Microbiology is the study of organisms such as algae, fungi, bacteria, and viruses that cannot be seen with the naked eye. These micro-organisms are abundant and diverse, and they affect humans in both negative and positive ways.
Some micro-organisms cause diseases in humans, other animals, or agricultural crops, and are therefore of significance to our biosecurity. Others can be used to benefit humans, such as microbes that can be used to kill insect pests (bio-control) and those that destroy harmful chemicals such as pesticides (bio-remediation). Other microbes are simply essential to the maintenance of all life, such as those that generate oxygen and other critical elements.
This is a broad major, covering bacteria, archaea, eukaryotic microbes and viruses, and environmental, evolutionary, and molecular microbiology.
- Our courses emphasise the use of microbes in multiple contexts, including for industrial microbiology, medicine, environment, and genomics.
- Our courses are structured to have a large hands-on practical component.
- Te Kura Pūtaiao Koiora | School of Biological Sciences has modern, well-equipped teaching and research laboratories with excellent technical support.
Students undertaking postgraduate study in Microbiology must meet the entry requirements of their chosen qualification and have a background in Biological Sciences.
- Prerequisites: BIOL 313; and one course selected from BIOL 331, BCHM 301, BIOL 330, BIOL 333, BIOL 335.
Note: students are normally expected to have taken BIOL 309.
UC offers the following postgraduate programmes in Microbiology:
- Bachelor of Science with Honours
- Postgraduate Certificate in Science
- Postgraduate Diploma in Science
- Master of Science
- Doctor of Philosophy
See the individual qualification pages for more information on degree requirements.
Bachelor of Science with Honours majoring in Microbiology
Students will complete MBIO 480 Project, as well as BIOL 411, BIOL 412, BIOL 455, and BIOL 456. Another 15 points are selected from BIOL 457, BIOL 459, BIOL 460, BIOL 463, or BIOL 496. The remaining 15 points may be selected from other courses with the approval of the Programme Coordinator.
Postgraduate Certificate in Science majoring in Microbiology
Students need to complete at least 45 points in BIOL 400-level courses for the major. In total 60 points must be completed for the PGCertSc from Biological Sciences and/or other Science courses.
Postgraduate Diploma majoring in Microbiology
At least 120 points of courses, including BIOL 411, BIOL 412, BIOL 455, and BIOL 456, is required for the major. At least 30 points are chosen from BIOL 457, BIOL 459, BIOL 460, BIOL 463, or BIOL 496. Additional courses may be selected with the approval of the Programme Coordinator.
Master of Science majoring in Microbiology
Part I of the MSc in Microbiology is 120 points, including BIOL 411, BIOL 412, BIOL 455, and BIOL 456, another 30 points from BIOL 457, BIOL 459, BIOL 460, BIOL 463, or BIOL 496, and the remaining points selected from courses as approved by the Programme Coordinator. Students need a B+ Grade Point Average to proceed to Part II of the degree.
Part II requires MBIO 690 MSc Thesis.
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Microbiology
In the PhD, students need to pass a thesis of original research in the Microbiology field (MBIO 790 Microbiology).
The broad and transferable skills gained from following this pathway open up many career options, many of which may include some component of laboratory work such as culturing micro-organisms, sequencing DNA, identifying species.
Graduates who specialise in Microbiology may take up careers like:
- Manager at a brewery
- Technical Compliance Officer for a food safety company
- Laboratory technician or manager
- Medical laboratory technician at Canterbury Health.
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