Microbiology, BS

At a Glance: program details

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

Required Courses (Major Map)

Major Map

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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.

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.

Flexible Degree Options

Accelerated program options

This program allows students to obtain both a bachelor's and master's degree in as little as five years.
It is offered as an accelerated bachelor's and master's degree with:

Global Management (Global Development and Innovation)

Become a global innovator with a higher purpose. Customize your degree with skills and experience that empower you to integrate economic, cultural and political variables in solving societal development issues such as raising standards of living.

Website | Locations: DTPHX

Global Management (Creative Industries and Design Thinking)

This concentration prepares graduates for leadership roles in global organizations. It offers applied learning opportunities, internships and 16 concentrations in real-world settings around the world where students gain hands-on experience and learn from the diverse perspectives of a global cohort of classmates.

Website | Locations: DTPHX

Global Management (Digital Audience Strategy)

A new class of hybrid careers has recently emerged that combines digital media skills with marketing and design expertise. Offered in partnership with ASU's Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Thunderbird's concentration in digital audience strategy within the MGM program produces global leaders with management and multimedia skill sets.

Website | Locations: DTPHX

Global Management (Sustainable Tourism)

As ecotourism grows and the tourism industry adopts sustainability practices, managers and executives need new capabilities in order to transform global enterprises. This program prepares you for leadership roles in the global tourism arena.

Website | Locations: DTPHX

Global Management (Sustainability Solutions)

As sustainability gains importance worldwide, global organizations need expert leaders and managers who can transform sustainability practices. Tailor your experience with powerful new strategies and tactics for making sustainability a driver of organizational engagement, cost savings and innovation.

Website | Locations: DTPHX

Global Management

This program offers applied learning opportunities, 17 concentration options, and internships in real-world global settings where you can gain hands-on experience and learn from the diverse perspectives of a global cohort of classmates.

Website | Locations: DTPHX,ONLNE

Global Management (Public Administration)

Public-private partnerships are on the rise globally. Executives and managers in this arena need repertoires that combine public administration mastery with cutting-edge global management skills and experience. This concentration addresses that cross-sectoral niche.

Website | Locations: DTPHX

Global Management (Global Entrepreneurship)

This concentration provides the expertise needed to conceive and execute innovative global ventures. Through rigorous coursework and in-depth exposure to current multicultural business practices, students master the principles of management for global entrepreneurial enterprises.

Website | Locations: DTPHX

Global Management (Global Health Care Delivery)

This program is for those who seek a leadership role in the rapidly growing health care industry. This concentration provides you with a repertoire of global management skills and experience tailored specifically to health care.

Website | Locations: DTPHX

Global Management (Global Business)

This concentration produces leaders with mastery of global business management principles and practices as well as a deep understanding of the economic, political and social factors driving change and how decisions affect global markets.

Website | Locations: DTPHX

Molecular and Cellular Biology

Do you want to understand the fundamental molecular events at the core of all life? Choose from a diverse range of research and training opportunities and gain skills in contemporary techniques, and enjoy the opportunity to tailor the program around your research and career interests.

Website | Locations: TEMPE

Global Management (Global Digital Transformation)

Customize your degree with digital skills in marketing, design, product development, automation and data analytics. With a concentration in global digital transformation, you're prepared to lead the way in global industry 4.0.

Website | Locations: DTPHX


Deepen your knowledge about the life sciences and build strong conceptual foundations in frontier areas of modern biology.

Website | Locations: TEMPE,ONLNE


When you become an expert in microbes, you will be able to contribute to the greater good. Join us to learn how microbes impact human health and the environment, and receive theoretical and practical training in your chosen area of interest.

Website | Locations: TEMPE

Global Management (Nonprofit Leadership and Management )

New generations demand purpose-driven careers. Nonprofit organizations that operate globally are poised to meet your desire for meaningful, rewarding work that produces prosperity to enhance the communities they serve. Become a future-ready leader who can maximize the benefits of the fourth industrial revolution.

Website | Locations: DTPHX

Global Management (Public Policy)

This concentration prepares students for careers as policy analysts and leaders in public service. Graduates around the world are involved in the formulation, approval, implementation and evaluation of public policy.

Website | Locations: DTPHX

Global Management (Global Legal Studies)

This concentration delivers experiential learning and skill-building in global management and legal analysis --- all in demand among multinational corporations, international nonprofit organizations, governments and nongovernmental organizations around the world.

Website | Locations: DTPHX

Acceptance to the graduate program requires a separate application. During their junior year, eligible students will be advised by their academic departments to apply.

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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 Science Teachers, Postsecondary

  • Growth: 8.6%
  • Median Salary*: 81650
  Bright Outlook

Clinical Research Coordinators

  • Growth: 4.8%
  • Median Salary*: 144440
  Bright Outlook


  • Growth: 4.9%
  • Median Salary*: 57380
  Bright Outlook

Food Scientists and Technologists

  • Growth: 7.5%
  • Median Salary*: 79860
  Bright Outlook

Genetic Counselors

  • Growth: 16.1%
  • Median Salary*: 89990
  Bright Outlook

Occupational Health and Safety Technicians

  • Growth: 10.1%
  • Median Salary*: 57970
  Bright Outlook

Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists

  • Growth: 4.9%
  • Median Salary*: 57380
  Bright Outlook

Medical Scientists, Except Epidemiologists

  • Growth: 9.8%
  • Median Salary*: 99930
  Bright Outlook


  • Growth: 5.2%
  • Median Salary*: 81990
  Bright Outlook

Molecular and Cellular Biologists

  • Growth: 3.9%
  • Median Salary*: 87300

* 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

Students gain valuable, resume-enhancing experience when studying abroad. Students studying microbiology are able to expand their knowledge of how microbes impact people and society in a variety of cultures and challenge themselves to adapt and persevere in a new and exciting culture.

With over 300 programs available, study abroad allows students to tailor their experience to their unique interests and skill sets. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences recommends these study abroad programs for students majoring in microbiology.

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. For questions regarding faculty or courses, please use the contact information below.