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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.
By the end of the programme students will 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.
Duration: one year full-time or split-study over two years. Ways to study explained.
Watch programme leaders and students talk about the programme.
"I applied for this programme as it allows me to develop a more thorough and in-depth understanding of some of my favourite pathogens as well as providing me with world-class teaching and laboratory opportunities."
The below structure outlines the proposed modules for this programme. Programme and module specifications provide full details about the aims and objectives of each module, what you will study and how the module is assessed.
- Structure of the year
Term 1 (September - December) consists of ten teaching weeks for AB1 slot modules, plus one Reading Week* in the middle of the term. Followed by the Winter break.
Term 2 (January - March) consists of examinations, followed by a further ten weeks of teaching for C and D slot modules, plus a Reading Week in the middle of the term. C modules are taught in five half-week blocks before Reading Week. D modules are taught in five half-week blocks after Reading Week. Followed by the Spring break.
Term 3 (April - September) consists of five weeks of teaching for E slot modules, taught in half-week blocks, and the project report.
*Reading Week is a week during term where no formal teaching takes place. It is a time for private study, preparing for assessments or attending study/computer skills workshops. There are two Reading Weeks at LSHTM: one in November and the other in February.
- Term 1
Students take two compulsory AB1 modules:
- Bacteriology & Virology
- Analysis & Design of Research Studies
Optional module: Molecular Biology
Sessions on basic computing and statistics are run throughout the term for all students.
- Terms 2 and 3
Students take a total of five study modules, one from each timetable slot (C1, C2, D1, D2, E). The list below shows recommended modules. There are other optional modules which may be taken only after consultation with the Programme Director.
- Clinical Virology
- Molecular Biology & Recombinant DNA Techniques
- Clinical Bacteriology 1
- Molecular Virology
- Advanced Training in Molecular Biology
- Basic Parasitology
- Clinical Bacteriology 2
- Molecular Research in Infectious Diseases
- Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
- 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 LSHTM 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 LSHTM's trust funds set up for this purpose.
Please note: Should it be the case that you are unable to travel overseas or access laboratories in order to complete your project, you will be able to complete an alternative desk-based project allowing you to obtain your qualification within the original time frame. 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 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.
In order to be admitted to an LSHTM master's degree programme, an applicant must:
- hold either a first degree at Second Class Honours (2:2) standard in a relevant discipline, or a degree in medicine recognised by the UK General Medical Council (GMC) for the purposes of practising medicine in the UK, or another degree of equivalent standard awarded by an overseas institution recognised by UK ENIC or the GMC.
- hold a professional qualification appropriate to the programme of study to be followed obtained by written examinations and judged by LSHTM to be equivalent to a Second Class Honours (2:2) degree or above.
- have relevant professional experience or training which is judged by LSHTM to be equivalent to a Second Class Honours (2:2) degree or above.
If you have not previously studied in the UK, you can check our guide to international equivalent qualifications for our master's degrees.
Relevant subjects and appropriate qualifications for the MSc Medical Microbiology include microbiology, biology, molecular biology, medicine and nursing. Other life science qualifications will be considered subject to evidence within transcripts of sufficient microbiology exposure (please make this evidence clear within the application). Biomedical scientists and students with research experience (e.g. as research assistants) are also encouraged to apply.
Applicants who do not meet the minimum entry requirement, but who have relevant professional experience may still be eligible for admission. Qualifications and experience will be assessed from the application.
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 for more information.
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 LSHTM.
Access and widening participation
At LSHTM we are committed to ensuring that students from all backgrounds feel encouraged to apply to study with us. To that end, we have introduced an innovative contextual admissions system that is designed to consider any barriers applicants may have faced and take account of the circumstances in which their grades have been achieved, rather than relying on results alone. More information on widening participation at LSHTM.
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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
Medical Laboratory Assistant
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
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.
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 programmes. Make sure to list them by order of preference as consideration will be given to your top choice first.
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 dates for all taught Master’s applications for entry in the 2023/24 academic year is:
- Sunday 23 July 2023 at 23:59 UK time for all students requiring a Student visa
- Thursday 31 August 2023 at 23:59 UK time for all UK, Irish and non-Student visa students
Applicants will be required to meet the conditions of their offer and provide all necessary documents by the date of their Offer of Admission.
A standard non-refundable application fee of £50 applies to all taught Master’s degree programmes and is payable upon application submission. Income generated from the application fee is shared between scholarships and student hardship fund.
Tuition fee deposit
Applicants are required to respond to their Offer of Admission 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.