Students of Microbiology and Immunology
Microbiology is the study of microscopic organisms such as algae, bacteria, fungi, protozoa and viruses. Some micro-organisms cause infections but most live harmlessly and enhance our environment and our lives. Microbiology is also a core discipline for most areas of biotechnology.
Immunology is the study of the immune system. The immune system is involved in the defence of the body against infection and tumours. It also plays a role in unwanted responses like allergies and transplant rejection.
The 2008 Nobel Prize for Medicine was awarded to three microbiologists for their discoveries of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Human Papilloma Virus.
Teaching programs and research facilities in the Department are outstanding and the research profile is among the best at the University of Melbourne. The staff are friendly and highly committed to assisting students in their studies. We are exceptionally fortunate in having a number of senior staff, including our own Nobel Laureate, Professor Peter Doherty, who are internationally recognised as leaders in their chosen areas of research. Staff within the Department actively collaborate with research colleagues in medicine, industry, and biotechnology from around Australia, and internationally. Situated at the centre of the most densely packed research precinct in Australia, the Department is well placed to participate in joint research programs and research seminars. The latter often feature visiting scientists from overseas.
How to Apply
Please note that the Department does not take on students without sufficient means of financial support (i.e. a scholarship). The University of Melbourne scholarships are extremely competitive and are generally awarded only to students who have achieved the equivalent of the University of Melbourne H1 grades.
Teaching programs in the Department cater for the majors Microbiology, Infection and Immunology (Bachelor of Science [BSc] students) and for Defence and Disease (Bachelor of Biomedicine [BBiomed] students), starting in 2nd year. They may also form important components of other courses, including graduate medicine and optometry.
There are numerous opportunities for practical studies in 2nd and 3rd year.
Microbiology and Immunology subjects are ideally combined with units in any of Genetics, Biochemistry, Pharmacology, Pathology, Anatomy and Cell Biology and Physiology.
Some students continue their studies in Microbiology and Immunology via a research-based fourth year leading to the Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree or the Bachelor of Biomedicine (Honours) degree. Postgraduate (MSc, MScRT, or PhD) study is normally required for a research career.
Study Pathways (PDF)
Scientists trained in microbiology have an enormous range of career options including medical laboratory diagnosis (human and veterinary), research (human and veterinary), epidemiology, food science, environmental science (soil and water), virology and biotechnology.
Immunologists are employed in equally broad areas including medical diagnostic laboratories, medical and veterinary research, biotechnology, vaccine development and clinical laboratories working in transplantation, autoimmunity, allergy and cancer immunity.