Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Microbiology

Bachelor of Science (Honours) Microbiology

Course Overview

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  • AL839

    CAO Course Code

Why take this course?

Microbiology is the study of microscopic organisms, known as micro-organisms or microbes, that are usually invisible to the naked eye, including bacteria, protozoa, fungi, viruses and prions. These microbes are critical to all aspects of life on our planet. Microbiology is diverse which is reflected in sub-disciplines such as Medical, Environmental, Food and Industrial Microbiology. Several modern scientific disciplines including Genetic Engineering, Genomics, Bioinformatics, Microbial Biotechnology, Immunology and Molecular Biology originated from classical microbiology and therefore form an integral part of the teaching and research of Microbiology in AIT. An industrial placement during the third year of the course provides an opportunity to gain valuable experience and establish direct links with industry.

What will I experience?

The expertise of the lecturers involved in designing and delivering the course in microbiology is extensive. Many are also actively involved in research in different areas of microbiology, so are up to date with current trends in microbiology research.

It will be the only dedicated microbiology degree currently being offered in the country.

Within AIT there is a strong ethos for linking research to teaching, an important point which is increasingly being highlighted as best practice by learning institutions worldwide, for example the Connected Curriculum initiative being run at University College London (UCL).

Microbiology is an exciting field of fundamental importance to all areas of manufacturing, health, the environment and food and drink industries.

Training in microbiology gives students an opportunity to forge a career in a range of different sectors both nationally and internationally.

What opportunities might it lead to?

Opportunities for graduates from the B.Sc. (Hons) in Microbiology include employment with several industrial sectors (food, medical device, pharmaceutical and biotechnological) in addition to a variety of options to furthering their education including obtaining a Ph.D. in Microbiology within AIT.

Additional Information

​For further information about this programme, please contact

Dr Nuala Commins

Head of Department of Life & Physical Sciences,

Athlone Institute of Technology.
Tel: +353 (0)90 6468081

Course Details

Course Duration:
4 Years
CAO Course Code:
Cut Off CAO Points:
Median CAO Points:
Course Award:
Bachelor of Science (Honours)
Course NFQ Level:
Level 8
Dept of Life & Physical Sciences
Minimum Entry Requirements:

Grade H5 in two higher- level subjects, Grade 05 in Mathematics at ordinary level, plus three subjects at Grade O6 at ordinary level. Subjects to include a language (English or Irish).

QQI: Any major QQI award with three distinctions and a pass in C20139 or 5N1833 or C20174 or C2017 or Leaving Certificate Maths at O6/H7.

Meet Kevin Temple | Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Microbiology | Course Code: AL839

“My course uses inquiry-based learning to prepare you for a career in health microbiology, food microbiology and quality control. In third year, you’ll get an opportunity to go out on placement gaining real-world experience in the field - something that will stand to you when finding gainful employment as a graduate. This degree was created in response to a skills gap in industry and is producing the kind of highly specialised graduates that employers are crying out for. The emphasis on this and practical lab work means that my classmates and I are better prepared for life after graduation than many of our university-educated peers who focus solely on the theoretical aspect of microbiology.”

Kevin Temple (Student Ambassador)

Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Microbiology (Course Code: AL839)

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Course Structure

Year 1

Mathematics for Scientists, Biology for Microbiologists, Physics, Chemistry, Learning and Development for Higher Education in Microbiology, Information Technology for Scientists, Current Scientific Issues through Enquiry Based Learning for Microbiologists, Scientific Computing,

German 1.1 (elective module)

Year 2

Microbial Biochemistry, Microbial Methods through Enquiry Based Learning, Mathematics and Statistics for Life and Physical Sciences, Microbial Genetics and Technology, Microbial Systematics with Eukaryotic Microbiology, Introduction to Applied Microbiology, Principles of Sterilisation, Virology with Immunology

German 1.2 (elective module)

Year 3

Good Manufacturing Practice, Food with Brewing Microbiology, Environmental Microbiology, Industrial Bioprocessing, Work Placement

Year 4

Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, Research Methods, Advanced Food Microbiology, Advanced Environmental Microbiology, Applied Statistics and Experimental Design, Advanced Industrial Bioprocessing, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Current Trends in Microbiology , Quality Management, Research Project

Careers & Opportunities

Career Prospects

The course will provide a thorough preparation for careers in industry, in the food and environmental sectors or for postgraduate research study opportunities. The module in computational biology and bioinformatics will provide training in a key area of DNA and protein sequence analysis which is not a main focus of other science courses where you can specialise in microbiology.

There are unique opportunities for placement and training e.g. Marine Institute, Teagasc and other companies.

Graduates from the B.Sc. (Hons) in Microbiology will have career opportunities across several sectors including:

Food, pharmaceutical, medical device, biotechnological, biorefinery, environmental, pollution control, bioremediation and industrial and wastewater treatment.

Hospitals, public health laboratories, research institutes and pharmaceutical companies involved in diagnosis, prevention and treatment of illnesses associated with microorganisms.

Universities and colleges, in addition to medical, dental and veterinary schools, all require microbiologists as researchers and teachers. For those interested in further study typical postgraduate subjects for microbiologists include medical microbiology, bioinformatics, biotechnology, environmental microbiology, genetics and molecular biology. In addition, options such as the Higher Diploma in Education for future second-level science teachers may also be taken.

Work Placement

Work placement

Each learner will be required to complete a minimum of 20 weeks in an industrial or relevant placement working minimum of 35 hours per week. This takes place in year 3.

Further Study

Graduates from the BSc (Hons) in Microbiology will be academically well prepared to enrol on a research degree programme (MSc/PhD) at AIT or in other third-level Institutes. Graduates will also be qualified to undertake a variety of taught MSc programmes including the taught MSc in Applied Toxicology and the proposed MSc/MBA in Biotechnology at AIT.

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