Skip to main content

Microbiology and Cell Science Undergraduate Programs

The Department of Microbiology and Cell Science offers a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree through either the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) or the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS). The curriculum prepares students to meet their goals, which include professional careers in microbiology, or continuation of their education in professional programs such as medical, dental, pharmacy, veterinary or graduate school. Students with an interest in research are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the department’s undergraduate research opportunities and are encouraged to consider continuing their education in the department’s respected Graduate Program in Microbiology and Cell Science.

For more and up to date information about academic success, research importance, career awareness and additional resources visit our MCS advising site

Contact your academic advisor, for any question related with undegraduate courses.

Programs of Study

  • Undergraduate Course Listing

    UF Microbiology and Cell Science Undergraduate Degree Options:

    Current Department Core Course Options

    Course Descriptions found in the UF Course Catalog:

    Syllabi for the courses can be found here

    • MCB 3023 Principles of Microbiology (Fall, Spring)
    • MCB 4203 Bacterial Pathogens (Fall, Spring)
    • PCB 4233 Immunology (Spring)
    • PCB 4522 Molecular Genetics (Fall, Spring)
    • MCB 4304 Genetics of Microorganisms (Fall)
    • MCB 4403 Prokaryotic Cell Structure (Fall)
    • PCB 3134 Eukaryotic Cell Structure (Fall, Spring)

    Current Department Programming Course Options

    • MCB 4325C R For Functional Genomics
    • BSC 2891 Python Programming for Biologists (Spring)

    Current Department Core Lab Course Options

    • MCB 3023L Principles of Microbiology Lab (Fall, Spring)
    • MCB 4034L Advanced Lab (Fall, Spring)
    • MCB 4271L Antimicrobial Resistance Lab (Fall)

    Current Department Elective Course Options

    • BSC 4434c Introduction to Bioinformatics (Fall)
    • ZOO 4232 Human Parasitology (Fall)
    • MCB 3703 Astrobiology (Spring)
    • MCB 4320c The Microbiome (Spring)
    • MCB 4503 General Virology (Fall, Spring)
    • MCB 4151 Prokaryotic Diversity (Summer C)
    • MCB 4666 Human Genomics (Fall)
    • MCB 4422 Probiotics (Spring)
    • MCB 4271 Antimicrobial Resistance (Fall, Spring)
    • BSC 4467 Microbial Application of Synthetic Biology (Fall)
    • ALS 3200C AI In Agriculture and Life Sciences (Fall)

    Current Course Options for Non-Microbiology and Cell Science Majors

    • MCB 2000 Microbiology (Fall, Spring, Summer A)
    • MCB 3020 Basic Biology of Microorganisms (Fall, Spring, Summer A, Summer B)

    Current Lab Course Options for Non-Microbiology and Cell Science Majors

    • MCB 2000L Microbiology Lab (Fall, Spring, Summer A)
    • MCB 3020L Basic Biology of Microorganisms Lab (Fall, Spring, Summer A)
  • Traditional B.S. Degree Program

    The Bachelor of Science in microbiology and cell science, offered by both the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS), offers you flexibility in a curriculum that develops an excellent knowledge base and an understanding of concepts in microbiology, cell biology and the bio-molecular sciences. Emphasis will be placed on application of the scientific method to gain an understanding of the biological world at the cellular and molecular levels. You will learn to evaluate hypotheses, to interpret experimental data and to communicate results effectively.

    Additional information, including course requirements and semester plans, for the CALS major is available here.

    Additional information, including course requirements and semester plans, for the CLAS major is available here.

    Skills You Will Acquire in the Major:

    • Describe fundamental concepts, skills and processes in microbiology, molecular biology and in host/pathogen interactions.
    • Apply fundamental concepts, skills and protocols used to conduct research in fields of microbiology, molecular biology and in host/pathogen.
    • Evaluate information and data in the general areas of microbiology and the cellular and molecular biological sciences.
    • Solve typical problems that are encountered in general areas of microbiology and cellular and molecular biological sciences.
    • Communicate effectively in written form in a manner appropriate in microbiology and the cellular and molecular biological sciences.
    • Communicate orally (including visual aids) in an effective manner appropriate in microbiology and the cellular and molecular biological sciences.

    For more information, please contact the Microbiology and Cell Science Undergraduate Advisor.

  • Online B.S. Degree Program

    The University of Florida (UF), one of the finest research institutions in the country, is now offering an Online Bachelor of Science (BS) Degree in Microbiology and Cell Science. This degree is perfect for students in the state of Florida interested in pursuing a career in research, graduate study in the life sciences, or gaining admissions to a professional school (medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, etc.).

    The Online BS in Microbiology is a 2+2, 4-year program that allows students to obtain a BS degree from the University of Florida after completing 2 years of prerequisites as part of an Associate of Arts (AA) degree from other universities, colleges, or community colleges within the state of Florida. Students who complete these prerequisites can then apply to transfer into the online program as a junior student at UF.

    Students within the program would receive the same level of excellent education provided to any of the more than 1300 students who participate in Microbiology on UF’s campus each year, with the advantage of asynchronous online learning, courtesy of the department of Microbiology and Cell Science faculty and staff.

    The lab courses are taught either 100% online or in hybrid mode (involves in-person bootcamp labs during summer A/C on main campus at Gainesville)

    To learn more about this exciting program, please visit the Online BS Program website.

    Learn more about our online labs:

  • Graduating with Honors

    Graduating With Honors

    There are three main types of Honors programs available to students: Baccalaureate Honors (CALS and CLAS), Honors Scholar Certificate Program (CALS only) and the UF Scholars Program (CALS and CLAS). Often, students participate in more than one program simultaneously. All of these honors programs require a research thesis. A single thesis can serve for baccalaureate, honors certificate and UF Scholars programs. CALS offers an Honors Scholar Certificate Program; whereas, CLAS does not. However, for CLAS (and CALS) students, the UF Scholar Program is available.

    • Baccalaureate Honors has the traditional ranks of Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude and Summa Cum Laude. Baccalaureate Honors are designated on the transcript and are signified at the graduation ceremony with ribbons. Baccalaureate Honors requirements are set by the Department (Microbiology & Cell Science). One is said to “graduate with honors” if the baccalaureate honors requirements are met. Students can read about these requirements here.
    • CALS Honors Scholar Certificate Program is administered by the college and has requirements that are somewhat different from baccalaureate honors. Recipients of the CALS Honors Scholar program receive certificates, but it is not indicated on the transcript per se. However, honors sections for specific courses are designated on the transcript.
    • UF Scholars Program is open to all UF students. This program limited to 200 students and carries a stipend of $2,500 and $500 for research materials.

    Contact Information:

    Microbiology & Cell Science Department Undergraduate Research Contact:
    Dr. Joe Larkin III
    Chair of Honors Thesis Review Committee

    CALS Honors Scholar Certificate Program Contact:
    Matthew Brannan
    Program Assistant CALS Honors Program


  • Minors

    Bioinformatics minor

    The Microbiology & Cell Science Department is pleased to offer an undergraduate minor in Bioinformatics. This minor is offered to students majoring in any biology-related subject, including, but not limited to, Microbiology, Biology, or Biochemistry. Bioinformatics - which we define broadly as the use of computers to answer biological questions - has become a major component of modern biological science. So integrated is bioinformatics with biology that it is difficult to find an active research program that does not rely on bioinformatic analysis to achieve results. Unfortunately, the integration of bioinformatics and traditional methods is not stressed in many undergraduate programs, leaving the next generation of biologists without the skills they need to succeed in tomorrow’s research environment. We created the undergraduate minor in Bioinformatics to provide this critical training to future professionals in the biological disciplines.

    Click here to learn more

    Pathogenesis Minor

    This minor emphasizes human infectious disease to provide a strong foundation in the field of microbial pathogenesis. This is provided by academic coursework covering fundamental and advanced aspects of microbial pathogenesis from both the host and pathogen perspective.

    Click here to learn more

Student Information and Opportunities

  • Transfer Student Information

    Transfer students majoring in Microbiology and Cell Science complete most of the preprofessional course requirements for medical and dental school and are also well-prepared for graduate school. Departmental electives offer the opportunity to focus on specific areas such as the sources and carriers of infectious diseases. This major is also available by distance education with laboratory instruction and testing facilities at Miami Dade College and the UF/IFAS Indian River Research and Education Center in Fort Pierce.

    CALS transfer student applicants must meet the following requirements before transferring:

    • Obtain an Associate of Arts degree from a Florida public community/state college. Students transferring from private institutions, state universities in Florida or institutions outside Florida must have at least 60 semester hours of transferable credit. Vocational coursework is not accepted.
    • Complete two years of sequential high school foreign language courses or 8-10 hours of sequential college-level foreign language courses (or prove proficiency).
    • Have at least a 2.0 GPA at each higher education institution attended as calculated by UF.
    • Meet the GPA required for the major (all graded attempts calculated, NO grade forgiveness).
    • Complete specific prerequisite courses required for the major with the required GPA

    Additional Department Requirements:

    Required 2.0 overall GPA and a 2.5 GPA in the following courses with a grade of C or better in each. Students MUST complete the following courses before transferring:

    • CHM 2045 & 2045L – General Chemistry 1 and Lab
    • CHM 2046 & 2046L – General Chemistry 2 and Lab
    • BSC 2010 & 2010L – General Biology 1 and Lab
    • BSC 2011 & 2011L – General Biology 2 and Lab
    • MAC 2311 – Analytic Geometry and Calculus 1

    Application information for transfer students can be found at the UF Admissions Website.

    Click here for information on the Florida Pathways S-STEM Scholarship.

  • Teaching Assistant Opportunities

    For information, contact:

    Dr. Monika Oli

  • Research and Scholarship Opportunities

Career Help

  • Careers in the Microbiological Sciences

    What is a Microbiologist?

    Although known by many different titles, a microbiologist is a scientist who studies living organisms and infectious agents many of whom can only be seen with a microscope. They also study the interaction of microorganisms with people. Every day microbiologists around the world explore, investigate, and discover how these organisms, called microbes, exist and affect our lives.

    Where Does a Microbiologist Work and With Whom?

    As a microbiologist, you will work with many other scientists and have a vast range of opportunities. Microbiologists work in almost every industry and have many different responsibilities. You will collaborate with many other scientists. Depending on your specific situation, you may perform more than one function or role.

    Can I Specialize?

    Microbiologists can specialize in a variety of areas. Bacteriologist study how bacteria infect humans, animals and plants, reproduce and cause disease. Biochemist study how organisms derive energy, use nutrients and reproduce. Microbial physiologist and biochemist study life processes of microbes and how organisms use nutrients and divide. Mycologist study fungi, molds, and yeast to discover how they infect living matter, reproduce and cause disease. Parasitologist study parasitic organisms to find out how they infect living hosts, reproduce and cause disease. Virologist study viruses or pieces of genetic material that are only active inside living cells.

    What Kinds of Career Paths Are There?

    Depending on your experience and education , there are a number of options and opportunities to choose from in your career as a microbiologist.

    Two-Year Technical Training Degree:

    One option is obtaining a associate of arts or an associate of applied science degree, from a community college or technical institution. There are increasing opportunities for laboratory assistants and this training will give you the necessary qualifications. The curriculum covers a two year program and includes courses in biology, life sciences, chemistry, physics, math, and computer sciences.

    Baccalaureate Degree:

    Graduation with a B.S. in biology or microbiology will help you qualify for many technical, research environmental, and clinical positions. Some include:

    • Research Assistant – A key player to research teams, providing technical support to conduct research. A research assistant participates in a team with a director and a scientists as well as marketing, administrative, and sales professionals.
    • Food, Industrial, or environmental microbiologists, quality assurance technologists – Identifies disease or harmful causing microorganisms in water, food, dairy, pharmaceutical , and environmental products. In addition, they check for the quality and safety of vitamins, vaccines, antibiotics, antiseptics, and disinfectants.
    • Clinical and veterinary microbiologist, medical technologists – Identifies disease causing microorganism in humans and animals.

    Masters Degree:

    A masters degree will broaden your career choices in marketing, sales, administrative, teaching, and technical support positions. Opportunities include:

    • Supervisor or laboratory manager – Supervises day to day activities in a variety of laboratories.
    • Research manager or associate – Performs experiments and provides technical support to the research teams.
    • Instructor – Teaches courses at the community and junior college levels.

    Doctoral Degree:

    A Ph.D. or M.D. is almost always required for higher level positions in microbiology and other sciences. Achieving your doctoral degree will greatly enhance your opportunities. You will be able to perform independent research, teach undergraduate and graduate students, and assume executive level responsibilities in government and industry. Specific jobs include:

    • Scientist – Formulates hypotheses for experimental investigation, conducts research, and trains students and laboratory personnel.
    • University or college professor – Teaches in the classroom or laboratory, trains students, conducts research, and performs community service.
    • Academic science administrator – Serves as college or university dean or in other administrative positions such as vice president or president.
    • Research director – Leads a research team that explores and tries to understand unanswered questions and unproven theories.
    • Corporate executive – Oversees part, or all of, a company such as a biotechnology, pharmaceutical, agricultural. or environmental agency.
    • Science advisor or administrator – Leads programs concerned with safety of new devices, food, drugs and chemicals, and helps influence laws, regulations, and research for government agencies

    Combining a Science Education with Another Discipline:

    You may choose to combine your undergraduate degree in a science related field with a graduate degree in another area such as business, marketing, or journalism. This enable you to pursue opportunities in scientific sales, technical support, writing, public relations, communications, regulatory affairs or management. Completing a B.S. degree in microbiology also gives you the necessary foundation to continue an education in medical, veterinary, dental, or legal fields.

    How Much Does a Microbiologist Make?

    Salaries among microbiologist vary a great deal depending on education, experience, type of job, and education. Listed below is a general guide to what you could expect to earn given the indicated educational level of achievement and type of company or institution. The lower end of the salary scale represents salaries for people starting a career in microbiology and the higher end represents a microbiologist with many years experience.

    • Educational Institution: Doctorate – $30,000 – $200,000+, Masters – $20,000 – $60,000+, Baccalaureate – $16,000 – $30,000+
    • Industry: Doctorate – $35,000 – $200,000+, Masters – $25,000 – $80,000+, Baccalaureate – $18,000 – $50,000+
    • Public Sector Government: Doctorate – $35,000 – $100,000+, Masters – $25,000 – $60,000, Baccalaureate – $17,000 – $40,000+

    How Can I Prepare to Become a Microbiologist?

    In your quest to become a microbiologist, you must build a solid foundation with emphasis in reading, writing, math, computer science, and communication. As a microbiologist, you will probably specialize in one area. In order to do that, you will need to be familiar with many scientific disciplines. Your course work in high school provides a basic foundation. Four years of college gives breadth to that knowledge and post-graduate studies enable you to probe into your selected area.

    Here are specific actions to take as you continue your education:

    High School:

    Your course work should include biology, chemistry, physics, computer science, and math. English courses are also important because microbiologist spend much of their time communicating results through speeches, articles, and manuscripts. Foreign languages are also critical for exchanging information with scientists around the world. You should participate in extracurricular activities such as science fairs, and clubs. If possible, work in a research laboratory of a university or science related company part-time during the summers. These activities provide valuable insight and actual experience in a scientific environment.


    You should major in microbiology and if there is none available, you should major in biological or life sciences, or chemistry and take all offered courses in microbiology. These include microbiology, microbial or molecular genetics, cell biology, immunology, virology, pathogens, and parasitology. Your other course work should include general biology, qualitative and quantitative chemistry, organic and biochemistry, calculus, physics, computer science, statistics, and technical writing. To receive the greatest benefit of your undergraduate program, work in a laboratory and participate in extracurricular programs such as microbiology or biology clubs and honor societies. Join local and national scientific professional societies and take advantage of student events. To develop necessary hand-eye coordination and group interaction skills, participate in activities that develop manipulative precision, and team building skills.

  • Further Career Information