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College of Agricultural and Life Sciences


(Microbiology Major)

Requirements for the Microbiology Major

1322 Microbial Sciences Building, 1550 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706; 608-262-2914; www.bact.wisc.edu

Professors Gourse (chair), Currie, Donohue, Filutowicz, Forest, Goodrich-Blair, Jeffries, Johnson, Kaspar, Keller (Medical Microbiology and Immunology), Landick, Mansfield, Yu; Associate Professors Hammel, McMahon (Civil and Environmental Engineering), Thomas, Wassarman, Weimer; Assistant Professors Suen, Vetsigian, Wang

Contact Katy France, Student Services Coordinator, 262-2975, kfrance@bact.wisc.edu, for information about the undergraduate program, declaring the microbiology major, career opportunities, and advisor assignments.

Microorganisms are the oldest life forms on earth and impact our lives and the well being of the planet in innumerable ways. The field of microbiology has become even more prominent in recent years because of increased concerns about bioterrorism, infectious disease, and environmental manipulation. The microbiology major offered by the Department of Bacteriology provides training in broad aspects of microbiology with emphasis on 21st-century laboratory skills.

Core courses focus on the diversity, genetics, biochemistry, and physiology of microorganisms. A variety of elective courses provide the opportunity to study environmental microbiology, microbial ecology, food microbiology, host-parasitic interactions, microbial pathogenesis, immunology, virology, fermentation, and microbial biotechnology. Instructional laboratory courses provide hands-on experience with modern techniques and equipment. Students have many opportunities for independent research projects in faculty laboratories.

The bachelor's degree provides a strong background in the biological sciences for students planning to enter medical, dental, veterinary or other professional schools, as well as those planning graduate studies in any branch of microbiology or other biological sciences such as molecular or cell biology.

Students who end their training with a bachelor's degree are well prepared for a wide variety of career opportunities, including laboratory positions in pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms and in university and government laboratories. They also work as specialists in industrial quality testing and control, and as regulatory workers in government agencies and public health laboratories. Exposure to the scientific process and training in microbiology itself allow microbiology graduates to enter fields as diverse as business, technical service, sales, or technical writing.

Requirements for the Microbiology Major

The department offers an undergraduate major for students in both the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) and the College of Letters & Science (L&S).

Required Courses

Mathematics and Statistics (8–13 cr)

This major requires calculus.  Prerequisites may need to be taken before enrollment in calculus. Refer to the Course Guide for information about calculus prerequisites.

Math [117 and 217] or 211 or 221
Stat 301 or 371 or 541

Chemistry (13–17 cr)

Chem [103 and 104] or Chem 109
Chem 343 and 344 and 345

Biology (10–13 cr)

One of the following sets:
Biology/Botany/Zoology 151 and 152*
Biocore 381 and 382 and 383 and 384 and 485*
Zoology 101 and 102 and Botany 130

Physics (8–10 cr)

One of the following sets:
Physics 207 and 208*
Physics 201 and 202
Physics 103 and 104

Biochemistry (3–6 cr)

One of the following sets/courses:
Biochem 507 and 508*
Biochem 501
Bmolchem 503

Core (16 cr)

Microbio 303
Microbio 304
Microbio 305
Microbio 450
Microbio 470
Microbio 526
Microbio 527

Electives (6 cr)

6 credits of approved electives, with at least 3 credits from set A:

Set A (3–6 cr)
Microbio/Food Sci 324
Microbio/Food Sci 325
Microbio 330
Microbio 375
Microbio/Soil Sci 425
Microbio 531
Microbio/Oncology 545
Microbio/Genetics 607
Microbio/Biochem/Genetics 612
Microbio 625
Microbio 632
Microbio/Oncology/Pl Path 640
Microbio/Food Sci 650
Microbio/Botany/Genetics/MM&I/Pl Path 655
Microbio/Bmolchem 668
Soil Sci/Microbio 523
Pl Path/Microbio 622

Set B (0–3 cr)
Biochem/MM&I 575
Biochem 601
Botany 330
Botany/Pl Path 332
Botany/Entom/Pl Path 505
Chem 565
F&W Ecol/Surg Sci 548
MM&I 301
MM&I 302
MM&I 341*
MM&I/Path Bio/Zoology 350
MM&I 410
MM&I/Microbio/Path Bio 528*
MM&I/Path Bio 529
MM&I 554
MM&I/Pop Hlth 603
*Students may not use both MM&I/Microbio/Path Bio 528 and MM&I 341 to fulfill elective requirements.

Capstone (2 cr)

Microbio 551