- UCAS code
- Start date
- September 2024
- Delivery type
- On campus
- 3 years full time
- Work placement
- Study abroad
- Typical A-level offer
- AAB (specific subject requirements)
- Typical Access to Leeds offer
Full entry requirements
Microbiology is the study of organisms too small to be visible with the naked eye, including bacteria, fungi and viruses. Your course will cover an area of science fundamental to the understanding of life on this planet – from human and animal disease, better food production to microbial involvement in global cycles.
You will study a range of microbiological topics with a biomedical focus, such as bacterial resistance to antibiotics, the use of microbes in biotechnology, and how new pathogens, such as the cause of COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2), emerge and cause disease. These topics are at the heart of many global challenges and it is critical that the next generation of expert scientists are trained in these areas.
You will develop your specialist knowledge, whilst building on the foundations of microbiology, with areas such as immunology, genetics, biochemistry and cell biology.
This 3 year BSc can also be converted into an integrated Masters (MBiol) with an optional additional year of specialist training, subject to suitable academic performance and availability. You would study advanced research topics and undertake your own extended research project.
- Weekly practical classes, with the option to experience working in a research lab in your final year.
- Experience the cutting edge in a research-active environment with world-class facilities.
- Perform a final year project at the frontier of modern research.
- Gain further practical experience and boost your employability through our Year in Industry programme.
- Build transferrable skills and employability with our skills-based teaching.
- Extensive wellbeing and employability support from dedicated Faculty teams.
- Outstanding graduate employability amongst top employers, both within and beyond scientific research.
Wellbeing and support
The University of Leeds features an extensive network of excellent services dedicated to you and your wellbeing. We are here to help throughout your time in higher education, ensuring you have everything you need to succeed. For more information on the different facets of support you will have access to, please see our Wellbeing and Support page.
Here at the University of Leeds, we are acutely aware that teaching is only part of a healthy, engaging university lifestyle. Activities which contribute to your wellbeing are vital, and so we have created Wednesday Wellbeing Afternoons.
These afternoons are a period of time with as much teaching as possible removed to give you the chance to pursue your passions. This may be a competitive sport for the university, a social sporting activity, or indeed any activity which contributes to positive mental health. We want your degree to be as flexible as possible so that you can make the most of your time here with us.
Microbiology is a specialist degree within the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology, which offers you flexibility throughout your time at Leeds.
All our School of Molecular and Cellular Biology degree courses shares the same set of compulsory modules in the first year. A key benefit of having a common first year is that at the end of year 1, there are opportunities to transfer onto degree courses in Biological Sciences and Biotechnology and Enterprise, subject to approval. Additional degree courses may be available depending on your academic background.
The School of Molecular and Cellular Biology is an international research hub with outstanding facilities for structural biology, biophysics, cell biology and imaging. This is underpinned by a recent £17 million investment by the University and a large grant portfolio from major external funders (the Wellcome Trust, Royal Society, BBSRC and MRC). These facilities underpin our research-led teaching and allow us to offer final-year projects at the frontier of modern research. Recently refurbished teaching labs and dedicated computer clusters will allow you to develop your practical and computational skills during the first two years of your course. The Faculty Student Opportunity Team provides expert support for preparing applications for placements, internships and jobs.
This programme has been accredited by the Royal Society of Biology. Advanced Degree Accreditation by the Society recognises academic excellence in the biosciences, and highlights degrees that educate the research and development leaders and innovators of the future. The Advanced Accreditation criteria require evidence that graduates from the programme meet defined sets of learning outcomes, including gaining a substantial period of research experience.
This accreditation is applicable to the following course variants: BSc Microbiology (Industrial); MBiol BSc Microbiology; MBiol BSc Microbiology (Industrial); MBiol BSc Microbiology (International).
You will study microbiology, genetics, immunology, biochemistry and cell biology as they relate to biomedicine. You will develop your practical skills with hands-on laboratory sessions, where you will become experienced in data collection and problem-solving. You will strengthen your core theoretical knowledge through lectures and interactive seminar groups. Upon the conclusion of your first year, you will have achieved the key foundations needed for success at degree level.
At the end of year 1, our flexible degree structure offers you the opportunity to transfer to relevant degree courses in the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology. Course transfers are subject to space and academic background approval.
Introductory Skills in the Molecular Biosciences (20 credits) - You’ll be trained in data collection and experimental techniques relevant to the biological sciences, as well as problem-solving, teamwork, and presentation skills. You will learn how to use laboratory equipment, design and execute simple experiments, understand approaches used to study biochemical and molecular processes, analyse and interpret numerical data, and present information clearly in written and oral forms.
Introductory Skills in Microbiology (20 credits) - Continue your skills training from first semester, with a focus on data collection and laboratory techniques relevant to microbial sciences, as well as further developing your skills in problem-solving, teamwork, and communication. You will engage with a mix of practical classes, tutorials, and computer-based classes, and will learn about aseptic technique, bacterial culture, microscopy, PCR, electrophoresis, and DNA sequencing as you work through several microbiology-focussed mini-projects applying theoretical knowledge gained from your lecture modules.
Basis of Life (20 credits) - You’ll learn about the fundamental processes of life, identifying the key concepts that underpin the biological processes in all living organisms, from bacteria to elephants. On completion of the module, you will have a comprehensive grounding in the molecular basis of life from the atomic scale up to cells.
Introduction to Microbiology (20 credits) - You’ll be introduced to a wide range of microscopic life forms and viruses. You will learn about microbiology in a broad sense and explore the diversity of microbial life with emphasis on how we interact with microbes that are responsible for infections as well as those that do not normally cause disease. You will learn how microorganisms interact with each other and how they influence the lives of more complex organisms, for good or ill and will learn how fungi, bacteria and viruses are observed and manipulated safely.
Introduction to Genetics (10 credits) - You’ll be provided with essential foundational knowledge in genetics, exploring the different meanings of ‘genetics’ and how this concept has changed over time. More importantly, you will explore what genetics means for us as organisms. To what extent do genes determine our inheritance? And how do our genes make us the distinct and unique organisms we are?
Introduction to Immunology (10 credits) - You’ll review fundamental immune mechanisms with particular emphasis on human immunology and its relationship to health and disease. You will discover how we protect ourselves from infection through our immune defences, learning about the roles played by the different types of leukocytes, antibodies and complement.
20 credits from the following
The Diversity of Life (10 credits) - You’ll be provided with an overview of the evolution and diversity of life, the key features that define each group and the role of those taxa in ecological processes. Each group of organisms will be linked to a major global challenge including food security, disease, and wildlife conservation, to demonstrate how fundamental science informs important societal issues.
Living Planet (20 credits) - You’ll have an overview of the evolution and diversity of life, the key features that define each group and the role of those taxa in ecological processes. Each group of organisms will be linked to a major global challenge including food security, disease, and wildlife conservation, to demonstrate how fundamental science informs important societal issues.
Introduction to Physiology (10 credits) - You’ll be introduced to body systems, largely on a weekly basis, with an emphasis on how systems operate and interact. The idea that disease can disturb, or result from disturbances of, these systems will be introduced for each system.
Discovery Modules (Up to 20 credits) - As well as the compulsory and optional modules that make up your programme of study, you may be able to choose something different to your main subject as a Discovery Module.
You will develop an understanding of key themes within biosciences, while tailoring your degree to focus on your own areas of interest. You will study Omics and Big Data Biology, Molecular Virology, and Medical Microbiology. These modules will be complemented by laboratory sessions on molecular biology, genomics, bacteriology and virology. You will also be able to choose from a wide range of optional modules, including Chemotherapy, Medical Immunology, Cell Biology of Disease and others.
This allows you to specialise in the detailed examination of microbial activities, from both a medical perspective and in relation to the biochemistry and cell biology of microbial replication and pathogenesis. You will have the opportunity to gain a comprehensive understanding of how microorganisms cause disease at the molecular level and the options available for the treatment of these conditions.
At the end of year 2, you will have the opportunity to complete an industrial work placement, study abroad, or combined study and work abroad. This will add an additional year of study to your degree.
Intermediate Skills in the Molecular Biosciences (20 credits) - You’ll be trained in data collection, experimental techniques, and problem-solving in the context of molecular and cellular biology, biochemistry, and microbiology. You will build on your expertise learned in your year one skills modules, and will cover practical experiments in gene cloning, protein expression, PCR, electrophoresis, and enzyme assays, as well as tutorials on data handling, problem-solving, and critical reviews of current topics in cell and molecular biology.
Intermediate Skills in Microbiology (20 credits) - You’ll be trained in advanced practical skills in microbiology, including molecular and medical virology, bacteriology, and immunology. You will also learn about bioinformatics and statistics and how they can be applied to microbiology research. You will receive training in a range of techniques, including cell culture, virus handling, antibiotic susceptibility testing and microbiome analysis. In addition to laboratory skills, you will continue to develop problem-solving, research, and data analysis abilities.
Omics and Big Data Biology (20 credits) - You’ll be introduced to omics-based approaches at the forefront of equipping biologists to overcome global challenges. You will develop practical data-science skills in comparative genomics, transcriptomics and proteomics to conduct group-based and individual research projects.
Medical Microbiology (20 credits) - You’ll gain a detailed understanding of important human viral and bacterial pathogens and methods of combatting these infections.
Molecular Virology (10 credits) - You’ll be introduced to techniques used for the study of viruses, the structure of viruses and the processes of their replication and evolution. You will also learn how virus biology can be exploited for gene expression and gene therapy.
30 credits from the following , 10 credits of the below in semester 1
Any Faculty of Biological Sciences module for which pre-requisites are met (10 credits)
Discovery Module (10 credits) - As well as the compulsory and optional modules that make up your programme of study, you may be able to choose something different to your main subject as a Discovery Module.
20 credits of the below in semester 2
Medical Immunology (10 credits) - You’ll gain detailed knowledge of the immune system, focusing on human health, from infectious and auto-immune diseases to treatment.
Chemotherapy (10 credits) - The basis of chemotherapy is selective toxicity, the use of agents to kill or suppress the growth of invading cells or infective organisms. This module will help you understand how these agents work. You will learn about the drugs used to treat cancer, bacterial, fungal and viral infections. In addition, immunosuppressant drugs and the chemotherapy of protozoal diseases such as malaria will also be discussed.
Cell Biology of Disease (10 credits) - You’ll gain a broad understanding of the eukaryotic cell and how it responds to and is altered in infectious and non-infectious diseases. Emphasis is placed on a comprehensive grounding of cellular function by considering different cell types and associated disease states.
Any Faculty of Biological Sciences modules for which pre-requisites are met (Up to 20 credits)
You will conduct an independent research project under the supervision of one of our world-class scientists applying all the skills you have developed during your degree. This can be laboratory-based, literature-based, or computer-based. In addition, choose between a wide range of specialist and advanced topics such as emerging infections, virus-host interactions and innate immunity, modifying the course content to your own needs and interests. Through this, you will gain a portfolio of skills, knowledge, and experiences that will allow you to pursue your graduate career aspirations.
Molecular and Cellular Biology Research Project (40 credits) - During the final year research project you will have the opportunity to become fully engaged with your research discipline. With guidance from an academic supervisor, you will develop a research question and undertake independent research to answer that question. Your outcomes are presented in a report that outlines the context of the research, the approaches taken, conclusions made and future work, including the potential applications of the research findings.
Advanced Skills for Microbiologists (20 credits) - In the final year skills module, you will become familiar with up-to-date developments, hypotheses and controversies in molecular biosciences. You will have an opportunity to develop your problem-solving and scientific communication skills as well as participate in careers workshops.
Advanced Topics in Microbiology 1 (20 credits) - This is one of our flagship research-led modules. You will become familiar with current research in a range of topics which have previously covered:
- Innate immunity
- Visualising viruses
- The world of viruses
- Emerging infections
However, this module is continuously refreshed with topics that reflect the cutting-edge research we carry out at Leeds.
Advanced Topics in Microbiology 2 (20 credits) - This is one of our flagship research-led modules. You will become familiar with current research in a range of topics which have previously covered:
- Respiratory infections
- Antibiotic action and resistance
- Human-microbe interactions
- Streptomyces, the Antibiotic Makers
However, this module is continuously refreshed with topics that reflect the cutting-edge research we carry out at Leeds.
20 credits from the following
Cancer Biology (20 credits) - You’ll gain comprehensive knowledge of a range of human cancers, from the molecular basis of cancer to the alterations in cells and tissues in cancers to current therapies.
Faculty of Biological Sciences module for which pre-requisites are met (20 credits)
Throughout your degree you will benefit from a range of opportunities to expand your intellectual horizons outside or within your subject area.
This course gives you the opportunity to choose from a range of discovery modules. They’re a great way to tailor your study around your interests or career aspirations and help you stand out from the crowd when you graduate. Find out more about discovery modules on our Broadening webpages.
Learning and teaching
Our teaching is delivered through a combination of lectures, tutorials and practicals (laboratory or field settings dependent on your degree). We take a student-centred approach to learning and so our teaching is designed to enable student engagement through active learning approaches that include creative problem-solving, team-work activities and mini-projects. In this way, you are able to apply the theoretical knowledge learnt to practical, real-life contexts. We put a high value on practical teaching and so a core part of your teaching will focus on developing hands-on practical and associated research skills.
Independent study is an important part of University learning and you will be expected to undertake private study. We will support you in becoming independent learners through our teaching approaches and through regular meetings with your personal tutor who is there to advise you academically.
We use a range of digital tools to enhance your learning. Through our Minerva learning management system, you will be able to access our extensive library of online materials, some of it designed specifically to support preparation prior to attending classroom sessions and discuss content with peers and teachers. In the classroom, educators use a variety of interactive digital tools to help you learn through discussion and debate. Laboratory practicals are accompanied by detailed online preparation guides and use of electronic laboratory notebooks to ensure you get the most out of your time and develop workplace skills.
On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.
We use a variety of assessment methods to help you develop a broad range of skills. These include practical work, data handling and problem-solving exercises, multiple-choice tests, group work, online and face-to-face discussion groups, computer-based simulations, essays, posters and oral presentations. We support students in their assessment journey through the provision of practice questions, sessions on how to complete assessment questions and feedback to support learning.
Including biology or chemistry and another science or science-related subject. Critical thinking and general studies excluded.
We accept the following:
Science: biology, human biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics.
Science-related: computing, environmental science, food science, geography, geology, PE, psychology, statistics.
Applicants taking a Science A-level (in England) will be required to achieve a pass in the practical element in addition to the standard A-level grade requirement.
When an applicant is taking any of the following:
Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)
Cambridge International Project Qualification (Cambridge IPQ)
Core Maths (if A-level Maths or Further Maths isn't studied as a full A-level)
AS Maths (if A-level Maths or Further Maths isn't studied as a full A-level)
Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate
It will be considered alongside A-levels and may attract an alternative offer in addition to the standard offer. If you are taking A-levels, this would be a 1 grade drop from the standard offer. For example an A in one of the above qualifications with ABB at A-level (BSc applicants).
GCSE: Grade 6 (B) or above at GCSE maths and Grade 4 (C) or above at GCSE English. The Faculty of Biological Sciences will accept Level 2 Functional Skills English in lieu of GCSE English.
Access to HE Diploma
Pass 60 credits overall with 45 credits at Level 3, graded at D39M6P0 including distinctions in biology and chemistry or maths.
We accept Access courses in Applied Science. We will also consider (depending on subject content):
biological and environmental science
biological and health science
life and biological science
medical and health science professions
physical & natural sciences.
MBiol: We do not accept Access to HE.
BTEC extended diploma entry requirements: DDM plus A/B in A-level Biology or Chemistry. The preferred BTEC qualification subject is Applied Science (other subjects may be accepted).
BTEC diploma entry requirements: DD plus A/B in A-level Biology or Chemistry. The preferred BTEC qualification subject is Applied Science (other subjects may be accepted).
Applicants with BTEC Subsidiary Diploma qualifications must normally have at least 2 A-levels and at least one of these should be Biology or Chemistry (plus another science or science-related subject depending on the BTEC subject).
MBiol: We do not accept BTEC qualifications.
BSc: D3/D3/M1 including D3 in biology or chemistry plus one other science or science-related subject. Global Perspectives excluded.
MBiol: D3/D3/D3 Including biology or chemistry plus another science or science-related subject. Global Perspectives excluded.
When an applicant is taking Global Perspectives this can be considered alongside Pre-U subjects and may attract an alternative offer in addition to the standard offer. This would be D3/M1/M1 and grade D3 in Global Perspectives (BSc applicants) or D3/D3/M1 and grade D3 in Global Perspectives (MBiol applicants).
BSc: 6,6,5 at higher level including Biology or Chemistry and another science or science-related subject.
MBiol: 6,6,6 at higher level including Biology or Chemistry and another science or science-related subject.
Irish Leaving Certificate (higher Level)
BSc: H2,H2,H2,H2,H3,H3 including H2 in biology or chemistry and another science or science-related subject at higher level.
MBiol: H2,H2,H2,H2,H2,H2 including biology or chemistry and another science or science-related subject at higher level.
Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers
BSc: Advanced Higher: 5 x Highers AABBB, with AB in 2 Advanced Highers including biology or chemistry and another science or science-related subject. Critical thinking and general studies excluded.
MBiol: 5 x Highers AABBB, with AA in 2 Advanced Highers including biology or chemistry and another science or science-related subject. Critical thinking and general studies excluded.
We accept the following:
Science subjects: biology, human biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics.
Science-related subjects: PE, geography, use of mathematics, psychology, statistics, geology and computing.
Scottish Higher: Scottish Highers not accepted on their own.
Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the Schools Undergraduate Admissions Team.
Were committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.
Access to Leeds is an alternative admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.
Find out more about Access to Leeds and alternative admissions.
Typical Access to Leeds offer
Specific A Level subjects required – see entry requirement section above.
GCSE: Grade 6 (B) or above at GCSE Maths and Grade 4 (C) or above at GCSE English.
Access to Leeds: Pass
International Foundation Year
International students who do not meet the academic requirements for undergraduate study may be able to study the University of Leeds International Foundation Year. This gives you the opportunity to study on campus, be taught by University of Leeds academics and progress onto a wide range of Leeds undergraduate courses. Find out more about International Foundation Year programmes.
English language requirements
IELTS 6.0 overall, with no less than 5.5 in any component. . For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.
Improve your English
If you're an international student and you don't meet the English language requirements for this programme, you may be able to study our undergraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.
UK: £9,250 (per year)
International: £30,250 (per year)
Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students are set by the UK Government and will remain capped at £9,250 for 2023/24 and 2024/25. The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation only as a consequence of future changes in Government legislation and as permitted by law.
Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for international students for 2023/24 and 2024/25 are available on individual course pages.
Read more about paying fees and charges.
There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs.
Scholarships and financial support
If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.
The Faculty of Biological Sciences offer a range of scholarships for UK, EU and International students. Find out more about our scholarships
We welcome applications from mature students. We welcome applications from mature students from all backgrounds onto both full-time and part-time programmes.
International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If you’re unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.
Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.
Visit our admissions guidance page for more information about applying to undergraduate courses in the Faculty of Biological Sciences.
The Faculty of Biological Sciences may consider applications submitted after this date. Availability of courses in UCAS Extra will be detailed by UCAS at the appropriate stage in the cycle.
Alternative Entry Scheme for mature applicants
As per the information detailed in the corresponding section of the University of Leeds Taught Admissions Policy the Faculty of Biological Sciences will consider prospective students via the Alternative Entry Scheme run by the Lifelong Learning where appropriate applicants will be referred to the Lifelong Learning Centre, who will advise the applicant further.
Except for those courses detailed below, interviews do not form part of the Faculty of Biological Sciences’ standard admissions process however, in some cases, an applicant may be invited for an interview if it will help inform whether or not an offer should be made.
This course is taught by
Faculty of Biological Sciences Undergraduate Admissions Office
As well as providing you with subject-specific knowledge, we aim to equip you with the best possible skills for a variety of future careers. All of our degrees have a strong emphasis on practical-based teaching, small group teaching, online learning and problem-solving.
Throughout the degree, you’ll gain a wide range of transferable skills which are highly valued by employers. Supported by the Faculty Student Opportunity Team, Leeds for Life scheme and your academic and personal tutor, you’ll be ideally placed to focus on your personal development and make the most of your time at university.
Given the huge importance of microorganisms to all aspects of our lives, microbiologists will always be in demand. Microbiology is an exciting, challenging and rewarding subject; it has a key role to play in the health and development of mankind.
Typical graduate careers include:
- Clinical Scientist
- Biomedical Scientist
- Forensic Scientist
- Graduate medicine/dentistry
Examples of recent graduate destinations include:
Further study at the University of Leeds, or other institutions
- Enrolled on PhD (~70%)
- Enrolled on MSc (~20%)
- Enrolled on teacher training (~5%)
- Medical/dental student (Graduate entry) (~5%)
Employment as research scientist, other related positions
- Other companies, including Astrazeneca, GSK, Qiagen, Mars
- University of Leeds/other institutions
Employment in NHS/UKHSA
- Laboratory research assistant
- Clinical scientist training scheme
- Healthcare scientist
We have a dedicated student opportunity team in the Faculty of Biological Sciences who work closely with the University’s Careers Centre.
We offer numerous opportunities in addition to volunteering and placements. This includes our annual student-alumni networking event, where graduates are invited back to talk about their work and network with our students, and our STEM Careers Fair. The fair is an amazing opportunity for you to meet bioscience employers, such as AstraZeneca, Labcorp, GSK, Nuffield and NHS Ecological consultancies. You will be able to speak to alumni, attend workshops and more.
We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.
Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.
The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more about Careers support.
Study abroad and work placements
On this course you have the opportunity to apply to spend time abroad, usually as an extra academic year. We have over 300 University partners worldwide and popular destinations for our students include Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa and Latin America.
Find out more at the Study Abroad website.
If you choose to undertake a study abroad option, you will spend the third year of your course studying abroad. This will extend your studies by 12 months.
Practical work experience can help you decide on your career and improve your employability. On this course you have the option to apply to take a placement year module with organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors in the UK, or overseas.
Find out more about work experience on the Careers website.
Industrial placements are taken after your second year. This will extend your studies by 12 months. For your work placement in industry, the staff at Leeds will help you with your CV and recruitment process and provide details of organisations.
Placements abroad are possible. We work together with your industrial supervisors to make sure you get the most out of this year. A year working in industry gives you an excellent opportunity to get used to the demands of the world of work, to develop new skills and to augment your CV.
Combined study and working abroad
Our new module allows you to combine both a study abroad and industrial work placement into one additional year of study. Over the year you will study for a semester at one of our partner universities and complete an industrial work placement for 6 months abroad or in the UK.
Find out more about Combined study and work abroad.
Student profile: Hannah Longon
I decided to do a year in industry to test the waters and see what sort of careers a degree in Microbiology might open up to me and to guide my applications for graduate schemes.Find out more about Hannah Longon's time at Leeds