BSc (Hons) (NFQ Level 8)
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Microbiology is the study of microscopic organisms known as micro-organisms or microbes. Microbes play a key role in every facet of life on this planet. For example, microbes have a major impact on the earth’s climate by their metabolism of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane. Microbes can naturally produce polymers, antibiotics but also consume or break down a multitude of toxic chemicals. Microbiologists use tools like molecular biology, fermentation, enzymology and synthetic biology to improve the natural ability of microorganisms so that they can produce new antibiotics, natural products, biodegradable plastics and clean up chemically polluted soil and water. Microbes protect us from colonisation by disease causing organisms. However, some microbes cause disease, e.g. MRSA, tuberculosis and meningitis. Microbiological research aims to find treatments for these and other infectious diseases.
Microbiology is one of the degree subjects available through the Biological, Biomedical & Biomolecular Sciences stream in the common entry Science course.
Students study similar modules for all degree subjects in the Biological, Biomedical & Biomolecular Sciences stream in first year and will study modules for a minimum of two degree subjects in second year. At the end of second year, students choose their degree major. This is a sample set of modules that a Microbiology student could study each year in UCD.
Timetables & Assessment
Each student will have their own timetable based on their individual module selection. This is a full time course and classes may include lectures, practicals and tutorials, depending on the subjects. Students will also be expected to study independently (autonomous student learning). Assessment varies with each module but may comprise continuous assessment of practicals, written exams and online learning activities.
Professional Work Experience
Students carry out a research project in fourth year that can take place in a pharmaceutical or food-related company or a hospital. Recent placements include Alltech, APC, Pfizer, Monaghan Biosciences and the HSE Public Analyst’s Laboratory.
You may be interested in the following Blog posts: Choosing electives while studying Microbiology.
A limited number of fourth year projects are available in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
Microbiologists are employed in the healthcare, pharmaceutical and food-related industries, hospitals and veterinary hospitals and related laboratories. They also find work in government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency where they are involved in research and development, process design and control, management and quality control. Many students opt to continue their undergraduate degree with an MSc or PhD graduate programme. These microbiologists play a key role in developing new drugs, finding novel ways to combat infectious diseases and designing new approaches to clean the environment and develop a green economy.
“After my first Microbiology class, I was absolutely enthralled. I knew straight away that was what I wanted to do. Microbiology is such a vast and expanding field and has a little bit of everything in there and I could not be happier that I chose it. I had the opportunity in my final year to carry out a research project, supervised by some of UCD’s best scientists, on bioplastic producing bacteria and it was the highlight of my degree. It was a great way to put all the lab skills and techniques I had learned into practice and produce actual research. After I graduated, I started an MSc in Biotechnology and Business and am I looking forward to working in the biotechnology industry.”
Jaffer Abdulkarim, Graduate
Dr Jennifer Mitchell
UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science