Master's Programme in Biology – Immunology and Microbiology

120 credits

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. Students in this program will be well-equipped to pursue a wide range of careers in biomedical research, healthcare, and public health.

Autumn 2023 Autumn 2023, Uppsala, 100%, On-campus, English

Autumn 2024 Autumn 2024, Uppsala, 100%, On-campus, English

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 is the immune system and how the various components of this complex defence system cooperate to detect and remove infectious organisms. A key question is how the immune system of humans and animals handles bacterial, viral and parasitic infections and how these microorganisms try to escape and overcome our defence systems.

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.

Many major human and animal diseases are not directly caused by infectious organisms but by diseases affecting different components of the immune system. These diseases have become major scientific challenges of this century, and this specialisation focuses on understanding their underlying causes and developing treatment strategies. It offers the opportunity to include studies in epidemiology, which in a future perspective may be highly relevant for the battle against global infectious diseases. This is an area which is currently part of many international aid programs.

Student profile

You have a broad interest in biology or a narrower focus on a specific sub-area. You are willing to take responsibility for crafting your own educational experience by selecting from the wide range of biology courses offered at Uppsala University. Ideally, you have had the opportunity to work in a laboratory and use statistics to analyse data from your experiments. 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 the degree of Master of Science (120 credits) with Biology as the main field of study. After one year of study, it is possible to obtain a degree of Master of Science (60 credits).

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. 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 Microbiology you will study the evolution and development of microorganisms and their interactions with other organisms. In a larger independent project, you isolate an organism of your own choice from natural sources and determine its species using morphological, metabolic and molecular methods.

The course Immunology gets deep into the different cellular and molecular components of our immune system and how these cells develop from blood stem cells. You will learn how these cells communicate and how the molecular and genetic mechanisms involved in generating the enormous immunological variability work. This course also includes studies of how the immune system and infectious microorganisms co-evolve. A detailed description of the various diseases and other immunological phenomena will be presented.

Throughout the course Molecular Infection Biology, you will study the battle between pathogens and our immune system in detail from the pathogen perspective. You will get an insight into how virulence factors of important infectious microorganisms spread and how the massive use of antibiotics influences the appearance and possible increase in multi-resistant bacterial strains. You will also learn how vaccines work and discuss future challenges and solutions to some particularly difficult problems in vaccine development.

During the second year, you can either take one or two regular courses, or 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

Courses within the programme are listed on the Department webpage or found in the programme outline.

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.

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.