Course Overview

This course gives Microbiology graduates a thorough training in a range of practical analytical techniques and ancillary skills necessary for careers in manufacturing and service industries. It particularly applies to the healthcare, food, biomedical and pharmaceutical sectors. Different discipline resources within the University are used to create a modular course that covers such diverse but essential disciplines as Analytical Microbiological Techniques, Introduction to Business, and Statistics.

Special features

  • Core microbiological laboratory sessions help learning and selfdevelopment through their unique structure.
  • These laboratory sessions are structured into a microbiological ‘start-up company’, with each class member contributing by way of practical, real-life, work skills.
  • Each student also develops a Quality Management System within these start-up company sessions.

Applications and Selections

Applications are made online via The Postgraduate Applications Centre(PAC). Relevant PAC application code(s) above. Selection of candidates is based on examination records, relevant past experience, personal statement in the application and performance at interview. Short-listed candidates are invited for interview in July.

Who Teaches this Course

Requirements and Assessment

Semester One exams: December.

Semester Two exams: April/May. A range of assessment methods are integrated and applied throughout the programme. These include project reports, continuous assessment of practical course work, research project work and oral presentations.

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

Candidates must hold an honours primary degree (NQAI Level 8 degree, or equivalent international qualification) in science or a related subject, with an appropriate background in biological sciences that includes Microbiology up to and including third year level. Candidates with three years’ relevant and appropriate practical experience will also be considered. IELTS score of 6.5+ (with not less than 5.5 in any one component).

Additional Requirements


9 months

Next start date

September 2018

A Level Grades ()

Average intake


Closing Date

Please refer to the review/closing date webpage.

Next start date

September 2018

NFQ level

Mode of study


ECTS weighting




PAC code


Course Outline

The Microbiology aspect of the course concentrates on identifying the industrial requirements in the Microbiology sector and provides training to meet these. Short, intensive courses advance participants’ training in Quality Management Standards (GMP, GLP, HACCP), Documentation Control, Processes Validation, Microbiology Skills, Environmental Monitoring, Cleanroom Technology, Parenterals Products, QA & QC, Industrial Bioprocesses, Cell Culture, Immunological Methodology, and DNA Methodology. In association with these, is a laboratory-based Quality Management System, a laboratory-based research project, reading assignments, tutorials and preparation of reports. The microbiological components of the course are complemented with short intensive courses in general vocational skills, such as business appreciation and management methods, accounting, marketing, effective communication and statistics.

Curriculum Information

Curriculum information relates to the current academic year (in most cases).
Course and module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Glossary of Terms

You must earn a defined number of credits (aka ECTS) to complete each year of your course. You do this by taking all of its required modules as well as the correct number of optional modules to obtain that year's total number of credits.
An examinable portion of a subject or course, for which you attend lectures and/or tutorials and carry out assignments. E.g. Algebra and Calculus could be modules within the subject Mathematics. Each module has a unique module code eg. MA140.
A module you may choose to study.
A module that you must study if you choose this course (or subject).
Most courses have 2 semesters (aka terms) per year.

Year 1 (60 Credits)

Required MG529: Introduction To Business

Semester 1 | Credits: 10

  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
The above information outlines module MG529: "Introduction To Business" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required MI5102: Industrial Microbiology

Semester 1 | Credits: 5

  • Written Assessment (100%)
The above information outlines module MI5102: "Industrial Microbiology" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required MI5104: Analytical Microbiology

Semester 1 | Credits: 10

  • Continuous Assessment (50%)
  • Department-based Assessment (50%)
The above information outlines module MI5104: "Analytical Microbiology" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required MI857: Laboratory Quality Management Systems

Semester 1 and Semester 2 | Credits: 10

This course is conducted using a role-play learning model that will comprise students setting up a “fictitious” Microbiological-testing laboratory with corresponding laboratory processes, practices and quality data systems. The course provides students with an understanding of a process approach to implementing a quality management system for a microbiological testing Laboratory. It requires participants to implement a Quality Management System (QMS package/ Manual) for a microbiological testin

Learning Outcomes
  1. Understand the purpose of Quality Management System as applied to an analytical microbiology testing laboratory
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of Quality Management Systems, their implementation and the practical steps needed for implementation.
  3. Implement a QMS in Microbiology Laboratory (Quality Manual) and measure the performance of the same during a series of Quailty audit
  4. Acquire and improve, Analytical Laboratory skills, work practices and planning skills associated with an analytical Microbiological Laboratory, data recording and reporting skills and scientific data analysis skills
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
The above information outlines module MI857: "Laboratory Quality Management Systems" and is valid from 2015 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required MI5101: Quality Management Systems

Semester 1 and Semester 2 | Credits: 5

This course provides an overview of the key concepts, benefits and principles of an effective quality management system (QMS) based on the ISO 900O series quality management standards and extend these principles to QMS standards pertaining to the Food Industry (HACCP), the pharmaceutical/ Healthcare Manufacturing (GMP) and preclinical Scientific research (GLP) as well as an effective Environmental Management System based on ISO 14000 series. This module will include lectures, tutorials, case studies, & directed independent learning.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Demonstrate knowledge and insight of different Quality Management Systems (product quality management, food safety and environmental management)
  2. Evaluate the principles of quality management and the role of quality management in different organisations.
  3. To compare the inter relationships between different Quality Management systems (ISO9000, ISO 14000, GMP, GLP and HACCP).
  4. Have an in-depth familiarity with the fundamentals of each of the different Quality Management Systems.
  5. To qualify and appraise quality management definitions, concepts and guidelines
  • Written Assessment (100%)
The above information outlines module MI5101: "Quality Management Systems" and is valid from 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required MI5103: Advanced Industrial Processes

Semester 2 | Credits: 5

This module is designed to develop an awareness of microbial technologies. The overall goal of this module is to present several applications of microbial technologies. To this end, microbial processes involved in energy and resource recovery from waste as well as bioremediation will be explored. In addition bioprocess technology and eukaryotic cell cultures will also be introduced.

Learning Outcomes
  1. understand the global challenges around energy and nutrient availability
  2. describe major applications from anaerobic digestion
  3. understand the concepts of bioremediation
  4. provide examples of bioremediation
  5. discuss typical requirements of a bioprocess
  6. demonstrate the ability to scale up a bioprocess and to design bioprocess sterilisation cycles
  7. Define and critique methodological approaches for eukaryotic cell culture
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
The above information outlines module MI5103: "Advanced Industrial Processes" and is valid from 2015 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required MI5105: DNA and Immuno Diagnostic Technology

Semester 2 | Credits: 5

This course provides a comprehensive overview for students of the fundamental principles of immuno and molecular diagnostics. Topics to be covered include: introduction to antibodies and their properties; ELISA and Western blot based processes for diagnostics; FACS analysis for diagnostic purposes with examples; Nucleic acid structure and function, genetics, introduction to nucleic acid isolation and amplification techniques used in infectious disease diagnosis in the clinical setting.

Learning Outcomes
  1. Demonstrate a critical knowledge of the principles of antibody-based diagnostic systems
  2. Understand the concepts of validation and quality control as applied to antibody based analytical systems
  3. Apply knowledge of cellular structure and function, especially DNA and RNA, to molecular diagnostic procedures
  4. Demonstrate a thorough working knowledge of nucleic acid extraction, resolution and detection
  5. Evaluate the most commonly utilized molecular diagnostic testing protocols
  6. Demonstrate a wide, effective and critical reading of current relevant scientific literature and be conversant in the current trends and future possibilities for both immuno and molecular diagnostics
  • Written Assessment (100%)
Reading List
  1. "Janeway's Immunobiology" by Kenneth Murphy
    ISBN: 9780815342434.
    Publisher: Garland Science
  2. "Nucleic Acid Diagnostics:Molecular Diagnostics: Current Research and Applications" by Jim Huggett and Justin O'Grady
    ISBN: 9781908230416.
    Publisher: Caister Academic Press
The above information outlines module MI5105: "DNA and Immuno Diagnostic Technology" and is valid from 2015 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required MI853: Project

Semester 2 | Credits: 10

The Project is a 6-8 week training period in microbiological techniques relevant to industrial microbiology. Students work in groups, to investigate a research problem in the laboratory. Background literature and initial protocols are provided at the beginning of the work. Students develop and progress the initial project plan through formulation of original ideas and reading of relevant literature. Results interpretation and experimental troubleshooting are important for successful completion of the described project. “Dry” projects may also be offered. In the case of dry projects, students working in teams, will take part in a blended learning module involving, lectures and tutorials and carry out a library- and web-based Scientific literature reviews, typically involving the identification and critical appraisal of key papers relevant to a specific Microbiological Risk Assessment (MRA) question. By this ”hands on” approach, the student will gain an understanding of the different elements in a risk analysis. 1) hazard characterization, 2) risk characterization, 3) exposure assessment and 4) risk characterization. Examination is through preparation of a ~25-page thesis or MRA document and presentation and defence of the project work in a 30-min oral presentation.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. For laboratory projects, the student should be able to: 1. demonstrate an understanding of and discuss the scientific literature related to the project.
  2. 2. demonstrate good ability in lab techniques relevant to the research topic.
  3. design experiments and troubleshoot technical problems that arise
  4. work in a team with project partners to plan and maximise the amount of work carried out.
  5. identify novel approaches to progress the project.
  6. discuss and critique published research papers in the field of the project and critically evaluate their own laboratory generated results
  7. In the case of “dry” projects, the student should be able to: 1. Develop the thinking skills necessary to plan, assemble the appropriate expertise and work on a multidisciplinary team to conduct a baseline risk analysis.
  8. demonstrate working knowledge of the steps in conducting a risk analysis using the CODEX (FAO/WHO) approach and how they apply specifically to microbial risk assessments
  9. conduct an in depth study on a topic associated with zoonotic disease transmission.
  10. use resources in the library, information databases and original literature.
  11. describe the meaning with the word “risk” in the context of risk analysis
  12. identify “risks” in specific food chains
  13. carry out - Problem formulation, Hazard identification, Dose-response assessment, Exposure assessment, Risk characterization
  14. present aspects of the work in an oral presentation.
  15. identify a related area of research which needs further investigation.
  16. explain why this research is worth investigating.
  17. communicate and justified the concepts of the research project to a diverse range of target audiences
  18. design and carry out experiments on research identified as a key uncertainty needing further scientific bench-work research.
  • Continuous Assessment (70%)
  • Oral, Audio Visual or Practical Assessment (15%)
  • Research (15%)
The above information outlines module MI853: "Project" and is valid from 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

Over 95% of graduates are employed in a variety of leading biotechnology, pharmaceutical healthcare and food-based industries, including Abbott Ireland, Allergan Pharmaceuticals Ireland, Boston Scientific Ireland, Elan Corporation, Fort Dodge Laboratories Ireland, Green Isle Foods and Medtronic AVE Ireland. Positions of employment include R&D Scientist, Quality Control (QC) Analyst, Quality Assurance (QA), Microbiologist, Production Supervisor, Food Analyst, Validation Scientist, Documentation Officer, Research Assistant and Production Biochemist.

Who’s Suited to This Course

Learning Outcomes


Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€6,690 p.a. 2018/19

Fees: Tuition

€6,466 p.a. 2018/19

Fees: Student levy

€224 p.a. 2018/19

Fees: Non EU

€13,750 p.a. 2018/19
For further information on postgraduate funding opportunities and scholarships see here

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