Undergraduate Curricula


There are three curriculum options for undergraduate students to choose from, and they all lead to a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology. The choice depends, in part, on the long-term goals of the student. The student's advisor and the head of the Department will aid students in choosing the most appropriate curriculum:

  • Biotechnology: Microbial Systems Option: Students interested in working out answers to problems and in creating useful products should consider this option which will enable them to work in the emerging biotechnology industries. These industries are involved in developing products to maintain biodiversity, restore soil and water quality, develop new pharmaceuticals or vaccines to combat disease, decrease our dependence on nonrenewable resources, provide tools and skills for investigative and forensic sciences and improve food and fiber production. Biotechnology uses organisms to produce commercial products, either through natural processes, or through genetic manipulation.

  • Environmental Health: Environmental Health Specialists are concerned with general environmental sanitation, food and waterborne disease control, air and water quality, water and wastewater treatment, solid and hazardous waste disposal, rodent and insect control, consumer product safety, recreational and occupational safety, radiological hygiene, epidemiology and health education.

  • Medical Laboratory Science: This option is for students interested in careers that involve the performance of clinical laboratory tests. These tests provide data that are used in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. Because their work may deal with life and death situations, it requires people who are precise, dependable and have a strong sense of responsibility. They are involved in a constant challenge of change, discovery and exploration and have a strong desire to help others. To become a Medical Laboratory Scientists, students must train in a year long program and become accomplished professionals in microbiology, chemistry blood banking and hematology. Students can now receive their training through the Montana Medical Laboratory Science Training Program at MSU. Summary and Key Aspects can be found here.

  • Microbiology: This option covers all areas of microbiology and prepares students to be professional microbiologists. The curriculum is also excellent preparation for those who wish to attend medical, dental and veterinary schools, and other related professional programs.
  • Microbiology Non-Teaching MinorA Microbiology minor is available to provide interested students with an understanding of the microbial basis of health and disease and environmental microbiology. 

In addition, our Department offers both Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees:

Here are some additional opportunities and goals students can set within the department:

Undergraduate Research Participation

An undergraduate research program, available to students who demonstrate an interest and ability, is open to non-majors as well as majors in Microbiology. The aim of this program is to foster increased creativity, imagination, inquisitiveness, and independence.  Please consult with a faculty member within the department to inquire further about innovative research you can participate in relevant to real-world applications.  Here is the research form.

Departmental Honors in Microbiology

When appropriate, majors should consider the opportunities afforded by the departmental honors program. This program has the following components:

  • A minimum 3.5 grade-point average (GPA) in Microbiology, 3.0 GPA overall.
  • A minimum of four credits of undergraduate research credit.
  • An acceptable, bound senior thesis, and an oral defense of the thesis.

Participation in a Microbiology seminar (BIOM 494) during the senior year is the required capstone course for graduation. As many as two BIOM 494 seminars (1 credit each) may be applied toward graduation when taken in the junior or senior years. A detailed description of the microbiology program is available from the department.