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How do I get a Microbiology Degree?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 29 January 2018
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A microbiology degree can be obtained by attending a college or university which has a microbiology program. Because the field of microbiology is so diverse, it is a good idea to think about where one's interests lie when applying to such programs; someone who wants to study viruses, for example, will need to find a school which offers an emphasis in virology. Once someone has graduated with a microbiology degree, there are a number of fields in which he or she can work, ranging from environmental advocacy to pure research.

Someone who knows that he or she wants to study microbiology can plan ahead of time by focusing on math and sciences in high school. This grounding will help the student in college, and may allow a student to skip some basic prerequisite courses or to audit such courses by examination, which frees up time for more advanced study. If possible, students may want to take microbiology-related classes at neighboring community colleges to improve their transcripts and get started as early as possible.

Many colleges and universities offer basic undergraduate degrees in microbiology. A student with a particular area of focus might want to attend a school which is performing research in that area, while students who are interested in microbiology, but not sure where they want to go with their interest, can get an undergraduate microbiology degree from any institution that meets their needs. Students should be aware that the coursework can be highly demanding, especially in the final year of study.

Most microbiologists don't stop with an undergraduate degree. They pursue graduate work, applying into a program which offers training in their area of interest along with research opportunities. For a graduate microbiology degree, a student will need to supply a university with transcripts, letters of recommendation, test scores, and other supporting information. It helps to have some research experience and demonstrated talent in microbiology as an undergraduate, especially for students who choose to apply into highly competitive programs.

Education doesn't have to stop with grad school and a doctorate microbiology degree. Post-graduate work in microbiology is an option for many people in this field, especially those who are interested in research and those who are working on emerging topics in microbiology. This type of work allows for an even greater focus on a topic of interest, paired with an opportunity to work with researchers who are at the cutting edge of the field.

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