Microbiology, BS

Are you fascinated by the incredible way the tiniest organisms can impact our lives? Are you eager to make a difference in science, health and medicine? Explore the wonders of microbiology, and set yourself up for success in your future career.

Program Description

The BS degree program in microbiology places emphasis on understanding microorganisms and their interrelationships with other organisms in nature and on the influence of microorganisms in biomedicine and biotechnology.

Despite their size, microbes are fundamental to life on Earth and compose the majority of all Earth's life forms. In addition to their essential contributions to the natural world, microbes have been model experimental subjects due to their impact on human health and ease of manipulation in the laboratory. A significant portion of medical research employs microbiological and immunological methods in order to examine basic genetic and biological phenomena.

Students in the microbiology degree program study the background and current findings in the field and also acquire the critical thinking, laboratory and field skills required to succeed in a career in science.

The major provides excellent training for premedical, predental, preveterinary and prepharmacy students as well as advanced study in microbiology and immunology.

This program is available as an accelerated degree program. Students can visit this website to learn more about accelerated degree programs.

In addition to the guidelines in the Concurrent Program Options section below, students interested in pursuing concurrent or second baccalaureate degrees in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences are advised to visit the college's website for more information and requirements.

Required Courses (Major Map)

Major Map

Major Map on-campus archive

What if: See how your courses can be applied to another major and find out how to change your major.

At a Glance: program details

  • Location: Tempe campus
  • Additional Program Fee: Yes
  • Second Language Requirement: No
  • First Required Math Course: MAT 251 - Calculus for Life Sciences
  • Math Intensity: Moderate program math intensity moderate

Microbiology Diagnostic Exam

The Microbiology Diagnostic Exam is used to determine whether you have adequate background from an existing microbiology class (MIC 205) to skip MIC 220 and still be competitive in upper division microbiology classes. If you successfully pass this exam, you may take any course that has MIC 220 as a prerequisite and utilize MIC 205 as the prerequisite instead.

The diagnostic exam consists of multiple-choice questions and is broken into eight subject areas, each of which can be taken independently as time permits. Each section contains ten questions, which must be answered in one sitting.

To start, contact your advisor to enroll you in the Canvas course. We highly recommended that you review the practice exam, which will give you an idea about the questions and testing format in the diagnostic test.

If you have questions or concerns regarding the diagnostic exam please call Undergraduate Advising at (480) 727-6277

Major Core

Note: Once you start a General BIO sequence, you must complete the full sequence (BIO 181 & 182 OR BIO 281 & 282)

  • BIO 181 General Biology I (4) or BIO 281 Conceptual Approaches to Biology for Majors I (4)
  • BIO 182 General Biology II (4) or BIO 282 Conceptual Approaches to Biology for Majors II (4)
  • BIO 340 General Genetics (4)
  • MIC 220 Biology of Microorganisms & MIC 206 Microbiology Lab (4)
  • MIC 302 Advanced Bacteriology Lab (2)
  • MIC 360 Bacterial Physiology (3)
  • MIC 401 Research Paper (1)
  • MIC 401 is the Microbiology Research Paper course that requires permission before enrolling. Please consult with an advisor at least a semester prior to enrolling to verify course requirements.

Additional Major Requirements (complete six credit hours)

  • BIO/MIC 420 Immunology: Molecular & Cellular Foundations (3)
  • MIC 421 Experimental Immunology (2)
  • MIC 441 Bacterial Genetics (3)
  • MIC 442 Bacterial Genetics Laboratory (1)
  • MBB/MIC 445 Techniques in Molecular Biology/Genetics (3)
  • MBB/MIC 446 Techniques in Molecular Biology/Genetics Lab (2)
  • MIC 481 Bacterial Pathogenesis (3)
  • BIO/HPS/MIC/MBB 495 Undergraduate Research OR BIO/HPS/MIC/MBB 484 Internship OR BIO/MIC/MBB 492 Honors Directed Study - may be substituted for one lab course (1-3)

Major Microbiology/Immunology Electives (complete at least three credits)

  • MIC 379 Medical Bacteriology (3)
  • MIC 421 Experimental Immunology (2)
  • MIC 425 Advanced Immunology (3)
  • MIC 441 Bacterial Genetics (3)
  • MIC 442 Bacterial Genetics Laboratory (1)
  • MBB/MIC 445 Techniques in Molecular Biology/Genetics (3)
  • MBB/MIC 446 Techniques in Molecular Biology/Genetics Lab (2)
  • BIO/HPS/MIC/MBB 484 Internship (1-6)
  • MIC 485 General Virology (3)
  • MIC 494 Topic: Novel Models for Host-Microbe Interactions (4)
  • MIC 498 Viral Pathogenesis and Host Defense (1-7)

Please see an advisor if any of the above courses are not offered in the term you wish to take them

Major General Biology Electives (complete at least three credits)

  • BIO 302 Cancer – Mother of All Diseases (3)
  • BIO 312/PHI 320 Bioethics (3)
  • BIO 320 Fundamentals of Ecology (3)
  • BIO/MBB 343 Genetic Engineering and Society (4)
  • BIO 345 Evolution (3)
  • BIO 351 Developmental Biology (3)
  • BIO 353 Cell Biology (3)
  • BIO 360 Animal Physiology (3)
  • BIO 416/HPS 410 Biomedical Research Ethics (3)
  • BIO 451 Cell Biotechnology (4)
  • BMI 465 Introduction to Comparative Genomics (3)

Major Microbiology/Immunology and General Biology Electives

Any SOLS upper division coursework (300 and 400 level BIO/HPS/MIC/MBB) will count in this area, including BCH 361, that has not already been used in the major area.

Major Microbiology Labs (complete two lab courses)

  • MIC 421 Experimental Immunology Laboratory (2)
  • MIC 442 Bacterial Genetics Laboratory (1)
  • MBB/MIC 446 Techniques in Mol Biol/Genetics Lab (2)
  • BIO/HPS/MIC/MBB 495 Undergraduate Research OR BIO/HPS/MIC/MBB 484 Internship OR BIO/MIC/MBB 492 Honors Directed Study may be substituted for one lab course (1-3)

Requirements in Related Fields 

General Chemistry
  • CHM 113 General Chemistry I (4)
  • CHM 116 General Chemistry II (4)
Organic Chemistry/Biochemistry (take general or pre-health sequence) 
  • CHM 231 Elementary Organic Chemistry (3)
  • CHM 235 Elementary Organic Chemistry Laboratory (1)
  • BCH 361 Principles of Biochemistry or BCH 461/462 General Biochemistry 
  • BCH 367 Elementary Biochemistry Laboratory (1) or BCH 467 Analytical Biochemistry Lab (3) 
OR pre-health sequence
  • CHM 233 General Organic Chemistry I (3)
  • CHM 234 General Organic Chemistry II (3)
  • CHM 237 General Organic Chemistry Laboratory I (1)
  • CHM 238 General Organic Chemistry Laboratory II (1)
Physics (take general or pre-health sequence)
  • PHY 101 Introduction to Physics (4) 
OR pre-health sequence
  • PHY 111 General Physics I (3)
  • PHY 112 General Physics II (3)
  • PHY 113 General Physics Laboratory I (1)
  • PHY 114 General Physics Laboratory II (1)
Math (complete one of the following)
  • MAT 251 Calculus for Life Sciences (3)
  • MAT 210 Brief Calculus (3)
Statistics (complete one of the following)
  • STP 231 Statistics for Biosciences (3) 
  • STP 226 Elementary Statistics (3)

For more information on requirements and recommendations specific to this degree please see our Did you know for on-campus degrees page.

Admission Requirements

All students are required to meet general university admission requirements.

Freshman Transfer International Readmission

Transfer Options

ASU is committed to helping students thrive by offering tools that allow personalization of the transfer path to ASU. Students may use the Transfer Map search to outline a list of recommended courses to take prior to transfer.

ASU has transfer partnerships in Arizona and across the country to create a simplified transfer experience for students. These pathway programs include exclusive benefits, tools and resources, and help students save time and money in their college journey. Students may learn more about these programs by visiting the admission site: https://admission.asu.edu/transfer/pathway-programs.

Change of Major Requirements

A current ASU student has no additional requirements for changing majors.

Students should refer to https://changingmajors.asu.edu for information about how to change a major to this program.

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Affording College

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Career Outlook

The discipline of microbiology is diverse and the job opportunities for microbiologists are plentiful. Graduates with a degree in microbiology have opportunities for employment in government, hospitals, and research or industrial laboratories. Many students are also prepared for admission into graduate school and advanced study in dentistry, medicine, veterinary medicine and pharmacy.

Career examples include those shown in the following list; advanced degrees or certifications may be required for academic or clinical positions:

  • government
  • hospitals
  • industrial laboratories (food, dairy, chemical, pharmaceutical, environmental and biotechnology companies)
  • public health laboratories
  • research laboratories

Many students are also suitably prepared for admission into graduate school and advanced study in these fields:

  • dentistry
  • medicine
  • pharmacy
  • veterinary medicine

Example Careers

Students who complete this degree program may be prepared for the following careers. Advanced degrees or certifications may be required for academic or clinical positions. Career examples include but are not limited to:

Biological Sciences Professor

  • Growth: 9.3%
  • Median Salary*: $85,600
  Bright Outlook

Clinical Trial Manager

  • Growth: 4.8%
  • Median Salary*: $137,940
  Bright Outlook


  • Growth: %
  • Median Salary*:
  Bright Outlook

Food Scientist

  • Growth: 4.4%
  • Median Salary*: $73,450

Genetic Counselor

  • Growth: 21.5%
  • Median Salary*: $85,700
  Bright Outlook

Health and Safety Technician

  • Growth: 4.8%
  • Median Salary*: $53,340
  Bright Outlook

Laboratory Technologist

  • Growth: %
  • Median Salary*:
  Bright Outlook

Medical Scientist

  • Growth: 6.1%
  • Median Salary*: $91,510
  Bright Outlook


  • Growth: 3.1%
  • Median Salary*: $84,400

Molecular Biologist

  • Growth: 2.2%
  • Median Salary*: $85,290

* Data obtained from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) under sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA).

Global Opportunities

Global Experience

With over 250 programs in more than 65 countries (ranging from one week to one year), study abroad is possible for all ASU students wishing to gain global skills and knowledge in preparation for a 21st-century career. Students earn ASU credit for completed courses, while staying on track for graduation, and may apply financial aid and scholarships toward program costs. https://mystudyabroad.asu.edu

Program Contact Information

If you have questions related to admission, please click here to request information and an admission specialist will reach out to you directly.