BSc (Hons) in Microbiology

Key Points

Write to us for more information

Program description

Microbiology is the study of microscopic organisms including fungi, bacteria, viruses and protozoa. These microbes are of crucial importance in medicine, biology, agriculture, biotechnology and the environment.

Microbes are beneficial in processes such as food production, human health promotion, biotechnology, agriculture and waste treatment. Conversely, some are responsible for causing disease in humans and animals or for causing food spoilage and crop failure in agriculture.

As one of the classical disciplines, microbiology combines fundamental biology with applications and therefore provides excellent training and opportunities for students interested in different aspects of science.

The microbiology course at UCC is varied and broad, but has a special focus on our areas of particular strength, namely medical, food and environmental microbiology.

Many modern scientific disciplines, such as genetic engineering, genomics, microbial biotechnology, immunology and molecular biology, originated in classical microbiology and are an integral part of our modern microbiology degree.

The entry route to the BSc in Microbiology at UCC is through the general entry BSc in Biological and Chemical Sciences. On completion of the degree, you will have a broad knowledge of microbiology, specialist knowledge of the aspects that interest you, and a skill set of knowledge acquisition, practical techniques and problem-solving skills that will prepare you for your future career.

Why choose this course

Microbiology sits perfectly at the interface between fundamental science and applied science/biotechnology, and our degree is aimed at students with diverse interests.

Possibly the most important aspect of the degree is its relevance: whether in industry or medicine, microbiology is of vital importance to society and is rarely far from the news. This relevance in a variety of fields means that our graduates have little difficulty in pursuing careers in research and industry after their degree.

  • Microbiology graduates have the option to work in a variety of industries, pursue training or research careers.
  • 95% of UCC microbiology graduates get a job or begin higher education soon after graduation.
  • The School of Microbiology has the highest reputation for research of any microbiology department in Ireland. Students are taught by academic staff who are international experts in their field of research.
  • A degree in microbiology is the foundation for a future career in microbiology, molecular biology, bioinformatics, cell biology or biotechnology.

Skills and career information

UCC’s BSc in Microbiology provides excellent training for a career in the microbiology, biotechnology, food, environmental, medical, pharmaceutical and veterinary sectors.

Graduates have specialist skills in practical and theoretical microbiology that have direct relevance to industry, as well as additional skills in problem solving, data handling and presentation that can be applied in many different sectors.

Around 50% of graduates gain immediate employment, many in companies in the Cork area, but others in international locations. Other graduates opt to pursue higher degrees (MSc or PhD).

Program structure

It comprises core modules in the four main branches of science: Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics. Biology (four modules), including microbiology, plant sciences, biochemistry and zoology.

You will begin to specialise, but you will still be able to choose modules that will leave you with three or more degree options at the end of the year.

If you plan to take a degree in biological sciences, you can take some core modules in molecular biology and statistics and then choose additional modules according to your interests.

For BSc Microbiology, you will take a dedicated course in microbiology that provides a foundation for all aspects of the discipline, as well as modules in biochemistry. You can then choose some elective courses in Zoology, Ecology, Anatomy, Physiology and Neuroscience.

You’ll be committed to your chosen degree. In Microbiology, you will take a dedicated course of lectures and practical modules that provide comprehensive training in molecular, food, environmental and medical microbiology.

You will take some compulsory courses and you will also be able to choose elective modules from the different branches of microbiology. This allows you to tailor your final degree to your interests and ambitions. An independent, supervised research project is an important aspect of the final year (25%).

Admission requirements

  • Minimum requirement 1 x H4, 1 x H5, 4 x O6/H7; Mathematics and laboratory science courses required.
  • In the case of international candidates, the foreign equivalent is required. In addition, a degree officially translated into English will be required.
  • IELTS 6.5, with no less than 6 in any component (or internationally recognised equivalent).


Learn more about our educational offer

More than 10,000 students have put their trust in us

Study and work abroad, live this experience that will change your life