Microbiology (Medical) BSc (Hons) – 2018 entry

Why choose this course

Surrey is one of the UK's leading universities for Biological Sciences, with our programmes ranked in the top ten in the Complete University Guide 2018 and Guardian University Guide 2018 .

This modular programme allows you to gain a solid grounding in medical microbiology, while also offering the flexibility to study other subjects within the field of microbiology such as microbial physiology; genetics, and biotechnology.

What you will study

On the Medical Microbiology programme you will learn how pathogenic microbes overcome our natural defences in order to cause disease; how outbreaks spread, and how infections are treated. You will study the role of the microbiome and immune system in protecting and fighting against infectious disease; how vaccine strategies prevent outbreaks, and how antimicrobial resistance threatens our fight against infectious disease. 

The wide range of teaching and assessment methods on this programme allow you to develop a range of skills that will prepare you for employment in a variety of settings including academia, industry and government.

Course facts

Qualification Course length Professional Training UCAS KIS code
BSc (Hons) 36 months C502 View KIS data set
BSc (Hons) 48 months C504 View KIS data set

Professional Training placements

As part of this course you have the option to complete a Professional Training placement. These will give you the opportunity to develop your professional, academic and personal potential, equipping you to be adaptable, resilient, globally minded, confident, entrepreneurial and digitally savvy in the workplace. These qualities are widely recognised by employers and a significant proportion of placement students at Surrey are offered graduate-level jobs or go onto postgraduate study.

Find out more about Professional Training placements and discover how these have transformed our students’ lives and career choices.

Microbiology (Medical) placements

Our Professional Training programme is one of the very best available, and the majority of our students choose to undertake a placement.

Our experienced tutors will help you select suitable placements from a strictly vetted selection of excellent industrial, hospital and academic institutions, including many that have taken Surrey students regularly for many years.

We have placements across the UK, including major pharmaceutical, food and biotechnology companies and research institutes. We also provide placements outside the UK. Examples of organisations that have participated in the scheme include:

  • New Zealand Food Safety Authority
  • Solvay Pharmaceuticals
  • University of Turku
  • Okayama University
  • Cornell University

Most of our placements provide a salary, and to ensure their success, students are visited by a tutor twice during the year and have one virtual meeting via Skype.

Watch a video of a Microbiology student on placement

Applying for placements

Professional Training placements are usually applied for and secured via an open and free-to-all process, within which students can select and apply for numerous opportunities. Placement providers use their own recruitment and selection procedures and the majority of students will secure their placement in this way. However, support is also provided to students wishing to source their own placement, subject to university requirements being met.

Students are generally not placed by the University, however they are given thorough support and guidance alongside access to a vacancy portal representing thousands of placement opportunities each year. Please be aware there may be travel costs incurred when attending interviews and assessment centres at the placement provider’s premises.

Careers and graduate prospects

We offer careers information, advice and guidance to all students whilst studying with us, which is extended to our alumni for three years after leaving the University.

University of Surrey Microbiology and Biotechnology graduates are employed in academic and industrial research laboratories throughout the world.

The majority of our graduates go immediately into the job market, while many others choose further study such as Masters degrees and PhD studentships.

The many transferable skills that you will gain during your studies ensure that you will be a suitable candidate for a wide variety of science careers, whether you want to be a laboratory-based research scientist or a science journalist.

Graduates over the last few years have secured roles such as:

  • Procter & Gamble, Microbiology Researcher
  • Campden and Chorleywood Food Research Association, Senior Research Officer and PhD
  • Tesco, Technical Development Executive
  • Northern Foods (Solway Foods Factory), Process Development Technologist
  • TMO Renewals, Scientist
  • Jordans & Ryvita Company, Taste and Development Technician
  • Leatherhead Food Research, Research Assistant
  • Sanofi Aventis, Microbiology Analyst
  • Campden BRI Laboratory, Technician
  • University of Eastern Finland, Researcher

Study and work abroad

We give our students the opportunity to acquire international experience during their degrees by taking advantage of our exchange agreements with overseas universities or by completing a Professional Training placement abroad. In addition to the hugely enjoyable and satisfying experience, time spent abroad adds a distinctive element to your CV. Visit our global exchanges pages to check where you can go.

Our international exchange programme offers you the opportunity to study abroad at a partner university for either one semester or a full academic year as part of your degree.

For Biosciences students this might be possible for one or two semesters in your second year at one of our partner institutions in the USA (for example, Texas, North Carolina, Cincinnati or Florida) or in Australia (Swinburne University of Technology).

The exchange programme enables you to study and live in another country and earn credits that contribute towards your Surrey degree, without paying additional tuition fees.

In doing so you will broaden your horizons, meet other exchange students from around the world and experience student life in some of the most prestigious universities in the world.

Studying abroad also enables you to become more independent, teaching you how to adapt and adjust to the culture and climate of another country.

In addition, or alternatively, you may wish to consider spending your Professional Training year working in another country. Students have worked in the USA, Canada, Australia, Brazil and in many European countries, and typically work in a research laboratory.

If you work in another part of Europe you will be eligible for an Erasmus+ grant, as well as your full student loan if undertaking an unpaid research placement in a foreign university laboratory. This is an excellent opportunity not only to acquire valuable work experience but also improve or learn another language.


We offer state-­of-­the-­art laboratory facilities, which you’ll be able to take advantage of during your studies.

We’re committed to developing your practical skills and you’ll use equipment allowing you to analyse the genetic make­up of different types of microbes, and specialist computer software enabling the modelling of microbiological systems and metabolic pathways.

For your research project in Year 3, you’ll work within our research laboratories alongside active researchers and will have the opportunity to contribute to established research projects being undertaken by the Department of Microbial and Cellular Sciences.

Academic year structure

The academic year is divided into two semesters of 15 weeks each. Each semester consists of a period of teaching, revision/directed learning and assessment.

The University operates a credit framework for all taught programmes based on a 15-credit tariff. All taught modules are 15 credits. Project modules and dissertation modules can be either 15, 30, 45 or 60 credits.

The structure of our programmes follows clear educational aims that are tailored to each programme. These are all outlined in the programme specifications which include further details such as the learning outcomes.


Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that modules may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.


Timetables are normally available one month before the start of the semester. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week (Monday–Friday). Wednesday afternoons are normally reserved for sports and cultural activities. Part-time classes are normally scheduled on one or two days per week, details of which can be obtained from the course administrators.


We offer a modular degree based on a structured programme of advanced study, which allows you to pursue the topics essential to your particular degree while also giving you the flexibility to study other topics that interest you.

During your first year, almost a third of your time is spent in laboratory classes.

In your second year, the study becomes more specialised and you will focus on many different aspects of the subject. In your final year, you will be performing your own scientific research project, usually in one of our research laboratories.

Throughout your degree, we provide online resources to support some of the core modules, to complement the excellent facilities offered by our Library and Learning Centre.

Discover more about our academic staff in the Faculty of Health and Medical Science.

There may be occasions when the delivery of your teaching is supported by postgraduate research students. The University has a set of procedures that govern the use of postgraduate research students in this way.


This course is taught by academic staff from the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences.

Programme leader

COTTELL A Dr (Biosc & Med)

Personal tutor

All taught students are assigned a personal tutor before beginning a programme of study. Personal tutors offer support and advice to students in the areas of:

  • Academic progress
  • Pastoral/welfare issues
  • Personal/professional development and employability.


Modules are assessed individually and credits are awarded for the successful completion of each one. Assessment takes place through a combination of examination and/or coursework, practical examinations and reports. Check individual module information to see full details at a module level.

Contact hours

Contact hours can vary across our modules. Full details of the contact hours for each module are available from the University of Surrey's module catalogue. See the modules section for more information.

Policies and regulations

Please refer to our academic regulations and student policies and regulations. These may be amended from time to time.

Learning and disability support

We have two services, the Student Personal Learning and Study Hub (SPLASH) and Additional Learning Support (ALS) which can help develop your learning.

Student Personal Learning and Study Hub

SPLASH is a learning space in the Library where our learning development team is based. It comprises dedicated Student Learning Advisers and Information Skills Librarians who can help you develop your academic and research skills, including writing, presenting, revision and critical thinking.

Find out more about the study support available.

Additional Learning Support

ALS is the University’s disability and neurodiversity service which supports students with disabilities, long-term health conditions, specific learning differences (for example: dyslexia and dyspraxia) and other neurodiverse conditions (for example: autism spectrum and attention deficit disorder).

If you have a disability, we encourage you to disclose your condition and register with the service so you can be appropriately supported during your studies.

The ALS team can arrange exam and learning support adjustments, give advice on applications for the Disabled Students' Allowance and screen students for dyslexia and dyspraxia. Regular study skills and mentoring support is also available.

See the Additional Learning Support website for more information.

What qualifications do you need?


Overall: ABB.

Required subjects: Biology and a second science or Mathematics. Applicants taking the Science Practical Endorsement are required to pass.

Please note: A-level General Studies and A-level Critical Thinking are not accepted.

GCSE or equivalent: English Language and Mathematics at Grade C(4) (or equivalent).

BTEC (QCF Level 3) Extended Diploma

Overall: DDD in Applied Science (please contact us if you are taking a different BTEC).

GCSE or equivalent: English Language and Mathematics at Grade C(4) (or equivalent).

International Baccalaureate

Overall: 32.

Required subjects: HL5/SL6 in Biology and a second science or Mathematics.

GCSE or equivalent: English and Maths HL4/SL4.

European Baccalaureate

Overall: 78%.

Required subjects: Biology with at least a 7.5 and at least a 7.5 in a second science or Mathematics.

GCSE or equivalent: English 6 (Language 1/2) or 7 (Language 3), and Mathematics 6.

Access to HE Diploma

Overall: 45 Level 3 credits overall including 30 at Distinction and 15 at Merit.

Required subjects: This must include 15 credits in Biology and 15 credits in a second science or Mathematics.

GCSE or equivalent: English Language and Mathematics at Grade C(4) (or equivalent).

Scottish Highers

Overall: AABBB.

Required subjects: Biology and a second science or Mathematics.

GCSE or equivalent: English Language and Maths Scottish National 5,C.

Welsh Baccalaureate

Overall: Pass overall with ABB from the Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate and two A-levels.

Required subjects: Biology and a second science or Mathematics. Applicants taking the Science Practical Endorsement are required to pass.

GCSE or equivalent: English Language and Mathematics at Grade C(4) (or equivalent).

Science Practical Certificate

Applicants taking the Science Practical Endorsement are required to pass.

Other international qualifications

If you are an international student and you don’t meet the entry requirements to this degree, we offer the International Foundation Year, run by the Surrey International Study Centre.

Select your country

English language requirements

IELTS Academic: 6.5 overall with 6.0 in each element.

View the other English language qualifications that we accept.

If you do not currently meet the level required for your programme, we offer intensive pre-sessional English language courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here. The University of Surrey is also an IELTS test centre.

Selection process

Offers are normally made in terms of grades.

Suitable candidates may be invited to an Applicant Day. During the visit to the University the candidate can find out more about the programme and meet staff and students.

Recognition of prior learning

The University of Surrey recognises that many students enter their higher education course with valuable knowledge and skills developed through a range of professional, vocational and community contexts. If this applies to you, a process called recognition of prior learning (RPL) may allow you to enter your course at a point appropriate to your previous learning and experience, or to join the start of a course without the formal entry requirements. This means that you may be exempt from certain elements of study in the course for which you have applied and be awarded credit based on your previous qualifications/experience. There are restrictions on RPL for some courses and fees may be payable for certain claims. 

Please see the Code of practice for recognition of prior learning and prior credit: taught programmes (PDF) for further information. Please email Admissions with any queries.


Qualification Course length Professional Training UK/EU fees Overseas fees Professional Training fees
BSc (Hons) 36 months £9,250 £20,500 Not applicable
BSc (Hons) 48 months £9,250 £20,500 £1,800

View a complete listing of all ongoing fees for our undergraduate courses.

The University will assess your fee status. If you are unsure whether you are likely to be considered a home, EU or overseas student for fees purposes, the UKCISA website offers more information.

Additional costs

There are associated costs with this programme:

  • Safety equipment and/or uniform: £20 - The equipment pack includes laboratory coat, laboratory glasses, laboratory book, pen and padlock. Students are responsible for the costs associated with maintaining/washing/replacing any equipment

Grand total: £20

Professional Training placement fees

Programmes marked with a tick in the table above include a Professional Training placement.

A reduced fee is charged for Professional Training placements.

Fees will not have to be paid up front for those eligible students who decide to take up the Government's loan for higher education fees. The Professional Training placement is a key factor in the high employability rates achieved by students with Surrey degrees.

How to apply

Learn how to apply for an undergraduate course, see details about the UCAS application process and determine the steps you need to take if you receive an offer to study.

Admissions information

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

Open Days

June 2018


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