Our microbiology major enrolls about 200 students and is the only bachelor's of science degree in microbiology offered in Oregon. As a microbiology major, you will study beneficial and disease-causing bacteria, archaea, viruses and parasites in the context of human, plant and animal disease and the environment.
We offer two options for microbiology majors that wish to specialize. A pre-medicine option will prepare you for medical school if you are interested in a career in medicine. If you are more interested in environmental science, the aquatic microbiology option provides you with a background in the microbial processes of aquatic systems and prepares you for careers in environmental resource fields in industry, government and academia.
There are so many opportunities to explore the world of microbiology in our department. Our faculty address environmental and medical problems by studying organisms at the scale of the cell, the host and the environment. Our human health researchers study bacterial communication, microbiome evolution and function, food-borne illnesses and intracellular pathogens. Our environmental researchers study the effects of microbes on the health of fish populations, coral reefs, and systems biology of ocean bacteria. We encourage you to take advantage of the many opportunities available for undergraduate research with any of our faculty.
What will you do as a microbiology major?
Microbiology students at OSU study with and conduct research alongside faculty renowned for their pioneering work on virology and immunology to address daunting environmental, medical and molecular biological problems. As a microbiology major, you will gain a foundational understanding of infectious and beneficial organisms that play a role in human and environmental health. Through coursework and laboratory training, you will also learn about microbiology applications in the areas of environment, medicine, healthcare, agriculture and animal health.
Originating with a single course in bacteriology in 1899, today the Department of Microbiology is internationally renowned for pathbreaking research in the areas of the microbiology of aquatic environments, the microbiome, and food and environmental microbiology. You will have extensive opportunities to engage in undergraduate research, international study programs, internships, and conduct field studies that span environmental sciences, human and animal health, ocean ecosystems and medicine. Through a wide range of core and elective courses, you will engage in both theoretical and experimental learning from outstanding teachers and researchers.
The microbiology major has a built-in chemistry minor to provide students with a broad background in the physical sciences and enhance their skills as scientists.