Discover the most abundant life forms on the planet and explore their role in providing us with food, natural resources and antibiotics.

What is Microbiology, and how does it affect our lives? Lucy, one of our Biosciences students, talks us through its importance and why we're going to need a lot more microbiologists in the future.

About Microbiology at Sheffield

Our Microbiology courses explore the fundamental role these tiny organisms play in the world. 

You'll study the importance of bacteria, viruses and other microbes in the environment and as pathogens. You’ll also discover how we can manipulate their genetic makeup to put microbes to good use in biotechnology, how we can tackle the threat of antimicrobial-resistant infections, and the role that microbiology continues to play in supporting the global response to pandemics such as COVID-19.

3rd in the UK for student satisfaction in Microbiology and Cell Science

National Student Survey 2022

Accreditation by the Royal Society of Biology

All of our undergraduate degrees in Biochemistry, Genetics, Microbiology and Molecular Biology are accredited by the Royal Society of Biology, with advanced accreditation for our MBiolSci undergraduate masters programmes.

Accreditation by the Royal Society of Biology shows employers that you've developed the practical skills and scientific knowledge that they're looking for.

Our courses

Our courses all come with options to gain additional experience beyond the three-year BSc. You can add an extra year of research experience with an integrated masters, or gain valuable work experience with a top employer as a recognised part of your degree by spending a year on a work placement. You can even apply to spend a year studying abroad in a fantastic location, after you've joined the university.

2023-24 entry

Courses with a medical focus 

2023-24 entry

Courses with a foundation year

Biosciences (with a Foundation Year) BSc C900 - 2023 entry

What our students say


As a microbiology student you'll learn in lots of different ways, from lectures and small group tutorials to learning by doing during practical lab sessions and research projects.

From your first year you’ll study modules that span the molecular biosciences covering microbiology, biochemistry, genetics and molecular biology. Alongside these modules you’ll have the freedom to explore complementary topics across the breadth of bioscience, such as biomedicine, ecology, plant science and zoology.

Our staff are committed to great teaching and you'll have lots of opportunities throughout your degree to be creative, think independently, and express your ideas. You’ll be in the lab completing in-depth practicals across molecular genetics, DNA manipulation and protein structure analysis, and you’ll get the chance to use cutting-edge equipment to run your own in-depth research projects in an area such as clinical diagnostics or brewing biotechnology, giving you plenty of chances to gain new transferrable skills and experience to put on your CV.

Find out more about our teaching

Research projects

Brewing image 2

You’ll undertake research projects throughout your degree, getting practical hands-on experience in the laboratory. In your third year, you’ll complete an extended research project in an area of molecular bioscience that interests you either inside or outside the lab. There are several types of projects to choose from depending on your interests and career goals, from experimental science to computing, teaching, clinical diagnostics or science communication. Current projects span:

  • Experimental science: Investigate a scientific problem, using state-of-the-art facilities and working alongside research scientists.
  • Clinical diagnostics: Learn how to use the analytical software used by clinical diagnostics staff in NHS laboratories to diagnose leukaemia in collaboration with the Sheffield Children's Hospital.
  • Industrial biotechnology: Understand brewing techniques and isolate and grow yeasts in collaboration with local breweries to understand how mutations in yeast genes affect the flavour of beer.
  • Molecular systems and computing: Analyse and evaluate complex data to investigate fundamental biological processes, with opportunities to learn computer programming.
  • Science communication: Build up a portfolio of writing on a scientific topic of your choice, and evaluate the effectiveness of different communication strategies.
  • Education and outreach: Organise events to get school children better engaged with science – students generally work in primary schools or university technical colleges (UTC) to gain teaching experience communicating science to school children.

Our integrated masters courses allow you to complete a further in-depth research project whilst embedded in one of our specialist research groups.

Did you know?

The first documented use of penicillin as a therapy took place in Sheffield by Cecil George Paine in 1930. Sir Howard Florey, Professor of Pathology at Sheffield Medical School (1932-35) along with a team from Oxford, then went on to purify the drug and in 1941, the first clinical trial of penicillin was conducted which resulted in Florey being jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1953.

Now, over 75 years later and inspired by Howard Florey’s pioneering work, the University of Sheffield’s Florey Institute is addressing one of the world’s biggest biomedical challenges – infectious disease.

Explore the University

Discover why Sheffield is the right choice for you at one of our open days or events.