Microbiology is the study of organisms, many of which are too small to be seen with the naked eye, including fungi, protists, and bacteria, as well as acellular agents such as viruses and prions. Microbiology emerged as a distinct science in the late nineteenth century, with the discovery that microorganisms are the cause of many infectious diseases, and that they play essential roles in the ecosystem and in industrial processes. Much work in this field is directed toward the cure, control, or eradication of disease in humans and animals. Genetically engineered microorganisms can also be used for the production of improved foods and new medicines, as well as for removing toxic wastes and spills from the environment. More recently, some microbes have received considerable attention as potential agents of bioterrorism and biowarfare, and consequently much work is being done to counter such threats.

Students completing the undergraduate Microbiology degree program acquire knowledge and laboratory skills in the structure, physiology, genetics, pathogenicity, ecology, and taxonomy of microorganisms. Required courses in biological sciences, chemistry, physics, and mathematics support the major. Ample opportunities exist for undergraduates to obtain laboratory research experience and many student researchers have presented at conferences and have been awarded research grants or fellowships.

A Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology positions graduates well for continued education in a professional or graduate degree program or for employment in the field.

Learning Outcomes

  • Core Knowledge: Students will apply and integrate the fundamentals of chemistry, microbial biology, and biochemistry and key principles from the following five core areas of the discipline: immunology, bacteriology, virology, microbial physiology, and microbial genetics.
  • Relevance/Impact: Students will demonstrate an awareness of issues at the forefront of the discipline and will evaluate the important interaction between microbes and society, from their beneficial use in industrial, biotechnological, and clinical applications to their role as etiologic agents of infectious disease in humans and animals. 
  • Communication Skills: Students will assimilate factual and conceptual information and effectively communicate disciplinary knowledge to both science literate and general audiences through written or verbal presentations.
  • Laboratory Skills: Students will demonstrate proficiency using microbiological and immunological laboratory techniques employed in clinical, industrial, and research laboratories, and will be able to explain the principles behind the procedures, employ mathematical computations, properly execute the procedures, interpret the results correctly, and analyze the results to draw a conclusion.

Potential Occupations

The curriculum meets the requirements for entrance into most professional programs in veterinary and human medicine, and is ideal preparation for students desiring a career as a veterinarian, physician, physician assistant, pharmacist, medical laboratory scientist, optometrist, or dentist. The degree also prepares students for graduate (PhD or MS) studies in various biological sciences, and also provides students with the knowledge and skills to go directly into a career. Career opportunities will continue to grow because microbiology is at the center of complex issues facing our world today, as well as at the forefront of incredible innovation and development. Employment opportunities exist in biotechnology (pharmaceutical, food, beverage, and medical device industries); government public health agencies (CDC, FDA, and state and municipal health departments); and primary research institutions, such as universities.  

For more information please visit the Department of Microbiology.  

Effective Fall 2015

Freshman
AUCCCredits
CHEM 111General Chemistry I (GT-SC2)3A4
CHEM 112General Chemistry Lab I (GT-SC1)3A1
CHEM 113General Chemistry II 3
CHEM 114General Chemistry Lab II 1
CO 150College Composition (GT-CO2)1A3
LIFE 102Attributes of Living Systems (GT-SC1)3A4
Select one from the following: 4
Calculus for Biological Scientists I (GT-MA1)1B 
Calculus for Physical Scientists I (GT-MA1)1B 
Arts and Humanities3B3
Biology Elective1 3
Microbiology Elective2 2
Elective 3
 Total Credits 31
Sophomore
 
CHEM 341Modern Organic Chemistry I 3
CHEM 343Modern Organic Chemistry II 3
CHEM 344Modern Organic Chemistry Laboratory 2
MIP 300General Microbiology 3
MIP 302General Microbiology Laboratory 2
MIP 342Immunology 4
Select one from the following: 3
Introduction to Statistical Methods  
Introduction to Biostatistics  
Social and Behavioral Sciences3C3
Historical Perspectives3D3
Microbiology Elective2 3
Elective 3
 Total Credits 32
Junior
 
BC 351Principles of Biochemistry 4
Select one group from the following: 10
Group A:
  
General Physics I (GT-SC1)3A 
General Physics II (GT-SC1)3A 
Group B:
  
Physics for Scientists and Engineers I (GT-SC1)3A 
Physics for Scientists and Engineers II (GT-SC1)3A 
Advanced Writing 23
Global and Cultural Awareness3E3
Microbiology Elective2 2
Electives 6
 Total Credits 28
Senior
 
MIP 351Medical Bacteriology 3
Select one course from the following: 2-3
Capstone in Microbiology: Medical Microbiology4C 
Capstone in Microbiology: Biotechnology4C 
Capstone in Microbiology: Immunology4C 
Capstone in Microbiology: Microbial Diversity/Ecology4C 
Capstone in Microbiology: Microbial Genetics4C 
Capstone in Microbiology: Virology4C 
Capstone in Microbiology: Service Learning4C 
Research4C 
MIP 420Medical and Molecular Virology4A4
MIP 443Microbial Physiology4A4
MIP 450Microbial Genetics 3
Arts and Humanities3B3
Microbiology Electives2 5
Electives3 4-5
 Total Credits 29
 Program Total Credits: 120
1

Select three credits from approved list of Biology Electives in department.

2

Select from approved list of Microbiology Electives in department. Two chosen courses must be formal MIP courses with a laboratory component.

3

Select enough elective credits to bring the program total to a minimum of 120 credits, of which at least 42 must be upper-division (300- to 400-level).

 Distinctive Requirements for Degree Program
To prepare for first semester: 
The curriculum for the Microbiology major assumes students enter college prepared to take calculus. Entering students who are not prepared to take calculus will need to fulfill pre-calculus requirements in the first semester. Those pre-calculus requirements are listed as benchmark courses in Freshman Semester 1 below. LIFE 102 requires high school chemistry as a prerequisite; CHEM 111 requires Algebra II as a prerequisite (this prerequisite is met by having Algebra II by test credit, transfer credit, or placement out of MATH 117 and MATH 118 on Math Placement Exam.
 

Freshman
Semester 1CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
CHEM 111General Chemistry I (GT-SC2)  3A4
CHEM 112General Chemistry Lab I (GT-SC1)  3A1
LIFE 102Attributes of Living Systems (GT-SC1) X3A4
CO 150College Composition (GT-CO2)  1A3
Electives   3
MATH 124, MATH 125, MATH 126 must be completed by the end of Semester 1, if necessary.X   
 Total Credits   15
Semester 2CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
CHEM 113General Chemistry IIX  3
CHEM 114General Chemistry Lab IIX  1
Select one course from the following:   4
Calculus for Biological Scientists I (GT-MA1) X1B 
Calculus for Physical Scientists I (GT-MA1)  1B 
Arts and Humanities  3B3
Biology Elective (See Department List)   3
Microbiology Elective (See Department List)   2
LIFE 102 must be completed by the end of Semester 2.X   
 Total Credits   16
Sophomore
Semester 3CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
CHEM 341Modern Organic Chemistry IX  3
MIP 300General MicrobiologyX  3
MIP 302General Microbiology LaboratoryX  2
Select one course from the following:   3
Introduction to Statistical Methods X  
Introduction to Biostatistics    
Social and Behavioral Sciences  3C3
Electives   3
 Total Credits   17
Semester 4CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
CHEM 343Modern Organic Chemistry IIX  3
CHEM 344Modern Organic Chemistry Laboratory   2
MIP 342Immunology   4
Historical Perspectives  3D3
Microbiology Elective with Lab (See Department List)   3
MIP 343 is Recommended to fulfill the Microbiology Elective Lab Requirement. X  
CO 150 must be completed by the end of Semester 4.X   
 Total Credits   15
Junior
Semester 5CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
BC 351Principles of BiochemistryX  4
Select one course from the following:   5
General Physics I (GT-SC1)XX3A 
Physics for Scientists and Engineers I (GT-SC1)X 3A 
Global and Cultural Awareness  3E3
Electives   3
 Total Credits   15
Semester 6CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
Select one course from the following:   5
General Physics II (GT-SC1)XX3A 
Physics for Scientists and Engineers II (GT-SC1)X 3A 
Advanced Writing  23
Microbiology Elective with Lab (See Department List)   2
Electives   3
MIP 315 is Recommended to fulfill the Microbiology Elective Requirement. X  
 Total Credits   13
Senior
Semester 7CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
MIP 420Medical and Molecular VirologyX 4A4
MIP 450Microbial GeneticsX  3
Select one AUCC 4C course from the following:  4C2
Capstone in Microbiology: Medical Microbiology  4C 
Capstone in Microbiology: Biotechnology  4C 
Capstone in Microbiology: Immunology  4C 
Capstone in Microbiology: Microbial Diversity/Ecology  4C 
Capstone in Microbiology: Microbial Genetics  4C 
Capstone in Microbiology: Virology  4C 
Capstone in Microbiology: Service Learning  4C 
Research  4C 
Arts and Humanities  3B3
Electives   2
 Total Credits   14
Semester 8CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
MIP 351Medical BacteriologyX 4B3
MIP 443Microbial PhysiologyX 4A4
Microbiology Elective with Lab (See Department List)X  5
ElectivesX  3
The benchmark courses for the 8th semester are the remaining courses in the entire program of study.X   
 Total Credits   15
 Program Total Credits:   120