MSc Medical Microbiology

Overview - Medical Microbiology

Academic year 2020/21

The programme team for this MSc has conducted a detailed analysis of options and has concluded that an element of on campus laboratory teaching is essential to achieve all the Programme Learning Outcomes.

This means that, in order to study and complete your degree with us, it will be necessary for our students to attend some laboratory practical sessions at our campus in London in each of Term 1, Term 2 and Term 3:


Term 1

During the first term, the on campus teaching will include laboratory bacteriology & virology practical training and small group discussions. These will require you to be available on campus in London for at least 3 weeks from Monday 5 October to Friday 23 October 2020.

The remainder of Term 1 will take place online, and the dominant method for teaching will be live broadcast lectures with Q&A and discussion in real time.

Term 2

We are planning for modules involving laboratory training to operate on campus and you should be in London for Term 2 from Monday 11 January to Friday 26 March 2021.

Term 3 

We are planning for modules involving laboratory training to operate on campus in London for Term 3These will require you to be available on campus in London from Monday 19 April to Friday 21 May 2021, and depending on your MSc project plans, from end of May to early September 2021.

We are currently finalising the programme timetable and will be updating this page with further information on key dates soon. For more information about the academic year 2020-21, please check our COVID-19 advice for applicants and offer holders FAQs.


Appropriate measures will be in place to ensure practical sessions can be carried out safely and in line with the UK government Coronavirus regulations. This includes limiting the numbers of students and staff in laboratories at any given time, full availability of personal safety equipment such as lab coats, gloves and face masks, and thorough cleaning of laboratories between practical sessions. Please note that government guidance and regulations are updated regularly and our safety provisions will be updated accordingly, both before and during the programme.

Outside of laboratory practical sessions, access to our buildings will be limited to meet safety requirements.

The programme

This programme provides comprehensive knowledge and practical training in the spread of microorganisms (predominantly bacterial and viral pathogens), disease causation and diagnosis and treatment of pathogens significant to public health. The increasing incidence of microbial infections worldwide is being compounded by the rapid evolution of drug-resistant variants and opportunistic infections by other organisms. The curriculum reflects the importance of genomics and molecular techniques in both diagnostics and the study of pathogenesis.

Duration: one year full-time or split-study over two years. Ways to study explained.

Medical Microbiology


Watch programme leaders and students talk about the programme.

Avinandan Saha, India
Avinandan Saha, India

"Complex ideas were delivered in a lucid, comprehensible manner, while practicals were unique in that they closely simulated real-life diagnostic laboratory situations."


Objectives - Medical Microbiology

By the end of the programme students should be able to:

  • demonstrate advanced knowledge and understanding of the nature of pathogenic microorganisms (predominantly viruses and bacteria) and basic criteria used in the classification/taxonomy of these microorganisms
  • explain the modes of transmission of pathogenic microorganisms
  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the mechanisms of microbial pathogenesis and the outcomes of infections, including chronic microbial infections
  • distinguish between and critically assess the classical and modern approaches to the development of therapeutic agents and vaccines for the prevention of human microbial diseases
  • demonstrate knowledge of the laboratory diagnosis of microbial diseases and practical skills, including the isolation and characterisation of specific microbes in clinical specimens
  • carry out a range of advanced skills and laboratory techniques, for example the purification of isolated microbial pathogens and analyses of their proteins and nucleic acids for downstream applications such as gene cloning and sequencing studies
  • demonstrate research skills, including designing experiments, analysing results and troubleshooting and critically assessing the scientific literature.
Structure - Medical Microbiology

The below structure outlines the proposed modules for this programme. Module specifications provide full details about the aims and objectives of each module, what you will study and how the module is assessed.

Term 1

There is a one-week orientation period that includes an introduction to studying at the School, sessions on key computing and study skills and course-specific sessions, followed by two compulsory modules:

  • Bacteriology & Virology
  • Analysis & Design of Research Studies

Recommended module: Molecular Biology

Sessions on basic computing, molecular biology and statistics are run throughout the term for all students.

Terms 2 and 3

Students take a total of five modules, one from each timetable slot (Slot 1, Slot 2 etc.). There are other modules that can be taken only after consultation with the Programme Director.

Slot 1

  • Clinical Virology
  • Molecular Biology & Recombinant DNA Techniques

Slot 2

  • Clinical Bacteriology 1
  • Molecular Virology 

Slot 3

  • Advanced Training in Molecular Biology
  • Basic Parasitology 

Slot 4

  • Clinical Bacteriology 2
  • Molecular Research in Infectious Diseases (formerly Molecular Biology Research Progress & Applications)

Slot 5

  • Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
  • Mycology
  • Pathogen Genomics

Project Report

During the summer months (July - August), students complete a laboratory-based original research project on an aspect of a relevant organism, for submission by early September. Projects may take place within the School or with collaborating scientists in other colleges or institutes in the UK or overseas.

The majority of students who undertake projects abroad receive financial support for flights from the School's trust funds set up for this purpose.

Please note: due to the unpredictable nature of the pandemic, we are not currently in a position to guarantee that overseas or field based projects will be possible or that London based laboratories will be accessible. Whilst we are hopeful that the situation will change before next summer, should it be the case that you are unable to travel overseas or access labs, you will be able to complete an alternative desk-based project allowing you to obtain your qualification within the original timeframe. Alternatively, you will be able to defer your project to the following year. 


The Bo Drasar Prize is awarded annually for outstanding performance by a Medical Microbiology student. This prize is named after Professor Bohumil Drasar, the founder of the MSc Medical Microbiology.

The Tsiquaye Prize is awarded annually for the best virology-based project report.

Changes to the course

Changes to the programme

LSHTM will seek to deliver this programme in accordance with the description set out on this programme page. However, there may be situations in which it is desirable or necessary for LSHTM to make changes in course provision, either before or after registration. For further information, please see our page on changes to courses.

Entry requirements
Entry requirements - Medical Microbiology

A student must normally satisfy the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine general entrance requirements and the additional programme specific entrance requirements as follows:

The normal minimum entrance qualification for registration at the School on a Master's programme is at least one of the following:

  • a second-class honours degree of a UK university, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard, in a subject appropriate to that of the course of study to be followed
  • a registrable qualification appropriate to the course of study to be followed, in medicine, dentistry or veterinary studies

Applications with an appropriate technical qualification, or equivalent qualification and experience from overseas, are also welcomed.

Any student who does not meet the minimum entry requirement above but who has relevant professional experience may still be eligible for admission. Qualifications and experience will be assessed from the application.

Admissions FAQs

English Language Requirements

If English is not your first language, you will need to meet these requirements: Band B

Please see our English Language Requirements FAQs for information

Intercalating Students

You will need the equivalent of a bachelor's degree to undertake an MSc. This will usually require you to have a BSc degree or have completed the first three years of your medical degree. More information on intercalating an MSc at the School

Fees & funding
Fees 2020/21 - Microbiology
Fees 2020/21    
Home Full-time £12,050
  Part-time £6,025
Overseas Full-time £25,770
  Part-time £12,885
Funding general

Please note that EU nationals will continue to benefit from home fee status and can access financial support for the 2020-21 academic year. Find out more.

Other sources of funding:

Careers - MSc Medical Microbiology

Graduates from this programme move into global health careers related to medical microbiology in operational control programmes, applied basic research, academic fields, in medical establishments and in the pharmaceutical industry. 

Below you will find just a few of the positions and organisations that our graduates from this course have entered:

Example job titles:

Clinical Trials Administrator
Head of Public Health
Healthcare Scientist
Laboratory Analyst
Medical Laboratory Assistant
Research Officer
Associate Healthcare Scientist
Microbiology Laboratory Technician

Example organisations:

EKF Molecular Diagnostics
Harvard School of Public Health
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
National Health Service
National Public Health Laboratories
Natural History Museum
Public Health England
Reynolds MacKenzie


Graduate Careers & Destinations

Want to read more about our graduate careers and destinations? Take a look at our infographics on our Graduate Careers & Destinations page.

Elizabeth, MSc Medical Microbiology
Elizabeth, UK

"The programme at LSHTM is very practical and the best place to study. I have loved every second of it here. With inspiration from my research project, I am hoping to receive a PhD place at the Jena School for Microbial Communication in Germany, studying the predatory interactions between amoeba and pathogens."

Hear Francesca's thoughts on the MSc Medical Microbiology


Francesca shares her experience of studying the MSc Medical Microbiology at LSHTM, talks about the skills she has learned and discusses the course content.

How to apply
How to apply - applications

Applications should be made online and will only be considered once you have provided all required information and supporting documentation.

Please also read LSHTM's Admissions policies prior to submitting your application.

You can apply for up to two master's. Make sure to list them by order of preference as consideration will be given to your top choice first.

How to apply - deadlines and fees

Application deadlines

All applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible to ensure availability of a place and a timely decision on their application. This is particularly important for applicants with sponsorship deadlines.

We strongly advise that you apply early as popular programmes will close earlier than the stated deadline if they become full.

The final closing date for all taught Master’s applications for entry in the 2020/21 academic year is:

  • Monday 31 August, 23:59 (BST).

Applicants will require to meet the conditions of their offer and provide all necessary documents by Monday 7 September, 23:59 (BST).

Application fee

A standard application fee of £50 applies to all face-to-face Master’s degree programmes and is payable upon application submission. 

Tuition fee deposit

Applicants are required to respond to their Offer of Admissions and pay the £500 deposit within 28 days of receipt, or their place will be released and the offer automatically declined. The deposit is deductible from tuition fees upon full registration with LSHTM.

How to apply - visa

Do you need a visa?

EEA Nationals

If you have EU nationality or you are from Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, you do not need immigration permission to come to the UK. You can enter, study and work in the UK without restriction. If you have dual nationality, and you choose to come to the UK using your EEA or Swiss passport, you do not need immigration permission.

For useful guidance on EEA nationals in the UK, go to the UKCISA website.

Students from outside the EEA

All non-EEA nationals who want to study in the UK must hold immigration permission that allows you to study in the UK.

If you are coming to the School to study on a full time degree programme and you have no other immigration permission for the UK, you will need to apply for a Tier 4 Student visa. You can only apply for Tier 4 when your offer at the School is unconditional.

If you already hold a Tier 4 visa for a different institution, you will probably have to apply for a Tier 4 visa for the School before you can start studying with us.

Still unsure on whether you need a visa?