Course details

A Levels AAA Other entry requirements
UCAS code C523
Duration 4 years
Fees and additional costs Home students Overseas students Fee status help
Related subjects Biomedical Science Medicine Biology Microbiology

Any questions?

Principal Admissions Tutor (Microbiology)
Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology
Telephone +44 (0)114 222 2740
Email mbb@sheffield.ac.uk
Website sheffield.ac.uk/biosciences/undergraduate/courses/microbiology

Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology

UK top 10 for biological sciences
The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020

UK top 10 for overall satisfaction
National Student Survey 2019

Course description

This course is designed for students who want to pursue a career in industrial or academic research, with the majority of the fourth year devoted to a major research project either in industry or in an academic lab.

The course will give you a broad understanding of microbiology with an emphasis on topics of medical relevance, allowing you to understand how microbes live, as well as ways to disrupt disease processes, before putting your skills and knowledge into practice in the lab. You'll study the importance of bacteria, viruses and other microbes in the environment and as pathogens. You'll also learn about how we can manipulate their genetic makeup to put microbes to good use in biotechnology, allowing us to better understand and tackle the global threat of antimicrobial-resistant infections.

All of our students take compulsory modules designed to give you specialist knowledge of microbiology, whilst also introducing you to biochemistry, genetics and molecular biology. As you progress through your degree and discover what you're passionate about, optional modules will allow you to explore your chosen subject in greater depth, specialise in one area, keep your interests broad or even switch to another degree programme within the molecular biosciences.

In your first year, you'll spend six hours in the lab each week learning the practical skills and knowledge that every bioscientist needs, including how to establish bacterial cultures, assess bioenergetics and perform gene cloning. Analysis classes will equip you with the skills you'll use outside the lab, from interacting with your data to interpreting your findings. Your lectures will give you a broad understanding of the molecular biosciences, allowing you to explore what you're most interested in.

In your second year, you'll begin learning more advanced scientific techniques, both in the lab and in lectures, with topics including experimental design, genome editing using CRISPR/Cas9 and protein purification. You'll continue to take analysis classes to develop your data handling skills further and you can choose to study modules like "Molecules to Market", allowing you to work in teams to come up with pioneering science enterprise ideas to launch a virtual business.

In your third year, you'll complete an extended research project alongside your chosen specialist modules. This will reflect an area of molecular bioscience that interests you and will take place either in the lab or in wider society. Depending on your interests and career goals, you can choose a project from experimental science, clinical diagnostics, industrial biotechnology, molecular systems and computing, science communication or education and outreach.

In your fourth year, the majority of your time will be devoted to a major research project. You can choose between spending a year in industry and completing your project at a company such as AstraZeneca, GSK or Unilever, or undertaking projects in one of our world-leading research labs within the department or the University of Sheffield Medical School.

If you want to study medical microbiology but don't meet the entry requirements to go straight into the first year, our Biosciences with Foundation Year could be for you. After successfully completing the one-year programme, you'll progress onto the first year of your chosen degree.

Accreditation
Our four-year MBiolSci degree is accredited by the Royal Society of Biology, which shows employers that you've developed the extra skills and knowledge that they're looking for.

Modules: what you study and when

Financial help from the University - bursaries

If you're a UK student, you could be entitled to a University bursary. A bursary is the same as a grant - you don't have to pay it back.

How our bursary scheme works

Entry requirements

Qualification Grades
A Levels AAA, including two science subjects
A Levels + additional qualifications AAB, including two science subjects + B in a relevant EPQ; AAB, including Chemistry and another science subject + A in Core Maths
International Baccalaureate 36, 6 in two Higher Level science subjects
BTEC Interim-Reformed: DD in Applied Science + A Level grade A in a science subject (Biology, Chemistry, Human Biology, Physics, Psychology, Maths and Further Maths) + interview. Reformed: D*DD in Applied Science, including modules in Applications of Inorganic Chemistry, Applications of Organic Chemistry and Practical Chemical Analysis and no more than one of the following: Forensic Evidence Collection and Analysis, Forensic Fire Investigation or Forensic Traffic Collision Investigation + interview
Scottish Highers + 2 Advanced Highers AAAAB + AA, including two science subjects
Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels A + AA, including two science subjects
Access to HE Entry requirements for mature students
Other qualifications Other UK qualifications
Other EU/international qualifications
Other requirements
  • Acceptable science subjects are Chemistry, Biology/Human Biology, Physics, Psychology Maths and Further Maths
  • GCSE Maths grade 6 or grade B. See additional GCSE requirements in EAS notes
  • You must demonstrate that your English is good enough for you to successfully complete your course. For this course we require: GCSE English Language at grade 4/C; IELTS grade of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component; or an alternative acceptable English language qualification
  • Equivalent English language qualifications
  • Access Sheffield - find out if you're eligible for additional consideration or an alternative offer
If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department

Modules - what you study and when

The modules listed below are examples from the last academic year. There may be some changes before you start your course. For the very latest module information, check with the department direct.

Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology website

First year

Core modules:

Practical Molecular Bioscience 1
Biochemistry
Genetics
Microbiology
Molecular Biology

Second year

Core modules:

Practical Molecular Bioscience 2
Biochemistry 2
Biostructures, Energetics and Synthesis
Genes, Genomes and Chromosomes
Microbiology 2

Third year

Core modules:

Project
Literature Review
Bacterial Pathogenicity
Microbial Structure and Dynamics: Genes and Populations
Microbiology Data Handling
Molecular Immunology

Optional modules:

Biochemical Basis of Human Disease
Biochemical Signalling
Cellular Systems Engineering for Biotechnology
Genomic Science
Membrane Protein Structure and Function
The world of RNA

Fourth year

Core modules:

Advanced Literature Review
Advanced Research Topics
Introduction to Research Methodology

Optional modules:

Extended Laboratory Project
Project in Industry

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers.

In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

Learning and assessment

These figures give an indication of how you'll learn and be assessed. They're a combined average of all the years of the course. The learning and assessment percentages could vary depending on the modules you choose.

Learning
Scheduled teaching 35%
Independent study 65%
Placement 0%

Assessment
Exams/tests 57%
Coursework 33%
Practical 10%

Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology

Firth Court building

Molecular biology crosses the boundaries of cell biology, biochemistry, genetics and medical science. Our courses will give you the skills to be part of new developments within these fields throughout your career.

We'll challenge you to achieve your very best. We have small tutorial groups to support your learning, extensive practical experience, and a project in the third year that could involve laboratory research, computing, clinical diagnostics, science communication, or school teaching, depending on your career aspirations.

The course lets you combine topics from biochemistry, genetics and microbiology, so you develop a wide-ranging knowledge of the molecular biosciences. However, the first year is common to all of our courses, meaning that you're not tied to the course you register for. At the end of the first year, you can transfer to any course in the department: Biochemistry, Genetics, Microbiology, and combinations of these subjects.

Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology website

What our graduates do

Our graduates go on to make a difference in all sorts of ways. Many of our graduates are employed in pharmaceuticals and healthcare, food safety and manufacture, brewing and agrochemicals, forensic science and as NHS scientists. They also work in education, the scientific civil service, bioinformatics or medical schools. Others use their skills in IT, management and commerce. Many choose further study and go on to do research for organisations all over the world.

Student profile


Your degree puts you at the heart of the discoveries we are making in the molecular biosciences. The world-leading academics who teach our courses are here to help equip you for careers in areas that include pharmaceuticals, healthcare, medicine, agrochemicals, food and genetics.



"I really enjoyed the laboratory sessions in the first and second year...working in a big group and learning new techniques is great."

Gareth Satchell

Apply for this course

Make sure you've done everything you need to do before you apply:

How to apply >

When you're ready to apply, see the UCAS website:

ucas.com >

Contact us

Principal Admissions Tutor (Microbiology)
Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology
Telephone +44 (0)114 222 2740
Email mbb@sheffield.ac.uk

Department website >

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Applicant days
If you've received an offer to study with us, we'll invite you to one of our applicant days, which take place between November and April. These applicant days have a strong department focus and give you the chance to really explore student life here, even if you've visited us before.

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