BSc Hons Microbiology


Key facts

  • UCAS Code: C501
  • Start date: Sep 2020
  • Accreditation: Royal Society of Biology
  • Study mode and duration: full-time, four years
  • Part-time study: available

  • Flexible degree: flexibility to change to other Biomolecular Science courses throughout your studies

  • High Flyer Programme: qualified applicants can complete course in 3 years

Study with us

  • the study of all living organisms that are too small to be visible with the naked eye
  • this course will allow you to go into specialist biomedical science areas such as drug research, biochemistry, microbiology and bacteriology
  • our courses are underpinned by our strong research base, links with industry, the NHS and international partners
  • accredited by the Royal Society of Biology
  • we're ranked in the UK Top 10 for Biological Sciences (Complete University Guide 2020)
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Why this course?

This single Honours course specialises in Microbiology. Microbes and their activities are vitally important to virtually all processes on earth.

Microbes matter because they affect every aspect of our lives – they are in us, on us and around us.

Microbiology is the study of all living organisms that are too small to be visible with the naked eye. This includes bacteria, archaea, viruses, fungi, prions, protozoa and algae. These microbes play key roles in nutrient cycling, biodegradation/biodeterioration, climate change, food spoilage, the cause and control of disease, and biotechnology. Microbes can be put to work in many ways: making life-saving drugs, the manufacture of biofuels, cleaning up pollution, and producing/processing food and drink.

Microbiologists study microbes, and some of the most important discoveries that have underpinned modern society have resulted from the research of famous microbiologists, such as Jenner and his vaccine against smallpox, Fleming and the discovery of penicillin, Marshall and the identification of the link between Helicobacter pylori infection and stomach ulcers, and zur Hausen, who identified the link between papillomavirus and cervical cancer.

Microbiology research is central to meeting many global challenges, such as maintaining food, water and energy security for a healthy population on a habitable earth. Microbiology research will also help to answer big questions such as 'How diverse is life on Earth?', and 'does life exist elsewhere in the Universe'?

This course will allow you to go into specialist biomedical science areas such as drug research, biochemistry, microbiology and bacteriology.

A student examining a petri dish

THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner

What you’ll study

Years 1 & 2

Students on all the biosciences degrees study the same classes in the first two years. This means you can defer your ultimate choice of degree until the end of Year 2.

In Year 1, you’ll study classes in cells and their molecules, organisms and diseases and Bio-organic chemistry.  These are all underpinned by the ‘Being a Biomolecular Scientist’ class which begins with basic laboratory skills, statistical and data analysis and presentation, report writing, health and safety and ethics.

You also choose 20 credits of elective subjects from across the University.

In Year 2, you’ll gain an introduction to each of the four discipline biochemistry, immunology, microbiology and pharmacology again supported by the ‘Being a Biomolecular Scientist’ class which develops various skills gained in Year 1.

Years 3 & 4

You’ll undertake specialised lecture and laboratory classes learning about the molecular, clinical and applied aspects of microbiology. In your final year of study, you’ll participate in a research project focusing on a defined microbiological topic. We offer various types of research projects including laboratory-based, critical analysis of literature, bioinformatics, enterprise or education which would be applicable to a variety of careers.

Transfer to the Year 5 MSci in Microbiology may be possible at the end of Year 4, subject to performance.

Student competitions

Prize Awarded to the student with the best academic performance in the final Microbiology classes (BM425 and BM424) and Microbiology-coded 40-credit project component of BM432.

QS logo - 5 stars
Athena Swan bronze logo
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Course content

Being a Biomolecular Scientist 1

This class aims to give students:

  • the foundation practical skills required for a biological biochemistry
  • the foundation practical skills based around 'health and the body'
  • foundation presentation skills
Cells & their molecules

The aims of this class are to:

  • provide Foundation level knowledge relating to basic functions of cells
  • set out principles of biological action and function that will be encountered through all four years
  • expose students to the basic suite of teaching, learning and assessment paradigms used throughout their degree with particular focus on oral communication and presentation
Organisms & Disease

From this class, students will gain:

  • foundation level knowledge relating to basic evolution, species diversity, development, homeostasis, and infectious disease
  • principles of biological action and function that will be encountered through all four years
  • learn about methods of teaching, learning and assessment used throughout the degree, with particular focus on finding, citing and using information, and teamwork
Bio-Organic Chemistry

The aims of this class are to:

  • understand nucleotide/nucleic acid molecular structure, stereochemistry and conformation as the foundation of nucleic acid chemical and biological potential
  • understand amino acid/protein molecular structure, stereochemistry and conformation as the foundation of protein chemical and biological potential
  • understand monosaccharide/polysaccharide molecular structure, stereochemistry and conformation as the foundation of carbohydrate chemical and biological potential
  • understand the chemistry, stereochemistry and biological roles of polyketide/polyisoprene natural products and their biosynthetic origins
Being a Biomolecular Scientist 2

The aims of this class are to:

  • give students the fundamental practical skills required for a biochemist
  • give students the fundamental practical skills required for an immunologist
  • give students the fundamental practical skills required for a microbiologist
  • give students the fundamental practical skills required for a pharmacologist
  • give students fundamental skills in presentation and teamwork
Introduction to Biochemistry

The aims of this class are:

  • to understand gene structure and function and the regulation of gene expression
  • to understand how human genetic variation arises and its uses in medicine and forensics
  • to understand the basic structure and function of proteins, lipids and carbohydrates
  • to appreciate the key metabolic pathways in the absorptive and post-absorptive states
  • to understand the pathways involved in cell growth and cell death
Introduction to Immunology

By studying this class, students will be able to demonstrate:

  • an understanding of how immune cells recognise antigens
  • an understanding of key concepts in induction of acquired immunity
  • an understanding of effector mechanism of the immune system
  • an understanding of helpful immune responses
  • an understanding of harmful immune responses
Introduction to Microbiology

The aims of this class are to help students to:

  • understand the fundamental taxonomic grouping and evolutionary relationships of microbes
  • appreciate physiological, structural and molecular differences between different microorganisms
  • understand the role and control of microorganisms in disease
  • learn how organisms adapt to hostile environments and appreciate the biotechnological exploitation of extremophiles
Introduction to Pharmacology

This class aims to:

  • develop understanding of systems biology and homeostasis
  • develop understanding of the somatic, autonomic and central nervous systems
  • develop understanding of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems
  • develop understanding of the hepatic and renal systems
  • develop understanding of the endocrine and reproductive systems
Being a Biomolecular Scientist 3

The aims of this class are to:

  • give students generic practical skills in biomolecular science
  • further develop students' practical skills in specific discipline (A) that align with the class choices of the degree programme
  • further develop students' practical skills in specific discipline (B) that align with the class choices of the degree programme
  • further develop students presentation skills
Fundamental Microbiology

The aims of this class are to:

  • understand the basis of gene regulation in microorganisms and how this influence bacterial physiology
  • describe the key mechanisms that drive evolution of microorganisms
  • demonstrate an understanding of the principles of mathematical modelling in predicting microbial growth and death
  • describe the basis of microbial form and function and how bioinformatics are fundamental to microbiology
Biomedical Microbiology

The aims of this class are to:

  • understand the difference between taxonomic and phylogenetic classification of microorganisms
  • understand the principles that underpin bacterial, fungal and viral identification
  • understand the structure, function and growth characteristics of bacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoa. Apply that knowledge to their role in disease development
  • describe the distinguishing features, pathogenic properties, epidemiology, treatment and control of medically important bacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoa

You’ll also choose two other classes from the Year 3 curriculum.

Being a Biomolecular Scientist 4

The aims of this class are:

  • to give students the opportunity to carry out original research
  • to provide students with the skills to critically interpret data and develop conclusions or hypotheses based upon their findings
  • to provide students with the skills to analyse and present their data
  • to provide knowledge in a key area that is relevant to the career aspirations of the student
Advanced Microbiology

The aims of this class are to:

  • understand how to analyse and interpret the genomes of microorganisms
  • understand the mechanisms that permit bacteria to sense and interact with the environment
  • understand of the mechanisms of bacterial growth and development
  • understanding microbial populations through ‘omic analysis
Clinical Microbiology

The aims of this class are to:

  • understand the principles of epidemiology in infectious diseases
  • understand the diagnosis of microbial identification using genotyping and viable and non-viable approaches
  • understand the mechanisms of antimicrobial agents and antimicrobial resistance as well as the significance of biofilms in antimicrobial resistance
  • understand the mechanisms and importance of infection control in the immune-compromised host
Applied Microbiology

The aims of this class are to:

  • understand the basics of fermentation technology and how microbes can be exploited for human benefit
  • understand the impact of modern molecular biology techniques on industrial biotechnology and how this can be employed in an industrial setting
  • understand the importance of bioprocess monitoring and downstream processing
  • provide an understanding of how microbial processes affect our environment in beneficial and deleterious ways

You'll also choose one other class from the Year 4 curriculum.


Knowledge and understanding are assessed by written examinations, essays, presentations and computer-aided learning (CAL) exercises and quizzes, available on our virtual learning environment, Myplace.

Competence is assessed through practical tests, practical write-ups, project reports and CAL exercises and quizzes.

Communication skills are assessed through essays and oral presentations.

Project work is assessed from project reports and oral presentations.

There’s an individual research project in the final year of the course where you’ll demonstrate research skills, problem-solving and a research approach.

Learning & teaching

You’ll gain knowledge and understanding through around 240 hours of lectures, including review-type lectures, practical classes, tutorials and computer-aided learning.

To allow you to prepare, class hand-outs are available in advance from Myplace. Hand-outs will also be supported by tasks such as essays, oral and tutorial/workshop presentations.

Quantitative skills are taught by the Department of Maths & Statistics, the Department of Pure & Applied Chemistry as well as the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy & Biomedical Sciences.

Most laboratory classes, including the chemistry classes in Year 1, include number and numeracy and statistical skills that are used in the Institute. Communication skills are taught throughout the course. Information retrieval, interpretation and research skills are gained through project work which also develops team-working skills.

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Entry requirements

Required subjects are shown in brackets.


Standard entry requirements*:

Year 1 entry: AABB/AAAC

(two sciences – Biology/Human Biology B and Chemistry B; Maths and English National 5 B)

Minimum entry requirements**:


(Biology B, Chemistry B, Maths and English National 5 B)

Advanced Highers

Year 2 entry: BB

(Chemistry B, Biology/ Human Biology B, plus Year 1 above)

A Levels

Minimum entry requirements:

Year 1 entry: BBB

(two sciences required, at least one of which must be Biology or Chemistry; GCSE Chemistry 6/B (if not at A Level); GCSE Maths 6/B, GCSE English Language 6/B or Literature 6/B)

Year 2 entry: BBB

(Chemistry and Biology, GCSE Maths 6/B, and GCSE English Language 6/B or English Literature 6/B)

International Baccalaureate

Year 1 entry: 32

(two science subjects (Chemistry/ Biology/Physics) HL5; English SL5; Maths SL5)

Year 2 entry: 36

(Chemistry & Biology HL6; English SL5; Maths SL5)


Year 1 entry: HNC, Graded Unit B
Year 2 entry: HNC, Graded Unit A or HND, Graded Units BB
Year 3 entry: HND, Graded Units AB

International students

Find out entry requirements for your country by visiting our country pages.

Deferred entry


*Standard entry requirements

Offers are made in accordance with specified entry requirements although admission to undergraduate programmes is considered on a competitive basis and entry requirements stated are normally the minimum level required for entry.

Whilst offers are made primarily on the basis of an applicant meeting or exceeding the stated entry criteria, admission to the University is granted on the basis of merit, and the potential to succeed. As such, a range of information is considered in determining suitability.

In exceptional cases, where an applicant does not meet the competitive entry standard, evidence may be sought in the personal statement or reference to account for performance which was affected by exceptional circumstances, and which in the view of the judgement of the selector would give confidence that the applicant is capable of completing the programme of study successfully.

**Minimum entry requirements

Find out if you can benefit from this type of offer.

Widening access

We want to increase opportunities for people from every background. Strathclyde selects our students based on merit, potential and the ability to benefit from the education we offer. We look for more than just your grades. We consider the circumstances of your education and will make lower offers to certain applicants as a result.

Find out if you can benefit from this type of offer.

Degree preparation course for international students

We offer international students (non-EU/UK) who do not meet the academic entry requirements for an undergraduate degree at Strathclyde the option of completing an Undergraduate Foundation year programme at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre.

Upon successful completion, you will 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.

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Fees & funding


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



Rest of UK


Assuming no change in RUK fees policy over the period, the total amount payable by undergraduate students will be capped. For students commencing study in 2020/21, this is capped at £27,750 (with the exception of the MPharm and integrated Masters programmes), MPharm students pay £9,250 for each of the four years. Students studying on integrated Masters degree programmes pay an additional £9,250 for the Masters year with the exception of those undertaking a full-year industrial placement where a separate placement fee will apply.



University preparation programme fees

International students can find out more about the costs and payments of studying a university preparation programme at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre.

Available scholarships

Take a look at our scholarships search for funding opportunities.

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

How can I fund my studies?

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Students from Scotland and the EU

If you're a Scottish or EU student, you may be able to apply to the Student Award Agency Scotland (SAAS) to have your tuition fees paid by the Scottish government. Scottish students may also be eligible for a bursary and loan to help cover living costs while at University.

For more information on funding your studies have a look at our University Funding page.

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Students from England, Wales & Northern Ireland

We have a generous package of bursaries on offer for students from England, Northern Ireland and Wales:

You don’t need to make a separate application for these. When your place is confirmed at Strathclyde, we’ll assess your eligibility. Have a look at our scholarship search for any more funding opportunities.

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International Students (Non-UK Scholarships, EEA)

We have a number of scholarships available to international students. Take a look at our scholarship search to find out more.

Glasgow is Scotland's biggest & most cosmopolitan city

Our campus is based in the very heart of Glasgow, Scotland's largest city. National Geographic named Glasgow as one of its 'Best of the World' destinations, while Rough Guide readers have voted Glasgow the world’s friendliest city! And Time Out named Glasgow in the top ten best cities in the world - we couldn't agree more!

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.

Find out what some of our students think about studying in Glasgow!

Find out all about life in Glasgow
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Many of our graduates are involved in the development of drugs, food processing, protecting the environment, fighting disease or even slowing down the ageing process.

Our graduates find jobs in the pharmaceutical, biotech and agrochemical industries, hospitals and public service laboratories, environmental centres, analytical and forensic science labs, universities, the scientific civil service and teaching at all levels.

Many students also continue on to postgraduate studies and research.

The transferable skills you gain from this course will not only prepare you for a career in science but also in areas such as finance, management, marketing, sales, business and media.

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Qualification: BSc

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Contact us

Dr Alan McCruden

Telephone: +44 (0)141 548 3749