Department of Biological Sciences (BIO)

Master's Programme in Biology - specialization microbiology

Mikal Heldal

Objectives and content

Microbiology is the study of microscopic organisms: bacteria, archaea, fungi, single-cell algae and protozoa, and includes also viruses. Fundamental to the field is the study of the microorganisms' properties and their functions in different environments. The field ranges from basic cell biological and molecular questions to ecology and the use of microorganisms in practical and commercial applications. Knowledge about microbiology is important in e.g. food industry, human and veterinary medicine, farming, oil industry, biotechnology and in relation to ecology and ecological processes in nature. Knowledge of microbiology therefore has large social implications and is also important for the understanding of the origin and diversity of life, and as a model for possible extraterrestrial life. The goal of the master program is to give an insight into the subject through theory, experiments and other relevant work, so that the student gets an overall understanding of the characteristics, activity and role of microorganisms in the environment. The microbiology master's program will enable you to enter into a wide range of positions where microbiology is relevant. 


During the study the candidate will gain knowledge about:

  • The most characteristic features of microorganisms; bacteria, archaea, fungi, microalga, protozoa and virus
  • The functions and importance of microorganisms in different environments
  • Interactions between microorganisms and between micro and macro-organisms (symbiosis), including their importance of development of deceases.
  • Microbial diversity, physiology, metabolism, microbial food-webs and biogeochemical cycles.
  • Microbial gene regulation and gene transfer mechanisms.
  • The role of prokaryotes in the early evolution of life.
  • The social applications of microbiology
  • Basic methods and techniques used in microbiology, molecular technology and biotechnology.

During the study the candidate should have gained the following skills:

  • Be familiar with relevant research questions in microbiology and contribute constructively to the design and performance of microbiological experiments and analyse the results in view of the given hypothesis.
  • Pursue, critically evaluate and implement microbial knowledge and scientific litterature
  • Practical and theoretical knowledge about basic microbial methods.
  • Be able to present and analyse quantitative data, discuss the precision and accuracy of the data and combine the analysis with the most basic statistical principals.
  • Present, analyse and discuss microbial results in a good scientific and critical manner both oral and in a written style, also for non-spesialists.

General competences

  • Be able to work in accord with scientific principles, and understand and respect openness, precision, accountability and the significance of distinguishing between knowledge and opinion.
  • Consider central scientific and ethical tasks, in the student¿s own work and others work.
  • Communicate scientific issues, analyzes and conclusions within microbiology, both to specialists and non-specialists
  • Be able to analyze general biological scientific questions and contribute to discussions to enlighten these questions
  • Be able to work independently and as part of a team with comprehensive and demanding biological assignments, in accordance with research ethics standards.
  • Be able to discuss the student's research field in public discussions.

Full programme description for the specialization in microbiology.