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.

Work experience

Pre-entry experience in a laboratory is useful if you're 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.

Some companies provide funding to support research work in laboratories over the summer. Contact your careers service for information on these opportunities and other internships. Also, contact local hospital laboratories to find out about work experience or work shadowing opportunities.

Membership of a relevant society or professional body such as the Society for Applied Microbiology (SfAM) or the Microbiology Society provides valuable networking opportunities and access to grants and free or discounted conference attendance.

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

Typical employers

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 wide range of sectors. Typical employers include:

  • healthcare organisations such as the NHS and private hospitals
  • public health organisations such as Public Health England
  • environmental organisations
  • industry - food and drink, petroleum, pharmaceuticals, toiletries, water and biotechnology companies
  • forensic science laboratories
  • publicly funded research organisations
  • higher education institutions.

Find information on employers in science and pharmaceuticals, healthcare, teaching training and education and other job sectors.

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
  • communication
  • time management and organisational skills
  • the ability to evaluate your own performance and that of others.

Further study

Some microbiology graduates go on to further study at Masters or PhD level in subjects such as:

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

In some cases this can lead to an academic or government research career.

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.

For more information on further study and to find a course that interests you, see Masters degrees and search postgraduate courses.

What do microbiology graduates do?

Just under half of microbiology graduates enter employment within six months of graduation, while more than two fifths go on to further study or combine work with further study.

Graduates enter a range of science and technician roles, while many that undertake further study choose to specialise in a particular area of microbiology.

DestinationPercentage
Employed48.4
Further study35.7
Working and studying6.3
Unemployed5.7
Other3.9
Graduate destinations for microbiology
Type of workPercentage
Technicians and other professionals22.7
Science professionals19.6
Retail, catering and bar work16.2
Business, HR and financial6
Other35.5
Types of work entered in the UK

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.