You will study themes in microbiology, genetics, immunology, biochemistry and cell biology as they relate to biomedicine. You will develop your practical skills with hands-on laboratory sessions, where you will become experienced in data collection and problem-solving. You will strengthen your core theoretical knowledge through lectures and interactive seminar groups. Upon the conclusion of your first year, you will have achieved the key foundations needed for success at degree level.
At the end of year 1, our flexible degree structure offers you the opportunity to transfer to relevant degree courses in the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology. Course transfers are subject to space and academic background approval.
Introductory Skills in the Molecular Biosciences (20 credits) - You’ll be trained in data collection and experimental techniques relevant to the biological sciences, as well as problem-solving, teamwork, and presentation skills. You will learn how to use laboratory equipment, design and execute simple experiments, understand approaches used to study biochemical and molecular processes, analyse and interpret numerical data, and present information clearly in written and oral forms.
Introductory Skills in Microbiology (20 credits) - Continue your skills training from first semester, with a focus on data collection and laboratory techniques relevant to microbial sciences, as well as further developing your skills in problem-solving, teamwork, and communication. You will engage with a mix of practical classes, tutorials, and computer-based classes, and will learn about aseptic technique, bacterial culture, microscopy, PCR, electrophoresis, and DNA sequencing as you work through several microbiology-focussed mini-projects applying theoretical knowledge gained from your lecture modules.
Basis of Life (20 credits) - You’ll learn about the fundamental processes of life, identifying the key concepts that underpin the biological processes in all living organisms, from bacteria to elephants. On completion of the module, you will have a comprehensive grounding in the molecular basis of life from the atomic scale up to cells.
Introduction to Microbiology (20 credits) - You’ll be introduced to a wide range of microscopic life forms and viruses. You will learn about microbiology in a broad sense and explore the diversity of microbial life with emphasis on how we interact with microbes that are responsible for infections as well as those that do not normally cause disease. You will learn how microorganisms interact with each other and how they influence the lives of more complex organisms, for good or ill and will learn how fungi, bacteria and viruses are observed and manipulated safely.
Introduction to Genetics (10 credits) - You’ll gain essential foundational knowledge in genetics. You will explore the different meanings of ‘genetics’ and how this concept has changed over time. More importantly, you will explore what genetics means for us as organisms. To what extent do genes determine our inheritance? And how do our genes make us the distinct and unique organisms we are?
Introduction to Immunology (10 credits) - You’ll review fundamental immune mechanisms with particular emphasis on human immunology and its relationship to health and disease. You will discover how we protect ourselves from infection through our immune defences, learning about the roles played by the different types of leukocytes, antibodies and complement.
20 credits from the following
The Diversity of Life (10 credits) - You’ll be provided with an overview of the evolution and diversity of life, the key features that define each group and the role of those taxa in ecological processes. Each group of organisms will be linked to a major global challenge including food security, disease, and wildlife conservation, to demonstrate how fundamental science informs important societal issues.
Living Planet (20 credits) - You’ll have an overview of the evolution and diversity of life, the key features that define each group and the role of those taxa in ecological processes. Each group of organisms will be linked to a major global challenge including food security, disease, and wildlife conservation, to demonstrate how fundamental science informs important societal issues.
Introduction to Physiology (10 credits) - You’ll be introduced to body systems, largely on a weekly basis, with an emphasis on how systems operate and interact. The idea that disease can disturb, or result from disturbances of, these systems will be introduced for each system.
Discovery Modules (Up to 20 credits) - As well as the compulsory and optional modules that make up your programme of study, you may be able to choose something different to your main subject as a Discovery Module.
You will develop an understanding of key themes within biosciences, while tailoring your degree to focus on your own areas of interest. You will study Omics and Big Data Biology, Molecular Virology, and Medical Microbiology. These modules will be complemented by laboratory sessions on molecular biology, genomics, bacteriology and virology. You will also be able to choose from a wide range of optional modules, including Chemotherapy, Medical Immunology, Cell Biology of Disease and others.
This allows you to specialise in the detailed examination of microbial activities, from both a medical perspective and in relation to the biochemistry and cell biology of microbial replication and pathogenesis. You will have the opportunity to gain a comprehensive understanding of how microorganisms cause disease at the molecular level and the options available for the treatment of these conditions.
At the end of year 2, you will have the opportunity to complete an industrial work placement, study abroad, or combined study and work abroad. This will add an additional year of study to your degree.
Intermediate Skills in the Molecular Biosciences (20 credits) - You’ll be trained in data collection, experimental techniques, and problem-solving in the context of molecular and cellular biology, biochemistry, and microbiology. You will build on your expertise learned in your year one skills modules, and will cover practical experiments in gene cloning, protein expression, PCR, electrophoresis, and enzyme assays, as well as tutorials on data handling, problem-solving, and critical reviews of current topics in cell and molecular biology.
Intermediate Skills in Microbiology (20 credits) - You’ll be trained in advanced practical skills in microbiology, including molecular and medical virology, bacteriology, and immunology. You will also learn about bioinformatics and statistics and how they can be applied to microbiology research. You will receive training in a range of techniques, including cell culture, virus handling, antibiotic susceptibility testing, microbiome analysis, and hypersensitivity studies. In addition to laboratory skills, you will continue to develop problem-solving, research, and data analysis abilities.
Omics and Big Data Biology (20 credits) - In this module, you will You’ll be introduced to omics-based approaches at the forefront of equipping biologists to overcome global challenges. You will develop practical data-science skills in comparative genomics, transcriptomics and proteomics to conduct group-based and individual research projects.
Medical Microbiology (20 credits) - You’ll gain a detailed understanding of important human viral and bacterial pathogens and methods of combatting these infections.
Molecular Virology (10 credits) - You’ll be introduced to techniques used for the study of viruses, the structure of viruses and the processes of their replication and evolution. You will also learn how virus biology can be exploited for gene expression and gene therapy.
30 credits from the following, 10c of the below in semester 1
Any Faculty of Biological Sciences module for which pre-requisites are met (10 credits)
Discovery Module (10 credits) - As well as the compulsory and optional modules that make up your programme of study, you may be able to choose something different to your main subject as a Discovery Module.
20 credits of the below in semester 2
Medical Immunology (10 credits) - You’ll gain detailed knowledge of the immune system, focusing on human health, from infectious and auto-immune diseases to treatment.
Chemotherapy (10 credits) - You will be introduced to the principles of chemotherapy and the mechanisms by which drugs may have anticancer activity, immunosuppressant or antimicrobial effects.
Cell Biology of Disease (10 credits) - You’ll gain a broad understanding of the eukaryotic cell and how it responds to and is altered in infectious and non-infectious disease. Emphasis is placed on a comprehensive grounding of cellular function by considering different cell types and associated disease states.
Any Faculty of Biological Sciences modules for which pre-requisites are met (Up to 20 credits)
You will undertake a practical project that introduces you to increasingly sophisticated techniques and provides the opportunity to become familiar with the cutting-edge research facilities available at Leeds, including facilities for cryo-electron microscopy, bio-imaging and flow cytometry, protein production, biomolecular interactions, and nuclear magnetic resonance. You will also conduct a literature review of your proposed extended final-year research project, with the support of your supervisor. Alongside this, you will study advanced topics in microbiology and develop skills in the critical review of microbiology research and the presentation of scientific findings to scientific and non-specialist audiences.
Extended Research Project Preparation (20 credits) - In preparation for your research project in year 4, you’ll be required to carry out a literature review in a scientific area that is relevant to their degree, of interest to them, and being actively researched by a group(s) within the School. In addition to developing skills required of a researcher, you will identify questions or hypotheses that can be answered or tested as part of an extended research project.
Research Tools and Applications (20 credits) - You’ll undertake a scientific investigation that requires project planning, the selection and adaptation of experimental protocols, the execution of laboratory and computer-based work, the interpretation of experimental data, literature searching, reading and reviewing and report (manuscript) writing. The scientific investigation will combine multiple experimental approaches and introduce students to major research facilities.
Advanced Skills for Microbiologists (20 credits) - In the final year skills module, you will become familiar with up-to-date developments, hypotheses and controversies in molecular biosciences. You will have an opportunity to develop your problem-solving and scientific communication skills as well as participate in careers workshops to improve your job interview skills.
Advanced Topics in Microbiology 1 (20 credits) - This is one of our flagship research-led modules. You will become familiar with current research in a range of topics which have previously covered:
- Innate immunity
- Visualising viruses
- The world of viruses
- Emerging infections
However, this module is continuously refreshed with topics that reflect the cutting-edge research we carry out at Leeds.
Advanced Topics in Microbiology 2 (20 credits) - This is one of our flagship research-led modules. You will become familiar with current research in a range of topics which have previously covered:
- Respiratory infections
- Antibiotic action and resistance
- Respiratory infections
- Human-microbe interactions
- Streptomyces, the Antibiotic Makers
However, this module is continuously refreshed with topics that reflect the cutting-edge research we carry out at Leeds.
20 credits from the following
Cancer Biology (20 credits) - You’ll gain comprehensive knowledge of a range of human cancers, from the molecular basis of cancer to the alterations in cells and tissues in cancers to current therapies.
Faculty of Biological Sciences module for which pre-requisites are met (20 credits)
Spend two semesters working on your extended research project in your supervisor’s laboratory. As you are fully integrated into a research group, you will contribute to internationally competitive research which can result in the first publication of your career. MBiol projects are varied: from molecular characterization of cancer associated signalling pathways and investigation of bacterial outer membrane protein folding to identification and development of new biopharmaceuticals. You will gain experience in a range of advanced techniques such as CRISPR, advanced DNA/RNA sequencing techniques, structural biology, bioinformatics and many more, depending on the project. Alongside you will study masters level modules from our suite of MSc programmes
Project Module (90 credits) - You’ll undertake a two-semester independent research project on an original topic with an appropriate focus for the individual’s host programme. The research will be conducted within one of the Faculty research teams, sometimes in combination with outside agencies.
Research Planning and Communication (15 credits) - You’ll learn how to plan and structure research from an individual experiment to a program of work. Furthermore, you will receive training in communicating scientific research in different formats including; literature reviews, scientific research papers and oral presentations.
15 credits from the following
Advanced Biomolecular Techniques (15 credits) - You’ll learn about a range of techniques and technologies which are applicable to modern biosciences. Exercises will develop data analysis and problem-solving skills and expose you to current research trends in the biosciences and to leading researchers in the field.
Advanced Immunology (15 credits) - You'll be provided with state-of-the-art research-led teaching focusing on four topics fundamental to the essential principles of the immune system. These include Innate Immunity and Adaptive Immunity, which are central to understanding the host's interaction with an environment containing a wide range of potentially pathogenic microorganisms. This is complemented by examination of two examples of immune deviation, in the case of Allergy leading to immunopathology, and in the case of Immune Evasion leading to sophisticated strategies adopted by pathogens to survive in the face of the immune system.
Treatment of Infectious Disease and Cancer (15 credits) - You’ll explore the treatment of human diseases caused by infectious agents (bacteria, viruses, fungi) and cancer by current and emerging approaches, with a focus on describing the mechanistic rationale for chemotherapy, vaccination, gene/RNA therapy, and immunotherapy.
High-Throughput Technologies (15 credits) - You’ll gain an understanding of high-throughput biomolecular data generation and will provide an introduction to data analysis.
Medical Diagnostics (15 credits) - You’ll gain a comprehensive understanding of current molecular tests to diagnose major areas of infectious and non-infectious diseases.
Throughout your degree you will benefit from a range of opportunities to expand your intellectual horizons outside or within your subject area.
This course gives you the opportunity to choose from a range of discovery modules. They’re a great way to tailor your study around your interests or career aspirations and help you stand out from the crowd when you graduate. Find out more about discovery modules on our Broadening webpages.
Learning and teaching
Our teaching is delivered through a combination of lectures, tutorials and practicals (laboratory or field settings dependent on your degree). We take a student-centred approach to learning and so our teaching is designed to enable student engagement through active learning approaches that include creative problem-solving, team-work activities and mini-projects. In this way, you are able to apply the theoretical knowledge learnt to practical, real-life contexts. We put a high value on practical teaching and so a core part of your teaching will focus on developing hands-on practical and associated research skills.
Independent study is an important part of University learning and you will be expected to undertake private study. We will support you in becoming independent learners through our teaching approaches and through regular meetings with your personal tutor who is there to advise you academically.
We use a range of digital tools to enhance your learning. Through our Minerva learning management system, you will be able to access our extensive library of online materials, some of it designed specifically to support preparation prior to attending classroom sessions and discuss content with peers and teachers. In the classroom, educators use a variety of interactive digital tools to help you learn through discussion and debate. Laboratory practicals are accompanied by detailed online preparation guides and use of electronic laboratory notebooks to ensure you get the most out of your time and develop workplace skills.
On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.
We use a variety of assessment methods to help you develop a broad range of skills. These include practical work, data handling and problem-solving exercises, multiple-choice tests, group work, online and face-to-face discussion groups, computer-based simulations, essays, posters and oral presentations. We support students in their assessment journey through the provision of practice questions, sessions on how to complete assessment questions and feedback to support learning.