Microbiology Major (B.S.) (Winter 2016-Current)

Effective Winter 2016-Current

May be elected as an interdepartmental major, supervised by the Microbiology Major Committee

Exclusions: Students who elect a major in Microbiology may not elect the following majors: Biology, General Biology; Cell and Molecular Biology; Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; Plant Biology; Biochemistry; Biomolecular Science; or Neuroscience.   They may also not elect a minor in Biology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Plant Biology; Chemistry; or Biochemistry.

Microbiology includes the study of viruses, algae, bacteria, protozoa, and fungi. Immunobiology is also included within the science of microbiology. A major in microbiology prepares students for graduate study in microbiology, biochemistry, agricultural science, and food science as well as for study in other areas of biology which emphasize cellular structures and their function. A bachelor"s degree in microbiology may qualify students for entry-level positions in medical, industrial, or governmental laboratories.

Students intending to go to graduate school should have at least two terms of research experience. These can appear as graded courses, UROP participation, or be independent of the graded curriculum. Most graduate school-bound students will have 1-2 graded research courses (2-4 credits/each) on record. Students intending to go to graduate school will need research experience as well as two terms of Calculus and two terms of Physics. Students intending to go to medical school will need to take two terms of Physics and CHEM 230.

Prerequisites to the Major

  • BIOLOGY 171, 172/174, and 173; or
    BIOLOGY 195 and 173
  • PHYSICS 125/127 and 126/128; or
    PHYSICS 135/136 and 235/236; or
    PHYSICS 140/141 and 240/241

    The PHYSICS 140/141 and 240/241 sequence is recommended for students interested in an Honors major and for those who anticipate graduate work in the field of microbiology.

  • CHEM 210/211 and 215/216;
  • Quantitative Analysis 1: One of MATH 115, 120, 175, 185, or 295
  • Quantitative Analysis 2: One of
    • BIOLOGY 202
    • PHYSICS 290 / BIOPHYS 290
    • MATH 116, 121, 156, 255, 176, 186, or 296
    • STATS 250; 400-level or above
    • BIOPHYS 290 / PHYSICS 290
    • EECS 203 or 280
    • EARTH 468
    • Any other course with a MATH 115 prerequisite chosen in consultation with a major advisor
    [Note: any course used to meet this requirement cannot also be used as a major elective, i.e., a course cannot “double count”.]

Requirements for the major

  1. Core:
    1. Microbiology: BIOLOGY 207.
    2. Genetics: BIOLOGY 305.
    3. Biochemistry. One of:  MCDB (BIOLOGY) 310, BIOLCHEM 415,  or CHEM 351
    4. Advanced laboratory: MCDB 306, 429, or BIOLCHEM 416.
  2. Upper-Level Requirements (minimum 19 credits).
    A minimum of eleven credits must be selected from Groups 1 and 2 which must include at least two courses from Group 1 and one course from Group 2. The remaining eight credits may be selected from Groups 1, 2, or 3.
    1. Group 1 — Microbial Genetics, Physiology, Cellular
      Biology, Diversity and Ecology
      (select at least two courses):
      • MCDB 401 (appropriate sections only), 415, 432, 437, 444, 489
      • EEB 315, 446, 468, 470
    2. Group 2 — Microbial Pathogenesis, General Virology & Immunology (select at least one course):
      • MICRBIOL 405, 415;
      • EPID 460;
      • MICRBIOL 440/IMMUNO 440 or MCDB 436 (only one of these will count toward the major).
    3. Group 3 - Advanced Electives. A maximum of eight credits from the courses listed below may be applied toward a Microbiology major.
      1. Advanced Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Cellular Biology:
        MCDB 427, 428
        MCDB 411 or CHEM 452.
      2. Ecology:
        EEB 476, EEB 483.
      3. Epidemiology:
        EPID 504, 505, 507 or 525
      4. Microbiology & Immunology:
        Any MICRBIOL course at the 500-level or higher (with approval of advisor).
      5. Mathematics:
        Any course with a MATH 116 prerequisite.
      6. Statistics:
        Any STATS course at the 400-level or above.
      7. Research:
        • MICRBIOL 399
        • EEB 400
        • MCDB 400 (maximum of 3 credits)
        • EPID 399 (2nd term)
        • IMTMED 499 (2nd term)

        A maximum of 3 credits of independent research can be applied to the major. A course must be taken for a minimum of two credits and completed in a single term to count as an elective course.

Other courses with permission of advisor.


Honors Plan

The Microbiology B.S. degree is the basis for the Honors degree in Microbiology. Students must elect two semesters of independent research, maintain a major GPA of 3.4, complete an Honors thesis and give a research presentation based on their Honors work. Prior to applying to the Microbiology Honors Program, students must identify a research mentor in one of the participating departments. Students may conduct Honors research with faculty in other units on the University of Michigan campus, but must have a formal co-sponsor relationship with a research track or tenure-track faculty in one of the participating departments. Students apply to the Honors Program in Microbiology by submitting a research proposal along with a letter from the research mentor indicating their willingness to sponsor the student's research.


Using non-LSA coursework in the Microbiology major

Epidemiology (EPID) courses are offered under the School of Public Health. Microbiology & Immunology (MICRBIOL) courses are offered by the Medical School. These and any other external courses not cross-listed through an LSA department (including some BIOLCHEM offerings) count as non-LSA course work (see “non-LSA coursework” on the LSA website). Majors may elect 20 credits of non-LSA course work in the minimum 120 required for an A.B. or B.S. degree. See an advisor with questions about your non-LSA elections


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