Skip Navigation


Skip Side Navigation



What is Microbiology?

Microbiology is the study of organisms too small to be seen with the naked eye, including bacteria, algae, protozoa, certain fungi, and viruses. While these organisms cannot be seen without the aid of a microscope, they vastly outnumber humans on earth. Without microbes neither we nor our planet would be able to survive! Our world is full of microorganisms that provide benefits such as maintaining the earth’s environment or producing useful products including biofuels, foods, antibiotics, and vaccines, as well as detrimental microbes that cause food spoilage and disease. The OU Microbiology program offers students the opportunity to better understand this vast microscopic world through innovative coursework and hands-on laboratory experience. These experiences provide students with an extremely strong skill set when competing for employment in a wide variety of scientific-related jobs or when applying to postgraduate degrees including those in the health profession.

So, what's my degree?

A microbiology student graduates with a standard Bachelor of Science degree or a Bachelor of Science in microbiology degree, which is designed to prepare students for professional microbiological employment or postgraduate study. Master of Science, Master of Natural Science, and Doctor of Philosophy degrees are also offered to microbiology students.

Microbiology students may choose to pursue a second major or minor in botany, engineering, or other disciplines.

Do my interests fit?

Microbiology students typically have interests in:

  • Medicine
  • Global health issues
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Biotechnology
  • Scientific research
  • Problem solving
  • Creativity
  • Innovation

High school preparation should include biology and chemistry.

How can OU Microbiology help me?

Through hands-on laboratory experiences and innovative courses, OU Microbiology students have the opportunity to develop strong presentation, scientific writing, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills. Students have opportunities to engage in research in the laboratories of faculty members and gain technical experience through internships with local cutting-edge biotechnology firms and research institutes. The broad scientific background and skills obtained by OU Microbiology students allow them to be highly competitive when applying for employment in the scientific job market or when pursuing acceptance into graduate or professional school programs such as medical, dental, or pharmacy school. Professor Jizhong Zhou heads the Institute for Environmental Genomics, which uses genomic technologies to study fundamental questions in microbiology.

How can I get involved?

  • OU Microbiology Research Experiences 
  • American Society for Microbiology Student Chapter
  • Pre-Medical Professionals Club
  • Pre-Dental Club
  • Pre-Pharmacy Association
  • Pre-Veterinary Club
  • Society for Advancement of Chicanos, Hispanics & Native Americans in Science
  • Society of Asian Scientists & Engineers (S.A.S.E)
  • Alpha Sigma Kappa - Women in Technical Studies
  • Triangle Fraternity
  • American Indian Science & Engineering Society (A.I.S E.S.)
  • Association for Women in Science
  • Minority Association of Pre-Health Students

What courses will I take?

Microbiology courses can include:

  • Fundamentals of Microbiology
  • Pathogenic Microbiology & Infectious Diseases
  • Biotechnology Applications
  • Practical Bioinformatics
  • Physiology of Microorganisms
  • Geomicrobiology
  • Water Microbiology
  • Virology
  • Biowriting

Wait, I can have a minor?

OU Microbiology students have the opportunity to minor in a wide variety of programs within the Dodge Family College of Arts and Sciences. Typically, microbiology students minor in:

  • Chemistry
  • A foreign language (Spanish, French, etc.)
  • Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • History of Science
  • Medical Humanities (through the OU Honors College)

For those with alternative majors, a Microbiology minor is available.  

How can I study abroad?

Microbiology students have the chance to study abroad with:

  • Honors at Oxford Program through the OU Honors College
  • Various OU Dodge Family College of Arts and Sciences Study Abroad Summer Options such as Organic Chemistry or Microbiology in Italy

What kind of career could I pursue?

Environmental microbiologist in government or
    private industry
Industrial microbiologist in government or private
Food microbiologist
Clinical microbiologist or medical technologist
Teacher or professor
Doctor, dentist, or physician's assistant
Biotechnologist or research technician in
    government or private industry
Science writer

A more extensive list of the types of careers available to OU Microbiology students can be found here.

How much will I make?

Visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ website to explore the median pay for jobs you can pursue with this degree. 

Contact Us

Department of Microbiology and Plant Biology
Phone: (405) 325-4321