Information compiled by the GradSchools.com team - last updated December 2010
Studying in the field
The field of microbiology is concerned with microscopic organisms and their effects on living matter and the environment. Microbiologists "investigate the growth, structure, development, and other characteristics of microscopic organisms, such as bacteria, algae, or fungi. Includes medical microbiologists who study the relationship between organisms and disease or the effects of antibiotics on microorganisms." (careersteppingstones.com/). Today, more than ever, as modern medicine continues to manipulate the building blocks of life, biologists realize their ethical and moral responsibility to both society and the environment.
Graduate Microbiology degrees are offered at the Masters and PhD levels. Recommended undergraduate prerequisites include: chemistry, physics, mathematics, and botany or zoology. Microbiology program curriculums generally include course topics such as: contemporary molecular biology, molecular and cellular immunology, bacterial and yeast genetics, and bacterial pathogenesis. Specializations of study may include: medical and veterinary microbiology, soil microbiology, preventive medicine, immunology, or food microbiology. Programs are offered through both thesis and non-thesis options. Off-campus research opportunities include the National Animal Disease Center (NADC) and other national research facilities. To stay abreast of current issues and advances in the field, prospective microbiologists can obtain membership to the American Society for Microbiology (ASM). Depending on your area of interest, research multiple programs to determine which program will fit your needs.
Job opportunities in the field
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, industries that employ microbiology professionals are: Drug manufacturing; educational services; federal government; health services; and state and local government, except education and health. The U.S. Department of Labor also expects a healthy job market for microbiologists, especially those with a bachelor's or master's degree, in the areas of sales,marketing, and research management. Visit the sites of our sponsoring programs for more specific information and to learn about particular programs and areas of focus.