Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science | College of Arts and Science

What is Microbiology?

Microbiologists are concerned with forms of life that are very small, those that are microscopic or sub-microscopic in size. They study bacteria, archaea, yeasts, molds, viruses, and protozoa, looking at how they may be identified, how they cause disease, and how they are beneficial to the ecosystem.

Microbiology is a field whose challenges range from understanding virulence mechanisms of infectious bacteria and the threat of increasing antibiotic resistance to elucidating bacterial toxin structures to facilitate development of new treatments; from utilizing microorganisms to clean up environmentally devastating oil spills and toxic waste to developing microorganisms as alternative biofuels; from applying biotechnology to produce human insulin and other therapeutic proteins in yeast to constructing the next generation of vaccine-producing cells; from exploiting virus replication mechanisms to advance cancer biology research to developing computational tools to support the genomics 'revolution'.

What are the features of Miami’s program?

Interdisciplinary approach

Miami's Microbiology program has strong ties with Miami's other life science programs (Biology, Zoology and Botany). Because all of the life sciences are located in the same building, Pearson Hall, the departments have cross-disciplinary areas of study and research. This gives a disciplinary depth and a student learning environment typically found only in much larger research universities.

Undergraduate participation in research

All faculty members are working on research projects and regularly publish articles in scientific journals. Undergraduate students are encouraged to get laboratory experience working with faculty and graduate students on research projects.

A unique offering

Miami is one of only two state-assisted institutions in Ohio offering an undergraduate degree in microbiology.

Top-notch facilities

The Department of Microbiology is located in Pearson Hall, a modern biological sciences building boasting excellent research facilities and equipment, including several newly renovated research labs and the relocated Center for Bioinformatics and Functional Genomics (CBFG). The CBFG is complete with a wide array of instruments needed for molecular biology, microarray, and DNA sequencing. Bioinformatics, the development and use of computational tools in the analysis of genomic and proteomic data, is well supported within the department. It is equipped with graphic workstations for visualizations, a cluster computer, and a server for rapid genomic and metagenomic analysis. In addition, the department has access to the Center for Advanced Microscopy and Imaging (CAMI) facilities, which includes transmission and scanning electron microscopes as well as laser scanning confocal systems. Modern animal care facilities are located adjacent to Pearson Hall.

Related degree program

Miami also offers the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in medical laboratory science, directed through the microbiology department. The program is for students who plan to be certified as medical laboratory scientists or as medical technologists.

What are the special admission requirements, if any?

There are no additional admission requirements for this program.

What courses would I take?

The program in microbiology includes courses in general microbiology, pathogenic (disease-related) microbiology, immunology (dealing with immunity to disease), microbial ecology (environmentally related microbiology), virology, genetics (including recombinant DNA technology), microbial physiology, bioinformatics, chemistry, mathematics, and physics. Laboratories are an essential part of the science courses.

The Bachelor of Arts degree provides disciplinary breadth for pre-professional students and student interested in an entry-level career in microbiology, the life or health sciences, or environmental sciences. The program consists of a set of required core courses and of focus groups from which students chose elective courses to provide breadth—health related, non-health related, and advanced fundamentals. In general, the Bachelor of Arts degree allows more breadth outside of the natural sciences. All Global Miami Plan Foundation and College of Arts and Science requirements apply to this degree.

The Bachelor of Science degree provides more in-depth study, particularly in preparation for pursuit of a graduate degree in microbiology and related fields, and careers in research. As part of this preparation, students are required to conduct independent research leading to public presentation of their results. The program consists of a larger set of required core courses and of focus groups from which students chose elective courses to provide depth—lecture/lab courses, research courses, and additional disciplinary courses. Although more science courses are required, several of the College of Arts and Science requirements are waived.

What can I do with this major?

A major in microbiology prepares students for a career in almost any field in medicine and biology. Microbiologists work in every sector of the economy: universities, hospitals, government agencies, industry, the Peace Corps, and NASA. Our recent graduates report job titles of staff microbiologist, lab technician, research assistant, and technical sales representative.

Many of Miami's microbiology graduates go on to graduate or professional school each year. Microbiology, immunology, ecology, molecular biology, medical microbiology, and medical, dental, and veterinary school are the usual choices. The microbiology major at Miami meets most schools' requirements, but advisers are available to assist you in meeting the criteria needed to apply. Other students go to business school, law school, or into education.

Who can I contact for more information?

Department of Microbiology
32 Pearson Hall
Oxford, OH 45056