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Past Questions

  1. Hi Helen, I recently concluded my BSc in Microbiology. What advice can you give concerning my course of choice for MSc?

    Hello, I think the best advice is to ultimately follow what you enjoy! Birmingham is a great university to study at and you will definitely have a good time. For the courses at Masters level it is always useful to look at the research conducted at the university as this will be included in the lecture material. For example on the MSc Microbiology and Infection, a lot of the material covered is by professors from the IMI, and will be the areas of research in which you can chose to do your research project. It is also good to choose if you want a more research focussed Masters or a taught Masters. The MRes is usually two 6-month projects, which has the benefit of preparing you well for a PhD and giving you more in depth real research experience. The MSc is usually 9 months taught and a 3 month project. This has the advantage of exploring different areas of microbiology if you're not yet sure what you are most interested in and can give a broader training.

    Whichever you chose is up to your preferences, I personally did the MSc Microbiology and Infection as I wanted to learn more background in Micro before doing a project.

    But ultimately you will do best in what you find the most interesting! Good luck in your application. Thanks and best wishes, Helen

  2. Hello, what is the assessment like ie.. How will questions be asked and how are we expected to answer? Thanks in advance.

    Hello, there are several ways in which you are assessed across all of the modules. These will include presentations, essays, exams and in a research project (assessed on a dissertation and presentation). The exams are usually split into short answer questions and essay questions. More information about the requirements and how the assessments are marked and what is expected is outlined by the module leaders once you begin. Hope this helps, thank you and best wishes, Helen

  3. I'd like to find out more about the PhD admission process and how I'd get a supervisor in Microbiology and Infection? Thank you.

    Hello, thank you for your question. Here is the link for PhD funding opportunities. They all have different opening and closing times so keep an eye out. You can also look on find and filter for UoB and microbiology for the most up to date opportunities. I am currently on the MIBTP PhD course, the opening date for applications this year is Nov 8th. You can also search the projects available and contact the supervisors of ones in which you are interested. The titles are not fixed and often supervisors will be willing to work with you to engineer a project you are really interested in. Once you have found a few you are interested in you can apply, you would have to see each specific training program or project to see what is required. But it will usually be an application, answering a few questions about your research interests, and conducting an interview. It can be competitive so be prepared and do your research, you will most likely need to apply for more than one PhD, but persist! Good luck, Helen

  4. Hi, I'm seeking advice on PhD admission in Environmental Microbiology. My research interest is in Pollution control and I have a scholarship. Is it possible for met to get admission into the University of Birmingham?

    Hello, thank you for your question. I can only really speak for the Microbiology and Infection MSc. I would recommend making an enquiry to the post graduate team Hopefully they can point you in the right direction. You can also find a research group you are interested in and email the Professor or group lead and enquire about the possibility about conducting a PhD in their group, here are links to two research areas at the university you may be interested in. Thanks and best wishes, Helen

  5. How relevant is this MSc program in Microbiology and Infection for those aiming to pursue a career in vaccine research and development? Are there parts of the modules that cover topics in vaccines? Thank you for answering!

    Hello, The course doesn't have a great focus on vaccines or development. There is some vaccine research at the university, You could contact Professor Cunningham and see if there would be a possibility of conducting your research within his group. However the university has a much bigger focus on antibiotic research. You can find the full outline of the course here under the modules tab. Thank you and good luck with your studies, Helen

  6. Dear Helen I hope this finds you well. I am a pharmacist working with a drug regulatory body in Uganda. I am interested in pursuing a Master's in Microbiology with a special interest in Pharmaceutical Microbiology. Will this course offer what I need? I don't need a course that over-emphasizes Medical/Clinical Microbiology. I am interested in a full time taught Masters program for strictly one year.

    Hello, thank you for your question. You can find the full outline of the course here under the modules tab. I would say the content is focussed on clinical microbiology and the mechanisms of microbiology. There are modules concentrating on antibiotics, but is not from a pharmacology angle. You can enquire here to see if another course may suit you better if you are looking for something more pharmacology based. Hope this helps, best wishes, Helen

  7. Hi, how relevant is the Microbiology and Infection program to industry of vaccine development? I read the modules and there was not much detail regarding their focus. Is there any degree from the University of Birmingham that you might recommend concerning vaccine science? Thank you for your answer.

    Hello, The course focusses more on the fundamentals of microbiology and on antibiotics rather than vaccines. I only really know about the Microbiology course. There is some vaccine research at the university, You could contact Professor Cunningham and see if he teaches on any courses at Birmingham or if there would be the possibility of completing the research project portion of the MSc with his lab group. Hope this helps, thanks and best wishes, Helen

  8. Hello Helen, how are you? Hope you are doing good. I wanted to ask you a few questions about the University of Birmingham and the courses offered. Can you please help me out?

    Hello, hope you are well too! Please feel free to post a few questions and I will do my best to answer them :) Here is a link to the Biosciences courses and to the Medical School courses Best wishes, Helen

  9. Hi Helen, how are you ? 😊

    I want to ask you after we finish the taught modules is there a thesis or research project to do at the end of the semester?

    Thank you so much

    Hi, Thank you for your question. Yes after the taught modules and exams you'll have a 3 month research project to complete over the summer term. It's assessed via a project report and a presentation. Best wishes, Helen

  10. Hey, I was curious about the recruitment and placements for the MSc microbiology and Infection students. I didn't find much information regarding the same on the website?

    Hello, Thanks for the question! Most people on the full time course won't do a placement while they're studying as it is full time for a while year! You may be able to do a placement while studying part-time. The university has its careers network that can help you apply and start looking for placements and offer advice. Hope this helps answer your question, best wishes, Helen.

  11. I need to know how many hours of contact time per week do we have? And does that include the laboratory session also? I also would like to know about the potential on campus part time jobs.

    Hello, thank you for your question. It can vary from week to week depending on labs etc (as not every week you would have a lab). But if I remember correctly we would have around 15-20 contact hours a week usually concentrated on 3/4 days. However you can also make an enquirey on the link below they may be able to confirm this as I'm not sure if this will have changed since COVID.

    For part time jobs you can take a look at the link below, they offer advice on part time jobs at the university. I myself worked as a postgraduate student ambassador helping on open days etc, I also worked part time at a Sainsbury's for 6 months. There are lots of opportunities!

    Hope this helps!

    Best wishes, Helen

  12. Hi, could you please tell me a little about the library: does it have silent areas and are they observed / policed? Are there enough desks in the quiet areas? Can you take in food and drink? Are there desks without computer screens where you can use your own laptops? For your course at least, were there enough copies of the course books? Were you allowed to keep them for long enough? Finally is the Wi-Fi reliable in the library? Sorry for all the questions but I would very much appreciate it if you could give me some sort of ideas about these things. Many thanks.

    Hi, thank you for your questions. Yes there's a lot of options for study space. There's the new library, the med school library that you will have access to and the Murray Learning centre. Most building will also have study spaces if you fancy a change of scenery. In the main library and learning centres I mentioned, the Wi-Fi is reliable, there's desk spaces with/without computers - so plenty of space to take your own laptop, each have silent areas which are well respected. I think there is a way of reporting noisiness but I never found that to be a problem. You are allowed to take in food and drink, if I remember rightly there might have been some areas without food and drink allowed but there's lots of options to sit where they are. There were limited copies of the course books - ie not enough for every student to take out, you can check them out for as long as you like, some are short loan and there may be some that will be requested. But all of the required books are accessible as e-books if you are unable to find a copy in short notice.

    Best wishes, Helen

  13. Does this course provide increased depth in microbiology or is it more of a foundation.

    Is it essential for someone to have a Biomedical or Biological Science undergrad rather than someone with a Microbiology undergrad?

    Thanks :)

    Hello, thank you for your question. As the course is a full year, there's time to cover some of the foundations but then go into a lot of depth, teaching up to the most current research. A friend from my years MSc came with a Microbiology undergrad degree (more environmental and industrial microbiology based), but found a lot of new areas in this course at Birmingham as a lot of the material is based on human and zoonotic pathogens. Microbiology is a huge subject, so this course tends to focus on the expertise of the professors at the university allowing for the depth. This webpage,, showcases the research interests of the university and will give you an idea of the areas of Microbiology covered in the course. Best wishes, Helen

  14. Hi Helen, I wanted to know about the teaching style during the MSc Microbiology and Infection course? How often are the classes and how many hours per day? Also, Do we get stipend if we opt for a further PhD?

    Hello, thank you very much for your question and apologies in the delay getting back to you. My name is Emma from the Postgraduate Recruitment team, and I am replying on behalf of the mentor as they have not yet answered it.

    I unfortunately do not know the timetable of our Microbiology and Infection course, but I can recommend you to the Biosciences department to ask. At the bottom of the course page ( there is a 'Make an enquiry' button. Submitting a question there will send it to someone on the team, who will hopefully be able to help!

    Regarding your second question, you are not automatically given a stipend with a PhD. Some advertised PhD projects come with funding and a stipend, but this cannot be guaranteed for all! Visit these webpages for help with your PhD journey:

    Best wishes, PG Recruitment

  15. Hi, after completing the MSC Microbiology and Infection would you say it is then easy to go on to register with HCPC in order to start applying for biomedical scientist jobs? I am unsure if because the course is not accredited by IBMS it would mean getting registered would be difficult. Thank you!

    Hi thanks for your question! I'm not sure myself how easy it would be to register with HCPC. You can try contacting Dr Apoorva Bhatt, he is the program lead for the MSc Microbiology and Infection course, I have provided his contact details below. Hopefully he will know a bit more how the course can help with HCPC registration. Best wishes, Helen

    Telephone - +44 (0)121 41 45893 Email -

  16. Hi, in terms of the assessments for the taught MSc Microbiology and Infection course, are they mainly essay-based or lab reports or presentations? Also, the research projects which are offered, do they vary from using simpler techniques e.g. MIC's to more molecular microbiology based? As I looked at some of the Masters projects offered previously and they are more molecular microbiology based. Thank you :)

    Hello thanks for your question, there are 6 taught modules varying between 10-30 credits totalling 120 credits for the taught section of the masters. The assessments are varied, for larger modules the main mark weight is on exams which are mainly essay based, but there is also either a presentation, lab report or an essay-type coursework. For smaller modules it is usually coursework/essays or small in-class test.

    For the research projects there is a wide variety of micro/molecular/bioinformatic skills you can gain and a lot of choice. There will be a large list of projects released that you can choose from. You're then encouraged to meet with potential supervisors to discuss projects, this would give you the opportunity to ask what techniques are used. The projects aren't fixed to the list or the described project, you're welcome to bring your own idea to a research group or to approach a research group not listed if there's particular skills you'd like to gain experience with. You can look at the research themes and the principal investigators to see what types of research is carried out at the university (link below), and it should be possible, with a few discussions, to build a project that suits your interests best!

  17. Hello, I was just wondering when the postgraduate application closes for the Master courses in Cancer? Thank you.

    Hi, thank you for your question. The application is currently open, unfortunately I am not sure myself when applications close. Below is the contact details for specifically the MRes Cancer course and for post graduate admissions. Either should be able to tell you when the application deadline is. Any difficulties or further questions please get back in touch!

    Best wishes, Helen

  18. Hello! I'm a prospective student for the MSc Microbiology and Infection. Is there an opportunity for graduate teaching/research assistantships while enrolled for MSc?

    Hello, thank you very much for your question. My name is Emma from the Postgraduate Recruitment team, and I am replying on behalf of the mentor as they have not yet answered it.

    Unfortunately I don't have detailed knowledge of the course content, but as the mentor has not replied to you, I would advise that you make an enquiry to the relevant team. At the bottom of the course page ( there is a 'Make an enquiry' button. Submitting a question there will send it to someone on the team, who will hopefully be able to help!

    Best wishes, Emma

  19. Hey Helen, is there any opportunity to learn skills pertaining to epidemiology or programming within the MSc Microbiology and Infection?

    Hello thanks for your question, epidemiology is not specifically covered on this course but it occasionally included in the context of some of the course material. Programming unfortunately isn't covered, but there is some bioinformatics. There may be opportunities in your project to choose a research topic that allows you to gain some epidemiology and programming skills. Hope this helps, if you'd like some further info you can also contact Dr Apoorva Bhatt who is course lead for the MSc Microbiology and Infection. He might know a bit more specifically if there is any opportunities within the university or if the course content has changed slightly since I was a student. His details are: Telephone - +44 (0)121 41 45893 Email - Best wishes, Helen

  20. How many days and hours do we have college for the MSc in Microbiology and Infection?

    Hello, It can vary from week to week depending on labs etc. But if I remember correctly we would have around 12-15 contact hours a week usually concentrated on 2/3 days. However if you apply to the full-time course it is expected that you carry out independent study in your non-contact hours. Hope this helps :)

  21. Hi Helen, just a quick question about the structure of the course when studying part time. How many hours/days per week are we expected to be on campus?


    I was a full-time student so unfortunately I'm not 100% sure, however I do know that the course is made up of 6 taught modules and a 3 month project. I assume you would undertake 3 modules each year and complete the project over 6 months part-time instead of 3-month full-time. But they try to schedule the models so they are taught in full days rather than 1-2 hours spread over several days.

    However, please contact Dr Apoorva Bhatt who is course lead for the MSc Microbiology and Infection if you would like further clarification. His details are: Telephone - +44 (0)121 41 45893 Email -

    Hope this helps, best wishes,


  22. Hello, slightly odd question for you: Does this course involve any theoretical or practical teachings on animal testing/animal research?


    Sorry our mentor has not replied. Please contact Dr Apoorva Bhatt who is course lead for the MSc Microbiology and Infection. He should know the answer and his details are:

    Telephone - +44 (0)121 41 45893 Email -

    Best wishes, Tom

  23. Hi! I'm from Kazakhstan. I want to study MSc Molecular Biotechnology. I completed my BEd in Biology and have worked at schools for 8 years. Can you give me any advice on how can I use this when writing my motivational letter?


    Full information on how to apply can be found here:

    Best wishes, Tom

  24. What was your motivation for undertaking postgraduate study?

    I thoroughly enjoyed completing a BSc in Biological Sciences and wanted to learn about an aspect of this broadly fascinating subject in greater depth, therefore studying a Masters Degree in Microbiology and Infection was the next logical step for me. The taught component provided a more specific education, whilst undertaking a research project in an actively publishing lab was a valuable opportunity to gain an insight in to how actual research, which forms the fundamental principals of the subject, is carried out. Also it provided valuable practical experience necessary to progress my chosen microbiology career into Industry labs or PhD study.

  25. What advice would you give to current students studying on the course?

    Stay organised! Whilst assessment deadlines are generally well spread out, to get the highest marks in essays for example a well-balanced answer with extensive extra reading is required, which can take longer than expected. Attend extra lectures and talks which are available such as weekly IMI talks by research scientists outside the university and the monthly Junior award for microbiology (J.A.M) talks by PhD students outside the University. Both are an interesting way to learn about real world research and can provide some extra reading material. It is also an opportunity to network with academics in a research subject you might be interested in and can provide an insight in to future career directions in research, in particular the JAM talks are carried out by people from industry not just academia.

  26. What was your highlight of your time at Birmingham?

    During both degrees the highlight of my time at Birmingham was the people I met and friends I made. It is a vibrant friendly campus and it’s really interesting to interact with a range of people from different backgrounds with different interests who share a passion for the subject. Academically a highlight was completing the research project, whilst challenging, it was really interesting to have the opportunity to carry out novel research amongst research scientists and I believed it greatly improved my practical, presenting and writing skills.

    A particular highlight was having the opportunity to attend a patient outreach day at the Microbiology Research Centre at the QEHB in which my project supervisor informed me about. It was really interesting to see a range of microbiology focused jobs, the relevance to patients and to learn about the research being carried out to improve diagnostics and treatment in the clinic.

  27. Why did you choose the University of Birmingham?

    UoB is a research focused institution including the most recent discoveries in lecture material which is exciting as you are exposed to the very tip of knowledge in a specific area. The existence of the IMI within the University was also very appealing as it collates a large diversity of research and concentrates many experts within this field into a specialised division, probably a unique feature from most Universities. Furthermore, the University has a great campus, with green space, free access resources such as the Barber Institute and Winterbourne House whilst only being 10-minute train ride into the centre of Birmingham which boasts a host of shops, bars and restaurants.

  28. Are we allocated a tutor to support us with our studies?

    Yes, you’re allocated a tutor within the Microbiology and Infection department. Tutor groups are made up of around 5-6 students and you meet up roughly once a term either as a group or individually to check your progress and address any issues you may have. Tutors are generally very welcoming and you can arrange extra meetings if you have any burning issues.

  29. What was the best thing about being a student at Birmingham and on the MSc Microbiology and Infection course?

    There’s a huge choice of societies/sports clubs to take part in, and the University itself is in a great location, only 10 mins train ride to the centre of Birmingham from the University station, meaning there’s always a lot going on and something new to try.

    The campus is green and contained away from traffic. In short walking distance from the campus is Winterbourne house and gardens, free for students, nice to walk round in the summer. Also the Barber Institute (art gallery) and Lapworth museum are both on campus and interesting to look round between lectures.

    One of the best things about the MSc course at Birmingham is the Institute of Microbiology and Infection which collates experts in the microbiology field. It is a research focused University and the lecture material reflects that always including the most recent discoveries.

    Another nice aspect of MSc compared to BSc study was the smaller class size of about 30-40 students. Its a lot easier to get to know everyone in the class providing a friendly environment.

  30. Is there the opportunity to attend external conferences and seminars?

    As a MSc student, you’re expected to attend a weekly seminar in the Institute of Microbiology and Infection (IMI, based in the Biosciences building) where a guest speaker is invited to present their research to any members of the IMI who wish to attend.

    There is also JAM sessions on the final Friday of the month . A junior microbiologist (usually a PhD student) in industry or at an external University is invited to present their research. It's a causal environment with wine and cheese or beer and pizza. It’s a more social event aimed at Masters and PhD students and is a good opportunity to meet and catch up with other students in the department.

    Masters students on this course mainly attended these seminars which are free and located in the University. External conferences are generally aimed at PhD and above but you would be able to attend if you wish. You would have to self-fund if you wanted to go to the large conferences such as the annual Microbiology Society conference.

  31. How does a taught Masters compare/differ to an undergraduate degree?

    The main difference is the length of the course, finishing mid-August instead of June and having to complete 180 credits instead of 120. One of the benefits is completing the taught modules (120 credits worth) in the first two terms then focusing just on the 3-month project (remaining 60 credits) in the summer term. The work load is probably increased from 3rd year, but assessments are spread out across the terms having a hand in roughly every 2-3 weeks which makes the work load more manageable and you get feedback/results throughout the term. There’s also more emphasis on completing outside reading and attending seminars, extra reading is essential to gain a rounded understanding and to achieve a good grade!

  32. What career guidance facilities are there available at the university?

    The Careers Network is a service which you can contact throughout the year and up to 2 years after you graduate. They host careers fairs 2 or 3 times a year in the great hall which representatives from many employers from different sectors attend. The Careers Network also hold more specific smaller group sessions throughout the year such as CV drop in sessions, advice on applying for PhDs or there are talks for specific programmes such as the NHS Scientist Training Programme which is popular among Bioscience students. In addition, you can book a 1 on 1 appointment with a careers adviser who provide advice, check applications/CVs and can host mock interviews.

    Worklink is another service based in the guild can help provide information if you want help finding part time work whilst studying.

    I’ve attached a links to the Careers Network and Worklink pages below if you want more information on the services provided and rough idea of the resources available.

  33. Hi, I am very interested in completing the MSc in Microbiology at Birmingham. Can I ask what sorts of job opportunities are available for graduates after the programme and the sorts of companies that people you know have gone on to work for?

    There’s a wide range of careers people move on to after the course both in science and out of science. Quite a few have begun PhD programs. Some have moved to research/lab technician roles in universities or smaller biotech companies. The NHS Scientist Training Program is also very popular to apply for but very competitive.  The same is true of the big pharma companies such as GSK and AstraZenica.

    Personally, I took a year out and the joined the MIBTP PhD program at the end of last year.

    You have access to a lot of help with the University's ‘Careers network’ and ‘Careers connect’ if you need advice (e.g. CV clinics, application workshops, mock interviews). Below is a link to a website I found useful for finding the less well-known biotech/pharma companies!

  34. I'm interested in undergoing a Masters degree course in a skin related course, is the Microbiology and Infection course the best choice for me? And how do I get funding for this course? Thanks.

    Hi, the course mainly focuses on specific microorganisms and the diseases they cause. Some will be those that are found on the skin or affect the skin, but this is not the main focus. For more specific information you could contact one of the course leaders, they might be able to tell you more about projects which cover skin related infections. The taught material is fairly broad, but you may be able to specify in the project rotation part of the course.

    You can apply for funding through the student loans systems or there may be scholarships available that you can apply to. For more information you can contact the funding support teams, as I think the funding structure has changed since I completed my Masters.

    Hope this helps!

  35. Hi, I'm pursuing a BSc in Microbiology, and I want to study Epidemiology, or something related to that field such as Medical Microbiology, what is this course like? and what are your employment opportunities thus far?

    The course covers human pathogens and infection so does cover a lot of clinical microbiology. There are some lectures taught by researchers from the medical school. There’s not a great deal of epidemiology taught but there may be opportunities for your project to be epidemiology related, researchers such as Nick Loman work on transmission.

    The Module descriptions (link below) cover the module content quite well.

    There’s a wide range of careers people move on to after the course both in science and out of science. Quite a few have begun PhD programs. Some have moved to research/lab technician roles in universities or smaller biotech companies. The NHS Scientist Training Program is also very popular to apply for but very competitive.  The same is true of the big pharma companies such as GSK and AstraZenica.

    Personally, I took a year out and the joined the MIBTP PhD program in Sept 2017.

    You also have access to a lot of help with the University's ‘Careers network’ and ‘Careers connect’ if you need advice (e.g. CV clinics, application workshops, mock interviews).

    Hope this helps!

  36. Hi Helen, can you recommend any resources or textbooks that you've found particularly helpful for the course? What would you recommend doing to prepare for the start of the course?

    Generally we just used research papers during the course as a lot of the information is quite specific/up to date and the library stocks a lot of textbooks if you want general microbiology info.

    I think looking at some review papers on topics covered in the course or current research from journals such as nature or clinical microbiology would be the most useful before the course.

    The one textbook I did buy was called Clinical Microbiology Made Ridiculously Simple, its easy to read and covers the basics for a lot of the human pathogens and antibiotics taught in the course.

  37. Hi, I wanted to ask if the MSc Microbiology and Infection course is accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS) ?

    Hello, the course isn’t accredited by the IBMS. I’m not sure about other Masters courses at UoB but you can contact the admissions team via the email address below if you’d like more information!

  38. Hi Helen, how are the job opportunities after completing this course and what kind of jobs are available?

    Hello, there’s quite a diverse range of sectors you can work in with a good Microbiology degree such as healthcare (e.g. NHS Scientist Training Program, Public Health England) or environmental (DEFRA, Environment agencies, water sanitation, etc). Industry is broad in itself, there are big pharma grad schemes which are popular but quite competitive such as GSK, AstraZenica, jobs in food and drink production/safety, biotech companies...

    Personally, I took a year out and the joined the MIBTP PhD program. Quite a few people from my cohort have also begun PhDs, or work in smaller biotechs, as research lab technicians in Universities or have begun teacher training programs.

    It can be quite difficult and competitive finding the right job after the degree, but you will have access to a lot of help with the University's ‘Careers network’ and ‘Careers connect’ if you need advice (e.g. CV clinics, application workshops, mock interviews).

    Hope this helps!

  39. Hi Helen, I am interested in pursuing a Masters degree in MSc Microbiology and Infection, but I graduated from Food Science (took a project on food safety microbiology). Am I eligible to apply to the course/program? Thank you.

    Hello, yes you’d be eligible. The course focuses mainly on human infection but a degree in a related subject would be fine! Good luck with your application.

  40. I am a Clinical Laboratory Scientist. Currently, I am working as CDC focal in central region of the country. I have already published 7 original research articles and 3 online publication process. I have done a lot of activities in the ministry, Communicable Disease Control Division. I am a chief member in the national Committee in developing National TB and MDR -TB guide lines, national Surveys, TOTs, and many other activities. I can attach my CVs if you need. My question is, can I get a chance to study this MSc in Microbiology and Infection at the University of Birmingham?

  41. Hi Helen, I am interested in undergoing study in viruses, is the Microbiology and Infection course best for me?

    Hello, thanks for your question.

    I think this would be a good course for you. The modules cover mainly bacterial pathogens, some mycology and virology. You would have the chance to focus on virology in the research project over summer, there’s quite a lot of choice in projects. You can have a look in the course outline at some of the example proejcts, or you can contract other academics in the area once you arrive, if you wanted to see if there is an opportunity to design your own project with them. See the links below.

    Hope this helps :)

    Course outline:

    Microbiology and Infection academics: