Biomedical Research 2 (10 credits)

This is the second part of the two-semester compulsory laboratory module. This module will expose you to various assay procedures used widely in biochemistry, pharmacology, microbiology and immunology fields through hands-on laboratory exercises and further develop your analytical skills through workshops.

Advanced Topics in Biomedical Research (20 credits)

A unique and innovative module designed with three outcomes in mind:

  • become an expert in the field that you'll study for your summer research project & learn how to write a review paper that aims to be publication quality
  • learn how a scientific research career really works from the experts & then write the outline of a hypothetical research grant application
  • enhance your teamwork on a virtual project to develop a hypothetical drug from high-content screen, through in vivo testing in models, to transcriptomics & human clinical trials & pharmacogenomics. You'll not only learn how to manage a project’s timelines & targets, but also enter the world of big data manipulation and analysis
Postgraduate Studies in Clinical Microbiology (20 credits)

In this module, you'll understand the principles of clinical microbiology from the perspective of:

  • diagnosis by genotyping viable and non-viable approaches
  • mechanism of antimicrobial resistance and treatment by antimicrobial agents
  • epidemiology and control of infectious diseases

Elective Module

Choose one 10-credit module from the two optional practical modules across Semester 1 & 2.

Drug Discovery (10 credits)

The aim of this module is to introduce you to practical skills required to set up robust drug discovery assays in both academic and industrial settings. The pathway from pathology or biological pathway to small molecule drug candidate is explored in this unique module. Become familiar with the modern laboratory assays and screening approaches used by Big Pharma to develop their blockbuster drugs.

60 credits

Choose from a selection of research project topics in areas such as genomics, molecular genetics and synthetic biology. You can choose from four types of projects:

Laboratory-based experimental projects

These aim to develop a range of skills required for performing experimental research in a laboratory and generating novel data. The type of skills acquired are project-specific. These projects are appropriate if you're interested in a career in experimental laboratory research in industry or academia, e.g. PhD/research assistant/biology-based industrial company, where lab skills are of importance.

Critical analysis

These aim to develop a range of skills required for carrying out analysis of data reported in scientific literature. Skills include finding appropriate peer-reviewed studies, critically analysing the methods used and the data presented and coming to a clear conclusion whether the data support or refute a hypothesis. These projects develop skills in reading technical literature, formulating hypotheses, synthesising and critically appraising information and developing new ideas.

Data analysis

These aim to develop a range of skills required for carrying out analysis of scientific data. This could be data previously generated in the supervisor’s laboratory or data collected from previously published literature. They may involve generating and using spreadsheets and specialist data analytical packages. These projects develop skills in working with data, using statistical analyses, creating models, critically appraising information and developing new ideas.

Data-mining

These aim to develop a range of skills required for carrying out analysis of scientific data present in databases, e.g. genomic sequences. They may involve using spreadsheets and specialist data analytical packages. These projects develop skills in working with databases, data, using statistical analyses, creating models, critically appraising information and developing new ideas.

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Entry requirements

Academic requirements

Minimum second-class (2:2) Honours degree, or international equivalent, in a biological or chemical discipline.

English language requirements

You must have an English language minimum score of IELTS 6.0 (with no component below 5.5).

We offer comprehensive English language courses for students whose IELTS scores are below 6.0. Please see ELTD for full details.

As a university, we now accept many more English language tests in addition to IELTS for overseas applicants, for example, TOEFL and PTE Cambridge. View the full list of accepted English language tests here.

Pre-Masters preparation course

The Pre-Masters Programme is a preparation course held at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre, for international students (non EU/UK) who do not meet the academic entry requirements for a Masters degree at University of Strathclyde. The Pre-Masters programme provides progression to a number of degree options.

Upon successful completion, you'll be able to progress to this degree course at the University of Strathclyde.

International students

We've a thriving international community with students coming here to study from over 100 countries across the world. Find out all you need to know about studying in Glasgow at Strathclyde and hear from students about their experiences.

Visit our international students' section

Map of the world.

Kimberly Morsheimer, student
I’ve learned a lot of valuable skills while on my course. The main ones I can think of, outside the laboratory, are presentation skills, how to conduct literature searches, and data processing.
Kimberly Morsheimer
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Fees & funding

All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.

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Scotland

£9,050

England, Wales & Northern Ireland

£9,050

International

£22,400

Available scholarships

Take a look at our scholarships search for funding opportunities.

Visa & immigration

International students may have associated visa and immigration costs. Please see student visa guidance for more information.

Additional costs

Lab coats and safety goggles are approximately £30.

All recommended textbooks are available in the library (and some freely available as online resources); however, students may wish to purchase their own copies at approximately £60-180 for second hand to new prices.

Other costs:

  • £10 returnable deposit for entry keycard
  • £10 returnable deposit for locker (depending on project location within Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy & Biomedical Sciences)
  • printing and binding costs of project dissertation (soft-bound so estimated £10)

Please note: the fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.

How can I fund my course?

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Scottish postgraduate students

Scottish postgraduate students may be able to apply for support from the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS). The support is in the form of a tuition fee loan and for eligible students, a living cost loan. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Students coming from England

Students ordinarily resident in England may be to apply for postgraduate support from Student Finance England. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Students coming from Wales

Students ordinarily resident in Wales may be to apply for postgraduate support from Student Finance Wales. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Students coming from Northern Ireland

Postgraduate students who are ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland may be able to apply for support from Student Finance Northern Ireland. The support is a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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International students

We've a large range of scholarships available to help you fund your studies. Check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Careers

After graduating you should be ideally qualified for positions in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, as well as hospitals and universities.

You may wish to continue your studies for an MPhil or PhD degree.

This course provides the background training for a career in:

  • pharmaceutical & biotechnology industry laboratory research posts
  • laboratory technical support
  • medical/pharmaceutical/life science sales
  • academia, following a further PhD route

Glasgow is Scotland's biggest & most cosmopolitan city

Our campus is based right in the very heart of Glasgow. We're in the city centre, next to the Merchant City, both of which are great locations for sightseeing, shopping and socialising alongside your studies.

Life in Glasgow

Gallery of Modern Art, Royal Exchange Square.

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Apply

Please note there is no deadline for submitting applications.

Start date: Sep 2022

Molecular Microbiology

MSc
part-time
Start date: Sep 2022

Start date: Sep 2022

Molecular Microbiology

MSc
full-time
Start date: Sep 2022

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Contact us

PGT Admissions Team

Telephone: +44 (0)141 548 3623

Email: science-masters@strath.ac.uk