Curriculum Microbiology | Biology | SIU

Southern Illinois University



College of Agriculture, Life and Physical Sciences

Student using Microscope


SIU has the ONLY program in Illinois that offers an undergraduate major in microbiology! From a wealth of specialized courses, you can choose those that particularly suit your individual academic and career interests. At other colleges, microbiology courses are often taught as a part of the other biological sciences, resulting in a more generalized-and less rewarding-study of the field. Microbiology at SIU offers a directed, integrated, specialized program based on the latest and most relevant information in the field.

In addition to the University Core Curriculum required of all students pursuing a bachelor's degree at SIU, students majoring in microbiology will take a combination of courses in basic science and mathematics as well as the specialized courses from the department. Much of the practicing microbiologist's time is devoted to the study of problems involving biochemistry and genetics. To be best prepared for these areas, our students take two years of college chemistry and a one year sequence in biology. Completing the requirements of the Microbiology major also satisfy the requirements for a minor in Chemistry. This "Microbiology major/Chemistry minor" positions graduates for jobs in the pharmaceutical and related industries, for entry into professional, medical and dental schools, and for admission to graduate programs in microbiology and other areas of molecular biology.

Solving microbiological problems requires mastery of simple quantitative relationships and the use of complex optical or electronic equipment. Therefore, mathematics and one year of college physics are important components of the degree program requirements. Six credit hours of Supportive Skills (computer science, technical writing, statistics or foreign language) must also be taken to fulfill the College of Agricultural, Life, and Physical Sciences requirement.

The remainder of the microbiology major consists of microbiology courses. Following a two semester sequence of introductory microbiology and molecular biology, you may build your major in the various areas of our faculty's expertise: molecular biology and genetics, biotechnology, microbial physiology/biochemistry, microbial diversity, microbial ecology, medical microbiology and immunology. You will take lecture courses and two semester-long core laboratory courses to develop a strong background in both the theoretical and the practical aspects of microbiology. One of the strengths of our program is that students can earn credit in the major by participating in undergraduate research, working with individual faculty members, engaging in goal-oriented research projects, and obtaining valuable laboratory experience outside of the classroom.

Students interested in a career in medicine or dentistry often discover that an undergraduate major in microbiology is excellent preparation for professional school. Microbiology's foundation in chemistry and molecular biology is especially helpful in preparing students for the competitive professional school application process. Many of our microbiology graduates have gone on to public and private professional schools in Illinois and other states.

A minor is offered in microbiology for those whose major interest may be in another discipline, most frequently chemistry or biological sciences.

For More Information

Undergraduate Advisor

Microbiology program
1125 Lincoln Drive
Life Science II Room 131
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
Carbondale, Illinois 62901
Phone: 618-536-2349