Microbiology and Genetics

This course is ideal if you wish to “top-up” your existing degree to become a registered Biomedical Scientist, or if you are looking to take a course as part of your continuing professional development. Develop your knowledge of microbiological organisms such as bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites, and explore topics such as functional anatomy, observing microbes, antibiotics and clinical microbiology. 


Location: Aston University, Birmingham

Course type


Course format

No placements


1 year (course delivery is 12 weeks)

UCAS code(s)


Start date

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Key information, entry requirements and fees

Key information

Credit value: 30 undergraduate level credits

Specific level: This is a Level 4 module, equivalent to Year 1 of an undergraduate degree

Mode of delivery: Campus based - attendance is necessary to complete this module.

Course type: Standalone module 

Number of places available: Up to 15

Applications: all applications are made online using our online application form. You will be required to confirm the name and mode of study (online or on-campus) for each of the Biomedical Science top-up modules you will be applying for by listing them in your personal statement. This is a compulsory part of your application and missing information may result in a prolonged delay in processing your application. Our full list of available modules in this suite of courses includes:

  • Applied Molecular Biology 
  • Cell Biology 
  • Cellular Pathology 
  • Clinical Microbiology 
  • Haematology and Transfusion Science 
  • Human Physiology 
  • Immunology 
  • Medical Biochemistry 
  • Microbiology and Genetics 

More information on each of these modules can be found here

Application deadline: Applications are now closed. For those who are taking this module in order to “top-up” your existing degree for IBMS registration, please refer to our entry requirements for more details on IMBS set deadlines.

Start date: September

Duration: Registration covers one academic year. Course delivery is scheduled over 12 weeks during Term 2, with an examination in May. Although this will depend upon the individual, a typical student can expect to spend around 25 hours a week studying throughout the duration of the course delivery, equivalent to 300 hours of study in total.

Entry requirements


General entry requirements: In order to study this module you must have a non-accredited undergraduate degree in Biomedical Sciences or an undergraduate degree in a related field (such as biology or biochemistry). 

Taking this module in order to “top-up” your existing degree for IBMS registration: Prior to registering for a top-up module (or modules) you need to contact the Institute of Biomedical Science. They will assess your degree in order to confirm that it is eligible for “Top-Up” and to determine the additional subject areas in which you need further qualifications. We recommend you contact the IBMS by June in the year of application to ensure that you have confirmation of your module requirements in time to register for your modules with Aston University..

Degrees not eligible for Top-up: If your degree is not eligible for top up but you still wish to become a registered Biomedical Scientist, we recommend that you apply to take our accredited BSc Biomedical Science undergraduate degree.

Taking this module for professional development: No additional requirements apply.

International students: we welcome applications from international students who are already in the UK with a valid visa. Unfortunately we are not able to accept applications from international students who wish to come to the UK solely to take this course. This module is not available by distance learning. You will be asked to provide a scanned copy of your UK visa, and of your passport when you submit the online registration form so that we can check you are eligible to take the top up modules.

£650 per 10 credits.

Professional accreditation

This course is accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS).

Course outline what you will study

Available only via on campus learning, this module allows you to develop your knowledge in bacteriology, mycology, virology and parasitology relevant to clinical microbiology. This links into the genetics component of the module where we will guide you through the genetic basis of microbes, and how they can be exploited as tools. This is followed by mendelian genetics, population genetics and finally model organisms. It is ideal if you wish to “top-up” your existing degree to become a registered Biomedical Scientist, or if you are looking to take a course as part of your continuing professional development.

You will be provided with a theoretical and practical background in the subjects of microbiology and genetics, including the importance of microbes in human infection, the methods used to isolate and identify microbes causing infection and the appropriate methods for the treatment of infections.

Topics covered in this module include:

  • History of Microbiology
  • Observing Microbes 
  • Bacterial Functional Anatomy 
  • Bacterial Growth 
  • Introduction to Antibiotics 
  • Mechanisms of Action
  • Antibiotic Resistance
  • Molecular Microbiology
  • Bacterial Culture Media
  • Introduction to Mycology 
  • Environmental Microbiology
  • Introduction to Virology 
  • Phages
  • Retroviruses
  • Introduction to Parasitology 
  • Introduction to Infection and Healthcare Associated Infection
  • Plasmids
  • Microbes as Tools
  • Introduction to Fermentation
  • Mendelian Inheritance
  • Deviation from Mendelian
  • Epistasis
  • Linkage
  • Population Genetics
  • Model Organisms and Flies
  • Worms/zebrafish
  • Mice

The practical element of the course illustrate and amplify lecture material. 45 hours of practicals and tutorials explore a variety of aspects which contribute to microbiology and genetics, in particular:

  • Ability of microbes to survive environment variably
  • Bacterial characteristics which allow them to infect, colonise and proliferate in host tissue
  • Host defences
  • Identification of bacteria
  • Mode of action and effectiveness of antibiotics
  • Yeast as a biological tool
  • The principles of genetics.

Please note, in order to offer you the best possible experience and keep our programmes up to date and relevant, the University is going through a transition period and is reconfiguring a number of our programmes. These improvements will affect applicants from September 2021 onwards. This webpage will be updated with new course information in due course. 

This course is part of the School of Biosciences which sits within the College of Health and Life Sciences.

Learning, teaching & assessment

This module is available via on campus learning only. We welcome applications from international students who are already in the UK with a valid visa; however we are not able to accept those who wish to come to the UK solely to take this course. All students are required to attend a BMS Top-up Induction session on campus in week zero (mid-September), at which we will show you how to access your university record and Blackboard (the Virtual Learning Environment).

You will attend lectures, tutorials and practical sessions in our modern and well-appointed facilities, most of these will take place in a condensed 12 week block in the spring term. These sessions are supported by a Virtual Learning Environment known as Blackboard. All course material, including recorded lectures, self-assessment quizzes, timetables, and some directed reading will be available on Blackboard online; coursework submission and feedback are also mainly via this route. Blackboard allows you to access a comprehensive range of study materials, scientific journals, e-journals, databases and much more.

The module is examined during the May examination period. 

Our courses are written and delivered by staff at the forefront of life and health sciences teaching and research. Many members of staff currently practise or have practised professionally. In the recent Teaching Excellence Framework assessment, Aston University was awarded Gold, the highest award possible. In addition, our courses are regularly reviewed by relevant professional experts.

Biomedical Sciences Top Up Modules Course DirectorDr Jonathan Cox

Module Coordinator: Dr J Cox

Your future career prospects

Our CPD courses offer you the opportunity to enhance your knowledge and skills in order to develop your career. In addition, our ethos is to equip you to make a real difference in your field.

These modules will allow you to obtain the academic competences that are required to apply to the Health Professions Council for Registration as a Biomedical Scientist.

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