Microbiology is the study of microbes that are mostly too small to observe with the naked eye. These include viruses, bacteria, yeast and fungi. Many different microbes exist and they can be beneficial contributing to the cycling of nutrients in the environment, degradation of harmful substances and assisting in the manufacture of antibiotics, food and beverage products. Some microbes are harmful causing food spoilage, fouling and diseases of humans, animals and crops.

Microbiology at Rhodes University covers fundamental aspects of microbes, delving into their molecular secrets and how these fundamental aspects can be applicable to industry and the environment.

Undergraduate Courses

Microbiology is offered at the second and third year levels, having 1st year prerequisites of Chemistry; Cell 101 or an aggregated pass in Zoology or Botany. Students wishing to major in Microbiology are encouraged to take Biochemistry 201. Formal lectures are complimented with laboratory practical experience and field trips.

  • Mic201: Microbes and their Environment
  • Mic202: Molecular Biology and Genetics
  • Mic301: Eukaryotic Molecular Biology and Advanced Virology
  • Mic302: Industrial and Applied Microbiology

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Honours in Microbiology

Microbiology graduates who successfully meet the entrance requirements can continue with an Honours Degree in Microbiology. This is a one year programme comprising of coursework and research.

Coursework modules offered include

  • Molecular Microbial Ecology
  • Emerging Infectious Diseases
  • Mammalian Cell Culture
  • Mycorrhizal Fungal Interactions with other Soil Microorganisms.


Students are allocated individual research projects supervised by a staff member. Research Projects account for approximately 60% of the Honours examination requirement.

Masters and PhD Studies

Suitably qualified students are encouraged to join a research group to complete research degrees (MSc and PhD). Students are supervised or mentored by staff in the department. Students become an important part of the research culture within the department. Prospective students are advised to visit the individual staff pages to become familiar with the research programmes offered in the department. Students are welcome to contact staff members to discuss opportunities and vacancies.

Last Modified: Mon, 22 Feb 2021 11:07:28 SAST