Veterinary Microbiology MSc

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Why Surrey?

Our MSc Veterinary Microbiology programme, run in partnership with local world-leading veterinary research institutes (Pirbright, APHA and VMD), offers an in-depth understanding of veterinary infectious diseases and global issues such as AMR, and their associated impact on man.

It offers specialist practical training in the diagnosis of important viral and bacterial diseases of global animal and human health importance.

Programme overview

This programme is intended for those who wish to enhance their understanding of the role of microorganisms in animal health and disease, and provides an excellent grounding in molecular biology, immunology, epidemiology and microbiology.

This grounding leads into the study of the complex mechanisms of host/microbe interactions that are involved in the pathogenesis of specific animal diseases, and provides insights into diagnosis and interventions, such as vaccines, essential for disease control.

You will enhance your critical and analytical skills and gain hands-on experience in the diagnosis of veterinary diseases, such that you may identify problems, formulate hypotheses, design experiments, acquire and interpret data, and draw conclusions.

Programme structure

This programme is studied full-time over one academic year.

Example module listing

The following modules are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that not all modules described are compulsory and may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.

Who is the programme for?

This is a full or part-time programme, intended mainly for graduates, those already working in veterinary diagnostic/research laboratories and staff from other laboratories who want to enhance their understanding of the role of microorganisms in animal health and disease.

Pharmaceutical research personnel, policymakers, veterinarians, public health personnel and environmental biologists will also benefit.

Part-time and short course study

Most modules are offered as standalone short courses. The fee structure for short courses is different to that for registered students, and details may be obtained via admissions enquiries, please refer to the contact details on this page.

The option to study the MSc on a part-time basis is only available following successful completion of three modules as stand-alone/CPD. Please contact the Faculty Student Services Team for further information.

Programme partners

This Masters programme is delivered by a consortium comprising the University of Surrey and two world class veterinary microbiology institutions: the BBSRC funded Pirbright Institute (PI), and the Government sponsored Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA).

The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) and Public Health England (PHE) also contribute to the programme.


You will have the unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the diagnosis of important veterinary diseases within the world reference laboratories of the APHA and Pirbright Institute (PI).

There will also be an opportunity to visit Public Health England (PHE) to gain a detailed knowledge of how zoonotic diseases outbreaks are investigated, and to visit the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD), a livestock abattoir and an intensive livestock farm.

Colleagues from the CEFAS laboratory will also contribute to the programme, and further research training will be provided during your practical research project.

Academic staff

Academic staff associated with the programme have research expertise in the fields of microbial physiology and biochemistry, molecular biology, virology, mycology, parasitology, bacteriology, food microbiology, immunology, toxicology, nutrition, veterinary microbiology, pathology and epidemiology.

Educational aims of the programme

This is a one year full-time programme aimed at preparing graduates to work in a range of fields in which a detailed understanding of veterinary microbiology is a valuable asset.

These fields include research, commerce, government and policy, reference laboratory and diagnostic work, epidemiology and disease mapping, veterinary science, farming especially animal production, wild and zoo animal conservation and education.

As such, it is intended that graduates will achieve the highest levels of professional understanding of veterinary microbiology within a range of contexts.

The programme combines the study of the theoretical foundations of, and scholarly approaches to, understanding the application and various practices of veterinary microbiology within the contexts described above along with the development of practical and research skills.

The main aims are to enable students to:

  • Acquire sound knowledge of the major principles of veterinary microbiology
  • Develop the skills to perform relevant interpretation and evaluation of data
  • Apply those acquired skills in practice through research
  • To utilise acquired knowledge and evaluative skills to communicate successfully with stakeholders

Programme learning outcomes

The programme provides opportunities for students to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, skills, qualities and other attributes in the following areas.

The learning outcomes have been aligned with the descriptor for qualification at level 7 given in the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ) produced by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) for Higher Education.

Knowledge and understanding

Following completion of the programme, students should display knowledge of:

  • The main principles of current veterinary microbiology
  • The methods and approaches used for the molecular characterisation, and diagnosis of disease agents
  • The main principles of infectious diseases epidemiology
  • The analysis of disease and disease carriage that impact on the development and application of control measures to combat diseases
  • Modes of control of infectious diseases
  • Modes of transmission
  • The various aspects of host pathology and immune responses to disease agents
  • Analytical skills to allow interpretation of data and formulation of conclusions

Intellectual/cognitive skills

Following completion of the programme, students should be able to:

  • Critically appraise scholarly and professional writing on a wide range of subjects pertaining to the various aspects of veterinary microbiology
  • Critically analyse experimental data to enable the formulation of hypotheses
  • Design relevant experiments to test formulated hypotheses
  • Efficiently analyse new developments in technology and critically assess their utilisation to answer existing and new problems

Professional practical skills

Following completion of the programme, students should be able to:

  • Plan and execute an experiment/investigation, act autonomously and demonstrate originality
  • Analyse numerical data using appropriate computer tools including specialist computer packages
  • Communicate experiments at a project level, including report writing
  • Perform specific specialised experimental skills

Key/transferable skills

Following completion of the programme, students should be able to:

  • Problem solve
  • Evaluate and exploit new technology
  • Communicate ideas, principles and theories effectively by oral, written and visual means
  • Work effectively in small groups and teams towards a common goal/outcome
  • Apply basic statistical and numerical skills to data
  • Use information technology including specialist packages

Global opportunities

We often give our students the opportunity to acquire international experience during their degrees by taking advantage of our exchange agreements with overseas universities.

In addition to the hugely enjoyable and satisfying experience, time spent abroad adds a distinctive element to your CV.

Learn more about opportunities that might be available for this particular programme by using our student exchanges search tool.

Related departments/schools

Related research areas

Programme leader

Professor Roberto La Ragione

Find out more

General enquiries:

+44 (0)1483 681 681

Admissions enquiries:


Programme facts

Type of programme:


Programme length:

  • Full-time: To be confirmed
  • Part-time: To be confirmed

Start date:

Sep 2017

Entry Requirements

Applicants should normally possess at least a 2.2 honours degree in a relevant subject (biosciences) or a degree in medicine or veterinary medicine. However, relevant research experience may also be considered.

Selection will be based upon the candidate’s application, references and an informal interview. In special circumstances, a student may be set work for assessment before being offered a place on the programme.

You must successfully complete three modules as standalone courses before you are able to transfer to the part-time programme. The accumulated credits would count towards your degree.

View entry requirements by country

English language requirements

IELTS 7.0 overall, 6.5 in each component (or equivalent)

We offer intensive English language pre-sessional courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.


Study mode Start date UK/EU fees Overseas fees
Full-time Sep 2017 £9,500 £19,000
Part-time Sep 2017 Taught module: £660, Practical module £2,500, Research project: £1,300 Taught module: £1,300, Practical module: £5,000, Research project: £2,500

Please note these fees are for the academic year 2017/2018 only. Annual fees will rise by four per cent (rounded up to the nearest £100) for each year of study.

A complete list of all fees for our Masters Programmes


The Surrey International Scholarship for Excellence

For all (with the exception of MBA) postgraduate taught courses starting in September 2017 within the Surrey Business School and the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management we are offering all applicants who hold a 2:1 honours degree or equivalent the opportunity to be awarded between £2,000 and £4,000 through the Surrey International Scholarship for Excellence Scheme. Download a flyer or read more for eligibility and to apply.

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Discounts for Surrey graduates

Thinking of continuing your education at Surrey? As an alumnus of Surrey you may be eligible for a ten per cent discount on our taught Masters programme fees. Learn more.

For more details

Admissions Information

Our Admissions Policy provides the basis for admissions practice across the University and gives a framework for how we encourage, consider applications and admit students.

Further information for applicants

Postgraduate Study Advice

Steps to Postgraduate Study is an official, independent guide for anyone considering a taught postgraduate course. The guide is produced by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, the Scottish Funding Council and the Department for Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland.

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Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that not all modules described are compulsory and may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.

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