Small and Mighty: Introduction to Microbiology

Online Course

Future Learn
Small and Mighty: Introduction to Microbiology

What is the course about?

Small and Mighty: Introduction to Microbiology
The course Small and Mighty: Introduction to Microbiology is an online class provided by University of Reading through Future Learn. It may be possible to receive a verified certification or use the course to prepare for a degree.

Understand the basics of microbiology and explore the diversity of microbial life in our world.

Course description
  • Discover the fascinating world of microbes
  • 3 weeks
  • Microbes may be invisible to the eye, but they dominate every environment on Earth – including you. Microbes are often associated with disease yet the majority of species help to keep us alive. How can you distinguish the good from the bad?
  • On this course, you’ll explore a general introduction to the field of microbiology and investigate the amazing diversity of microbial life. Learn about the significant roles microbes play in health, food, and the environment through expert interviews, lab demonstrations and practical experiments you can try at home.
  • What microbes are: recognise the differences between the 5 major groups (Viruses, Bacteria, Archaea, Fungi and Protists) and where they appear in the tree of life.
  • How microbes function: understand how microbes replicate, grow and exchange genes with each other.
  • Where microbes live: learn how microbes survive and thrive throughout the world, from extreme environments to the surface of our skin.
  • How to study microbes: watch practical demonstrations of common microbiology techniques and learn how microbiologists can identify the culprit of an infection.
  • How to test a hypothesis: carry out your own microbiology experiments and find out how to analyse your results.
  • Why studying microbes is so important: explore how microbiology research benefits society in three key areas – Medical, Food and Environment.
  • How studying microbes can answer questions about evolution: discover how a microbe can rapidly rewire its genes following a life-threatening mutation.
  • Describe the key differences between the five groups of microbe.
  • Explain how microbes replicate and why environmental conditions affect where they live.
  • Differentiate between beneficial and harmful effects of microbes.
  • Discuss ways that microbiology research has, and will continue to, benefit human health, food production and the environment.
  • Explain how microbes evolve and discuss the potential implications of this on the future health of the population and our planet.
  • Conduct simple microbiology experiments and analyse the results in order to draw conclusions.
  • This course is for anyone interested in microbiology. There should be something for everyone – whether you are coming to the course with a fair amount of previous knowledge, or none at all. There will be plenty of help available for those who are completely new to the subject. The course will be of particular interest to those who are studying biology at school or considering applying to a microbiology degree.
  • University of Reading
  • The University of Reading has a reputation for excellence in teaching, research and enterprise.

Prerequisites & Facts

Small and Mighty: Introduction to Microbiology

Course Topic

Biology and Biotechnology, Healthcare & Medicine, Science, Engineering & Maths

University, College, Institution

University of Reading

Course Skill Level

Course Language


Place of class

Online, self-paced (see curriculum for more information)



Degree & Cost

Small and Mighty: Introduction to Microbiology

To obtain a verified certificate from Future Learn / University of Reading you have to finish this course or the latest version of it, if there is a new edition. The class may be free of charge, but there could be some cost to receive a verified certificate or to access the learning materials. The specifics of the course may have been changed, please consult the provider to get the latest quotes and news.
University of Reading
Small and Mighty: Introduction to Microbiology
provided by Future Learn


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Small and Mighty: Introduction to Microbiology
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School: University of Reading
Topic: Biology and Biotechnology, Healthcare & Medicine, Science, Engineering & Maths