MSc Medical Microbiology (pre-course info)

Welcome Week

Welcome Week timetable

Welcome Week will be fairly relaxed in terms of teaching. However, you will be very occupied with a number of tasks including enrolment at LSHTM, setting up your accommodation and other personal matters. You will also attend some sessions that will introduce you to essential skills needed on the programme, such as computing and database searching. As far as possible, please complete your enrolment and personal tasks before the end of this first week, as after this you will find yourself heavily involved in the very busy timetable of your MSc.

During this first week, there will be sessions where you can meet both other students on the MSc and the Programme Director, Dr Richard Stabler, who will introduce other members of staff who will be involved in teaching and allocate you a personal tutor. At these sessions you will be issued with the core teaching timetable for the first term and the teaching expectations of the programme will be explained.

Term 1

Term 1 is mainly devoted to the MSc core module ‘Bacteriology and Virology’. This module has been split in to:

  • an introductory week 1
  • a five-week block of bacteriology
  • a five-week block of virology

This part of the programme aims to equip you with a balanced knowledge of important microbial pathogens before you progress to more advanced pathogen-specific studies in Terms 2 and 3.

The core timetable is modified each year, based on comments and suggestions from previous MSc student evaluations, and will include many lecturers from colleges and medical institutes external to LSHTM. This will give you access to expertise in a wide range of microbiology subjects and also an opportunity to talk personally to experts about your own areas of interest.

Other teaching events during this term will include sessions on computing, statistics and molecular biology. There may also be some tutorial sessions plus non-timetabled lectures and seminars that are regularly held by departments and faculties within LSHTM, which you are encouraged to attend.

Reading list

Very often students are keen to do some reading before they start the MSc and below is a list of books for general microbiology reading. If you have access to a university or large local library, or e-journals, you may like to look through some review articles in recent issues of Trends in Microbiology and Nature Reviews Microbiology. However, it is not necessary to purchase any of these books for the programme. They are expensive and they are readily available in LSHTM's excellent library. You will also find that a number of additional information sources will be used for your teaching.


Mim’s Medical Microbiology (5th edn) Eds: R Goering, H Dockrell, M Zuckerman, I Roitt, P Chiodini, Elsevier 2012. Popular textbook with a systems based format that provides an excellent introduction to viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites that cause human disease. Contains review questions at the end of each chapter and memorably clear diagrams and lists useful for examination revision.

Medical Microbiology (6th edn) Eds: PR Murray, KS Rosenthal, MA Pfaller, Elsevier 2009. This is a seminal textbook for scientists working in all life science areas. Any chapter is a ‘good read’ making cell biology comprehensible and enjoyable!

Bacterial Pathogenesis: a Molecular Approach (3rd edn) Eds: BA Wilson, AA Salyers, DD Whitt, ME Winkler, ASM Press 2010. Focuses on core principles based on the growing understanding of the underlying similarities among pathogens and their mechanisms of action. Presents the latest research to help students explore the mechanisms by which bacterial pathogens cause infections in humans and animals. Includes new coverage of key findings on the mechanisms of bacterial secretion, toxins, and regulation.

Brock Biology of Microorganisms (13th edn.), Eds: MT Madigan, JM Martinko, D Stahl, DP Clark; 2010 Organised around six thematic units, this is a highly recommended microbiology textbook that comprehensively takes the reader from fundamental principles of molecular biology, microbial diversity and genetics to new developments in microbial ecology and medical microbiology.

Medical Microbiology: A Guide to Microbial Infections (18th edn) Eds: D Greenwood, RCB Slack, MR Barer, WL Irving, Elsevier Churchill Livingstone 2012. This classic microbiology textbook is regularly updated and combines accurate and systematic coverage of medical microbiology (from viruses to helminths) with clinically relevant detail including diagnosis, treatment, epidemiology and control of infection in humans.

Encyclopedia of Virology (3rd edn) Eds: Brian W.J. Mahy & Marc H.V. Van Regenmortel, Elservier 2008. Unique in its use of concise "mini-review" articles, this praised work covers biological, molecular, and medical topics concerning viruses in animals, plants, bacteria and insects. Now in five volumes, this new edition has been extensively revised and updated to reflect the 50% increase in identified and accepted viruses since the year 2000. Its content and layout is not as forbidding as some virology textbooks (not included in this list) and students should find this book invaluable for reference during Core teaching and for exam revision.

Principles of Molecular Virology (5th edn) by AJ Cann, Academic Press 2011 (Paper and CD-Rom versions available at the School). This user-friendly paperback is a good introduction to modern virology. It provides comprehensive understanding of the subject and explains virus structure, replication, gene function and pathogenesis in a clear and concise manner. New material on virus structure, virus evolution, zoonoses, bushmeat, SARS and bioterrorism.


Trends in Microbiology, Elsevier Ltd Nature Reviews Microbiology, Nature Publishing Group. Both these review journals provide very accessible introductions to current “cutting edge” topics in microbiology.

Module choices

We’ll discuss more during Welcome Week, but do spend some time before arrival thinking about what you want to get out of the MSc: skills you want to develop; knowledge you want to obtain; what you might want to do after the MSc. With all these in mind, do already start considering which of the optional modules you might want to take, checking the module specifications for full details.

Information for returning part-time students

The first week of term is the Welcome Week and as you will remember from last year is fairly relaxed in terms of teaching. During this first week, I will be again arranging MSc-specific sessions. You are very welcome to attend these sessions where you would have an opportunity to meet the new students. We can also discuss the options for your split-study during your second year. If you are unable to make these sessions, just let us know in advance.

Page last updated September 2023