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Students who wish to study Microbiology should apply to the Science degree (TR071) and may select Microbiology as their specialist area for the 3rd and 4th years.
Junior Freshman (first year) prerequisites: Chemistry CH1101, Chemistry CH1102, plus Mathematics or Mathematical methods, and Biology 1101.
Senior Freshman (second year) prerequisites: Biology BY2201, BY2203, BY2205 and BY2208.

Microbes and microbiology
Although microbes have been studied for 300 years, mainly in the context of disease, only recently has it been fully realised that microbes are essential for the maintenance of many aspects of life on Earth. This includes recycling all nutrients and minerals, providing oxygen to our atmosphere, fuelling our digestive system and generating essential vitamins and nutrients for our survival. On the other hand, microbes cause a multitude of infectious diseases in humans, animals and plants. Diseases such as AIDS, malaria, cholera, avian influenza, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (‘mad cow disease’) and antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection are all caused by microbes. Despite this, we still know very little about microbes and some estimates suggest that over 95% of the microbial world is yet to be discovered!
Microbiology, as a science, investigates the structures and life processes of micro-organisms (such as bacteria, protozoa, fungi and viruses) together with their activities and effects, beneficial and detrimental, on plants, animals, man and the environment. It also studies the control of these effects and the harnessing of microbial processes for applications in biotechnology. A microbiologist is a versatile scientist and studies microbes at both cellular and molecular levels, using a wide range of techniques, and will also be proficient in microbial biochemistry and genetics.

What will you study during the course?
During the first two years, you will be exposed to a broad range of sciences, facilitating an understanding of how they interrelate, consolidating your fundamental scientific knowledge and allowing you to develop your study skills. Part of this will include microbiological modules within the subject of biology.
In the third year and final year, you will mainly be based in the microbiology section of the School of Genetics and Microbiology in the Moyne Institute of Preventive Medicine, which houses some world-class researchers in medical and molecular microbiology.
In the 3rd and 4th years, you will take a core course covering aspects of microbial molecular and cell biology, microbial pathogenicity and applied microbiology. As some of these topics are closely related to biochemistry, immunology and genetics, you will also take complementary courses from these disciplines.
Extensive laboratory and computer training cover the safe handling of pathogenic micro-organisms, separation of their components and products, genetic analysis, biotechnological techniques and research methods.
In the final year you will also choose from optional courses reviewing the leading edge of research and knowledge in topics such as:
• Gene regulation and expression in bacteria and eukaryotic microbes
• Bacterial cell surfaces and their proteins
• Molecular pathogenesis (disease mechanisms) of bacterial and protozoal infections
• Regulation, issues and standards in current microbiological practice
• Clinical microbiology
• Emerging pathogens
In the final year, you will also undertake a 9-week, full-time project under supervision in a research laboratory. You will work at the cutting-edge of research on topics like genetic transfer between bacteria, design of new anti-malarial drugs, and novel methods for disinfection in hospitals.

Career opportunities
Graduates in microbiology have a wide range of expertise and are considered versatile scientists for industry or pure research. This makes them sought after by pharmaceutical and medical research laboratories as research and quality assurance staff in drug and medical device manufacture, as analytical or R&D staff by the food and beverage industries, by public utilities, the health service, by teaching and training establishments and publishing houses, in life science sales and product development, medical relief organisations and many other areas. Such employment may find you working with multinational or small companies in Ireland or abroad, working with leading-edge biotechnologies in the production of drugs, enzymes, antibiotics, vaccines or agricultural products.
Many graduates go on to do a higher degree in Ireland or abroad and enter a rewarding career in many of the areas mentioned or continue a research career in a university.

Further information
Tel: +353 1 896 1190



Last updated 9 December 2013 (Email).