The trillions of tiny organisms dwelling around us and within us, far too small to be visible to the naked eye, affect our lives in profound ways. Some are vital to the functioning of our bodies or to aspects of our economy such as food production; others cause destructive diseases in humans or in species of special importance to humans. Microbiologists study the structure, function and environmental importance of bacteria, yeasts and other fungi, algae, protozoa and viruses. Advances in microbiology have had great impact in areas such as agriculture, biotechnology, ecology, medicine and veterinary science.
Microbiology graduates pursue a wide range of careers and graduate study options. Many A.B. graduates combine their majors with another area of interest such as arts or languages, going on to careers in such areas as education or science-related business. B.S. graduates often enter careers in such industries as biotechnology, pharmacology, agriculture and the food industry. Graduates from both tracks are successful in applying to graduate programs in biological sciences or other fields.
You'll begin your study with foundation courses in biological sciences, chemistry, mathematics and physics. At the upper-division level, you'll study advanced general topics in the biological sciences, and you may also choose from such courses as microbial ecology, bacterial physiology and genetics, virology and bacterial diversity. You may choose to pursue an A.B. degree, giving you greater opportunity to choose courses outside your major, or a B.S. degree, providing more rigorous training in biological science.