Biological Sciences

Covering a broad range of topics including bacteriology, virology and immunology, microbiology provides a strong basis for almost any career in medicine.

Feedback from graduates is very positive. Here are some comments:

"The course was well-organised, interesting and incredibly well supported. I thoroughly enjoyed my dissertation project and the laboratory work was great fun! Furthermore, since returning to my Medicine degree, I have been the envy of my peers for my knowledge about microbes!"

“Studying intercalated microbiology at Leeds was brilliant fun and endlessly useful for my continuing studies and my future career as a doctor. It is the only programme that relates to all aspects of medicine. The academic support was brilliant and I am still in contact with many of the staff.”

Course content

Covering a broad range of topics including bacteriology, virology and immunology, Microbiology provides a strong basis for almost any career in Medicine. This programme provides medical students with an opportunity to improve their scientific understanding and technical skills in relation to Microbiology and to permit them to obtain an honours degree in a subject of relevance to their careers in Medicine. In addition to an individual research project on a Microbiological topic, students will be given an introduction to Microbiology with the benefits of microorganisms being highlighted along with the problems that they cause. As an example, the role of microorganisms in food production as well as food spoilage and food poisoning is explored. Emphasis is placed on acquisition of practical skills.

In the first semester, students are taught how to handle microorganisms and how to dispose of them safely. We then explore microorganisms in the natural environment, clinical samples and food. In the second semester, emphasis is on separating microorganisms from mixtures and identifying the isolates.

The material covered in the course will include coverage of topics in bacteriology, virology, and immunology.

The programme provides:

  • an opportunity for medical students to take a year out of their medical course for in-depth study of the medical aspects of Medical Microbiology, one of the key biosciences upon which medical science is based;
  • a working knowledge of good microbiological practice;
  • training in critical and practical skills (such as observation, analysis design, presentation, team co-operation);
  • experience of a variety of teaching methods (lectures, laboratory practicals and computer-assisted learning packages);
  • personal tutoring throughout the programme;
  • individual supervised research projects;
  • teaching that draws on the combined expertise of a large and highly rated research-active department and aims to take students to the 'cutting edge' of research developments and subject applications in medical areas of microbiology.

Research Project

A medical research project will be undertaken under the direct supervision of a member of the Academic Staff of the Faculty, and may involve guidance offered by post-doctoral scientists, graduate students and technicians as appropriate. Example topics include:

• Are bacteria suitable vectors for anti-cancer therapies?
• Is bacteriophage therapy a viable alternative to antibiotic therapy?
• Does the gut microbiota influence the development of disease and pre-disease states?
• The future of successful hepatitis C virus therapy requires direct acting antiviral regimens which do not include Telaprevir and Boceprevir
• Gonorrhoea with no cure
• Are men the forgotten victims of STIs.

Course structure

Details of typical modules/components for this course will be published on May 1st. These may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.

Learning and teaching


Teaching will be through lectures, practical classes, seminars, small group teaching, tutorials and a research project. Assessment is similarly varied, including in-course assessment (formative and summative) and written examinations. The in-course assessment exercises include tests of practical skills, essay writing, data manipulation and problem solving. The research project will be assessed throughout the project and on the final written report. Degree classifications will be based upon the marks obtained in each of the component modules, with the appropriate credit weighting applied.

Entry requirements, fees and applying

Entry requirements

Other course specific tests:

Successful completion of the first two years of an MBChB programme at UK Universities or international equivalent. For international students proof of English Language proficiency will be required. In line with undergraduate medicine we require a minimum of English GCSE grade B or IELTS 7.5.

How to apply

Read about applying for intercalation on the School of Medicine website.

Admissions policy

Faculty of Biological Sciences Undergraduate Admissions Policy


UK/EU: See fees section below

International: £19,750 (per year)

For UK and non-UK EU full-time students starting in 2018, the fee for 2018/19 will be £9,250. 

The fee for undergraduate students starting in 2019 will be confirmed in September 2018.

The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation, and as permitted by law. For example, the increase of 2.8% in 2017/18 was based on the government’s forecast for the RPI-X measure of inflation.

The UK government has confirmed that non-UK EU students in 2018-19 will have home fee status and be eligible for UK government student loans. The UK government has not confirmed the situation for future years, so keep checking our website for updates.

Additional cost information

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.

Career opportunities

The course is designed to give you a challenging, enjoyable and rewarding year which will add significantly to your skills, knowledge, and enhance your career opportunities on graduation.

The course allows full integration with existing science based BSc courses and the chance of a substantive research project.

In addition to providing subject-specific knowledge, we equip you with the best possible skills for future careers. There is a strong emphasis on practical-based teaching, small-group teaching, online learning and problem solving. You will gain a wide range of transferable skills which are highly valued by employers. You will be ideally placed to focus on your personal development and make the most of your intercalating year.

Careers support