Clinical Microbiology

Postgraduate Diploma ( 2 years Part-time )


The postgraduate programmes in clinical microbiology are designed both as a complete curriculum in clinical microbiology for new entrants into these fields and as an update and extension for those already in it. They provide clinicians and scientists with theoretical, laboratory, and clinically applied aspects of their discipline and associated subjects, such as molecular biology.

Your formal teaching will include lectures, practicals and workshops.

Many students use the MSc as preparation for their FRCPath examinations and the degree is accredited by the Association of Clinical Microbiologists as part of the training for clinical scientists.

The programme will:

  • Give you the maximum hands-on experience in all aspects of clinical microbiology. The practicals are taught in a large purpose-built teaching laboratory.
  • Introduce you to a broad-base of study with extensive coverage of topics in clinical microbiology.
  • Develop the service and research careers of clinicians, clinical scientists, biomedical scientists and other professionals interested in working in clinical microbiology.

Why study your MSc/PGDip in Clinical Microbiology at Queen Mary?

Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry is comprised of two world renowned teaching hospitals, St Bartholomew’s and The Royal London, which have made, and continue to make, an outstanding contribution to modern medicine. We are one of the top five in the UK for medicine in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise.

Clinical Microbiology is based at The Centre for Immunology and Infectious Disease, in the Blizard Institute, and includes around 50 scientists dedicated to education and research on microorganisms and the immune system. Our lecturers are specialists in their fields and are invited from many institutions in the UK.

  • Our location in the east of London and elsewhere in the East London Gateway will enhance your experience.
  • Barts and The London is part of Queen Mary, the only university in central London to offer extensive campus-based facilities.
  • We have modern state-of-the-art buildings alongside more traditional facilities such as our fantastic library.


You will have access to postgraduate only facilities. The Learning Resource centre has 200 networked PCs and is open to students round the clock, there are dedicated workstations for postgraduate students.

You will also have access to Queen Mary’s comprehensive libraries, including the Postgraduate Reading Room, and The British Library can also be accessed as a research resource. There are medical libraries located at the Royal London and St Bart's hospitals and at the main College campus at Mile End.

Specialist facilities include:

  • Blizard Advanced Light Microscopy core facility (BALM)
  • Flow cytometry core facility
  • Pathology core facility
  • siRNA Screening facility


MSc/PGDip in Clinical Microbiology is available for one year’s full-time study or part-time for two years. Part-time students attend for one day per week on day release from their hospital or laboratory for two academic years: full-time students study for 12 months and have two full days of lectures per week with tutorials and research and clinical meetings on other days. Full-time students will be attached to the Centre for Immunology and Infectious Disease at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry (this is not a clinical attachment).


Undertaking a masters programme is a serious commitment, with weekly contact hours being in addition to numerous hours of independent learning and research needed to progress at the required level. When coursework or examination deadlines are approaching independent learning hours may need to increase significantly. Please contact the course convenor for precise information on the number of contact hours per week for this programme.


Part-time study options often mean that the number of modules taken is reduced per semester, with the full modules required to complete the programme spread over two academic years. Teaching is generally done during the day and part-time students should contact the course convenor to get an idea of when these teaching hours are likely to take place. Timetables are likely to be finalised in September but you may be able to gain an expectation of what will be required.

Core modules

  • Clinical microbiology: Pathogens and commensals
  • Diagnostic microbiology and laboratory methods
  • Molecular biology, microbial pathogenesis and the host immune response
  • Antimicrobials
  • Public health and communicable disease control
  • Clinical microbiology: Diagnosis and management of human disease and control of hospital infection
  • Clinical microbiology research and presentation skills
  • Advanced clinical microbiology and laboratory management
  • Research dissertation

For more information, visit the Blizard Institute website.


For more information, contact Michele Branscombe.

Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 7216

For informal enquiries, please contact Professor Armine Sefton, Programme Director.

Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 8167

Entry requirements

Applicants should hold an MB BS or basic medical degree or a BSc honours degree in biomedical science from universities recognised by the University of London. The award must be at least a 2:1. Candidates with degrees in dentistry, veterinary science, microbiology, biological sciences or nursing with relevant experience in clinical microbiology, may also be accepted on the course.

If you are a medical practitioner, scientist or nurse currently working in the field of infectious disease, the part-time programme is most likely to be the best way for you to study. Part-time applicants must hold an appointment or attachment in a microbiology department of a hospital, HPA or other appropriate institution for the duration of the programme.

If you are an overseas student or a recent graduate in biomedical science you are more likely to want to follow the full-time programme. Graduates in other related disciplines are considered for either programme provided they have suitable experience in clinical microbiology.

Non-native speakers must achieve a minimum of IELTS 7.0.

International applicants

Students from outside of the UK help form a global community here at Queen Mary. For detailed country specific entry requirements please visit the International section of our website. If your first language is not English, you must provide evidence of your English language proficiency.

Find out more about our English language entry requirements.

If you do not meet language or scholarly requirements it might be possible for you to undertake foundation or pre-sessional programmes that will prepare you for the masters programme. For more information, please contact the Admissions Office.

If you are unable to find the information you require, please contact the Admissions Office for assistance.

Learning and teaching

Formal 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 programme and are designed to give the student maximum hands-on experience, particularly in basic clinical 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 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 online learning materials in the university’s electronic classroom (currently Blackboard CE8). These materials include discussion threads, chat rooms, lecture notes (PDF documents) and quizzes. Throughout the course students must have access to a suitable computer which fulfils the minimum specifications for using “Blackboard CE8” (or equivalent) and broadband access to the internet.

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.


Modules are assessed by a combination of in-course assessments and end-of-module examinations. In addition to traditional written and practical examinations, assessments include posters, oral presentations, case reports, essays and comprehension of scientific papers. Each assessment is designed to be a learning experience as well as a test of your knowledge.


To complete the MSc, you will undertake an original piece of research involving the application of scientific investigation to an area relevant to clinical microbiology. The investigation can be laboratory based or can be patient care focused (e.g. an audit).

Full-time students usually complete their project within the Blizard or at Barts Health NHS Trust. Part-time students complete their project at their sponsoring institution.


Tuition fees for Home and EU students

2019/20 Academic Year

Part time £3,053

Tuition fees for International students

2019/20 Academic Year

Part time £5,150


There are a number of sources of funding available for Masters students.

These include a significant package of competitive Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) bursaries and scholarships in a range of subject areas, as well as external sources of funding.

Queen Mary bursaries and scholarships

We offer a range of bursaries and scholarships for Masters students including competitive scholarships, bursaries and awards, some of which are for applicants studying specific subjects.

Find out more about QMUL bursaries and scholarships.

Alternative sources of funding

Home/EU students can apply for a range of other funding, such as Professional and Career Development Loans, and Employer Sponsorship, depending on their circumstances and the specific programme of study.

Overseas students may be eligible to apply for a range of external scholarships and we also provide information about relevant funding providers in your home country on our country web pages.

Download our Postgraduate Funding Guide for detailed information about postgraduate funding options for Home/EU students.

Read more about alternative sources of funding for Home/EU students and for Overseas students.

Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 5079

Other financial help on offer at Queen Mary

We offer one to one specialist support on all financial and welfare issues through our Advice and Counselling Service, which you can access as soon as you have applied for a place at Queen Mary.

Our Advice and Counselling Service also has lots of Student Advice Guides on all aspects of finance including:

Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 8717



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