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Options with your subject: Microbiology

Employers value the scientific, analytical and problem-solving skills developed by microbiology graduates

Job options

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here. To find out what jobs would suit you, log in to My Prospects.

Work experience

Pre-entry experience in a laboratory is useful if you are thinking of a science-based career. Some degree courses include a year's work placement undertaking scientific research in industry, a government research laboratory, or another relevant organisation. Also, talk to hospital laboratories or your university careers service about gaining some voluntary experience.

The two microbiology societies offer a range of opportunities to undergraduates in the form of small awards and grants to work on microbiological research projects in the vacation. For more information, see:

Some companies also provide funding to support research work in laboratories over the summer.

Becoming a member of a relevant society or professional body demonstrates commitment and provides valuable networking and career development opportunities.

Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.

Typical employers

Microbiology overlaps with many other degree areas of biology, such as genetics, molecular biology and immunology. Microbiology-related careers are, therefore, found in a diverse range of employment sectors and typical employers include:

  • healthcare organisations such as the National Health Service (NHS);
  • environmental organisations;
  • industry - food and drink, pharmaceuticals, toiletries, water and biotechnology companies;
  • forensic science laboratories;
  • publicly funded research organisations;
  • higher education institutions.

Find information on employers in science and pharmaceuticals, health and social care, teaching and education and other job sectors.

Skills for your CV

A microbiology degree gives you a range of subject-specific skills, which include the ability to:

  • employ a range of investigative, recording and analysis techniques;
  • prepare, interpret and present data, using statistical programmes, qualitative and quantitative techniques and spreadsheets;
  • conduct literature searches and critically evaluate information;
  • undertake practical laboratory investigations in a safe, responsible and ethical manner;
  • apply scientific thought, rationales and approaches.

You also develop:

  • teamwork skills and the ability to work on your own initiative;
  • analytical and problem-solving skills;
  • communication skills appropriate to a range of audiences;
  • a flexible approach to work;
  • time management and organisational skills;
  • the ability to identify and work towards targets, evaluating your own performance and that of others;
  • project management skills from your final-year research project.

Further study

Typical areas of postgraduate study undertaken by microbiology graduates include:

  • genetics;
  • biochemistry;
  • medical microbiology;
  • bioinformatics;
  • molecular biology;
  • biotechnology;
  • environmental microbiology.

It is also possible to proceed to graduate-entry programmes in medicine.

However, some microbiology graduates choose to diversify by studying subjects such as computing, science communication and journalism. There are also many courses open to graduates from any discipline that lead to careers in areas such as marketing, finance, business, teaching and law.

For more information on further study and to find a course that interests you, see postgraduate study in the UK and search courses and research

What do microbiology graduates do?

Just over half of microbiology graduates enter employment within six months of graduation or combine work with further study. Typical jobs include laboratory technician, biochemist, medical scientist, bacteriologist and microbiologist. Graduates also enter unrelated fields such as finance, business and marketing.

Many of the graduates that undertake further study choose to specialise in a particular area of microbiology, such as medical microbiology. Others take the opportunity to broaden their options and move into other career areas.

Graduate destinations for microbiology
Destinations Percentage
Employed 48.2%
Further study 27.6%
Working and studying 5.7%
Unemployed 12.6%
Other 5.9%
Types of work entered in the UK
  Percentage
Retail, catering and bar work 23.2%
Technicians and other professionals 18.7%
Science 15.1%
Secretarial and numerical clerks 7%
Other 36%
 

Find out what other graduates are doing six months after finishing their degrees in What Do Graduates Do?  

Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

 

Further information

 
 
AGCAS
Written by AGCAS editors
Date: 
June 2013
 

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