Microbiology is the study of bacteria, viruses, the immune system, and their roles in human health, the environment and beyond. Job prospects for microbiologists with a bachelor's or higher degree continue to be strong. Upper-division courses in immunology, bacterial infectious diseases, virology, and microbial genetics couple laboratory courses with lecture courses to provide students with hands-on practical experience. The B.A. Microbiology major includes a choice of three upper-division lecture and laboratory course pairs.

Undergraduate Admission

Admission to KU

All students applying for admission must send high school and college transcripts to the Office of Admissions. Unless they are college transfer students with at least 24 hours of credit, prospective students must send ACT or SAT scores to the Office of Admissions. Prospective first-year students should be aware that KU has qualified admission requirements that all new first-year students must meet to be admitted. Consult the Office of Admissions for application deadlines and specific admission requirements.

Visit the International Support Services for information about international admissions.

Students considering transferring to KU may see how their college-level course work will transfer on the Office of Admissions website.

Admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Admission to the College is a different process from admission to a major field. Some CLAS departments have admission requirements. See individual department/program sections for departmental admission requirements.

First- and Second-Year Preparation

Because biology study requires preparation in other sciences, students should begin meeting major requirements in the first year. It is particularly important to take CHEM 130 and CHEM 135 in the first year and, for several majors, to take CHEM 330, CHEM 331, CHEM 335, and CHEM 336 in the second year. Ideally, most majors should also take BIOL 150 and BIOL 152 during the first year, as well as BIOL 105.


Requirements for the B.A. Major in Microbiology

In addition to degree and major requirements for all plans and subplans, all students must complete the KU Core.

General Science Requirements

Microbiology General Science Requirements
Biology Orientation Seminar. Satisfied by:
BIOL 105Biology Orientation Seminar1
Principles of Molecular & Cellular Biology. Satisfied by one of the following:4
Principles of Molecular and Cellular Biology
Principles of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Honors
Principles of Genetics. Satisfied by one of the following:4
Principles of Genetics
Principles of Genetics, Honors
Introductory Biochemistry. Satisfied by:
BIOL 600Introductory Biochemistry, Lectures3
Chemistry I. Satisfied by one of the following:5
General Chemistry I
Foundations of Chemistry I, Honors
and Foundations of Chemistry I Laboratory, Honors
Chemistry II. Satisfied by one of the following:5
General Chemistry II
Foundations of Chemistry II, Honors
and Foundations of Chemistry II Laboratory, Honors
Organic Chemistry I. Satisfied by one of the following:3
Fundamentals of Organic Chemistry
Organic Chemistry I
Organic Chemistry I Laboratory. Satisfied by:
CHEM 331Organic Chemistry I Laboratory2
Calculus. Satisfied by one of the following:4-6
Calculus I
and Calculus II
Calculus I
Calculus I, Honors
Physics I. Satisfied by one of the following:4-5
College Physics I
General Physics I
and General Physics I Laboratory
General Physics I Honors
Physics II. Satisfied by one of the following:4
College Physics II
General Physics II
and General Physics II Laboratory
General Physics II Honors
Microbiology Core Knowledge & Skills
Fundamentals of Microbiology. Satisfied by one of the following:3-4
Fundamentals of Microbiology
Fundamentals of Microbiology, Honors
Fundamentals of Microbiology Laboratory. Satisfied by:
BIOL 402Fundamentals of Microbiology Laboratory2
Senior Seminar: Current Progress in Microbiology. Satisfied by:
BIOL 599Senior Seminar: _____ (Current Progress in Microbiology. Must be taken in senior year.)1
Microbiology Electives and Laboratory Requirements
Satisfied by completing 15 hours of microbiology courses, including 3 lecture-lab pairings, selected from the following:15
Immunology Laboratory
Bacterial Infectious Diseases
Bacterial Infectious Diseases Laboratory
General Virology
Virology Laboratory
Microbial Genetics
Microbial Genetics Laboratory
Microbiology Elective
Satisfied by completing 3 additional hours of BIOL courses numbered 400 or higher; to be selected in consultation with a microbiology advisor.3

Major Hours & Major GPA

While completing all required courses, majors must also meet each of the following hour and grade-point average minimum standards:

Major Hours
Satisfied by 24-25 hours of major courses.

Major Hours in Residence
Satisfied by a minimum of 15 hours of KU resident credit in the major. 

Major Junior/Senior Hours
Satisfied by a minimum of 12 hours from junior/senior courses (300+) in the major.

Major Junior/Senior Graduation GPA
Satisfied by a minimum of a 2.0 KU GPA in junior/senior courses (300+) in the major. GPA calculations include all junior/senior courses in the field of study including F’s and repeated courses. See the Semester/Cumulative GPA Calculator.

Below is a sample 4-year plan for students pursuing the BA in Microbiology. To view the list of courses approved to fulfill KU Core Goals, please visit the KU Core website.

This degree plan assumes students will have the equivalent of MATH 101 or MATH 104, or equivalent prior to the freshman year, fall semester.

ENGL 101 (Goal 2.1 (2 crs req), BA Writing I)13ENGL 102 (Goal 1.2 (2 crs req), BA Writing II)3
MATH 115 (Goal 1.2 Quantitative Reasoning, BA Quant Req, General Science Req)23MATH 116 (General Science Requirement)3
CHEM 130 (Goal 3 Natural Science, General Science Requirement)35CHEM 135 (General Science Requirement)55
BIOL 150 or 151 (BA Lab Science, General Science Requirement)44COMS 130 (Goal 2.2 Communication)3
BIOL 105 (General Science Requirement)*1Elective (Total Hours)3
 16 17
1st Semester Language (BA Second Language)52nd Semester Language (BA Second Language)5
BIOL 400 or 401 (Major Requirement)63-4Goal 3 Social Science3
BIOL 402 (Major Requirement)62BIOL 350 (General Science Requirement)4
CHEM 310 or 330 (General Science Requirement)73PHSX 114 (or PHSX 211 & 216 (Goal 1.1 Critical Thinking, General Science Requirement))4-5
CHEM 331 (General Science Requirement)2 
 15-16 16-17
3rd Semester Language (BA Second Language)34th Semester Language, or 1st semester of Another Language (BA Second Language)3-5
Goal 4.1 U.S. Diversity3BIOL 600 (General Science Requirement)3
PHSX 115 (or PHSX 212 & 236 (General Science Requirement))4Microbiology Elective 400+ (Major Requirement)5, 6, 83
Microbiology Elective 400+ (Major Requirement)5, 6, 83Microbiology Lab Elective 400+ (Major Requirement)5, 6, 82
Microbiology Lab Elective 400+ (Major Requirement)5, 6, 82Elective or possible minor course 300+ (Total Hours)3
 15 14-16
Goal 4.2 Global Awareness3Goal 3 Humanities3
Microbiology Elective 400+ (Major Requirement)5, 6, 83Goal 5 Social Responsibility & Ethics3
Microbiology Lab Elective 400+ (Major Requirement)5, 6, 82BIOL 599 (Major Requirement, Goal 6)101
BIOL Elective 400+ (Major Requirement)93Elective or possible minor course 300+ (Total Hours)3
Elective or possible minor course (Total Hours)3Elective or possible minor course 300+ (Total Hours)3
 14 13
Total Hours 120-124

Please note:

All students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences are required to complete 120 total hours of which 45 hours must be at the Jr/Sr (300+) level.

The same course cannot be used to fulfill more than one KU Core Goal. However, overlap of a KU Core course with a major or degree-specific requirement is allowed. Overlapping is recommended to allow more opportunities to explore other majors and/or minors.

Departmental Honors

Undergraduate majors are eligible to graduate with honors in biology if they fulfill the following requirements:

  1. Complete all course work required for the appropriate degree in biology.
  2. Achieve a minimum grade-point average of 3.25 overall and 3.5 in the major.
  3. Complete BIOL 499 Introduction to Honors Research with a grade of B or higher.
  4. Complete BIOL 699 Biology Honors Research Colloquium with a grade of B or higher.
  5. Complete an independent research project under the supervision of a faculty member in an area appropriate to the degree sought.
  6. Submit an honors thesis to the honors committee once the research is complete and present the results of the completed research at the honors research symposium.

Students majoring in Human Biology with Anthropology, Applied Behavioral Science, Psychology, or Speech-Language-Hearing concentrations will follow the honors requirements for their respective concentration department.

Specific guidelines and intent forms are available in the Undergraduate Biology Program office and online. Candidates must declare their intent to graduate with honors at least 2 semesters before graduation.

Study Abroad

Consult an advisor at least 4 months before undertaking study abroad. Consult the Office of Study Abroad, 108 Lippincott Hall, for information about study in one of the many countries (e.g., Scotland, Australia, Switzerland) with special arrangements with KU.