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Undergraduate students having lunch at Ted's Most Best restaurant in downtown Athens. (L-R) Joshua Washington, Christian Cullen, and Tosin Shitta-bey.

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

About this Degree

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

What you will learn

Students have the opportunity to develop a curriculum suited to their long-term objectives in a program offering both quality and diversity. The curriculum allows students to explore advanced topics in the physiology, genetics, pathogenesis and ecology of microorganisms as well as the use of microorganisms in industrial microbiology and biotechnology. Students are encouraged to perform a directed research project with some of the most notable microbiologists in the country or engage in another form of experiential learning. Browse our site to learn more about this degree program, faculty and staff, research opportunities, fellowships, and employment opportunities. We currently have about 150 undergraduate majors. Many of our graduating students go on to medical, dental, pharmacy, veterinary or graduate school at some of the most prestigious universities in the nation.

Other Degrees/Programs Offered:

NSF-Sponsored Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Summer Program

Exciting projects will address diverse topics in Microbiology. Please join our program and enjoy the first-rate UGA research and recreational facilities.  Participants will each receive a $5175 stipend in addition to a $500 food allowance for the summer.  Housing and most travel costs will also be covered. Students will stay in air-conditioned dorms on campus.

Additional information can be found here.

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.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, microbiologists held about 22,400 jobs in 2014. Most microbiologists work in laboratories. Industries that employed the most microbiologists were: pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing (21%); research and development in physical, engineering and life sciences (24%); federal government, excluding postal service (12%); state and local government, excluding education and hospitals (7%); 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.

General Research Information:

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

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