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Postgraduate subject


07 November 2023
‌Investigate specific effects of microorganisms, such as water treatments and pesticides.




Microbiology is the study of organisms such as algae, fungi, bacteria, and viruses that cannot be seen with the naked eye. These microorganisms are abundant and diverse, and they affect humans in both negative and positive ways.

Some microorganisms 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.

Microbiology Micrograph of Algae and Moss


What will my study involve?


  • Research 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 Putaiao Koiora | School of Biological Sciences has modern, well-equipped teaching and research laboratories with excellent technical support.



UC offers the following postgraduate programmes in Microbiology:


See the individual qualification pages for more information on degree requirements.

Bachelor of Science with Honours majoring in Microbiology

Complete these compulsory courses:

The remaining 15 points may be selected from other courses with the approval of the Programme Coordinator.

Postgraduate Certificate in Science majoring in Microbiology

Complete at least 45 points in 400-level BIOL courses for the major. In total 60 points must be completed for the PGCertSc from Biological Sciences and/or other Science courses.

Postgraduate Diploma in Science majoring in Microbiology

At least 120 points of courses is required for the major, including:

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:

The remaining points are selected from courses as approved by the Programme Coordinator. You will need a B+ Grade Point Average to proceed to Part II of the degree.

Part II requires MBIO690 MSc Thesis.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Microbiology

In the PhD, you will complete a thesis of original research in the Microbiology field (MBIO790 Microbiology PhD).


Career opportunities

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.

Related brochures

Postgraduate Prospectus 2024

Whakatairanga Tāura

Download (application/pdf, 3 MB)

International Prospectus 2024/2025

Download (application/pdf, 6 MB)
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