Students wearing protective gear work in lab. One student holds up a specimen
Students presenting a poster
Exterior of Pearson Hall
Students listen as a professor lectures in the classroom
Microscope stage
A gloved hand is seen performing streaking tasks
A gloved hand is seen performing gram stain tasks
Gloved hands identify unknowns
Students bend over microscopes to view specimens


Microbiology begins with the study of bacteria, yeasts, molds, viruses, and parasites - the microbes; how they are isolated, cultivated, and identified. The next level of study considers them as individual living systems, their physiology and genetics. The third level of study, the working level of a modern microbiologist, is concerned with how microbes interact with living and non-living elements and how these interactions may be controlled, modified, or expanded to benefit the environment and humanity.

Microbiology is a field whose challenges range from understanding virulence mechanisms of infectious bacteria and the threat of increasing antibiotic resistance to elucidating bacterial toxin structures to facilitate development of new treatments; from utilizing microorganisms to clean up environmentally devastating oil spills and toxic waste to developing microorganisms as alternative biofuels; from applying biotechnology to produce human insulin and other therapeutic proteins in yeast to constructing the next generation of vaccine-producing cells; from exploiting virus replication mechanisms to advance cancer biology research to developing computational tools to support the genomics “revolution”.

Bachelor of Arts (A.B.) in Microbiology

Identifying unknow pathogens in lab

Microbiology majors identifying "unknown pathogens" in Medical Bacteriology lab

Our Bachelor of Arts degree is designed to be flexible, and yet provide disciplinary breadth for pre-professional students and students interested in an entry-level career in microbiology, the life or health sciences, or environmental sciences. It consists of:

  • a set of core courses
  • focus groups from which students choose electives to provide breadth -
    (biomedical, integrated and advanced core courses)

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Microbiology

Our Bachelor of Science degree is designed to provide more in-depth study, particularly in preparation for pursuit of a graduate degree in microbiology and related fields, and careers in research. As part of this preparation, students are required to conduct independent research leading to public presentation of their results. It consists of:

  • a larger set of core courses
  • focus groups from which students choose electives to provide depth -
    (lecture/lab courses, research courses, additional disciplinary courses)
  • an additional semester of math

Medical Laboratory Science

Medical Laboratory Science is a major comprised of five specialties: Clinical Chemistry, Hematology, Microbiology, Immunohematology, and Immunology. Medical laboratory scientists apply scientific background and skills to the supervision and performance of an ever-broadening range of complex laboratory diagnostic and research activities. The lives and health of patients often depend on specialized tests performed by medical laboratory scientists. Examples of these procedures include biochemical tests for cardiac enzymes, detection of abnormal blood cells in a stained blood smear, and microscopic identification of parasitic protozoa, which may provide the earliest clues to respective diagnoses of heart attack (myocardial infarction), leukemia, and giardiasis.

Medical laboratory scientists play a major role as team members to provide the best health care. These individuals contribute their expertise in public health laboratories, research laboratories, and forensic laboratories. In addition to laboratory work, medical laboratory scientists frequently perform administrative duties, supervise laboratory departments and become instructors in educational programs.

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Medical Laboratory Science

The multidisciplinary Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) major provides the needed breadth as it combines a set of core courses in Biology, Chemistry, and Math with additional elective courses from Microbiology, Chemistry, Biology and/or Physics. The major culminates in a year-long medical laboratory internship at a Miami University-affiliated hospital.

Medical Laboratory Science Double Major

Students frequently earn a double major, i.e. the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) along with a Bachelor of Arts (A.B.) degree in microbiology (MBI), biology (BIO), zoology (ZOO) or chemistry (CHM). The double major curricula are inherently interconnected, because a majority of the pre-internship chemistry, microbiology, zoology, mathematics and foreign language courses needed for the B.S. degree in MLS also meet requirements for the B.A. degree in MBI, BIO, ZOO and CHM. The final year of the double major is the 12-month MLS clinical year (off-campus). Eligible departments include:

Public Health: Human Disease and Epidemiology

Public Health is a field of study focused on preventing illness and promoting health in individuals, communities, and society as a whole. The degrees in Public Health at Miami build on the University’s strengths in four areas:

  • Human Disease & Epidemiology (MBI - A.B.)
  • Health Policy & Administration (POL - A.B.)
  • Public Health Promotion (KNH - B.S.)
  • Behavioral Public Health (KNH - B.S.)

The majors share a core curriculum covering the critical elements of public health; the tracks provide specialization within the range of Public Health interests.

Bachelor of Arts (A.B.) in Public Health: Human Disease and Epidemiology

Students pursuing the Human Disease and Epidemiology track in Public Health utilize basic concepts in biology and focus on the factors that cause illness and promote health in human populations. This track explores differences in health across time and population subgroups as well as the reasons for those differences. Students completing this track will complete

  • a common set of core courses in public health
  • a track-specific set of courses that address human disease and epidemiology
  • one or more elective courses that build upon the student's interests
  • and a capstone course in advanced epidemiology

1st-year students in MBI 223: Phage Biology generated electron photomicrographs of the bacteriophages they isolated in class

by Adam Darwiche
by Adam Darwiche
 Contributed by Andrew Wakefield
by Andrew Wakefield
 Contributed by Cody Swisher
by Cody Swisher
 Contributed by David Sullivan
by David Sullivan
 Contributed by David Sullivan
by David Sullivan
 Contributed by Deanna Fyffe
by Deanna Fyffe
 Contributed by Hallie Snell
by Hallie Snell
Contributed by Kendall Powell
by Kendall Powell
 Contributed by Kristina Taynor
by Kristina Taynor
 Contributed by Mackenzie Banks
by Mackenzie Banks
 Contributed by Sarah Geiger
by Sarah Geiger
Contributed by Wrik Chatterjee
by Wrik Chatterjee

Advising Handbooks and Worksheets

These are available in the department office (212 Pearson Hall), and by email upon request.

  • Microbiology Programs Handbook (PDF 1.5MB)
  • B.S. in Microbiology
    Student/Advisor Worksheet (PDF 50KB)
  • A.B. in Microbiology
    Student/Advisor Worksheet (PDF 50KB)
  • B.S. in Medical Lab
    Science Student/Advisor Worksheet (PDF 50KB)
  • Minor in Molecular Biology
    Student/Advisor Worksheet (PDF 50KB)