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Bachelor of Science in Biology: Concentration in Microbiology

Microbiology is a broad science encompassing the study of bacteria, algae, protozoa, fungi, and viruses in terms of their ecology, biochemistry, physiology, genetics, and role in disease processes. Of particular interest is the use of microbes in industrial applications for the production of foods and natural products, such as vitamins, as well as their rapidly expanding role in biotechnology and genetic engineering studies. A thorough understanding of microorganisms requires a broad educational background, not only in microbiology, but also in chemistry, physics, mathematics, and other areas of biology. Within the undergraduate program, the student may choose to emphasize either the areas of general microbiology or medical microbiology. At the completion of the appropriate coursework, individuals are qualified to enter laboratory positions in private industry or government, such as those listed under Career Options.

Completion of the Bachelor of Science in Biology with a concentration in Microbiology may also allow the student to continue into more specialized and in-depth advanced study leading to the Master of Arts degree in Biology with a concentration in Microbiology. The breadth of interests and expertise of the faculty includes environmental microbiology, microbial genetics, genetic engineering, immunology and immunochemistry, medical microbiology, mycology, protozoology, virology and microbia physiology, and biochemistry. Therefore, a wide variety of research areas is available for investigation by students. Opportunities provided by the additional educational training of the master's degree include those listed under "Career Options," various supervisory positions, and entry into Ph.D. programs at other universities. In the San Francisco Bay Area our most recent graduates have been hired as quality control microbiologists or as research technicians and associates in hospitals, government laboratories, and private industry, including those specializing in genetic engineering. It is possible for a student majoring in microbiology to pursue a career in medical technology, but additional coursework is required, as well as completion of a one-year postgraduate training program in an approved laboratory. Consult the microbiology advisor to design the appropriate course plan for clinical science.

The programs in Microbiology have specific requirements for lower-division and upper-division core courses. Entering students are advised to consult with the Microbiology faculty advisor before selecting their coursework. In general, lower-division courses may be taken at community colleges.

Lower-Division Requirements 35-36 UNITS
BIO 230
Introductory Biology I
BIO 240
Introductory Biology II
CHEM 115
General Chemistry I
CHEM 215/216
General Chemistry II (3/2)
MATH 226
Calculus I
PHYS 111/112
General Physics I and Lab (3/1)
PHYS 121/122
General Physics II and Lab (3/1)
Units selected from the following:
MATH 124
Elementary Statistics
MATH 227
Calculus II
MATH 228
Calculus III
CSC 210
Introduction to Computer Programming
BIO 458
Total lower-division requirements
Upper-Division Requirements (33 units)
BIO 355
BIO 401/402
General Microbiology and Lab (3/2)
BIO 442/443
Microbial Physiology and Lab (3/2)
CHEM 233/335
Organic Chemistry I and II (3/3)
CHEM 340 or
Biochemistry I or
CHEM 349
General Biochemistry
Electives in Microbiology, including at least two laboratory courses with approval of an advisor (BIOL 411- BIOL 454)
Total upper-division requirements
Total for major

The Department of Biology is terminating its Clinicial Science degree and recommends students interested in applying to Clinical Science Programs to complete a B.S. in Biology, Concentration in Microbiology program that has been modified to meet the requirements for Clinical Science Programs.

Bachelor of Science in Biology: Concentration in Microbiology for students interested in Clinical Science

For students interested in applying to Clinical Science programs, it is recommended that they complete the B.S. in Biology:  Concentration in Microbiology which has been modified to meet most of the requirements for the discontinued Clinical Science degree (Clinical Science Track).  Please meet with your Microbiology Major Advisor to discuss the specifics of this modified degree.


Career Options:

  • Admission to graduate programs in microbiology, virology, cell biology, immunology, molecular biology
  • Admission to medical, dental, and veterinary schools
  • Clinical microbiologist
  • Food and drug analyst
  • Food microbiologist
  • Industrial microbiologist
  • Public health administrator
  • Public health biologist
  • Public health chemist
  • Genetic engineering technician
  • Quality control microbiologist
  • Research laboratory technician
  • Research associate
  • Sanitary microbiologist
  • Environmental microbiologist
  • Biotechnologist
  • High school and college teaching

B.S. in Biology:  Concentration in Microbiology Degree Description (pdf)

Recommended 4-year course plan for B.S. in Biology, Concentration in Microbiology

Recommended 4-year course plan for B.S. in Biology, Concentration in Microbiology-Clinical Science track


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