BS in Microbiology

Degree Program Description

From the Greek words mikros (small), bios (life), and logos (science), microbiology is the branch of science that studies microscopic forms of life, including bacteria, viruses, algae, fungi, protozoa, and parasites. Although most commonly thought of as causing infection and disease, microorganisms are often beneficial, with many uses in the pharmaceutical, biotech, food, and agricultural industries. A bachelor of science (BS) in microbiology provides direct entry into a number of employment opportunities in the private sector with medical, animal health, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology-based companies and with government laboratories such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health, and the United States Department of Agriculture. A degree in microbiology provides a strong science background which can be beneficial for specialization in such diverse careers as journalism (science and public health reporting) and law (biotech, environmental, medical, and patent law).  This degree also provides excellent preparation for professional schools (medical, veterinary, dental, and nursing) and for admission to masters and PhD degree programs in numerous areas of study.

The faculty in the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology has designed a comprehensive and challenging curriculum for this degree program. Subject matter to be covered includes microbial structure and physiology, genetics and genomics, pathogenic mechanisms, beneficial microbes, and the immune response.  Supporting courses from other departments include mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, and biochemistry. Numerous opportunities for undergraduate research are available.  The microbiology courses are taught by faculty whose areas of expertise include bacteriology, immunology, parasitology, and virology.  

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Major Program Requirements

To earn a bachelor’s degree in microbiology, all undergraduate students must complete the university’s general education requirements, degree specific requirements set by the Department of Veterinary Pathology, and university total credit hour and writing intensive class requirements.

The following courses are required for the microbiology major.  All courses must be taken for a letter grade (satisfactory/unsatisfactory grades will not count toward the major).  A grade of C- or higher is required for each class and an overall GPA of 2.0 for these courses is also required.

Required Courses
PHYSCS 1210College Physics I4-5
or PHYSCS 2750 University Physics I
PHYSCS 1220College Physics II4
or PHYSCS 2760 University Physics II
BIO_SC 1500Introduction to Biological Systems with Laboratory5
MATH 1400Calculus for Social and Life Sciences I3
CHEM 1320College Chemistry I4
CHEM 1330College Chemistry II4
CHEM 2100Organic Chemistry I3
CHEM 2110
CHEM 2130
Organic Chemistry II
and Organic Laboratory I
BIOCHM 3630General Biochemistry3
or BIOCHM 4270 Biochemistry
V_PBIO 2001Fundamentals of Microbiology5
or BIO_SC 3750
BIO_SC 3760
General Microbiology
and Microbiology Laboratory
V_PBIO 3551Introduction to Immunology I3
V_PBIO 3554Introduction to Virology (or (V_PBIO 3345:Fundamentals of Parasitology))3
V_PBIO 3600Bacterial Genetics and Genomics
V_PBIO 4970Microbiology Undergraduate Research 3
or V_PBIO 4980
Capstone Senior Seminar
MICROB 3200Medical Microbiology and Immunology4
Microbiology Electives (15 credit hours selected from the following):
BIOCHM 4272Biochemistry3
BIO_SC 2300Introduction to Cell Biology4
BIO_SC 4976Molecular Biology3
ENV_SC 4312Environmental Soil Microbiology3
F_S 2172Elements of Food Microbiology3
F_S 4370Food Microbiology3
F_S 4375Food Microbiology Laboratory2
MICROB 4304Immunology3
V_PBIO 3557Microbial Pathogenesis I3
V_PBIO 3558Microbial Pathogenesis II3
V_PBIO 3700Medical and Veterinary Entomology
V_PBIO 3560Microbial Physiology3
V_PBIO 3658Public Health Microbiology3
V_PBIO 3345Fundamentals of Parasitology*
V_PBIO 3554Introduction to Virology (*)3
V_PBIO 3650Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology3
V_PBIO 3950WCurrent Topics in Emerging Infectious Diseases
V_PBIO 3900WBeneficial Microbes
V_PBIO 4950Undergraduate Research**
*One of these 2 courses must be taken as a major requirement; the other can be taken as a major elective.
**Can be repeated for a maximum of 6 credit hours.

If all degree requirements are met, microbiology majors who enroll in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine prior to receiving their baccalaureate degree will be eligible to receive the BSM degree at the end of their second year in the professional curriculum. The following course substitutions for required core courses will be accepted:

The following courses will be accepted as major electives:

University Requirements for Graduation

  • Satisfactory completion (grade of C- or better) of a 3 credit upper division writing intensive class in the microbiology major.  Acceptable classes are:

            ANTHRO 3560W Plagues and Peoples
            HLTH_SCI 3900W Introduction to the Research Process and Evidence Base    
             V_PBIO 3950W Current Topics in Emerging Infectious Disease      
             V_PBIO 3900W Beneficial Microbes

  • Additional electives to meet the 120 credit hour minimum for graduation.  These electives can be taken using the satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading system if in compliance with university academic policies.

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Semester Plan

First Year
ENGLSH 10003V_PBIO 20015
CHEM 13204CHEM 13304
MATH 11003MATH 1400 or 15003
BIO_SC 15005Gen Ed Requirements3
 15 15
Second Year
CHEM 21003CHEM 21103
MICROB 32004CHEM 21302
Gen Ed Requirements6Elective1-3
Elective3Gen Ed Requirement6
 Major Elective3
 16 15-17
Third Year
PHYSCS 12104PHYSCS 12204
V_PBIO 35513Major Elective6
BIOCHM 36303Elective3
Elective3Gen Ed Requirement3
 13 16
Fourth Year
V_PBIO 4950 or V_PBIO 49803V_PBIO 36003
Major Elective3V_PBIO 4970 or Major Elective3
V_PBIO 35543Gen Ed Requirement3
Gen Ed Requirement3Elective6
 15 15
Total Credits: 120-122

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Degree Audits

The degree audit is an automated report reflecting a student’s academic progress toward the completion of a degree.  Degree Audits are not available for all programs; however, please consult with the appropriate college or school for audit information.

MU students can request a degree audit by logging in to myDegreePlanner.  Students may also access myDegreePlanner via myZou, in the Student Center, by clicking on the Request Degree Audit link. The audit automatically pulls in the student’s MU course work, transfer courses and courses in progress.  This is available to current students, admitted students, and those who last attended less than three terms ago.

Past MU students can request a degree audit by contacting the Academic Advising Unit of the division in which they were last enrolled at MU. For contact information, go to

Prospective students, can access a preliminary MU degree audit via Information on the college credits already earned will have to be manually entered before it can be evaluated against current degree requirements.

For additional details on degree audits, go to

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Major and Career Exploration

The University of Missouri has many resources to assist you in exploring majors and career possibilities.  For guidance, visit the Majors and Careers website or view specific resources below.

  • If you would like to learn more about your career interests, abilities, values and talents, visit the MU Career Center in the lower level of the Student Success Center.  No appointment is necessary to explore career options with one of our staff members.

For additional major and career exploration resources, visit Major & Career Exploration in the catalog.

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