Academic and Career Horizons

Microbiology Bachelor of Science
Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology
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Does unlocking the secrets of life excite you? Do you wish to understand how microbes affect human health? Have you ever wondered how microorganisms can be used to clean up pollution and toxic wastes? Would you like to study the human immune system, or help develop vaccines against infectious disease? Does the possibility of finding life on other planets interest you? Do you wonder how microorganisms can be used to improve foods and beverages, develop new medicines, or enhance farm crops? If your answers are "yes" then a major in Microbiology may be the choice for you.

Microbiology is the study of organisms most of which are too small to be seen with the naked eye, including bacteria, viruses, algae, protozoa, and fungi. Microbiology emerged as a distinct science in the late nineteenth century, with the discovery that microorganisms are the cause of many infectious diseases, and that they play essential roles in the ecosystem and in industrial processes. Much work in this field is directed toward the cure, control, or eradication of disease in humans and animals. Recent research has focused upon the use of genetically modified microorganisms for the production of improved foods and new medicines as well as for removing toxic waste and spills from the environment. More recently, some microbes have received considerable attention as potential agents of bioterrorism and biowarfare, and consequently, much work is being done to counter such threats.

Microbiology majors acquire knowledge and laboratory skill in the structure, physiology, genetics, pathogenicity, ecology, taxonomy, and culture of microorganisms. Required courses in biological sciences, chemistry, physics, and mathematics support the major. Students can specialize in human and animal infectious diseases, immunology, bacteriology, virology, molecular genetics, and environmental and industrial processes. Microbiology is an ideal major for students who are preparing for professional veterinary or human medical programs or graduate studies in various biological sciences. Students may also elect to complete coursework in several interdisciplinary studies programs, including Biotechnology, Food Science/Safety, and Molecular Biology.

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* Curiosity about the origins, structure, and behavior of microbial life
* Understanding of biology, physics, chemistry, biochemistry, and mathematics
* Knowledge of microbial genetics, microbial physiology, molecular biology, bacteriology, virology and immunology
* Knowledge and practice in laboratory techniques and procedures

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Career opportunities in microbiology will continue to grow due to expansion of industrial biotechnology, greater public demand for improved medical care, increasing public dependence on new products of microbiological systems, an increasing concern for the impact of industrial and accidental pollution of soil and water, and a renewed awareness of the potential threat of microbes as weapons of mass destruction and bioterrorism agents.

Academic programs in microbiology prepare students for employment in research and production laboratories operated by government agencies (such as the CDC, FDA, public health departments, and the military), industry (such as biotechnology pharmaceutical food, beverage, and medical device manufacturers), or private foundations. Additional opportunities are available in technical sales and in university research and teaching. The level of education and the area of specialization determine employment opportunities. Part time laboratory work, internships, and cooperative education opportunities are highly recommended and will enhance a graduate’s entry into permanent full time employment. Available career opportunities exist in many areas, including: basic research in bacteriology, virology, mycology (study of fungi), immunology, microbial genetics, microbial physiology, environmental microbiology, bioremediation, and biodefense; product research and development, quality control and bioprocess development; and diagnostic microbiology.


Students who complete the B.S. degree in microbiology are eligible to enter a 12-month medical technology internship at any hospital accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). Students are awarded a certificate in medical technology by the hospital at the conclusion of the internship and, upon successful completion of a national board examination, are certified to practice as professional clinical laboratory scientists.

Students who wish to enter a medical technology program should consult the key adviser in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology for assistance in selection of elective courses and in selecting and applying for an internship program

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* Microbiology Student Association (MSA) http://www.cvmbs.colostate.edu/mip/micro_student/index.htm
* CVMBS (College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences) College Council
* Premedica
* Pre-Vet Club

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Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology
B116 Microbiology Facility
1682 Campus Delivery
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1682
* Academic and career advising for majors

Center for Advising and Student Achievement (CASA)
TILT Building
801 Oval Drive
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1033
* Academic advising/Major exploration

Career Center
120 Lory Student Center
Fort Collins, CO 80523
* Major and career exploration/Job search information

Admissions and Undergraduate Recruitment
Ammons Hall
711 Oval Drive
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523
* Admission applications/University visits and tours

General Catalog Online

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