Master's studies

Immunology and Microbiology - Master Programme in Biology 2018/2019

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The Master Programme in Biology is a first-class programme that gives you the freedom to create your own profile. We offer a broad range of courses (both in class and individual) making it possible for you to improve your personal competitiveness. The required subject depth and complementary knowledge within your education opens up the job market for you. All teachers for the individual courses in the Master Programme in Biology are active scientists, ensuring that you will get an education that reaches to the absolute forefront of the respective field.

Why this programme?

The Master Programme in Biology, specialising in Immunology and Microbiology, focuses on how the immune system discovers and removes pathogenic bacteria, viruses and parasites. Included in this specialisation are studies in infection biology, as well as investigations of mechanisms at the cellular and molecular levels. For instance, we study what happens when the immune system overreacts and allergies or autoimmunity arise.

This is the specialisation for those of you who want to become immunologists or microbiologists working with questions related to infection biology, and who want to become an active scientist working in these areas.

The core of this specialisation is the immune system and how the various components of this complex defence system cooperate to detect and to remove infectious organisms. A key question in this field is how the immune system of humans and other animal species handle bacterial, viral and parasitic infections and how these microorganisms try to escape and elude over defence systems. Factors that influence disease transmission by animal and bacterial vectors are also discussed.

Several of the major human and animal diseases are not directly caused by infectious organisms but by lack of tolerance to self-tissues, genetic defects in components of the immune system, over-reactions by the immune system or by difficulties for the immune system to detect differences between normal and transformed tumour tissues. Several of these immunological diseases have due to their severity and high prevalence become some of the major scientific challenges of this century. This specialisation also focuses on the study of these immunological diseases, their underlying causes and existing and potential future treatment strategies.

The Master Programme in Biology, specialising in Immunology and Microbiology, can also include studies in epidemiology, by taking courses in limnology and/ or ecology, which in a future perspective may be highly relevant for the battle against global infectious diseases. This is also an area which is currently part of many international aid programs.


The programme leads to a Master of Science (120 credits) with Biology as the main field of study.

All specialisations of this programme


The Master Programme in Biology, specialising in Immunology and Microbiology, starts with the course Trends in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, covering modern applications of molecular biology. You then choose among our recommended courses and prepare your individual study plan. Thereafter we recommend you to take the course Microbiology, but other courses such as RNA: Structure, Function and Biology and Structure and Function of Macromolecules are also available. 

The course in Immunology gets deep into the different cellular and molecular components of our immune system and how these cells develop from blood stem cells located within the bone marrow (stem cell research). You will also receive detailed information concerning how these cells communicate and how the molecular and genetic mechanisms involved in generating the enormous variability seen in immunoglobulin and T-cell receptors works. This course also includes studies of how the immune system and various infectious microorganisms co-evolve, the arms race in immunity. A detailed description of the various diseases and other immunological phenomena, not directly caused by microorganisms will also be presented.

Throughout the course Molecular Infection Biology you will receive detailed information concerning the battle between pathogens and our immune system from the perspective of the pathogen. The course includes description of various virulence factors of important infectious microorganism and how these factors influence the chances for our immune system to clear the infection. You will get an insight into how virulence factors spread and how massive use of antibiotics influences the appearance and possible increase in multi-resistant bacterial strains. One of the major future threats to our health and to the Medicare system is the appearance of bacterial strains that are resistant to all presently known antibiotics, a situation that already is on the way to occur. You will also learn how vaccines work and discuss future challenges and potential solutions to some particularly difficult problems in vaccine development.

During the second year, you can study one or two regular courses, or combine a research training course with a degree project of 30 or 45 credits. This allows you to prepare well for an academic career as well as a career outside academia.

Learning experience

Biology instruction at Uppsala University is done in close connection to current research. All lecturers and tutors in the Master Programme in Biology are also active researchers in the field.

The courses provide factual knowledge and practical training in the form of laboratory work and field trips, as well as the ability to solve problems, think analytically and work scientifically. Communication training is integrated in the courses of the programme.

The Master Programme in Biology has a strong international character, and all courses are held in English. The Master Programme in Biology is a full-time programme. The duration of the Master Programme in Biology is two years, commencing from 3 September 2018 until 7 June 2020.


The Master Programme in Biology, specialising in Immunology and Microbiology, is an entry port for PhD training in Sweden as well as abroad. Your most important merit in that respect is your degree project. With a careful choice of the courses and topic for your degree project you will leave this specialisation with a solid theoretical knowledge regarding infection biology, microbiology and links between them. You will also have the practical knowledge of the methods you need to study them.

With carefully selected combinations of courses and choice of thesis work, you will be provided with a good base for research work in the biotech industry, pharmaceutical industry or within academia. We are committed to teach you how to make use of sound theoretical knowledge of applied problems, to be able to present projects and studies orally and in writing, and to work in project form, individually and in groups. 

As a biologist, you can also work as a teacher or science journalist.


You apply to all specialisations through except for the Erasmus Mundus Master Programme in Evolutionary Biology (MEME); for this specialisation you apply through

Immunology and Microbiology

120 credits

Autumn 2018 - 100 % - Campus

Location: Uppsala

Application Deadline: 2018-01-15

Enrolment Code: UU-M1141 Application

Language of Instruction: English

Academic requirements
A Bachelor's degree, equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen, from an internationally recognised university.
Also required is:

  • 40 weeks of full-time studies (60 credits) in biology; and
  • 20 weeks of full-time studies (30 credits) in chemistry.
Language requirements
All applicants need to verify English language proficiency that corresponds to English studies at upper secondary (high school) level in Sweden ("English 6"). This can be done in a number of ways, including through an internationally recognised test such as TOEFL or IELTS, or through previous upper secondary (high school) or university studies.
The minimum test scores are:
  • IELTS: an overall mark of 6.5 and no section below 5.5
  • TOEFL: Paper-based: Score of 4.5 (scale 1–6) in written test and a total score of 575. Internet-based: Score of 20 (scale 0–30) in written test and a total score of 90
  • Cambridge: CAE, CPE
More information about English language requirements

Selection: Students are selected based on:

  • a total appraisal of quantity and quality of previous university studies; and
  • a statement of purpose (1 page).


If you are not a citizen of a European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) country, or Switzerland, you are required to pay application and tuition fees. Fees cover application and tuition only and do not cover accommodation, academic literature or the general cost of living. Read more about fees.

Application Fee: SEK 900

Tuition fee, first semester: SEK 72500

Tuition fee, total: SEK 290000

Contact and further resources

Biology Education Centre

EBC, Norbyv 14 / BMC, A8:1

Norbyv 14, 752 36 UPPSALA/Box 592, 751 24 UPPSALA

Fax: 018-471 4687 Fax: 018-471 4689


For programme-specific information, please contact: Brita Svensson

Telephone: +46 18 471 28 79

Questions concerning admission: Fredrik Sundström

Telephone: +46 18 471 48 35

For general information about Master's studies at Uppsala University, please send an email to: