Course details

A Levels AAB Other entry requirements
UCAS code C526
Duration 4 years
Fees and additional costs Home/EU students International students
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 allows you to complete a year-long, paid work placement as part of your degree. You'll pay reduced fees for the year you're on placement and you'll have the support you need from your tutor and the University. Most students earn salaries during their placements and many are offered a graduate-level job at the end.

Previous students have found placements at global pharmaceutical companies such as GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and Unilever. However, your placement doesn't have to be in the lab as this course gives you the freedom to test out an alternative career path. For example, you could pursue a role in market research, communications or business development within or outside of the bioscience industry.

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 return from placement and 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 industry. 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.

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.

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 AAB, including two science subjects
A Levels + additional qualifications ABB, including two sciences + B in a relevant EPQ; ABB, including Chemistry and another science + A in Core Maths
International Baccalaureate 34, 6, 5 in two Higher Level science subjects
BTEC Reformed: DD in Applied Science + A Level grade A in a science subject (Biology, Chemistry, Human Biology, Physics, Maths and Further Maths) + interview
Cambridge Pre-U D3 D3 M2, including two science subjects
Scottish Highers + 2 Advanced Highers AAABB + AB, including two science subjects
Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels B + 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 and one science grade 6 or grade B
  • 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 C/4; 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

Our students usually select from a range of compulsory and optional modules to add up to 120 credits.

Some departments offer courses that don't feature optional modules whereas other courses are fully flexible.

You can find out more by:

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.

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 >

Visit us

University open days
There are four open days every year, usually in June, July, September and October. You can talk to staff and students, tour the campus and see inside the accommodation.

Book your place >

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.

Campus tours
Campus tours run regularly throughout the year, at 1pm every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Find out more and book a place online >