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Masters Programs in Microbiology: Degree Information

Students in a master's degree program in microbiology gain an understanding of the function and role of microbial life through the study of microorganisms. Programs prepare individuals to work as microbiologists who utilize biotechnology to learn more about human disease and cell reproduction.

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Essential Information

A Master of Science (M.S.) in Microbiology typically emphasizes the importance of research, and prepares students to become professionals in the biological field or enter a Ph.D. program. A student working toward this degree may be required to demonstrate proficiency in molecular biology, immunology, microbial physiology and general microbiology.

  • Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree in biological sciences. Prior research experience is strongly preferred
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Program Specializations: Some options include bioinformatics, marine microbiology, and virology of animals
  • Other Requirements: Thesis

Master's Degree in Microbiology

Courses in a microbiology master's degree program span multiple disciplines, providing students with the fundamentals of microbiology. Common course topics include:

  • Ethical research
  • Microorganism biology
  • Microbial physiology
  • Immunology
  • Pathogen microbiology
  • Genetics of bacteria

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that as of May 2014, the median salary of microbiologists in general was $76,530 and that the highest levels of employment for microbiologists were in pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing, scientific research and development services and the federal government ( The employment of microbiologists is expected to increase by 7% from 2012-2022, according to the BLS.

Continuing Education

At the end of a master's program, graduates should be able to design experiments, conduct research, evaluate current scientific literature and successfully utilize techniques of microbiology. An individual may choose to enter into the field as a professional microbiologist, or continue his or her graduate education in a Ph.D. program. Candidates for a Ph.D. may be required to present a dissertation prior to graduation.

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