Montana State University
Department of Microbiology and Immunology > Microbiology > Biotechnology – Microbial Systems

Biotechnology – Microbial Systems

This information is also downloadable as a pdf: Brochure


What is the Biotechnology - Microbial Systems option in the Department of Microbiology?

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.

What courses would I take in the Biotechnology - Microbial Systems curriculum?

The B.S. in Biotechnology, Microbial Systems option, is an interdisciplinary degree offered by the College of Agriculture. Students pursue a basic science curriculum the first two years and then choose an area of emphasis (Microbial, Plant or Animal Systems) for the junior and senior year. Students in the Microbial Systems options are advised and taught by faculty in the Department of Microbiology in the College of Letters and Sciences. Specialty courses are offered in general, medical, food and water, environmental, ecological and biochemical microbiology as well as in immunology, virology, molecular biology and microbial physiology and genetics. In addition to science courses students should have good basic skills in computer use, math ability and in both verbal and written communications.

What opportunities for laboratory research are there in Biotechnology - Microbial Systems?

MSU offers a great opportunity for undergraduate research, in fact, a research and creative experience is required of all MSU students. The Department of Microbiology has always been a strong supporter of undergraduate research in our laboratories to provide opportunities for students to gain experience in the laboratory outside of class. Students are encouraged to look over our faculty and their research interests to find a good fit with their own interests and career goals. Some students take a single semester of research credits while others stay in a laboratory for several semesters or years. Some student researchers then present their findings at various student, or professional, science conferences. They may even have their name included on a publication in a professional journal.


How does the Biotechnology - Microbial Systems option prepare me for more advanced training and employment?

A Bachelor of Science degree in Biotechnology will prepare students for a career in the diverse areas of biotechnology in an academic institution, government agency or industrial setting. Some examples of the diverse career paths a background in biotechnology may lead to include: laboratory technician, teaching, basic research, development of medical treatments, law enforcement officer, public relations, sales, environmental regulation, energy production, waste management, and crop and livestock production. Students will also be prepared to enter graduate or medical professional schools for further study.

What does the curriculum look like?

  • 2010 - 2012 curriculum (pdf)
  • 2008-2010 curriculum (pdf)