Microbiology (also offered at Griffin) - B.S.

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About the Degree: 

The Department of Microbiology offers courses in general microbiology, prokaryotic biology, pathogenic microbiology, bacterial genetics, environmental microbiology and biotechnology. Although a laboratory experience is included with some of these courses, the department also provides intensive laboratory courses.


What you will learn: 

Students in our program are broadly trained in biological, chemical and physical sciences. Following introductory courses in biology and chemistry, students explore advanced topics in the physiology, genetics, pathogenesis and ecology of microorganisms. As you browse our site you will have the opportunity to discover the quality and diversity of our program. You will find out about our degree program, faculty, staff, students, research opportunities, seminar series, and other information of interest. We currently have about 220 undergraduate majors in the department. Many of our graduating students go on to medical, dental, pharmacy or graduate school at some of the most prestigious professional and graduate schools in the nation.

Beyond the Classroom

General Research Information: 

Students in the program are not required to conduct undergraduate research but are encouraged to do so. There are opportunities for students to participate in undergraduate research within the Microbiology Department or within other departments on campus.


High Salary: 
Low Salary: 
Median Salary: 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, microbiologists held about 20,100 jobs in 2012. Most microbiologists work in laboratories. Industries that employed the most microbiologists were: pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing (23%); research and development in physical, engineering and life sciences (23%); federal government, excluding postal service (14%); state and local government, excluding education and hospitals (11%); and colleges, universities and professional schools (9%).  Possible employers include Anheuser-Busch, Bio-Rad, Centers for Disease Control, Eli Lilly, Environmental Protection Agency, Food and Drug Administration, GA Bureau of Investigation, GA Department of Natural Resources, GA State Department of Health, Genecor, Genentech, Johnson & Johnson, Kraft Foods, Lancaster Laboratories, Merial, Monsanto, New England Biolabs, Pfizer and United States Department of Agriculture.

Famous Alumni: 
Dr. Cheryl Maier, M.D, Ph.D. (B.S., 2004)

Chief Resident in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine

Dr. Frank Dorsey, Ph.D. (B.S., 1997)

Senior Research Scientist at Eli Lilly and Company in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Dr. David Schneider, Ph.D. (B.S., 1998)

 Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at the University of Alabama-Birmingham School of Medicine where he studies the regulation of RNA polymerase I activity in eukaryotes.

Possible Job Titles: 

The career opportunities to choose from as a microbiologist will depend on the level of education and training you receive. A baccalaureate degree in microbiology will help you qualify for many technical, research, and clinical positions.

Some of these positions include:

  • Research assistant. These people provide technical support to conduct research working in a team with other scientists and a research director. They may work in an industrial, government, university, or medical school lab.
  • Food, industrial or environmental microbiologists, quality assurance technologists. Working in industry, hospitals, or the government, these individuals check for the quality and safety of vitamins, vaccines, antibiotics, and antiseptics. They also identify harmful microorganisms in water, food, dairy, pharmaceutical and environmental products.
  • Sales or technical representative. These people provide information about pharmaceuticals and other medical or scientific products to prospective customers.
  • Clinical and veterinary microbiologists, medical technologists. These individuals generally work in veterinary clinics or hospitals to identify disease causing microorganisms in humans and animals.

In addition to these laboratory and technical jobs, there are several other career paths one can take with Bachelors degree in microbiology. Combining microbiology with another discipline, such as education, business, or journalism, provides an even wider range of career options. Such career options would include teaching in high school, scientific sales, science writing for the general public, public relations, or regulatory affairs. Completing a Bachelors degree in microbiology also provides the necessary foundation to continue an education in the medical, veterinary, dental or legal fields.