BSc (Hons) Microbiology and Molecular Biology

With study abroad and sandwich year options

Attend an open day How to apply
Attend an open day How to apply


Explore a fascinating area of biology: a microscopic world inhabited by single-celled organisms which drives all other facets of the natural world. While rooted in the fundamental theories of biological science, our Microbiology and Molecular Biology degree is also designed with practical applications in mind. As you progress, you’ll find a real emphasis on the environmental, industrial, clinical and research applications of molecular biology techniques, with a particular focus on next-generation DNA research technology.

Study Microbiology and Molecular Biology at Manchester Met and you’ll learn about how biomolecules enable cells to function, the genetics of microorganisms, biotechnology and environmental microbiology. It’s a course that also offers the flexibility to explore specialist aspects within the subject as you progress, with the opportunity to specialise in areas like molecular biology, genetics, bioinformatics and microbial ecology.

Along the way, you’ll develop a valuable set of skills in our laboratories, with an emphasis on how to apply the tools and techniques within biotechnological, medical and environmental microbiology.

This course is also available with a Foundation Year.

Features and Benefits

  • Take the four-year route, spending a year studying abroad in Europe, North America or Australia, or boosting your career prospects with a 12-month placement.
  • Learn in specialist laboratories, including our dedicated microbiology and cell/molecular biology labs, DNA-sequencing lab and industry standard analytical suite, all giving you hands-on experience of advanced analysis techniques.
  • Develop practical skills in the field, both in the UK and overseas.
  • Emphasis on the environmental, industrial, clinical and research applications of cells and molecules.
  • Flexibility to focus on selected aspects of microbiology and molecular biology according to your special interests.
"As an upcoming scientist, the Microbiology and Molecular Biology course at Manchester Met has provided me with the theory and practical skills to take my next steps towards postgraduate work. The lecturers are truly passionate about their research areas and are eager to guide us students to find and pursue our own specialities." Victoria Harrison, BSc (Hons) Microbiology and Molecular Biology

"Our Microbiology and Molecular Biology Degree covers the full breadth of this fascinating subject, from the role microorganisms play in maintaining the health of the planet and ecosystems, to how they cause disease. You will learn how DNA determines how cells function and how it's used in crime-fighting forensics. There is a strong practical element throughout our degree, so be prepared to learn with your hands as well as your head!" 

Dr Andy Dean, Lecturer in Aquatic and Microbial Biology

Career Prospects

Biological sciences graduates may go on to a variety of subject-specific careers in the biological, pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries, in medical, public health and environmental services, or in teaching or research.

Recent Microbiology and Molecular Biology graduates have found employment across a wide range of sectors including industrial research laboratories, medical communications, pharmaceutical companies, environmental consultancies and nature conservation organisations.

Our Biology courses are designed to equip you with transferable skills that may also be applied to non-subject-specific career pathways such as in management, local government, teaching or the civil service. For those who wish to continue their studies, there is a range of postgraduate programmes here at Manchester Met across the breadth of biological and healthcare sciences.

Learn more about graduate careers


of Science and the Environment graduates go straight into employment and/or further study.*

*DLHE survey 2017

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff points/grades required


104-112 UCAS Tariff Points at A2 (Grades BCC-BBC) to include A2 A-level Grade C in Biology (and a Pass in Biology A level Practical)/Human Biology/Applied Science. General studies not accepted.

BTEC National Extended Diploma/Diploma in Applied Science (grades DMM/D*D).

Pre 2016 BTECs:

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma/Diploma in Applied Science (grades DMM/D*D). To include 60 Biology L3 credits at grade Distinction.

Recommended Biology Units as follows:

01, 03, 04, 06, 07, 08, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 19, 21, 22, 24, 43

Specific GCSE requirements

GCSE grade C or grade 4 in English Language, Science and Mathematics. GCSE Science and Mathematics requirement may be met through the Level 3 requirements for the course. Please contact the institution if further information is required.

Level 2 Functional Skills English and Mathematics also accepted. BTEC Level 2 in Applied Science also accepted.

Non Tariffed Qualifications

Pass Access to HE Diploma in a relevant subject (Science) with a minimum 106 UCAS tariff points.

International Baccalaureate points

26 Diploma Pts inc. HL Biology at Grade 5.

IELTS score required for international students

6.0 with no element below 5.5

There’s further information for international students on our international website if you’re applying with non-UK qualifications.

Course details

Our Microbiology and Molecular Biology degree allows you to investigate fundamental and applied aspects of microbiology and molecular biology. Emphasis is placed on the environmental, industrial, clinical and research applications of molecular biology techniques, particularly focused on DNA research technology. A significant aspect of the course emphasises the application of these technologies within biotechnological, medical and environmental microbiology.

Typical areas of study include: biomolecules; genetics of micro-organisms; environmental microbiology; and techniques and applications in molecular biology. Your final year provides you with the opportunity to specialise in areas such as environmental microbiology, conservation genetics and frontiers in biotechnology.

 Throughout your degree, your studies will be supported by access to state-of-the-art laboratories and equipment.

Year 1 develops key skills and provides a sound introduction to microbiology and molecular biology. Typical areas of study may include biomolecules and cells, genetics, ecology, physiology & anatomy and diversity. Please note that the following list of units is indicative and may be subject to change.

Read more about this year of study

Core Units


This unit will introduce students to the study of ecology, the relations and interactions between organisms and their environment. Themes covered in this unit will typically include; the organisation of life in natural systems, variations in conditions (eg pH) and resources (eg light, nutrients) and their effects; functional classifications, indicators; geological, edaphic, climatic and chemical influences on habitats and ecosystems; biogeochemical and nutrient cycling; energy flow; primary productivity; trophic interactions; food webs.

Fundamental Microbiology

This unit introduces the diversity of microbial life, drawing examples from aquatic, terrestrial, food and medical microbiology, emphasising microbial friends and foes.

How Science Works

This unit looks at how science is performed. Using relevant examples, students will examine how we ask questions, and gather data to answer them and communicate our findings.

Biomolecules and Cells

This unit provides an introduction to principles, concepts and techniques in the study of biochemistry, molecular biology and cell biology. Key themes are biological molecules and cell structure and function.

Introduction to Genetics and Evolution

This unit will introduce the major concepts underpinning genetics and evolution, mechanisms of evolutionary change, adaptation, and the history of life.


This unit is an introduction to the variety of life on Earth, exploring plant and animal diversity from both a functional and a systematic perspective. Students will review the origins of life, the basic evolutionary relationships of the main taxonomic groups (including fossil organisms) and examine their life histories.

Comparative Anatomy and Physiology

An introduction to the principles of plant and animal physiology at the systems level with appropriate links to anatomy, cell biology, pathology, and behaviour. It will focus on comparing and contrasting between species to identify patterns in the function of physiological systems and cells.

Biodiversity Monitoring

This unit focuses on the development of skills in a field and/or laboratory environment. Students will have the opportunity to develop their interests in specific groups of organisms eg mammals, birds, plants, invertebrates or particular themes in biodiversity science.

In Year 2 you will continue to develop key skills.  Study options enable you to build a programme that suits your intellectual needs and career aspirations. Typical areas of study may include applied molecular biology, microbiology, biotechnology and research skills. Please note that the following list of units is indicative and may be subject to change.

Read more about this year of study

Core Units


The unit content includes microbial physiology, nutrition, microbial genetics and microbial taxonomy of archaea, bacteria, fungi, viruses and algae, with particular reference to recent developments. 

Professional Skills for Biologists

This unit introduces students to the professional skills involved with being a Biologist. It develops knowledge of key methodologies, skills and experiences needed for professional development. It supports the students to enable them to formulate research proposals, apply for research projects and present their professional skills succinctly.       


This unit covers the utilisation and genetic modification of organisms for biotechnology: including the production of food and drink; bioremediation and pollution control; biofuels; medical biotechnology. 


This unit will develop students’ knowledge of protein structure and function, including metabolic processes linked to cellular signalling and protein modification. 

Applied Molecular Biology

This unit will introduce students to the key principles that underpin many nucleic acid molecular methodologies, with a strong emphasis on the applications and context of these techniques. 

Forensic DNA Profiling

This unit will involve the processing of biological evidence from collection, to identification of particular bodily fluids, through to DNA profiling and individualisation. 

Plant & Soil Ecology

Students will be introduced to plant and soil ecology, with a focus on the importance of the soil environment in influencing plant performance and distributions, where the content of this unit has direct relevance for agriculture and food security, pollution mitigation and climate change.

Option Units

Professional Practice

An employability based skills unit with opportunities to work with both internal and external partners. The unit encompasses employability skills development workshops including cover letter and C.V. construction, job search strategies, interview techniques, and placement preparation. 

Species Interactions

This unit will explore the ecology and evolution of species interactions. Key topics will include pollination, manipulation of reproduction, impacts of diseases and defence responses.

Invertebrate Biology

The unit will explore the anatomical, developmental, physiological, ecological and behavioural characteristics and lifecycles of major invertebrate phyla and review their importance to ecosystem function and as parasites and vectors of disease.

If you opt for the four-year sandwich or study abroad route Year 3 will be spent on placement or studying in Europe, North America or Australasia.

Your final year aims to provide you with the opportunity to specialise in areas of microbiology, genetics and biotechnology, and also includes an independent research project. Please note that the following list of units is indicative and may be subject to change.

Read more about this year of study

Core Units

Frontiers in Biotechnology

This unit uses a case study approach to current issues in microbial biotechnology by developing students' own biotechnology ideas into consultancy tenders for industry.

Project in Microbiology and Molecular Biology

Students will develop a research question, plan an appropriate methodological approach, and collect and analyse the data from that investigation under the guidance of an allocated project supervisor. The project may take a number of approaches and may include, but is not limited to, a combination of laboratory, fieldwork or secondary data collection and analysis and will consider any health and safety issues, and ethical issues as well as developing scientific communication skills.

Environmental Microbiology

This unit explores the role of microbes in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem functioning and methods in studying microbial community structure and function.   

Conservation and Genetics of Populations

Within the context of evolutionary genetics, this unit will encompass topics in evolutionary biology, population genetics and the genetic basis of biological problems in conservation.

Genetic Data and Analysis

This unit will explore genetic and genomic research to address problems in evolution, human health, and conservation with an emphasis on genetic data and analysis.

Forensic Genetics

This unit explores advanced molecular biology techniques for the analysis of DNA in different forensic contexts. 

Option Units

Coastal Ecology and Ecosystem Services

This unit will explore contemporary issues in coastal ecology, conservation and restoration, and examine the unique organisms that live where the land meets the sea. Example topics will include methods of coastal management and restoration, the basis of coastal ecosystem services and the links between coastal community livelihoods and coastal biodiversity. 

The Undergraduate Consultancy

This unit challenges students to deliver high-quality outputs from live projects to address the needs of professional clients.

Assessment weightings and contact hours

10 credits equates to 100 hours of study, which is a combination of lectures, seminars and practical sessions, and independent study. A 3 year degree qualification typically comprises of 360 credits (120 credits per year). The exact composition of your study time and assessments for the course will vary according to your option choices and style of learning, but it could be:



Optional foundation year

Additional information about this course

Students are expected to comply with the School's codes of conduct and behaviour on field courses, placements and exchanges. Placements and study exchange opportunities are dependent on passing each stage at the first opportunity and being of good standing.

Placement options

The four-year sandwich route gives you the opportunity to spend your third year on a placement with a relevant employer, like a conservation or environmental body, zoo or animal welfare organisation, or local government or a molecular diagnostics company. It’s a great chance to gain experience, build your network and develop transferable skills – all of which can boost your career prospects.

The four-year study abroad route gives you the opportunity to study overseas during your third year in Europe, North America or Australasia.

Department of Natural Sciences

Our Department of Natural Sciences is a research-rich academic community with a well-established reputation in biology, chemistry, geography and environmental science.

The department works with research institutions, industry partners, national organisations and NGOs worldwide to address the challenges posed by environmental, socio-economic, cultural and political change, as well as health and advanced materials.

More about the department

Taught by experts

Your studies are supported by a team of committed and enthusiastic teachers and researchers, experts in their chosen field. We also work with external professionals, many of whom are Manchester Met alumni, to enhance your learning and appreciation of the wider subject.

Meet our expert staff


Foundation Year students

Fees for this course have yet to be confirmed and will be updated as soon as more information is available. The standard tuition fee for home, EU, and Channel Island students is set by the University subject to UK government policy and parliamentary regulation and may increase each academic year in line with inflation or UK government policy for both new and continuing students. For reference, the home fee for the full 120-credit 2017/18 academic year is £9,250.

UK, EU and Channel Island students

UK, EU and Channel Island students: Full-time fee: £9,250 per year. This tuition fee is agreed subject to UK government policy and parliamentary regulation and may increase each academic year in line with inflation or UK government policy for both new and continuing students.

UK, EU and Channel Island students: Part-time fee: £2312.50 per 30 credits studied per year. This tuition fee is agreed subject to UK government policy and parliamentary regulation and may increase each academic year in line with inflation or UK government policy for both new and continuing students.

Non-EU international students

Non-EU international students: Full-time fee: £16,000 per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Non-EU international students: Part-time fee: £4000 per 30 credits studied per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Additional Information

A degree typically comprises 360 credits, a DipHE 240 credits, a CertHE 120 credits, and an integrated Masters 480 credits. The tuition fee for the placement year for those courses that offer this option is £1,850, subject to inflationary increases based on government policy and providing you progress through the course in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study). The tuition fee for the study year abroad for those courses that offer this option is £1,385, subject to inflationary increases based on government policy and providing you progress through the course in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Part-time students may take a maximum of 90 credits each academic year.

Additional costs

Specialist Costs

Students often choose to buy a laptop for their degree (costing approximately £300 to £400) and a printer (costing £50 to £100 including print consumables, plus £20 to £40 for print consumables in every subsequent year). However, there are numerous drop-in computer facilities across campus and laptops for loan in the library. Lab coats and safety glasses are provided free of charge in the first year of entry and are expected to last for the duration of the course. Students will have to purchase replacements for lost or damaged PPE.

Placement Costs


1) Students go on residential fieldtrips for core units throughout the degree course. These are subsidised but students can expect to pay a contribution to costs of £60 for a UK-based residential field course at Level 4 and a maximum of £300 for an overseas residential field course at Level 5 (currently Portugal). At Level 6 there is currently an optional residential field course based in Tanzania, this is a premium field course experience at an inclusive additional cost of approx. £2300. For all compulsory field courses, there are nil cost non-residential alternatives for any student who chooses not to go. 2) Students opting to study abroad in third year (SENAA). If you are studying at one of our partner universities on an approved exchange programme, you will continue to pay tuition fees to Manchester Metropolitan University and you will not pay any tuition fees to your partner university. Some partner universities may charge additional fees for mandatory administrative and recreational services, non-mandatory language classes, courses including fieldwork or non-mandatory project costs. If this is relevant to you, the partner university will inform you of any additional costs during the application process. During your study exchange abroad, you will need to budget for the general cost of living as well as additional costs for visas, travel, medical insurance and vaccinations (depending on your destination). Applicants should visit the MMUi web pages for more details including sources of travel funding. 3) Students choosing to undertake a Placement (Sandwich) in third year. The Sandwich Year involves full-time work experience work placement. This lasts for a minimum of 36 weeks and normally attracts a salary/weekly wage but this is not guaranteed. Placements are competitive and based on successful interviews with the placement provider. Students will have to pay travel and accommodation costs (including for interview) plus personal insurance. 4) Students undertaking short placements as part of vocational optional units. Students should expect to pay travel expenses to placements.

Other Costs


MMU now provides free travel insurance for students when they travel in connection with their programme of study, for example, placements, field trips, exchanges etc. However, students should also take out personal insurance cover for belongings as items


Find out more about financing your studies and whether you may qualify for one of our bursaries and scholarships.

Money Matters

Want to know more?

How to apply

You can apply for this course through UCAS.

Apply now

UCAS code(s)

CC57 - BSc (Hons) Microbiology and Molecular Biology

CC59 - BSc (Hons) Microbiology and Molecular Biology with Study Abroad

CC58 - BSc (Hons) Microbiology and Molecular Biology with Sandwich Year

CC56 - BSc (Hons) Microbiology and Molecular Biology with Foundation Year

Remember to use the correct institution code for Manchester Metropolitan University on your application: our institution code is M40

You can review our current Terms and Conditions before you make your application. If you are successful with your application, we will send you up to date information alongside your offer letter.


Programme Review
Our programmes undergo an annual review and major review (normally at 6 year intervals) to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. For further information on when we may make changes to our programmes, please see the changes section of our Terms and Conditions.

Important Notice
This online prospectus provides an overview of our programmes of study and the University. We regularly update our online prospectus so that our published course information is accurate. Please check back to the online prospectus before making an application to us to access the most up to date information for your chosen course of study.

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