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Microbiology undergraduate students pipetting in laboratory class

CSU offers the only bachelor's degree program in microbiology in the state of Colorado. With approximately 220 microbiology majors, our program is big enough to be dynamic, but still small enough to offer students personalized attention and relevant experience not always available in larger programs.

Why a Degree in Microbiology?

Does unlocking the secrets of life excite you? Do you wish to understand how microbes affect human health? Have you ever wondered how microorganisms can be used to clean up pollution and toxic wastes? Would you like to study the human immune system, or help develop vaccines against infectious disease? Does the possibility of finding life on other planets interest you? Do you wonder how microorganisms can be used to improve foods and beverages, develop new medicines, or enhance farm crops? If your answers are "yes" then a major in Microbiology may be the choice for you!

Career Opportunities

Career opportunities for students with a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology are excellent and the outlook for future demand is very good, due to expansion in the areas of biotechnology, an aging population with a greater need for medical care, the continuing threat of infectious diseases worldwide, and increased awareness of the potential use of bio-weapons.

Departmental Statistics

Departmental data indicate that a degree in microbiology from Colorado State is excellent preparation for a career in the life-sciences. We have been able to track 75% of the 331 students who have graduated from our microbiology program in the last five years, and our data indicate that 90% of these graduates followed professional science-related career paths; about half continued their education in a graduate or professional medical program and the other half obtained employment in a microbiology-related position.

Graduate and Medical Programs

Colorado State microbiology graduates have been admitted to graduate and professional medical programs throughout the country, including some of the nation's most prestigious institutions, such as Baylor, Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, Harvard, Loyola, Rockefeller, Stanford, Tufts, Tulane, Washington, and Vanderbilt Universities. (Graduate and professional medical programs admitting Colorado State graduates with a B.S. in microbiology in the last five years.)

Graduate Programs

Our graduates have been admitted into MS and PhD programs in a variety of disciplines, including microbiology, virology, immunology, molecular biology, biochemistry, organic chemistry, biotechnology, neuroanatomy, biophysics, cancer biology, toxicology, genetics, forensic science, public health, and education.

Medical and Veterinary School

Our curriculum for a degree in microbiology meets or exceeds the academic requirements for admission into most medical and veterinary schools.

Other Medical Programs

In addition to medical and veterinary school, our graduates are well prepared to enter medically-related programs that require education beyond the B.S. degree, such as dentistry, optometry, physician assistant, pharmacy, nursing, anesthesiology, and medical technology /clinical laboratory scientist programs.

Direct Career Entry

Better than 75% of our graduates who went into a career directly following graduation obtained positions working in microbiology or a closely-related field. Most positions are laboratory-based and are in the following types of agencies: research institutions, public health agencies, and private industry (biopharmaceutical, medical device, food and beverage processing companies, etc.). The Denver metro area is becoming a regional center for life science companies, and many hire microbiologists.(Colorado Bioscience Association Membership Directory)

Laboratory experience enhances a graduate's credentials for entry into permanent full-time employment. A number of Colorado employers preferentially hire candidates with a B.S. degree in Microbiology from Colorado State due to their solid academic preparation and research laboratory experience.

Starting salaries with a B.S. degree in microbiology vary, depending on factors such as the applicant's experience, the type of position, and the location of the employer. Typically, salaries are highest for positions in private industry and in regions of the country with a higher cost of living. In Colorado, recent annual salaries for entry-level positions have ranged from about $30,000 to 45,000. (List of employers hiring Colorado State graduates with a B.S. in microbiology in the last five years.)

Research Institutions

Microbiologists perform basic scientific research, often in the area of infectious disease.

Private Industry

Microbiologists are involved in the areas of quality control/quality assurance, bio-process and manufacturing operations, and product research and development. Microbiologists may also be employed by companies as technical support, sales, and consulting personnel.

Public Health Agencies

Agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Department of Agriculture, and state and local health departments employ microbiologists in areas such as basic research, diagnostics, and disease surveillance and control.

Colorado State Career Center

The CSU Career Center offers a number of services to help Colorado State students choose a major, prepare application materials, practice for interviews, research graduate programs, and find current job openings. The Career Center also hosts several career fairs each year.