Research-based postgraduate programmes

Graduates in relevant disciplines wishing to gain a postgraduate qualification through research may do so through structured MSc and PhD programmes alongside researchers at NUI Galway. The Microbiology Discipline is currently pursuing investigations in three broadly-themed research areas.

The Disciplines Energy and Environment research explores the use of microbes for sustainable production of energy from renewable sources such as biomass digestion, enzymatic biofuel cells and anaerobic digestion processes. Marine microbiology research currently focuses on geochemical nutrient cycling, and has implications for climate change, biodiversity and marine productivity. Infectious Disease research at NUI Galway focuses on infection mechanisms, foodborne illness, antibiotic resistance and diagnostics.

Specific areas of interest within these themes include:

  • Molecular diagnostics
  • Host-pathogen studies
  • Microbial glycobiology
  • Waste treatment
  • Alternative energy production
  • Water quality
  • Microbial ecology
  • Systems biology
  • Marine microbial ecology
  • Recombinant protein production
  • Stress responses in food borne pathogens
  • Food borne pathogen epidemiology
  • Antibiotic and disinfectant resistance

MSc and PhD-level programmes are available. Applicants for either programme must present the Head of School and College with evidence of sufficient qualifications to undertake the required study and research. In both cases, satisfactory completion and examination of the research conducted forms the primary basis for the award of the degree.

As is the case for taught postgraduate programmes, application is via the Postgraduate Applications Centre (PAC).

Potential applicants to both programmes are highly encouraged to discuss potential course choices and module selection with academic staff beforehand. Detailed information on the various research groups operating within the Microbiology department can be viewed under the Research Tab on the microbiology homepage.

PhD in Microbiology

PAC Code: GYR09

The research-based PhD in Microbiology is offered as a structured, full-time programme taking place over four years.

Each year of study is accredited 90 ECTS, primarily derived from the research component of the course. In addition to lab-based research, students must take 30-45 ECTS worth of modules over their four years, primarily in first and second year. Generic and discipline-specific skills modules are offered and the student must take at least two of each. Examples of such modules are as follows:

Generic Skills

  • GS501: Seminar Programme
  • GS504: Graduate Information Studies (Science)
  • GS506: Teaching and Learning
  • GS507: Statistical Methods for Research

Discipline-Specific Skills

  • GS502: Journal Club Programme
  • GS505: Graduate Research Skills
  • GS508: Formulating a Research Project Proposal
  • GS509: Participation in Workshops/Conferences
  • ZO509: Biometry – Statistics for Biologists
  • EOS524: Fluid Inclusions: Study Methods and Interpretations
  • BI504: Advanced Molecular Cell Biology
  • BT502: Competitive Research & Science Communication Skills Development for Plant Scientists
  • MI504: Advanced Topics in Microbiology

While the precise structure of assessment within modules varies, they are typically marked as “pass/fail” components, with the pass mark set at 65% for the module. 

For more information on the application process, entry requirements, fees and contact details of relevant personnel, please click here for the course outline. Application is made via the Postgraduate Applications Centre (PAC).