I am a second year B.Sc. microbiology student and would like to go for higher studies in medical microbiology or microbiology. Kindly provide me the details on the courses and the institutions/ colleges that offer them. Is research after postgraduation essential to get a good job?

SUJITHA, PALAKKAD

To become a microbiologist or a medical microbiologist or a scientist, one should obtain Master's degree with good marks and should further pursue research leading to doctorate degree (Ph.D.). Microbiology, especially medical microbiology is a frontier area of study and research assumes great importance when we consider the discipline's contribution to pharmaceutical and medical fields.

Microbiologists or medical microbiologists are associated with the discovery of a range of products from antibiotics to insulin. Job opportunities are available in research and development departments in medical, pharmaceutical, and agricultural fields.

Microbiology can be divided into different categories such as medical microbiology, applied microbiology, industrial microbiology, marine microbiology, agriculture microbiology and so on. Duration of the M.Sc. course in this discipline except medical microbiology is two years.

M.Sc. degree course in medical microbiology are offered for three years.

The first year is meant for learning medical subjects like anatomy, biochemistry, and physiology.

Meritorious B.Sc. medical microbiology degree holders are eligible for admission.

Applied microbiology

Applied microbiology covers vast areas of study including immunology, epidemiology, microbial metabolism, virology, pathogenic bacteriology, mycology, metabolism, industrial agricultural, and medical biology. Students with a Bachelor's degree in life sciences can opt for applied microbiology as a subject for their higher study.

Study facilities

In India, several universities offers microbiology course at the postgraduate level.

Those who successfully complete the M.Sc. degree course in microbiology with good marks can opt for M.Phil. or Ph.D. programmes. A doctorate degree is a must for a career in research and development area.

B.Sc. degree holders in microbiology, medical microbiology, botany, zoology, biochemistry, biophysics, biotechnology, chemistry, and physics are eligible for admission to Master's degree programme in microbiology.

In Kerala, Mahatma Gandhi University, Calicut University, and Kannur University offer microbiology courses at postgraduate level.

Some affiliated colleges under these universities also provide study facilities for M.Sc. degree course in microbiology. The School of Medical Education under Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, offers M.Sc. medical microbiology course on self-financing basis.

Those who have passed their four year B.Sc. medical microbiology course with at least 50 per cent marks are eligible for admission.

The School of Biosciences under Mahatma Gandhi University offers a two-year M.Sc. course in microbiology. B.Sc. degree holders in microbiology, botany, zoology, biochemistry, biophysics, biotechnology, chemistry, and physics with at least 55 per cent marks in Part III are eligible for admission.

The selection is based on an entrance test, marks obtained in the qualifying examination, and interview.

A few affiliated colleges under the MG University that offer M.Sc. degree course in microbiology are the following: Mar Athanasius College, Kothamangalam; MES College, Marampally; St. Xavier's College for Women, Aluva; Sree Sankara College, Kalady; Indira College of Arts and Science, Kothamangalam; MES College for Advanced Studies, Edathala North Aluva; St. Mary's College for Women, Paliakkara, Thiruvalla; Marthoma College, Kuttapuzha, Thiruvalla; Sree Narayana Guru Institute of Science and Technology, North Paravur, Ernakulam.

The School of Health Sciences under Calicut University offers M.Sc. degree course in medical microbiology. Web site: www.universityofcalicut.

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A few affiliated colleges under the Calicut University that offer M.Sc. degree course in microbiology are the following: Farook College, Feroke, Kozhikode; St. Mary's College, Thrissur; EMEA College of Arts and Sciences, Kondotti, Malappuram.

The School of Life Sciences, Department of Microbiology under Kannur University, Thalassery Campus, Palayad, offers M.Sc. degree course in microbiology. The Department of Medical Microbiology and the School of Health Sciences, Thalassery, offers M.Sc. degree course in medical microbiology.

Sir Syed Institute for Technological Studies, Talipparamba, offers M.Sc. degree course in microbiology.

Amrtia Institute of Medical Sciences, Elamakkara, Kochi and Amrita School of Biotechnology, Amritapurai, Kollam, conduct three-year M.Sc. degree course in medical microbiology. Those who have passed their B.Sc. degree in microbiology, biotechnology, biochemistry or medical laboratory technology with first class are eligible for admission.

Outside Kerala

The following universities outside Kerala offer M.Sc. degree courses in microbiology/ related areas:

University of Madras, Chepauk, Chennai, offers M.Sc. degree courses in industrial microbiology, medical microbiology and molecular biology. Web site: www.unom.ac.in.

Bharathidasan University, Tiruchirappalli, offers M.Sc. degree course in microbiology.

Annamalai University, Annamalainagar, offers M.Sc. degree course in marine microbiology.

Gandhigram Rural University, Gandhigram, offers M.Sc. degree course in microbiology.

Madras Christian College, Tambaram, Chennai, offers M.Sc. degree course in applied microbiology.

Manomaniam Sundaranar University, Tirunelveli, offers M.Sc. degree course in microbiology (self-financing).

Mangalore University, Mangalore offers M.Sc. degree course in microbiology.

Bangalore University, Bangalore, offers M.Sc. degree course in microbiology.

Gulburga University, Gulbarga, offers M.Sc. degree course in microbiology

Christian Medical College, Vellore, offers M.Sc. degree course in medical microbiology.

St. John's Medical College, Bangalore, offers M.Sc. degree course in paramedical science with microbiology as a specialisation.

Kasturba Medical College, Manipal, offers M.Sc. degree course in medical microbiology.

Madurai Kamaraj University, Palkalai Nagar, Madurai, offers M.Sc. degree course in microbial gene technology.

Pondicherry University, Puducherry, offers M.Sc. degree course in molecular biology.

Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, offers M.Sc. degree course in applied microbiology and molecular and human genetics.

List is only indicative and details of more universities and colleges that offer postgraduate and doctoral courses in microbiology or medical microbiology or related disciplines can be had from the university handbook published by the Association of Indian Universities (AIU), New Delhi, which is available for reference at the University Employment Information and Guidance Bureaux functioning under all universities in Kerala.

Other options

The Indian Institute of Science (IISc.), Bangalore, offers integrated Ph.D. programme in biological sciences. First class B.Sc. degree holders in biological sciences are eligible for admission. The selection is based on an all India level entrance test and interview conducted by the institute. Web site: www.iisc.ernet.in.

Some other related higher study options for meritorious graduates in microbiology are M.Sc. degree course in biotechnology, bioinformatics, genetics, molecular biology, and so on. Those who qualify the M.Sc. degree course in microbiology with good marks can go for M.Tech. programmes in biotechnology. Anna University, Chennai, and West Bengal University of Technology, Kolkata, offer the course. The Department of Biological Sciences and Bioengineering under the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, conducts an M.Tech. degree course in biological sciences and bioengineering.

Job prospects

Those who obtain a Master's or higher qualification in microbiology or allied subjects can find job openings in research and development wings of pharmaceutical and biotech industries including multinational companies, multi-speciality hospitals, food industries, chemical or cosmetic industries and research organisations. Postgraduate and doctoral degree holders can look for research based position including that of scientific or research officer, microbiologists, or analysts.

Keywords: microbiology