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.

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.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 105Biology Orientation Seminar1
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
Elementary Statistics
Statistics in Psychological Research
Biochemistry I. Satisfied by:
BIOL 636Biochemistry I4
Biochemistry II. Satisfied by:
BIOL 638Biochemistry II3
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 331Organic Chemistry I Laboratory2
Organic Chemistry II. Satisfied by one of the following:3
Organic Chemistry II
Organic Chemistry II, Honors
Organic Chemistry II Laboratory. Satisfied by:
CHEM 336Organic Chemistry II Laboratory2
Calculus. Satisfied by one of the following:4-6
Calculus I
and Calculus II
Calculus I
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 402Fundamentals of Microbiology Laboratory2
Cell Structure & Function. Satisfied by one of the following:
BIOL 416Cell Structure and Function3
or BIOL 536 Cell Structure and Function (Honors)
Immunology. Satisfied by:
BIOL 503Immunology3
Immunology Laboratory. Satisfied by:
BIOL 504Immunology Laboratory2
Bacterial Infectious Diseases. Satisfied by:
BIOL 506Bacterial Infectious Diseases3
Bacterial Infectious Diseases Laboratory. Satisfied by:
BIOL 507Bacterial Infectious Diseases Laboratory2
General Virology. Satisfied by:
BIOL 512General Virology3
Virology Laboratory. Satisfied by:
BIOL 513Virology Laboratory2
Microbial Genetics. Satisfied by:
BIOL 518Microbial Genetics3
Microbial Genetics Laboratory. Satisfied by:
BIOL 519Microbial Genetics Laboratory2
Senior Seminar - Current Progress in Microbiology. Satisfied by:
BIOL 599Senior 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:

Major Hours
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) 3Goal 2.1 Written Communication (Second Course, 2 Crs Required)3
CHEM 130 (Goal 1.2 Quantitative Literacy, General Science Requirement)15Goal 2.2 Communication3
BIOL 150 or 151 (Goal 3 Natural Science, General Science Requirement)24MATH 115 (Goal 1.2, General Science Requirement)13
BIOL 105 (General Science Requirement)*1CHEM 135 (General Science Requirement)35
Elective (Total Hours)2Elective (Total Hours)2
 15 16
Goal 4.2 Global Awareness3Goal 4.1 US Diversity3
MATH 116 (General Science Requirement)3Goal 5 Social Responsibility and Ethics3
CHEM 330 (General Science Requirement)3CHEM 335 (General Science Requirement)33
CHEM 331 (General Science Requirement)2CHEM 336 (General Science Requirement)32
BIOL 400 or 401 (Major Requirement)43-4BIOL 350 (General Science Requirement)4
BIOL 402 (Major Requirement)42 
 16-17 15
PHSX 114 (or PHSX 211 & 216, Goal 1.1 Critical Thinking, General Science Requirement)4-5PHSX 115 (or PHSX 212 & 236, General Science Requirement)4
BIOL 636 (General Science Requirement)4BIOL 638 (General Science Requirement)33
BIOL 416 (Major Requirement)43BIOL 512 (Major Requirement)33
BIOL 518 (Major Requirement)43BIOL 513 (Major Requirement)32
BIOL 519 (Major Requirement)42BIOL 400+ (Major Requirement)53
 16-17 15
Goal 3 Social Science3BIOL 506 (Major Requirement)33
Goal 3 Arts & Humanities3BIOL 507 (Major Requirement)32
BIOL 570, MATH 365, or PSYC 210 (General Science Requirement)43-4BIOL 599 ( Goal 6 Integration & Creativity, Major Requirement)61
BIOL 503 (Major Requirement)43BIOL 400+ (Major Requirement)53
BIOL 504 (Major Requirement)42Elective (Total Hours)3
 Elective (Total Hours)1-2
 14-15 13-14
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.