Postgraduate study

Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (Online Learning) PgProfDev

Awards: PgProfDev

Study modes: Part-time Intermittent Study

Online learning

Funding opportunities

If you're interested in Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases then this is the best programme. It's a part-time online programme so you can fit it in easily around other commitments.

Amal Khattab MSc Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, graduate 2019
Amal Khattab               MSc Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, graduate 2019

This three-year Masters programme will provide you with a detailed knowledge and understanding of infection disciplines.

The programme is designed to develop your understanding of the biology and transmission of pathogens, as well as infectious disease diagnosis, treatment and prevention. Specific topics include:

  • immune responses to infection
  • science and biology of bacterial, viral, fungal and parasitic pathogens
  • modern and emerging diagnostic technologies for infectious diseases
  • infection prevention and control and anti-infective therapy
  • infections in different contexts such as:

    • community- acquired infections
    • emerging infectious diseases
    • infectious diseases associated with travel

Beyond the fundamental knowledge gained, our aim is to enable you to develop and critically assess cutting edge research questions in clinical microbiology and infectious diseases. You will be encouraged to:

  • develop an increased understanding and awareness of the scientific and medical background of infectious diseases
  • achieve a command of existing knowledge in your field of research, through a critical and (where relevant) comprehensive review of relevant literature
  • understand the principles of data analysis, dissemination of results and implementation of key findings and thus make informed judgements on new and emerging treatments
  • demonstrate an understanding of how specialist knowledge in clinical microbiology and infectious diseases is applied to advise treatments and management of infectious diseases
  • successfully communicate, in writing and verbally, scientific results and information in research
  • ensure an understanding of infectious diseases to enable the undertaking of independent research

What will you learn?

Courses are offered as five-week courses, each worth 10 credits.

Postgraduate Certificate (Part-time 1 year; intermittent study 2 years)

The courses currently on offer in Year 1 are compulsory and include the following.

Introduction to Immunology

This course covers the immune response to infection and the role of innate and adaptive immunity.

Science and biology of bacteria

This course will develop your understanding of the basic biology of bacterial pathogens and how they cause disease in humans.

Science and biology of viruses

This course covers the basic biology of viral pathogens and how they cause disease in humans.

Science and biology of fungi, parasites and prions

This course focuses on major parasitic (protozoan and helminth), fungal and prion diseases of humans.

Laboratory practice in microbiology, virology and serology

This course aims to develop your understanding of the clinical laboratory in the investigation, management and prevention of infection.

Anti-infective therapy and resistance

This course will develop your understanding of antimicrobial agents and their use in clinical settings, how to use antimicrobial agents rationally based on evidence and existing policies, as well as your understanding of the evidence that underpins policy development and stewardship.

Postgraduate Diploma (Part-time 2 years; Intermittent study 4 years)

In year 2 you will select six option courses. Year two course offerings and availability are subject to annual academic review and demand.

Courses currently on offer during year two include the following

Molecular diagnostics of infection

This course aims to provide the knowledge around modern and emerging technologies for diagnosing infectious diseases. Focus will be on rapid pathogen detection, antibiotic resistance determination, point of care testing, high throughput and global technologies such as next generation sequencing and mass spectrometry.

Community acquired infections and public health

You will develop your knowledge in order to achieve an appropriate specific or differential diagnosis and initiate appropriate management in community-associated infection scenarios. You will also demonstrate leadership ability in dealing with outbreak situations, demonstrate the ability to analyse and interpret surveillance data and translate the results into policy and practice.

Infection prevention and control

You will understand the principles of infection prevention and control in order to reduce the risk of acquiring infections and to control their spread.

HIV Infection and other immune-compromised patients

This course aims to provide you with the ability to understand the causes and risk factors leading to immune deficiency, and the ability to recognise infection in immune-compromised patients. It will also cover management of specific therapies in both HIV-infected and non-HIV immune-compromised patients as well as relevant counselling to patients, carers and relatives.

Clinical syndromes and infection

You will develop your understanding of the pathogenesis, laboratory diagnosis, clinical investigation and treatment of a broad range of complex infection syndromes as well as the relationship between co-morbidities and infection.

Travel medicine and infectious diseases

This course aims to introduce the challenges of travel medicine, considering the recreational short-term traveller as well as long-term population movement.

Scientific analysis and presentation: Infectious diseases (SARP-ID)

This course is designed to develop your competencies for high quality scientific investigation, interpretation, review and reporting of findings.

Emerging infectious diseases

You will develop an understanding of the emergence of infectious diseases, the risk factors of disease emergence and the implications for disease surveillance and control in public health.

Masters (Part-time 3 years; Intermittent study 6 years)

In Year 3 you can opt between a number of proposed reflective elements such as a written dissertation (either current or historical) a casebook or portfolio.

Narrated presentations from Edinburgh academics and clinicians, and excellent university e-resources support you to achieve your full learning potential.

How does online learning work?

Online programmes are delivered through the University's Virtual Learning Environment, LEARN. Our award-winning, online learning technology is fully interactive, and enables you to communicate with our highly qualified teaching staff from the comfort of your own home or workplace.

Our online students not only have access to the University of Edinburgh’s excellent resources, but also become part of a supportive online community, bringing together students and tutors from around the world.

After thorough training and induction in generic skills for online learning, you will listen and interact with talks by our team of 16 University of Edinburgh academics and 20 clinicians. You also have full access to all online library resources of the University of Edinburgh. This provides you a fantastic framework to contribute to discussion boards and written assignments. On selected occasions you will have live discussions with our team.

What does each course involve?

Each course will run over a period of 5 weeks with participation in online discussions and completion of timed tasks being a compulsory part of the process. Study materials are released on a weekly basis, providing an overview of the study topic, suggested reading materials and key questions that address the learning outcomes for the course. You are expected to split your time between independent study and interacting with peers and course tutors on the discussion boards in order to fully explore the topic and your understanding of it. Summative written and online assessment will test your knowledge and understanding of the learning outcomes, as well as the ability to communicate with others in a variety of ways. The course relies heavily on reading primary literature as well as key publications from the conservation sector.

You should expect to spend between 12 and 15 hours per week on reading course materials, engaging with peers and tutors on the discussion boards and preparing assessed work. It is up to you how you organise your time from week to week, with course materials and discussion boards available for the duration of the course.

How will you learn?

Learning is delivered through:

  • Weekly materials, written notes, recommended reading, organised discussions with other learners, tutors and course organisers. Recorded lectures or podcasts may also be available for you to watch or listen to in your own time.
  • Problem-based learning through clinical case studies will be used to enhance knowledge of decision-making.
  • Opportunities to connect regularly with your course organiser and programme team to address concerns and monitor progress.
  • Individual assessments including essays, data presentations, proposals and presentations that will reinforce what you have learnt.
  • Group assignments and online discussions with your peers will expose you to different perspectives and new ways of thinking about a problem or topic.
  • Independent study and reflection.

Student Support and Facilities

You will have access to online student services including:

  • library resources
  • well-being and student support services
  • technical support
  • study skills support


You can study this programme on a part-time basis. On successful completion of the courses and assessments you can graduate:

  • after one year with a postgraduate certificate
  • after two years with a postgraduate diploma
  • after three years with a Masters

Intermittent study

Intermittent study allows more flexibility in how you choose to study. With this option you will have up to 2 years to complete the certificate, and up to 4 years to complete the diploma.

The standard programme structure is still maintained in terms of the progression requirement. However, you can tailor your education to fit more closely with commitments in both your private and professional life.

Postgraduate Professional Diploma

Postgraduate Professional Development (PPD) is aimed at working professionals who want to advance their knowledge through a postgraduate-level course, without the time or financial commitment of a Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate.

You may take a maximum of 50 credits worth of courses over two years through our PPD scheme. These lead to a University of Edinburgh postgraduate award of academic credit. Alternatively, after one year of taking courses you can choose to transfer your credits and continue on to studying towards a higher award on a Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate programme

Although PPD courses have various start dates throughout the year you may only start a Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate programme in the month of September. Any time spent studying PPD will be deducted from the amount of time you will have left to complete a Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate programme.

Semester dates for the academic year 2022-2023

These are key dates in the academic year, which vary slightly from year to year. For your programme these are:

  • Welcome Week: 12 – 16 September 2022
  • Term 1: 19 September - 2 December 2022
  • Term 2: 9 January – 24 March 2023
  • Term 3: 10 April - 23 June 2023

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
PgProfDevClinical Microbiology and Infectious DiseasesUp to 2 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyProgramme structure 2023/24

We designed the programme with your training and your professional development aspirations in mind. To do this, we drew on British medical curriculum for combined infection training and relevant speciality training of the Royal College of Pathologists and joint Royal Colleges of Physicians training board. Our programme is ideal for junior doctors who wish to specialise in infectious diseases or clinical microbiology.

This degree will also be attractive to those who have completed their training but wish to fulfill continuing medical education requirements, or those who wish to obtain a formal qualification in Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. It is also an excellent opportunity to advance knowledge and skills for many professionals such as biomedical scientists, researchers, educators and health care professionals.

The programme is aligned with JRCPTB and RCPath training in infection disciplines: Combined Infection Training and Higher Specialty Training in Infectious Diseases, Medical Microbiology and Medical Virology. It is designed to support trainees/specialists in preparation for FRCPath Part 1/Diploma in Infection, Infection Specialty end of training assessments and hospital-based practice.

Amal Khattab

These entry requirements are for the 2023/24 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2024/25 academic year will be published on 2 October 2023.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a biomedical, medical, public health or relevant bio-science topic.

We may also consider your application if you have relevant work experience; please contact the programme team to check before you apply. You may be admitted to certificate level only in the first instance.

Students from China

This degree is Band D.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 176 with at least 169 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 62 with at least 59 in each component.

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries (non-MESC).

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:


You will need to pay this non-refundable deposit before an unconditional offer can be made.

  • £500 (this contributes towards your tuition fees)

Find out more about tuition fee deposits:

Tuition fee deposits can be paid here using the University's online payment facility, ePay:

Tuition fees

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
PgProfDevClinical Microbiology and Infectious DiseasesUp to 2 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyTuition fees

Featured funding

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments.

The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on:

  • your programme
  • the duration of your studies
  • your tuition fee status

Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Infection Medicine
  • Chancellor's Building
  • 49 Little France Crescent
  • Little France
  • Edinburgh
  • EH16 4SB

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

You must submit one reference with your application.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Infection Medicine
  • Chancellor's Building
  • 49 Little France Crescent
  • Little France
  • Edinburgh
  • EH16 4SB