Welcome to the Discipline of Microbiology

Professor Conor O'Byrne, Head of Microbiology
Microbiology is the scientific study of microscopic life-forms such as bacteria, viruses and fungi. When the first plants evolved, microbes had already existed for over three billion years, and they have since been found living in every environment on Earth from sea-floor vents to the outer atmosphere, including inside the human body.
The microbial cells in and on your body outnumber your own cells ten to one, and would fill a soup can if you put them all together! Luckily, the vast majority of these microbes are harmless, and many are essential in the environment.
Currently 14 academic staff, supported by 4 technicians and 2 administrators, provide research-led teaching of microbiology to over 1,000 undergraduate students. In addition to a BSc degree in Microbiology, our academic staff direct a denominated B.Sc. degree in Environmental Science and significantly contribute to the delivery of denominated B.Sc. degrees in Biotechnology and Marine Science. At the postgraduate level, the discipline offers an MSc degree in Biotechnology.

Since 2007 Microbiology has been a constituent discipline in the School of Natural Sciences at NUI Galway.

Why Study Microbiology?

By understanding how microbes work, microbiologists have made great discoveries in areas such as human health, environmental science, food and energy production, biotechnology, bioengineering and many more.  As such, Microbiology is a vibrant, far-reaching scientific discipline with a broad range of applications to numerous industries worldwide.

With a strong knowledge base in the life sciences and a focus on hands-on practical skills, a BSc in Microbiology is desirable for students seeking to pursue a career in the biotechnology sector, public health, the food industry, government and university-affiliated research, development of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics, energy and environmental research, and academic or teaching positions. 

Our graduates commonly work for pharmaceutical companies, in hospital laboratories and in the environmental and energy industries. 

A Brief History

The origins of the Department of Microbiology at NUI Galway date back to an initiative in the early 1960's by the then Chair of Bacteriology in the Faculty of Medicine, Professor Enda Folan. The Department was founded in1965 and Professor L. Kieran Dunican was appointed the first Professor of Microbiology in the Faculty of Science. After recovering from a fire in 1979, the Department moved to its current location in the South campus close to the west bank of the river Corrib in 1988.In parallel with the increasing recognition of microbiology as an underpinning discipline in many areas of science, medicine and engineering, the Department has grown into one of the largest in the College of Science and marked its 50th anniversary by hosting a major international conference in June 2015, sponsored by the Microbiology Society. Our 50th anniversary celebrations included a reunion opportunity for our extensive national and international network of alumni working in the all areas of academic and industrial microbiology throughout the world.

Microbiology Historic

Contact Information

Discipline of Microbiology

School of Natural Sciences,
National University of Ireland, Galway,
University Road, Galway, Ireland.

Telephone: +353 (0) 91 492294
e-mail: microbiology@nuigalway.ie

Microbiology at NUI Galway

An introduction to Microbiology by one of our lecturers.

Studying Microbiology at NUI Galway

A student's perspective