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. 

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 Pathobiology, and university total credit hour and writing intensive class requirements.

The following courses are required for the microbiology major.  All courses other than free electives must be taken for a letter grade except V_PBIO 2950, which is graded Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory. V_PBIO 2950H is letter grade only.

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
MICROB 3200Medical Microbiology and Immunology4
V_PBIO 3345Fundamentals of Parasitology3
or V_PBIO 3554 Introduction to Virology
V_PBIO 3551Introduction to Immunology I3
V_PBIO 3600Bacterial Genetics and Genomics3
V_PBIO 4970Capstone Undergraduate Research in Microbiology 3
or V_PBIO 4980 Capstone Senior Seminar
V_PBIO 4970HHonors Capstone Undergraduate Research in Microbiology 3
Microbiology Electives (15 credit hours selected from the following):
ANTHRO 3560WPlagues and Peoples - Writing Intensive3
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
P_HLTH 3450Introduction to Epidemiology 3
or P_HLTH 3760 Infectious Disease and Public Health Approaches
PLNT_SCI 4500Biology and Pathogenesis of Plant-Associated Microbes4
V_PBIO 2950Undergraduate Research in Microbiology 1-3
V_PBIO 2950HHonors Undergraduate Research in Microbiology1-3
V_PBIO 3345Fundamentals of Parasitology *3
V_PBIO 3554Introduction to Virology *3
V_PBIO 3500WIssues in Vector-borne and Emerging Infectious Diseases - Writing Intensive3
V_PBIO 3557Microbial Pathogenesis I3
V_PBIO 3560Microbial Physiology3
V_PBIO 3650Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology3
V_PBIO 3658Public Health Microbiology3
V_PBIO 3700Medical and Veterinary Entomology3
V_PBIO 3900WBeneficial Microbes - Writing Intensive3
V_PBIO 4600WHost-Associated Microbiomes in Health and Disease - Writing Intensive3
V_PBIO 4950Advanced Undergraduate Research in Microbiology **1-3
V_PBIO 4950HHonors Advanced Undergraduate Research in Microbiology1-3
*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 - Writing Intensive
            HLTH_SCI 4200W Introduction to The Research Process and Evidence Base - Writing Intensive 
            V_PBIO 3500W Issues in Vector-borne and Emerging Infectious Diseases - Writing Intensive
            V_PBIO 3900W Beneficial Microbes - Writing Intensive
            V_PBIO 4600W Host-Associated Microbiomes in Health and Disease - Writing Intensive

  • 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 Requirements6Elective3
Elective3Gen Ed Requirement3
 Major Elective3
 16 14
Third Year
V_PBIO 35513BIOCHM 36303
V_PBIO 3345 (or Major Elective)3V_PBIO 36003
Gen Ed Requirement6V_PBIO 3554 (or Major Elective)3
 Gen Ed Requirement3
 15 15
Fourth Year
PHYSCS 12104PHYSCS 12204
Major Elective6V_PBIO 4970 or 49803
Elective6Major Elective3
 16 16
Total Credits: 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. 

MU students can request a degree audit by logging in to myDegreePlanner. Students may also access myDegreePlanner via myZou, in the Student Center, click on the Academic Progress Tile, then select Request Degree Audit. 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 are considering a change of major or are exploring multiple majors, schedule an appointment with an advisor in the Discovery Center by calling (573)884-9700 or through MU Connect Discovery Center service in you success network.

  • If you have decided on a major, visit an academic advisor in the School or College that you are interested in to discuss the process of declaring the major

  • If you would like to learn more about your career interests, abilities, values and talents, visit the MU Career 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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