The department has an outstanding, internationally recognized faculty supported by excellent facilities for both teaching and research. It is housed in a complex that includes classrooms, a library, a computing lab, and research laboratories. In addition to stimulating and challenging course work, students also have unique opportunities to jump-start their careers by participating in cutting edge research projects under faculty guidance, serving as undergraduate teaching assistants, doing internships, and participating in student clubs.
Microbiology is the study of the biology of microscopic organisms – viruses, bacteria, algae, fungi, slime molds, and protozoa. The methods used to study and manipulate these minute and mostly unicellular organisms differ from those used in most other biological investigations. Recombinant DNA technology uses microorganisms, particularly bacteria and viruses, to amplify DNA sequences and generate the encoded products. Moving genes from one microorganism to another, or amplifying them within microorganisms, permits application of microbial skills to solve medical and environmental problems.
Microbiologists pursue careers in many fields, including agricultural, environmental, food, and industrial microbiology; public health; resource management; basic research; education; and pharmaceuticals. Jobs in all of these fields are available at the BS level as well as the MS and PhD levels (see our guide for applying to graduate schools). The Microbiology major also incorporates the requirements expected for admission to medical, dental, and other health-professional schools, and to graduate schools in microbiology, molecular biology, biochemistry, and related disciplines.