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Biomedical Sciences (Medical Microbiology) (MSc)

  • Attendance Based
  • Part Time
  • Full Time

Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London has a long history of providing high quality postgraduate education for clinicians and scientists working in the NHS, PHE and industry.

The MSc Biomedical Science (Medical Microbiology) accredited by the IBMS1, is primarily for Biomedical Scientists and other scientists working within the NHS/PHE.

The programme provides an underpinning academic learning for the continuing professional development of biomedical scientists and is designed to give graduates the knowledge and intellectual skills required to provide, develop and advance specialist scientific services within healthcare systems. Teaching will be delivered by day release (part time students) or full time study and distance learning methods. The programme includes input by specialism experts in NHS service roles and delivers research-informed teaching from within a research-rich environment.

To enable inter professional development you will learn alongside clinicians on the MSc Clinical Microbiology and STP trainees on the MSc Clinical Science (Infection Science) courses.

The course will prepare you for the next stage of your career, whether pursuing further research, or professional study, or entering employment in the field of Biomedical Science. The course will also enhance the career prospects of those aspiring to middle and senior management positions within the NHS Pathology Service and the commercial sector. Please check with the appropriate bodies that the course you plan to follow will be suitable for any professional accreditation you may require.

All our postgraduate students share much of the formal teaching and practical sessions to allow inter-professional learning but each course has its own unique additional teaching, electronic learning resources and assessments.

Undertaking the courses full-time is most appropriate for overseas students and, more generally recent graduates in biomedical science who are not already working in hospitals, medical schools, public health institutions and similar institutions.
Full time students will be attached to the Centre for Immunology and Infectious Disease, Blizard Institute at Bart’s and the London (this is not a clinical attachment).
Full-time students study for 12 months and will be expected to be able to attend teaching sessions at the University on Monday-Friday. In addition to the Tuesdays and Thursday teaching shared with part time students there are tutorials and research and clinical meetings on other days

1The accreditation of a postgraduate degree course by the IBMS is not the same as accreditation of an undergraduate degree for HCPC State Registration. Completion of this postgraduate degree will not fulfil the education criteria for State Registration as a Biomedical Scientist with the HCPC

 

Why study the programme at Queen Mary?

Our courses are unique because students learn in a fully interdisciplinary environment with clinicians learning alongside scientists and recent graduates. In addition to the interdisciplinary learning students also have the opportunity to learn about experiences from outside the UK from our overseas students enabling a global perspective of clinical microbiology to be developed.

Many of our lectures are given by guest speakers who are acknowledged experts in their field from within the NHS, Public Heath England (PHE) or are highly respected researchers. This ensures the course remains up to date and relevant to your future career and also enables you to develop a strong network of contacts.


Who should apply?

  • Applicants with medical or dental degrees normally follow the course of study leading to the MSc Clinical Microbiology. The additional teaching is more focussed on specialised advanced clinical cases. This course is often used as preparation for the FRCPath examinations.
  • Applicants with a degree in Biomedical Science or degrees with a significant biomedical content usually study the MSc Biomedical Science (Medical Microbiology). The additional teaching is focussed on laboratory management skills and professional development as a Biomedical Scientist. As this is a postgraduate course, the accreditation by the IBMS is not the same as accreditation of an undergraduate degree for HCPC State Registration. Completion of this postgraduate degree will not fulfil the education criteria for State Registration as a Biomedical Scientist with the HCPC.
  • Applicants with degrees in pharmacy, nursing, general microbiology, biotechnology and related degrees may be considered for either the MSc Biomedical Science (Medical Microbiology) or MSc Clinical Microbiology depending on the modules studied in your degree   

 Entry Requirements

  • Applicants must have a minimum of a 2:1 degree in biomedical science (or degree with a significant content of medical microbiology) or equivalent.
  • Applicants for part time study must hold a full-time appointment or attachment in a medical/clinical microbiology department of a medical school, hospital, PHE or other appropriate institution for the duration of their studies.
  • Applicants who are in full time employment within the NHS/PHE but who do not reach academic standards but have appropriate work based experience may be considered for a place on the programme at the discretion of the Dean of Postgraduate Studies (School of Medicine and Dentistry).
  • Applicants for part time study must hold a full-time appointment or attachment in a medical/clinical microbiology department of a medical school, hospital, PHE or other appropriate institution for the duration of their studies.
  • Non-native speakers must achieve a minimum of IELTS 7.0. Students are required to achieve a minimum of 6.0 in their written element. Students must be able to sit examinations at a British Council Centre, or a similar approved centre, under invigilation or be able to attend examinations in the UK.
  • If the offer of a place is conditional upon achieving the above standard in an English language test and the student has achieved IELTS 6.5, within the last 12 months at the discretion of the course organiser, they may be offered the opportunity to attend the pre-sessional course for at least five weeks instead of taking IELTS again. At the end of the pre-sessional course the student will be assessed by the Queen Mary Language and Learning Unit to confirm that the student has the language skills to complete the course. 

Careers

Part time students who have completed our courses have progressed to senior posts within the NHS and PHE. Many successfully complete the FRCPAth.

Many of our full time students have found careers in the NHS and PHE, whilst others have continued into PhD studies or research. In addition to the clinical laboratory careers students have also found employment in the scientific media, parliamentary researchers and gone on to develop nursing and environmental health careers.

Teaching and Learning

Teaching comprises lectures, workshops, practicals and demonstrations. The lecturers are specialists in their field and are invited from many institutions in the UK.

The practical classes are an important component of the course and are designed to give students the maximum hands-on experience, particularly in medical microbiology. Students are encouraged to relate current practices in their sponsoring institution to their studies, and to discuss and critically evaluate these techniques with their colleagues (including clinicians and clinical scientists) in the light of their formal teaching. The practical classes are taught in the purpose-built teaching laboratory, which is well equipped with all necessary materials and is based on a routine clinical microbiology laboratory.

In addition to the formal face to face teaching, students use on line learning materials in the university’s electronic learning environment QMplus. These materials include discussion threads, chat rooms, lecture notes and quizzes.

Self-directed learning, by reading and reviewing literature to supplement the lectures, is essential and students are encouraged to use the library facilities of the department and the University. All students have access to the library and computing facilities of the University.

Additional theoretical tutorials are also used throughout the year to broaden the students’ experience of clinical microbiology. These tutorials include case presentations to and by the students, workshops, discussion sessions, question-and-answer sessions, and oral presentations by the students. Full-time students receive additional assignments to be completed throughout the year to allow them to monitor their own progress. Full-time students are also encouraged to attend the regular clinical journal club and research meetings within the Centre.

Independent Study

For every hour spent in classes you will be expected to complete further hours of independent study. Your individual study time could be spent preparing for, or following up on formal study sessions; reading; producing written work; completing projects; and revising for examinations.

The direction of your individual study will be guided by the formal study sessions you attend, along with your reading lists and assignments. However, we expect you to demonstrate an active role in your own learning by reading widely and expanding your own knowledge, understanding and critical ability.

Independent study will foster in you the ability to identify your own learning needs and determine which areas you need to focus on to become proficient in your subject area. This is an important transferable skill and will help to prepare you for the transition to working life.

Assessment

Written and practical examinations, essays, and MCQ to scientific presentations and case presentations. Professional reflective learning is also included within learning and assessment strategies. 


Programme structure

One year full time or if you are in suitable employment two years part time.

Compulsory Modules

  • Introduction to Clinical Microbiology (30 credits)
  • Molecular Biology and Pathogenesis (15 credits)
  • Professional and Research Skills (15 credits)
  • Public Health and Communicable Disease Control  (15 credits)
  • Antimicrobials (15 credits)
  • Clinical Microbiology and Infection Control (15 credits)
  • Laboratory Management (15 credits)
  • Project and Dissertation (60 credits)

Research Project/Dissertation

The research project is undertaken by part time students in the sponsoring laboratory/place of work. Fulltime students will be offered projects either within the research teams of the Blizard Institute or with the NHS and PHE staff based at Barts Health NHS Trust.
Projects can be laboratory based experimental research or may be based on a clinical audit or survey with an extensive literature reflection. The dissertation is 10,000 words.
All students give an oral presentation about their project to students, academic staff and invited guests at a research day.

As an international student from Saudi Arabia, I found the MSc of Clinical Microbiology at QMUL excellent, on all levels. The lectures were given by very good experts in the field. The practical modules were excellent, very well prepared and demonstrated. Throughout the year, we received support and help when needed; the coordinators were very flexible and understanding of each student’s situation. The electronic portal was always up to date with all the lectures, assessment times and results.  All in all I had a pleasant experience studying this MSc, and I would highly recommend it for students who seek postgraduate studies.

Hoda Abanamy, Graduate 2014


I am glad I chose Clinical Microbiology programme in Queen Mary, University of London. I found the course to be fast-paced, challenging, and yet very rewarding. The modules offered in this program were all very interesting and well-organised. I particularly liked the practical section on identification of clinically important pathogens. It provided me solid understanding and hand-on experience on methods and tests of laboratory diagnosis. Course instructors here are very kind, patient, and helpful to discuss with us and answer our questions. Classmates here are also friendly and willing to help each other. This course not only developed my knowledge on many aspect of clinical microbiology, but also improved my research skill such as presentation and abstract writing. It has greatly broadened my horizon in this field.

Mian Dai - Full Time Student


Clinical Microbiology is a dynamic and every evolving field and as such I decided to do my Msc in this area. Being an international student, I was interested in studying at a world renowned institution which offered a Clinical Microbiology course that provided not only a theoretical but also a practical approach that was of the highest standard. The course at Queen Mary met all these requirements and I felt honoured and privileged when my application was approved.

Lectures were informative and interactive and were all conducted my lecturers who were experts in their area of speciality. I learned a lot about how infectious diseases are diagnosed, managed and treated and control. In the practical sessions I was able to learn new ways of isolating and identifying routine as well as less common pathogens, bacterial, viral as well as parasitic.

The course also afforded me the opportunity to undertake a research project at the world famous Blizard Institute. I was able to work with state of the art equipment and a team of supervisors who were supportive and resourceful.

This rewarding experience has equipped me with new skills and knowledge, which I am now happily using to improve health care in my home country.

Stacey Howell – Medical Technologist, Hargreaves Memorial Hospital, Jamaica


The full-time course started off quite intensely, studying with doctors and clinical scientists, but we soon caught up and it was so satisfying to see how fast we progressed and how quickly we were learning. Having more knowledgeable students around us was great because they served as extra teachers who can answer questions and give you information from their experience. I never felt under-supported because the organisers were always there if we were worried or needed help. Lectures were taught by experts from top universities, members of national committees and leading researchers, and we had tutorials and extra assignments to ensure we were keeping up, along with additional practicals to recap the week’s sessions. Practicals were well run and I found, lots of fun. We were given plates and lead through the microscopy and secondary testing of the pathogens, taught to distinguish between species or had to match the case information to the pathogens. These were followed by discussions where we benefited from the knowledge of our more experienced peers. On a personal note, due to the size of the group we became extremely close and helped each other a lot by exchanging essays and organising our own revision sessions. The course as a whole is tough, but it’s an MSc, so you work hard and reap the results. I particularly like the clinical focus and the hard work or the organisers is very evident in how smoothly the course runs and what amazing lecturers we had.

Stephanie Walker- Full Time Student


Programme Directors:

Michele Branscombe
Lecturer in Infection Science
44 (0)20 7882 7216
m.branscombe@qmul.ac.uk

Professor Armine Sefton
44 (0)20 7882 8167
a.m.sefton@qmul.ac.uk

For further information please contact Michele Branscombe:

Email: pgmicro-admin@qmul.ac.uk

Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 7216

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