From the Greek words mikros (small), bios (life), and logos (science), microbiology is the branch of science that studies microscopic forms of life, including bacteria, viruses, algae, fungi, protozoa, and parasites. Although most commonly thought of as causing infection and disease, microorganisms are often beneficial, with many uses in the pharmaceutical, biotech, food, and agricultural industries. A bachelor of science (BS) in microbiology provides direct entry into a number of employment opportunities in the private sector with medical, animal health, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology-based companies and with government laboratories such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health, and the United States Department of Agriculture. A degree in microbiology provides a strong science background which can be beneficial for specialization in such diverse careers as journalism (science and public health reporting) and law (biotech, environmental, medical, and patent law). This degree also provides excellent preparation for professional schools (medical, veterinary, dental, and nursing) and for admission to masters and PhD degree programs in numerous areas of study.
The faculty in the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology has designed a comprehensive and challenging curriculum for this degree program. Subject matter to be covered includes microbial structure and physiology, genetics and genomics, pathogenic mechanisms, beneficial microbes, and the immune response. Supporting courses from other departments include mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, and biochemistry. Numerous opportunities for undergraduate research are available. The microbiology courses are taught by faculty whose areas of expertise include bacteriology, immunology, parasitology, and virology.
Common Career Paths
You can do nearly anything with a Mizzou degree, but here are some common career paths taken by graduates of this major: