Microbiology

B.S. in Microbiology

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$85,470
A Graduate's Median Pay (U.S. BLS 2023)

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Tucson
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You want to find new ways to prevent and treat diseases to improve the health of plants, people, animals and the environment.


A bachelor’s degree in microbiology prepares you to apply systems thinking and develop solutions to protect our planet, its plant life, and its human and other inhabitants from microbial threats. This major is ideal for students pursuing careers in scientific research, medicine and veterinary care.

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Why Major in Microbiology?

You’ll join the front lines of exploring and protecting the world, while gaining a fundamental understanding of microbes and their vital importance to our everyday lives, including the plants we grow and the food we eat.

Students who major in microbiology may choose to specialize in plant pathology and microbiology, environmental microbiology, microbial genomics and biotechnology, food safety and consumer health, or medical microbiology.

A degree in microbiology will prepare you to work in the fields of plant pathology, microbiology, medicine, pharmaceuticals and scientific research. Moreover, a microbiology degree can serve as a springboard into graduate, medical, veterinary, law or pharmacy school.

A degree in microbiology prepares you for careers in disease prevention and treatment. It also can serve as a springboard for graduate school. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for careers related to microbiology was $85,470 per year with a faster-than-average job growth overall (2023).

There are a variety of career opportunities available to students who earn a degree in microbiology, including:

  • Microbiologist: Provide expert knowledge on pathogenic and beneficial microbes for government agencies, universities, agricultural companies, food safety organizations, research institutes and international agencies.
  • Plant pathologist: Explore the critical role that disease-causing microbes, including viruses, bacteria, fungi and nematodes, play in limiting crop production.
  • Industrial technician: Engineer organisms and communities to optimize and improve the production of food, pharmaceuticals, fuels and many other products on a commercial scale.
  • Food safety and consumer health specialist: Study the close relationship between microbes and agricultural crops and food products, and how those microbes inhabit and contaminate food.

As a microbiology student, you’ll study the power of microorganisms and the role they play in plant, human and animal health. Courses required to complete a bachelor’s degree in microbiology are subject to change, so remember to meet with your advisor regularly to review your course plan.

Microbiology students have the unique opportunity to gain fundamental and practical experience in the classroom, lab and field with courses like the following:

  • Evolution Of Infectious Disease
  • Antibiotics: A Biological Perspective
  • Molecular Biology
  • Metabolic Biochemistry
  • Pathogenic Bacteriology
  • Introduction To Epidemiology

Accelerated M.S. in Microbiology

In your junior year at the University of Arizona, you may apply for admission to the accelerated master’s degree program in microbiology through the School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences. This allows you to receive dual credit toward your bachelor’s and master’s degrees for selected courses completed during your senior year of undergraduate studies. The accelerated program allows you to complete your master's degree within one year of receiving your bachelor’s degree.

Applicants must meet certain academic standards, have adequate experience in the research laboratory of a microbiology faculty member who chooses to sponsor them, and complete a formal thesis project.

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