BSc(Hons) in Microbiology

Bachelor of Science (Honours) BSc(Hons) in Microbiology

Course Overview

  • 4

    Years

  • 8

    Level

  • 322

    Points

  • AL839

    CAO Course Code

Why take this course?

Microbiology is the study of microscopic organisms, known as microorganisms 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 programme provides an opportunity to gain valuable experience and establish direct links with industry.

Further information on why Microbiology as a scientific discipline matters can be found on the Microbiology Society home-page, which is a membership charity for scientists interested in microbes, their effects and their practical uses.

What will I experience?

The expertise of the lecturers involved in designing and delivering the programme 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. 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. Y4 students of the programme also have the opportunity to participate in one of the annual regional conferences of the Science Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) Network.

Another reason to choose this programme is that in 2019 AIT was awarded the Institute of Technology of the Year in The Sunday Times Good University Guide.


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.

Dr. Andy Fogarty, Programme Coordinator with BSc(Hons) in Microbiology students in the Microbiology Laboratory in the Department of Life and Physical Sciences at AIT

Dr. Andy Fogarty, Programme Coordinator with BSc(Hons) in Microbiology students in the Microbiology Laboratory in the Department of Life and Physical Sciences at AIT

What opportunities might it lead to?

Opportunities for graduates from the BSc(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 PhD in Microbiology within AIT.

AIT Distinguished fellowship awarded to Dr. Mary Guinan, a World virology expert and former chief scientific advisor at the Centres for Disease Control, Atlanta Georgia

AIT Distinguished Fellowship awarded to Dr. Mary Guinan, World virology expert and former Chief Scientific Advisor at the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Additional Information

For additional information about this Level 8 undergraduate programme, please contact:
Head of Department:

Dr. Nuala Commins, Head of Department of Life and Physical Sciences, Tel. +353 (0)906468081; e-mail: ncommins@ait.ie

Programme Coordinator:

Dr. Andy Fogarty, Tel. +353 (0)906471861; e-mail: afogarty@ait.ie

Course Details

Course Duration:
4 Years
CAO Course Code:
AL839
Cut Off CAO Points:
322
Median CAO Points:
371
Course Award:
Bachelor of Science (Honours)
Course NFQ Level:
Level 8
Department:
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.

Course Prospectus

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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), BSc(Hons) in Microbiology Student

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Student Testimonial

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Katie Phair - Y3 Student, BSc(Hons) in Microbiology (Erasmus+ Placement carried out at University of Applied Sciences Emden/Leer, Germany)

"Microbiology is an excellent discipline, which is relevant in all areas of science and everyday life. The six-month placement is an amazing addition to any CV, with options to stay local or venture abroad."

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

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

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 programme 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 BSc (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.

They can also find work in hospitals, public health laboratories, research institutes and pharmaceutical companies involved in the 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 Professional Masters of Education (PME) for future second level science teachers can also be taken.

Industry Partners:



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.

Erasmus+ Opportunities:

As part of this placement opportunity students on the BSc(Hons) in Microbiology programme have the opportunity to carry out their placement at a partner European University which AIT has links with as part of the Erasmus+ programme. More details of this unique international opportunity can be found from the International Office at AIT: Erasmus+

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.

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