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Degree Overview: Master’s Degree Program in Microbiology

Majors Overview April 27, 2015

Get information about master’s degree programs in microbiology and their education requirements, coursework, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Master’s Degree Programs in Microbiology

Students enrolled in a master’s degree program in microbiology are imparted a strong grasp of the role and function of microbial life via the study of microorganisms. Individuals enrolled in programs are trained to work as microbiologists who use biotechnology in learning more about cell reproduction and human disease.

The importance of research in the field is emphasized in these two-year programs. A student enrolled in a Master of Science (M.S.) in Microbiology may be required to become proficient in general microbiology, microbial physiology, immunology, and molecular biology.

Students may have to complete thesis. Armed with a master’s degree in microbiology, students may choose to enroll in a Ph.D. program, or they may join the workforce as professionals in the biological field.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences, in addition to having completed courses in mathematics, organic chemistry, biology, and physics. Schools display a strong preference for prior research experience.


Multiple disciplines comprise coursework within a microbiology master’s degree program, whereby students learn the fundamentals of microbiology. Core coursework may include topic areas such as the following areas of study:

•Microbial physiology
•Marine microbiology
•Oceanography microbiology
•Microorganism biology
•Ethical research
•Virology of animals
•Genetics of bacteria
•Pathogen microbiology

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, job growth rates of seven percent have been predicted for microbiologists (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In May 2012, these professionals brought in an average annual wage of $66,260 (BLS). Medicine manufacturing and pharmaceuticals were among the most likely employers for these professionals.

Continuing Education Choices

Those who complete a master’s program should be adept at designing experiments, conducting research, evaluating current scientific literature, and successfully utilizing techniques of microbiology. An individual may pursue a career as a professional microbiologist or choose continuing education by enrolling in a Ph.D. program. Admission criteria typically require the presentation of a dissertation by candidates for the Ph.D. before they graduate.

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