Applied Microbiology BSc (Hons)

Develop your specialist knowledge in microbiology and biotechnology to prepare you for work in this dynamic area.


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.

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.

In second year, students do have the option of undertaking 'Volunteering and Employability'. This can include an element of work placement. This will prepare you for employment in a wide range of occupations, including those requiring specialist knowledge in microbiology and biotechnology.

We are 2nd for Animal Sciences among UK modern universities in the Sunday Times' Good University Guide 2022.

We have a 100% satisfaction rate for our Biological Science (non-specific) courses (National Student Survey, 2022).

Student holding up a glass tube to the camera working in the microbiology lab

Mode of Study:

Part-time (available as full-time)


6 years

Start date:


Course details

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 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. Most modules have laboratory classes giving you the opportunity to study with a hands-on approach.

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.

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    How you’ll be taught

    You will learn through a variety of different methods, including lectures, tutorials, field studies and laboratory classes. 

    More than two-thirds of our permanent academic staff are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy, reflecting their dedication and formal training in teaching undergraduate students. Together with our accreditation by The Royal Society of Biology - which is your assurance of the quality and relevance of our course to the needs of employers - this is your assurance of the up-to-date knowledge of our teaching staff and guarantee of a supportive learning environment.

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    A variety of assessment methods are used, including examination, assignments and practical assessments. These are balanced across the programme to provide a challenging assessment experience, which allows you to do your best.

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    Work placement

    In second year, students do have the option of undertaking 'Volunteering and Employability'. This can include an element of work placement.

    Placement and Study Abroad opportunities are subject to UK and Scottish Government health and travel advice.

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    Study abroad

    Erasmus Programme and International Student Exchange Program opportunities are available in the second and third year of study for one or two trimesters.

    Placement and Study Abroad opportunities are subject to UK and Scottish Government health and travel advice.

Popular modules

Year 1

Year 2

  • Comparative Anatomy and Physiology (info)
  • Biochemistry (info)
  • Cell Biology: Structure and Function (info)
  • Symbiosis (info)

Year 3

  • Genes and Inheritance (info)
  • Applied Microbiology (info)
  • Physiology, Adaptation and Disease (info)
  • Option module

Year 4

  • Applied and Environmental Microbiology (info)
  • Immunology (info)
  • Food Microbiology and Biotechnology (info)
  • Infection and Immunity (info)

Year 5

  • Research Methods (info)
  • Professional Practice (info)
  • Molecular Medicine (info) or Pharmacology and Pathobiology (info)
  • Research Project (split over two years)* (info)

Year 6

  • Microbial Biotechnology** (info)
  • Research Project (split over two years)* (info)



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

Full information is available in our disclaimer.

Entry requirements

What are the entry requirements for Applied Microbiology?

Our entry requirements indicate both Standard and 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.

The University does not sponsor students to study on part-time programmes in the UK under the Student Visa route. International Applicants must therefore have other valid immigration leave to study on this programme.

Can I get admission in Applied Microbiology based on my working experience in this sector?

Advanced entry into Year 2 or Year 3 is possible for students with suitable qualifications.

Can I make an appointment with an advisor to discuss further about the admission process?

If you want to get more information on the admission process, please get in touch with the undergraduate admissions team by submitting an enquiry form above.

Minimum Year 1

SQA Higher

  • Standard Entry Requirement: BBBB including Human Biology, Biology, Chemistry or Physics.
  • Minimum Offer Entry Requirement: BBCC including Human Biology, Biology, Chemistry or Physics.

You may be given an adjusted offer of entry if you meet our specified minimum entry requirements within our widening participation criteria, and outlined in our Contextual Admissions Policy. Click here for further information about our entry requirements and admissions policies

A Level

  • BCC including Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Applied Science.

BTEC (QCF) Extended Diploma Level 3

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

BTEC (QCF) National Diploma Level 3 plus A Level

  • Minimum grades DM (Distinction, Merit) in a related subject.
  • A Level grade C

Irish Leaving Certificate

  • Grades H2/H2/H3/H3 including a Science subject (Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry, Physics)
  •  International Baccalaureate Diploma

Award of Diploma with 28 points overall with three HL subjects at grades 6, 5, 4 including a Science (Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry or Physics) at minimum grade 5.

T Level 

  • Grade M
  • T Level must be completed in a Science subject or A Level Science may be required. Please contact to check if you meet the subject specific requirements.

Minimum Year 2

SQA Advanced Higher

  • BBC to include Biology

A Level

  • BBB to include Biology


  • Pass in a related subject* with B in the graded unit.
  • *Biomedical Sciences, Biological Sciences, Applied Science, Applied Bioscience, Wildlife and Conservation Management


Minimum Year 3


  • Pass in a related subject* with Grades BB at SCQF Level 8 in the graded units.
  • *Biomedical Sciences, Biological Sciences, Applied Science, Wildlife and Conservation Management


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.

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.
Entry requirements by country

Please note that international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:
  • BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery
  • All Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

See who can apply for more information on Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

We’re committed to admitting students who have the potential to succeed and benefit from our programmes of study. 

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures, and how we use the information you provide us in your application to inform the decisions we make.

Undergraduate admissions policies
Postgraduate admissions policies

Fees & funding

The course fees you'll pay and the funding available to you will depend on a number of factors including your nationality, location, personal circumstances and the course you are studying. We also have a number of bursaries and scholarships available to our students.

Tuition fees
Students from 2024/25 2025/26
Scotland £910 £tba
England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Republic of Ireland £4,625 £tba
Overseas and EU £9,670 £tba
Please note tuition fees are subject to an annual review and may increase from one year to the next. For more information on this and other Tuition Fee matters please see Frequently Asked Questions about Fees Click this link for Information of Bursaries and Scholarships
If additional compulsory costs other than the tuition fees are applicable, these will be detailed in the course details.
Please note that the tuition fees liable to be paid by EU nationals commencing their studies from 1 August 2021 will be the Overseas fee rate. The University offers a range of attractive Tuition Fee bursaries to students resident in specific countries. More information on these can be found here.


Scientist standing behind shelves of laboratory equipment

What can you do with an Applied Microbiology Degree? 



By studying Applied Microbiology at Edinburgh Napier University, you will become an expert in microbes and how microbiology can be applied within medical, food, pharmaceutical and environmental biotechnology sectors, including in the production of drugs and food products. You’ll gain a wide range of desirable, discipline-specific practical skills in the laboratory to apply your knowledge of microbes and their environment to equip you for the workplace. You will become an effective communicator, team player, and develop strong analytical skills. Microbiology has close links with other disciplines, such as immunology, molecular biology, and human health, offering a wide scope of potential careers. Employment you may consider on completion of this programme include working in industry and research sectors, in areas such as, food and drink, pharmaceuticals, fuels/biofuels, water, biotechnology and healthcare. Non-lab positions may include, sales and marketing, education, communications, policy-informing roles or consultancy for charities, industry, or government.  If you are interested in practical work and have keen problem-solving skills, then this might be the right course for you.

Gaining a degree in Applied Microbiology gives you discipline-specific knowledge and skills, but it is not restrictive. You will gain a range of highly desirable transferable (meta) skills, including teamwork, communication, numeracy, computer literacy and data analysis, which are valued by employers within, but also outside the Life Sciences sector.

What does a Microbiologist/Biotechnologist do?




A microbiologist specialises in the study of microorganisms, including their structure, function and the impact they have on human health and the environment. Coupled with an understanding of the rapidly-evolving field of biotechnology, industries you could work in within this role are extensive, ranging from agriculture to the food and drink sector, medicine and healthcare, or government and environmental agencies.

Tasks you might carry out within this role include: 

  • Researching and presenting your findings (in industry or academic institutions)
  • Finding treatments for diseases related to microorganisms
  • Developing vaccines
  • Advising/consulting to protect public health and reduce transmission of viruses and disease
  • Working to investigate/optimise the role of microbes in biotechnology applications, developing bioproducts
  • Regulatory roles, quality control/quality assurance
  • Project management
Student working with his hands inside a fume cupboard in a science lab