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Studium Biologie Master Studies

MSc Coordinator of the Master in Microbiology

MSc Coordinator of the Microbiology Master: Prof. Dr. Jakob Pernthaler

Study Coordinator of the MSc in Biology: Dr. Karin Isler


Microorganisms, comprising bacteria, algae, fungi and protozoa, as well as viruses, are the most frequent beings on Earth and exhibit by far the greatest phylogenetic diversity. They regulate the global nutrient cycles through their metabolism, and their enormous physiological diversity has enabled them to adapt to extreme environmental conditions. A large number of microorganisms live in close association with higher organisms, including humans, in symbiotic or pathogenic relationships. In the practical and theoretical parts of the Master’s degree course in Microbiology, students focus on the social and cooperative behaviour of bacteria and its molecular and evolutionary foundation, on their life strategies (free-living vs. surface-associated), on other interactions between microorganisms and between microbes and higher organisms, on community features of microbiomes, and on the microbial players and processes in aquatic habitats.


Students are largely free to choose the modules that they take in the field of microbiology, which are offered jointly by the University of Zurich and ETHZ. These cover such fields as:

BIO 284* Systemic Microbiology (6 ECTS)
BIO 290* Aquatic microbial ecology (6 ECTS)
BME 326* Evolution of Bacterial Pathogens (6 ECTS)

interactions between plants and microorganisms, biotechnology, food microbiology, mycology, medical and veterinary bacteriology, microbial genetics, microbial ecology, phytopathology, virology and parasitology.

*Students are requested to choose 2 of these 3 modules as part of their Master's degree and the compulsory module BIO338 Introduction to Scientific Writing (0 ECTS, one day in September or February). The module BIO338 should be taken before writing the Master’s Thesis.



Students can choose courses (see "Master's degree course")  for their Master's degree course from the microbiology courses offered by the Institute of Plant Biology, Vetsuisse Faculty, Medical Faculty of UZH and research groups at ETHZ. Students must select at least one of the block courses offered by the Institute of Plant Biology and at least one additional microbiology course. The courses to be taken will be defined in the learning agreement at the beginning of the Master’s degree, after consulting the responsible Master’s coordinator and the supervisor of the thesis. Scientists who teach in the advanced courses of the microbiology curriculum are, with agreement of the Master’s coordinator, entitled to supervise master students.

Master's thesis in Microbiology: BIO 504