A variety of employers value the scientific, analytical and problem-solving skills developed by microbiology graduates
Jobs directly related to your degree include:
- Academic researcher
- Biomedical scientist
- Clinical research associate
- Clinical scientist, biochemistry
- Clinical scientist, immunology
- Food technologist
- Research scientist (life sciences)
- Technical brewer
- Water quality scientist
Jobs where your degree would be useful include:
- Environmental engineer
- Forensic scientist
- Marine biologist
- Physician associate
- Science writer
Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.
Pre-entry experience in a laboratory is useful if you're thinking of a career in science or academia. Some degrees include a year's work placement undertaking scientific research in industry, a government research laboratory or another relevant organisation.
If your degree doesn't include the placement year, you could look for a laboratory research project to complete over the summer. Some companies provide funding to support this type of work, including the Microbiology Society and the Society for Applied Microbiology (SfAM).
You could also look at becoming a member with one of these societies as it will provide networking opportunities and free or discounted conference attendance, as well as showing potential employers your commitment to the field.
You can also contact local hospital laboratories to find out about work experience or work shadowing opportunities.
Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.
Microbiology overlaps with other areas of biology such as genetics, molecular biology and immunology. This means there are opportunities for a microbiology-related career in a range of sectors. You could be employed within:
- healthcare organisations such as the NHS and private hospitals
- public health organisations such as Public Health England
- environmental organisations
- industry - for example, food and drink, petroleum, pharmaceuticals, toiletries, water and biotechnology companies
- forensic science laboratories
- publicly funded research organisations
- higher education institutions.
Skills for your CV
Studying microbiology helps you to develop a variety of subject-specific skills. These 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 other more general skills, including:
- teamwork and the ability to work on your own initiative
- a flexible approach to work
- problem-solving skills
- time management and organisational skills
- the ability to evaluate your own performance and that of others.
All of the above skills are valued by a range of employers across various sectors.
As a microbiology graduate you could go on to further study at Masters or PhD level in subjects such as:
- environmental microbiology
- medical microbiology
- molecular biology.
In some cases this can lead to a career in academia or in government research.
If you want to work as an NHS healthcare scientist in microbiology, you'll need to undertake further training via the NHS Scientist Training Programme, which includes study at Masters level in clinical science (infection sciences).
It's also possible to proceed to a graduate-entry programme in medicine.
Some microbiology graduates choose to diversify by studying subjects such as computing, science communication and journalism. You can also choose to take further study in areas such as marketing, finance, business, teaching and law.
What do microbiology graduates do?
The top three jobs held by microbiology graduates include natural and social science professionals (32%), science, engineering and production technicians (18%), research and development (R&D) and other research professionals (3%).
|Working and studying||14.2|
|Type of work||Percentage|
|Retail, catering and customer service||6.7|
|Business, HR and finance||6|
Find out what other graduates are doing after finishing their degrees in What do graduates do?
Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.