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.S. Microbiology major includes all four of the upper-division lecture and laboratory course pairs.
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.S. Degree in Microbiology
In addition to degree and major requirements, all students must complete the KU Core.
|General Science Requirements|
|Majors must complete 51-55 hours of the following general science requirements that serve as foundational courses for this major.|
|Biology Orientation Seminar. Satisfied by:|
|BIOL 105||Biology Orientation Seminar||1|
|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|
|Statistics. Satisfied by one of the following:||3-4|
|Introduction to Biostatistics|
|Statistics in Psychological Research|
|Biochemistry I. Satisfied by:|
|BIOL 636||Biochemistry I||4|
|Biochemistry II. Satisfied by:|
|BIOL 638||Biochemistry II||3|
|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|
|Organic Chemistry I|
|Organic Chemistry I, Honors|
|Organic Chemistry I Laboratory. Satisfied by:|
|CHEM 331||Organic Chemistry I Laboratory||2|
|Organic Chemistry II. Satisfied by one of the following:||3|
|Organic Chemistry II|
|Organic Chemistry II, Honors|
|Organic Chemistry II Laboratory. Satisfied by:|
|CHEM 336||Organic Chemistry II Laboratory||2|
|Calculus. Satisfied by one of the following:||4-6|
and Calculus II
|Physics. Satisfied by one of the following:||8-9|
|Option 1: College Physics|
|College Physics I|
and College Physics II
|Option 2: General Physics|
|General Physics I|
and General Physics I Laboratory
|General Physics II|
and General Physics II Laboratory
|Microbiology Course Requirements|
|Satisfied by completing 29-30 hours from the following courses:|
|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 402||Fundamentals of Microbiology Laboratory||2|
|Cell Structure & Function. Satisfied by one of the following:|
|BIOL 416||Cell Structure and Function||3|
|or BIOL 536||Cell Structure and Function (Honors)|
|Immunology. Satisfied by:|
|Immunology Laboratory. Satisfied by:|
|BIOL 504||Immunology Laboratory||2|
|Bacterial Infectious Diseases. Satisfied by:|
|BIOL 506||Bacterial Infectious Diseases||3|
|Bacterial Infectious Diseases Laboratory. Satisfied by:|
|BIOL 507||Bacterial Infectious Diseases Laboratory||2|
|General Virology. Satisfied by:|
|BIOL 512||General Virology||3|
|Virology Laboratory. Satisfied by:|
|BIOL 513||Virology Laboratory||2|
|Microbial Genetics. Satisfied by:|
|BIOL 518||Microbial Genetics||3|
|Microbial Genetics Laboratory. Satisfied by:|
|BIOL 519||Microbial Genetics Laboratory||2|
|Senior Seminar - Current Progress in Microbiology. Satisfied by:|
|BIOL 599||Senior Seminar: _____ (Must be taken in senior year)||1|
|Microbiology Required Electives|
|Satisfied by completing 6 hours of BIOL courses numbered 400 or higher, which must be selected in consultation with a microbiology advisor.||6|
Major Hours & Major GPA
While completing all required courses, majors must also meet each of the following hour and grade-point average minimum standards:
Satisfied by 35-36 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 B.S. 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.
|Goal 2.1 Written Communication (First Course, 2 Crs Required)||3||Goal 2.1 Written Communication (Second Course, 2 Crs Required)||3|
|CHEM 130 (Goal 1.2 Quantitative Literacy, General Science Requirement)1||5||Goal 2.2 Communication||3|
|BIOL 150 or 151 (Goal 3 Natural Science, General Science Requirement)2||4||MATH 115 (Goal 1.2, General Science Requirement)1||3|
|BIOL 105 (General Science Requirement)*||1||CHEM 135 (General Science Requirement)3||5|
|Elective (Total Hours)||2||Elective (Total Hours)||2|
|Goal 4.2 Global Awareness||3||Goal 4.1 US Diversity||3|
|MATH 116 (General Science Requirement)||3||Goal 5 Social Responsibility and Ethics||3|
|CHEM 330 (General Science Requirement)||3||CHEM 335 (General Science Requirement)3||3|
|CHEM 331 (General Science Requirement)||2||CHEM 336 (General Science Requirement)3||2|
|BIOL 400 or 401 (Major Requirement)4||3-4||BIOL 350 (General Science Requirement)||4|
|BIOL 402 (Major Requirement)4||2|
|PHSX 114 (or PHSX 211 & 216, Goal 1.1 Critical Thinking, General Science Requirement)||4-5||PHSX 115 (or PHSX 212 & 236, General Science Requirement)||4|
|BIOL 636 (General Science Requirement)||4||BIOL 638 (General Science Requirement)3||3|
|BIOL 416 (Major Requirement)4||3||BIOL 512 (Major Requirement)3||3|
|BIOL 518 (Major Requirement)4||3||BIOL 513 (Major Requirement)3||2|
|BIOL 519 (Major Requirement)4||2||BIOL 400+ (Major Requirement)5||3|
|Goal 3 Social Science||3||BIOL 506 (Major Requirement)3||3|
|Goal 3 Arts & Humanities||3||BIOL 507 (Major Requirement)3||2|
|BIOL 570, MATH 365, or PSYC 210 (General Science Requirement)4||3-4||BIOL 599 ( Goal 6 Integration & Creativity, Major Requirement)6||1|
|BIOL 503 (Major Requirement)4||3||BIOL 400+ (Major Requirement)5||3|
|BIOL 504 (Major Requirement)4||2||Elective (Total Hours)||3|
|Elective (Total Hours)||1-2|
|Total Hours 120-124|
Requires MATH ACT scores of 26+, a comparable SAT or KU Math Placement Exam score, or credit for a MATH 101 or MATH 104 equivalent course. MATH 125 can be taken instead of MATH 115 + MATH 116 to fulfill the BS Microbiology math requirement.
Concurrent or prior enrollment in CHEM 130 is required.
Microbiology major electives: 6 hrs of Biol courses 400+ level to be selected in consultation with a Microbiology advisor.
BIOL 599 is approved to fulfill Goal 6. This goal can also be fulfilled by completion of an approved education experience, or an approved integration of courses and/or experiences. See your advisor for more information.
BIOL 105: Biology Orientation Seminar (1 hour online course) is required for the major. It can be taken the summer prior to your freshman year.
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.
Undergraduate majors are eligible to graduate with honors in biology if they fulfill the following requirements:
- Complete all course work required for the appropriate degree in biology.
- Achieve a minimum grade-point average of 3.25 overall and 3.5 in the major.
- Complete BIOL 499 Introduction to Honors Research with a grade of B or higher.
- Complete BIOL 699 Biology Honors Research Colloquium with a grade of B or higher.
- Complete an independent research project under the supervision of a faculty member in an area appropriate to the degree sought.
- 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.
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.