Immunology and Microbiology - Master's Programme in Biology

Academic year 2023/2024

Photo for Immunology and Microbiology - Master's Programme in Biology 2023/2024

Master's Programme in Biology, specialising in Immunology and Microbiology, focuses on how the immune system discovers and removes pathogenic bacteria, viruses and parasites. In addition to studies in microbiology, analyses are also made of events at cellular and molecular levels when the immune system overreacts or has insufficient tolerance towards body tissue when, for instance, allergies and autoimmunity arise.

Why this programme?

This is the specialisation for those of you who want to become immunologists or microbiologists and work with questions related to infection biology. You will investigate mechanisms at both cellular and molecular levels. You will be exploring, for instance, what happens when the immune system overreacts and allergies or autoimmunity arise?

The core of this specialisation within the Master's Programme in Biology is the immune system and how the various components of this complex defence system cooperate to detect and remove infectious organisms. A key question in this field is how the immune system of humans and other animal species handles 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.

During the programme you can expect to:

  • understand how the various components of the immune system cooperate to detect and remove infectious organisms
  • create your unique competence profile by adding courses in epidemiology, limnology and more
  • study some of the major scientific challenges of this century.

Several of the major human and animal diseases are not directly caused by infectious organisms but by the 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. Many 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's Programme in Biology, specialising in Immunology and Microbiology, can also include studies in epidemiology, by taking courses in limnology and 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.

Student profile

You have a broad interest in biology or a more narrowly focused interest in a specific sub-area. Either way, you are willing to take a lot of responsibility to form your own educational experience from the very wide range of biology courses offered at Uppsala University.

Ideally, during your Bachelor's education, you had the opportunity to work in a laboratory and do some field work as well as use statistics to analyse data from your work. Writing lab reports and shorter essays is something you already have experience doing.

A PhD education is a distinct possibility in your future so you would value coming in close contact with current research and prominent researchers in this international field.


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's 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 are also available, such as RNA: Structure, Function and Biology and Structure and Function of Macromolecules.

In the course in Microbiology, you will study not only the evolution and development of microorganisms but also their interaction with other organisms. The course includes a larger independent project where you isolate an organism of your own choice from natural sources and determine its species using morphological and metabolic as well as molecular methods (PCR and sequencing).

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 and 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 a description of various virulence factors of important infectious microorganisms 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 the 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 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 occurring. 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 either take one or two regular courses, or take a research training course, and combine it with a degree project of 30, 45 or 60 credits. This allows you to be well prepared for an academic career or a career outside academia.

Courses within the programme

See the outline for courses within the programme.

Learning experience

Biology instruction at Uppsala University is done in close connection to current research. All teachers for the individual courses in the Master's Programme in Biology are active scientists, ensuring that you will get an education that reaches the absolute forefront of the respective 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 into all courses of the programme.

The Master's Programme in Biology has a strong international character, and all courses are taught in English.


With carefully selected combinations of courses and the choice of thesis topic, you get a good ground for research work in the biotech industry, pharmaceutical industry or within academia. We are committed to teaching 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, both individually and in groups.

Our previous graduates work at, for example, Jästbolaget, Astra Zeneca, and Karolinska Institutet. Job titles include laboratory technician, laboratory engineer, PhD student, etc.

The specialisation in Immunology and Microbiology provides a solid basis for PhD training in Sweden as well as abroad. Your most important merit in that aspect is your degree project. With a careful choice of the courses and topics for your degree project, you will graduate with a solid theoretical knowledge regarding infection biology, microbiology and the links between them. You will also have the practical knowledge of the methods you need for further studies.

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

The average salary in Sweden for biologists was SEK 42 100 in 2019, according to the trade union the Swedish Association of Professional Scientists (in Swedish).

Career support

During your time as a student, UU Careers offers support and guidance. You have the opportunity to take part in a variety of activities and events that will prepare you for your future career. Learn more about UU Careers.


Below you will find details about eligibility requirements, selection criteria and tuition fees. For information on how to apply and what general documents you need to submit, check the application guide. Besides the general supporting documents, you also need to submit one programme-specific document: an Application Summary Sheet (including your statement of purpose).

Immunology and Microbiology

120 credits

Autumn 2023, 100%, Campus

Location: Uppsala

Application deadline: 16 January 2023

Application code: UU-M1764 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

Proficiency in English equivalent to the Swedish upper secondary course English 6. This requirement can be met either by achieving the required score on an internationally recognised test, or by previous upper secondary or university studies in some countries. Detailed instructions on how to provide evidence of your English proficiency are available at

Selection: Students are selected based on:

  • an overall appraisal of previous university studies; and
  • a statement of purpose.

Tuition fee-paying students and non-paying students are admitted on the same grounds but in different selection groups.


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 72,500

Tuition fee, total: SEK 290,000

Contact and further resources

Is this programme right for you?


For programme-specific information, please contact: Richard Svanbäck or Fredrik Sundström

+46 18 471 29 38 (Richard) / +46 18 471 41 38 (Fredrik)

For admissions-related or general information, please contact our applicant support team:

Biology Education Centre

EBC, Norbyvägen 14 / BMC A8:1

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

Last modified: 2022-10-27