Many afflictions of humans are attributable to microorganisms.  Diseases hitherto thought to be idiopathic are increasingly being recognized as being caused by microorganisms or an adverse immunological response of the host to antigens of some microorganisms.  Diagnosis, treatment, control and prevention of these diseases require adequate appreciation of causative microbes and their interaction the host.

The Master of Medicine Degree in Medical Microbiology is designed to provide medical graduates with the scientific foundations of the subject and translating these principles into diagnosis and control of infectious disease.  Trainees will be expected to have practiced clinical medicine for at least 1 – 2 years post-internship as this will help in appreciation of clinical problems in diagnosis for which the microbiologist is frequently consulted for advice on antibiotic therapy.

As with most postgraduate medical degrees elsewhere the completion of the course should be taken as an index of suitability for further training rather than conferring the right or implying adequacy for immediate promotion to consultant status.


Since its inception in the early 1980’s, 8 medical microbiologists have completed the course.  The workload on these in as far as diagnostics, teaching at the Medical School (undergraduates and postgraduates) and research is much.  Regional referral hospitals require services of this specialty for rational management of patients.  There is need to train more specialists in the field, to address the needs of the country.  The specialists produced will be able to provide a high quality diagnostic service not only at the national referral hospital but also in regional and district hospitals.  They will teach, and conduct research and give guidance in the rapidly advancing field of microbiology and molecular biology as applied to patient.


The overall objective of this program is to train future medical microbiologists in laboratory diagnosis, management and control of problems especially related to infections in particular but also other clinical pathological aspects including research work, and service to the community.  The successful candidates will provide the necessary expertise to both Ministry of Health and Makerere University locally and equivalent institutions internationally.


By the end of this course the student should have achieved the following:
a)         Understood the biology of infectious agents and factors responsible for disease.

b)         Understood the macro and microscopic pathological features of diseases caused by microorganisms and possible complications arising out of them.

c)         Understood laboratory diagnostic procedures and how to best apply them in the management of patients.

            d)         Understood controls strategies of infectious diseases.

e)         Understood molecular microbiology as it is currently being applied to infectious diseases, immunology pathology, and design of vaccines.

f)         Understood emergency clinical laboratory medicine, including blood transfusion and chemical pathology.

g)         Understood research methodology that would prepare him/her for future task of contributing to growth of knowledge in the specialty of Microbiology.


Studies and examinations will be governed by the General Regulations and Statutes of Makerere University as they appear in the Makerere University Prospectus, 1997/98 – 1998/99, and in addition by Regulations of the Faculty of Medicine.


To be eligible for admission, the candidate must fulfill the following conditions:

a)         Holder of M.B.ChB, BDS or equivalent, registrable in Uganda.

b)         1 or 2 year post-internship practice of clinical medicine, or in a related practical medical field.

c)         Academic suitability as judged by official transcripts.

7.0       CURRICULUM

The course is designed to cover at least 3 academic years, partitioned into 6 semesters of 17 weeks each and 2 Recess terms of 10 weeks each.  The maximum time allowed for the course is 5 years.  After 5 years the student will be discontinued.

In addition to course work a dissertation is required 2 months before the final examination.

Throughout the course the curriculum is composed of 2 programmes;  (a) Academic courses outlined below and (b) Clinical Microbiology courses consisting of attachment of the student to a diagnostic laboratory.  In the clinical courses the student will learn how to process specimens, interpret findings, and write reports easily understood and interpreted by requesting clinicians.

Beginning Year 2 Semester 1, the student will attend major ward rounds on selected wards, Journal Clubs, Physicians post-mortems, and any relevant academic activity.

7.1       Prescribed exercise

Throughout the course, the student will be involved in routine diagnostic work of Mulago Hospital Laboratories, Emergency Laboratory, Teaching of undergraduates and Paramedical students.


Year 1

Semester 1

Code               Course title                                         LH      TH       PH        CH       CU
CEB    7101    Epidemiology, Biostatistics &        30        20        40        60        4
Research Methods     
MCM 7102     Advanced Immunology                     15        60        60        75        5
MCM 7103     Applied Haematology                       10        20        20        30        2
MCM 7104     Advanced Bacteriology I                   15        45        70        75        5         
                                    TOTAL                                                                                       16

Semester 2
LH       TH       PH       CH      CU
HSM  7201     Advanced Bacteriology II                  20        40        70        75        5
MCM 7202     Laboratory Management                  10        30        40        45        3
PAT 7203        Histopathology                                  10        20        80        60        4
                                    TOTAL                                                                                       12

Recess Term

HSM 7301      Health Systems Management           20        32        48        60        4
MCM 7302     Cellular & Molecular Biology 20         30        80        75        5
PAT  7303       Chemical Pathology                            10        20        50        45        3
Laboratory attachment
                                    TOTAL                                                                                           13

Year 2

Semester 1
Code               Course Title                                       LH      TH      PH       CH      CU

MCM 8101     Clinical Microbiology I                       15        30        90       
MCM 8102     Parasitology                                        15        40        80        75        5
                                    TOTAL                                                                                        10

Semester 2
                                                                                    LH      TH      PH       CH      CU
MCM 8201     Clinical Microbiology II                   15        30        60        60        4
MCM 8202     Virology I                                           10        40        60        60        4
MCM 8203     Mycology                                           10        20        50        45        3
Dissertation Proposal                                                                    150      
                                    TOTAL                                                                                     11

Recess Term
                                                                                                LH      TH      PH       CH      CU
MCM 8301     Serology/Advanced Immunologic
Techniques                                     10        30        100      75        5
MCM 8302     Applied Molecular Biology                         x          x             x          x          x
MCM 8303     Dissertation proposal                                 -           -          150     75        5
Laboratory attachment
                                    TOTAL                                                                                              10

Year 3
Semester 1
Code               Course Title                                       LH      TH      PH       CH      CU
MCM 8401     Immunology of Infectious
Diseases                                 10        30        40        45        3
MCM 8402     Nosocomial Infections                       5          30        80        60       4         
MCM 8403     Antimicrobial Chemotherapy            10        20        20        30       2
MCM 8404     Virology II                                              10        40        60        60        4
                                    TOTAL                                                                                       13

Semester 2
                                                                                        LH      TH      PH       CH      CU
MCM 8501     Public Health Microbiology               10        40        60        60      4
MCM 8502     Dissertation defence                                                 150      75        5
                                    TOTAL                                                                                        9



10.1     Academic courses

Assessment will be by MCO and essay.  Knowledge requirements will be cumulative, i.e. the examinations will cover all academic courses taken by the time of examination.

Each course will be assessed in 2 parts, progress assessment which will contribute 40%, and a University examination, which will contribute 60% of the final mark.

Each course shall be graded out of a maximum of 100 marks and assigned appropriate letter grades and grade points as follows:

            Mark(%)                                            Letter Grade                          Grade Point
80 – 100                                                          A                                             5
75 – 79.9                                                         B                                             4.5
70 – 74.9                                                         B-                                            4.0                        
65 – 69.9                                                         C+                                           3.5
            60 – 64.9                                                         C                                             3.0
55 – 59.9                                                         C-                                            2.5
50 – 54.9                                                         D+                                           2.0
45 – 49.9                                                         D                                             1.5      
40 – 44.9                                                         D-                                            1.0
35 – 39.9                                                         E                                              0.5
Below 35                                                                                                          0

*Definition of Public Health Microbiology and concepts of public health laboratory are introduced to the student, seminars in Public Health Microbiology and communicable disease control are held.  After attending the seminars, the students will be able to:

  • Recognise the routes of human exposure by various forms of microorganisms.
  • State at least one pathogenic disease associated with each of the following organisms: bacteria, virus, protozoa and helminthes.
  • List 5 diseases that are waterborne and their  etiology and describe the barriers used to prevent disease transmission.
  • Describe limitations and difficulties encountered in direct testing of pathogens.
  • List 5 diseases that are food borne and their etiology and describe barriers used to prevent disease transmission.
  • Identify an indicator organism in drinking water and 5 characteristics that make it a food indicator.

Communicable disease control

After attending this seminar, the student will be able to:

  • Define the infectious process and list the factors in development.
  • List the general categories of infectious organisms.
  • Itemize the portals of entry of infectious agents into new hosts.
  • Recognise the regulations pertaining to the reporting and investigating of communicable diseases.
  • List the steps involved  in an outbreak investigation.
    • Clinical microbiology courses

Clinical microbiology practice will be assessed by the ability of the student to correctly process, evaluate, and report of the results on specimens submitted to the clinical microbiology laboratory.  Progress assessment for each semester will be carried out and marks awarded as follows:

            Cognitive knowledge             -           100 marks maximum
Interpretive skills                    -            200     “           “
Technical skills                      -            100     “           “
Attitude                                     -            100     “           “

A candidate must get 50% to pass the Clinical Microbiology progressive assessment.  A candidate who receives less than 50% of the progressive assessment in Clinical Microbiology must repeat the attachment on the specific laboratory benches.  The academic transcript shall reflect grades obtained accordance with University guidelines.

10.3     Normal progress

  • To sit for the end of semester examination, a candidate must have a certificate of due performance.
  • To progress from semester and from first year to second year, a candidate must score a minimum of grade point 3.0 in each course.

10.4     Probationary progress

A candidate who scores less than grade point 3.0 in a semester examination will re-take the course when next offered.

    • Discontinuation

A student shall be discontinued if he/she fails with 49% or less the same compulsory clinical of microbiology on 2 occasions.

10.6     Submission of dissertation

            This will be a requirement for the award of the degree.

  • Research will not be carried out until the Departmental Research Committee and Faculty Research Committee have approved the research proposal.
  • The research proposal will be presented at the end of the first semester in second year.
  • The dissertation must be presented to the School of Postgraduate Studies at least 2 months before the date of the final examination.
  • The dissertation will be graded as:
    • Scientific content and presentation accepted – Passed.
    • Scientific content accepted but minor corrections needed in presentation.
    • Scientific content accepted but needs major corrections in presentation and interpretation of data.
    • Scientific content not accepted – Failed.
  • Re-submission of revised dissertation is to be done with 6 months.  Only 1 re-submission is allowed.
  • A student who fails a dissertation must start collecting fresh data.

A candidate who passed all courses as well as the dissertation shall be awarded the degree of Master of Medicine (Microbiology).

The Degree M.Med (Microbiology) will be awarded without classification.

The Degree will be designated Master of Medicine and may be noted as M.Med, Makerere University.


Management of the programme

The programme shall be taught by the Department of Medical Microbiology with collaboration of other relevant Departments of the University e.g. Clinical Epidemiology Unit, Department of Pathology and Specialists from other institutions from within and outside Uganda will be approached to contribute to the teaching.


            Assoc. Prof. J.O. Olobo – BVM, M.Sc., Ph.D.
Assoc. Prof. D.H. Kaddu-Mulindwa – BVM (NBI) M.Sc.(MAK) Ph.D.(FUB)
Dr. C.F. Najjuka – MBCh.B, M.Sc., M.Med (MAK) Lecturer.
Dr. H. Kajumbula – MBChB, M.Med (MAK) Senior Lecturer.
Dr. M.L. Joloba – MBChB., (MAK) M.Sc., Ph.D (CWRU) Senior Lecturer.
Dr. D. Kateete – BVM (MAK) M.Sc.
Dr. B.B. Asiimwe – BVM (MAK), PhD (Karolinska) M.Sc.
Dr. F. Bwanga – MBChB, (MAK) M.Med (MAK).
Dr. E.M.N. Sentongo – MBChB (MAK), Ph.D Lecturer
Dr. H. Sendagire – MBChB (MAK) M.Sc. Ph.D Lecturer
Assoc. Prof. G. Bimenya – B.Sc., M.Sc., Ph.D.

            Other Departments and units contributing to the course:

1.         Clinical Epidemiology Unit – Makerere University Medical School to take care of Research methods and biostatistics.
Dr. Charles Karamagi, Ph.D. – Director Makerere Clinical Epidemiology Unit.
Dr. Achilles Katamba, Ph.D.  - Biostatistics & Epidemiology

2.         Department of Health System Management – Makerere University School of Public Health to take care of Health Systems and Management.
Dr. George Pariyo – Senior Lecturer and Head, Department of Health Policy.

How to Apply
Application forms are available at 5th floor Senate building or online from the website for the School of Graduates Studies