Microbiology is the study of microscopic organisms known as micro-organisms or microbes. Microbes play a key role in every facet of life on this planet. For example, microbes have a major impact on the earth’s climate by their metabolism of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane. Microbes can naturally produce polymers, antibiotics but also consume or break down a multitude of toxic chemicals. Microbiologists use tools like molecular biology, fermentation, enzymology and synthetic biology to improve the natural ability of microorganisms so that they can produce new antibiotics, natural products, biodegradable plastics and clean up chemically polluted soil and water. Microbes protect us from colonisation by disease-causing organisms. However, some microbes cause disease, e.g. MRSA, AIDS, tuberculosis and meningitis. Microbiological research aims to find treatments for these and other infectious diseases.
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For more information regarding this course, please click School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science
This is a sample pathway for a degree in Microbiology. Topics include biotechnology, microbes and the environment, medical microbiology and pharmaceutical microbiology.
Biology • Chemistry • Mathematics • Optional Science modules • Elective module
Microbiology • + 2 other Science subjects • Elective modules
Microbiology • Optional Science modules • Elective modules
Microbiology (includes a research project).
Timetables & Assessment
Each student will have their own timetable based on their individual module selection. This is a full-time course and classes may include lectures, practicals and tutorials, depending on the subjects. Students will also be expected to study independently (autonomous student learning). Assessment varies with each module but may comprise continuous assessment of practicals, written exams and online learning activities.
Microbiologists are employed in the healthcare, pharmaceutical and food-related industries, hospitals and veterinary hospitals and related laboratories. They also find work in government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency where they are involved in research and development, process design and control, management and quality control. Many students opt to continue their undergraduate degree with an MSc or PhD graduate programme. These microbiologists play a key role in developing new drugs, finding novel ways to combat infectious diseases and designing new approaches to clean the environment and develop a green economy.
International Study Opportunities
A limited number of fourth year projects are available in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
Professional Work Experience
Students carry out a research project in Fourth Year, which can be an internship in a pharmaceutical or food-related company or a hospital. Recent placements include Alltech, APC, Monaghan Biosciences, Pfizer and the HSE Public Analyst’s Laboratory.
"After my first Microbiology class, I was absolutely enthralled. I knew straight away that was what I wanted to do. Microbiology is such a vast and expanding field and has a little bit of everything in there and I could not be happier that I chose it. I had the opportunity in my final year to carry out a research project, supervised by some of UCD’s best scientists, on bioplastic producing bacteria and it was the highlight of my degree. It was a great way to put all the lab skills and techniques I had learned into practice and produce actual research. After I graduated, I started an MSc in Biotechnology and Business and am I looking forward to working in the biotechnology industry."
Jaffer Abdulkarim, Graduate