BSc (Hons) Applied Microbiology

Undergraduate, Part-time

Microbes are everywhere - inside our bodies, in the air we breathe, even in the food we eat. They are so small that millions can fit into the eye of a needle yet without them we couldn’t exist.

  • Napier code:


  • Course type:


  • Duration:

    6 years

  • Award:

    BSc (Hons)

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Course introduction

Through specialist modules in medical, food and environmental biotechnology, you’ll explore how we exploit the diversity of microorganisms in the production of drugs and food and the decontamination of polluted environments.

This will prepare you for employment in a wide range of occupations, including those requiring specialist knowledge in microbiology and biotechnology.

This is a part-time course which can be tailored to suit your needs

This course provides you with specialist skills in food, medical and environmental microbiology and biotechnology while also giving you a broad understanding of the biological sciences.

You’ll learn, for example how the human immune system responds to invading bacteria and viruses, and how this knowledge is exploited by pharmaceutical industries in the development of drugs, vaccines and diagnostics.

You'll also discover how an understanding of a microbe’s ability to exist in diverse environments leads to applications that benefit humans and the environment.

This is a part-time course, generally lasting six years and has a significant practical component. Most modules have laboratory classes giving you the opportunity to study with a hands-on approach.

With the support and guidance of our tutors you will develop an individualised programme of study that best suits you. You’ll learn by a variety of teaching methods including lectures, tutorials, laboratory sessions, field trips and through independent study. There may also be some opportunities to study abroad.

In the final year of the Honours degree, you will conduct your own project in one of our established and internationally recognised research teams.

Throughout this course you’ll develop transferable skills which will help you compete in the workplace, including problem solving, communication, organisational and presentation skills. You will also gain specialist skills in food, environmental and medical microbiology and biotechnology, in addition to a broad understanding of the biological sciences.

What you study

Common foundation year 

  • Foundation in Science
  • Life on Earth
  • Comparative anatomy and physiology
  • Scientific enquiry
  • Introductory Microbiology
  • Cell biology 

Year 2 

  • Genes and Inheritance
  • Biochemistry 
  • Applied Microbiology
  • Symbiosis
  • Physiology, Adaptation and Disease
  • Option module

Year 3 

  • Research Methods
  • Food Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Immunology 
  • Infection and Immunity
  • Applied and Environmental Microbiology
  • Option module

Year 4 

  • Professional Practice
  • Microbial Biotechnology (40 credits) 
  • Project (60 credits)

Study modules mentioned above are indicative only. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.

Full information on this is available in our disclaimer.

The skills you gain in this course will prepare you for work in a number of areas including:
  • industry and research sectors
  • food and drink industries
  • pharmaceutical industries
  • sales and marketing
  • consultancy
  • environment protection agencies / companies
The emphasis on research in this course equips you with the knowledge and skills required to continue on to postgraduate study, including possible PhD study and a further academic career.

Minimum year 1

SQA Higher

Typical Entry Requirement

BBBB including Biology or Human Biology or Chemistry or Physics.

National 5 C in Maths, English, Biology & Chemistry.

Adjusted Offer Entry Requirement

BBCC including Biology or Human Biology or Chemistry or Physics at grade B.

National 5 grade C Maths, English, Biology & Chemistry.

You may be given an adjusted offer of entry if you meet specific widening participation criteria as outlined in our contextual admissions policy. Click here for further information about our entry requirements and admissions policies.

A Level

BCC including Biology or Chemistry or Physics. 

GCSE grade C/4 in Maths, English, Biology & Chemistry (or Double Award Science at C/4)

Irish Leaving Certificate

Pre-2017 Grading System

B1, B1, B3, B3 at Higher Level including Biology or Human Biology or Chemistry or Physics.

C2 at Ordinary Level in Maths, English, Biology & Chemistry.

New Grading System

Grades H2, H2, H3, H3 at Higher Level to include Biology or Human Biology or Chemistry or Physics.

Grade O4 at Ordinary Level in English, Maths, Biology & Chemistry.

BTEC (QCF) Extended Diploma Level 3

Minimum grades DMM (Distinction, Merit, Merit) in a related subject.

GCSE grade C/4 in Maths, English, Biology & Chemistry (or Double Award Science at C/4)

International Baccalaureate Diploma

Award of Diploma with 28 points overall with three HL subjects at grades 6, 5, 4 including a Science^ at minimum grade 5.

4 points in SL Maths, English, Biology and Chemistry.

European Baccalaureate

70% with Grade 7 in three subjects including Biology or Chemistry or Physics.

Grade 6 in English, Maths, Biology and Chemistry also required.


Animal Care with B in the graded unit for year 1 entry.

National 5 C in Maths, English, Biology & Chemistry also required.


Animal Care with BB in the graded units for year 1 entry.

National 5 C in Maths, English, Biology & Chemistry also required. 

Minimum year 2


Pass in a related subject* with Grade B in the graded unit.

*Biomedical Sciences, Biological Sciences, Applied Sciences, Applied Biological Sciences

SQA Advanced Higher

BBC including Biology

A Level

BBB including Biology

Minimum year 3

Please contact Programme Leader Dave Smith directly for information about direct entry to this course: 

English Language Requirements

If your first language isn't English, you'll normally need to undertake an approved English language test and our minimum English language requirements will apply.

This may not apply if you have completed all your school qualifications in English. Check our country pages to find out if this applies to you.

Our entry requirements indicate the minimum qualifications with which we normally accept students. Competition for places varies from year to year and you aren't guaranteed a place if you meet the minimum qualifications.

International students

If your qualifications aren't listed above, visit our country pages to get entry requirements for your country.

Please note that non-EU international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:

BN Nursing/MN Nursing (Adult, Child, Mental Health or Learning Disability)

BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery

Admissions policies

We're committed to being as accessible as possible to anyone who wants to achieve higher education.

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures and how decisions are made.

Tuition fees
Students from 2017/18 2018/19
Scotland/EU £910 £910
England Wales and Northern Ireland £4,500 £4,625
Overseas £6,950 £7,175