Student using microscope

Microorganisms are a vital part of every aspect of life on our planet. They are everywhere, and yet they are far too small to see with the human eye. It is only through the development of the field of microbiology that we have learned how to study microorganisms to advance health initiatives across the world.

As a microbiology student at Ball State, you will study bacteria, archaea, viruses, fungi, algae, and other microbes in classroom and laboratory settings. You will also learn about microorganisms in a medical context by studying topics like pathology, immunology, and medical mycology.

Our program prepares graduates to seek out careers in the vital microbiology, medical and biotechnology industries, and your education serves as a prerequisite for admission into graduate school, medical school or other health professions programs to study these topics at a deeper level.

What It’s Like to Study Microbiology at Ball State


Ball State’s microbiology faculty are more than teachers—they are also active researchers that regularly invite students to work alongside them.

Some of the research projects our students have assisted with include:

  • detecting pathogens in foods
  • studying the pathology of the fungus C. albicans
  • DNA fingerprinting
  • researching the efficacy of bio herbicides on weeds
  • optimizing yields of industrial fermentations
  • integrated pest management of fruit, vegetable and ornamental diseases

In a laboratory-focused field, it is important to have access to authentic labs and equipment that you will use in your career or in graduate school. At Ball State, you will have be able to conduct research and apply your knowledge using tools such as microscopes, laser technology, incubators, piping equipment, autoclaves and more.

Fine Focus is a student-run academic journal featuring undergraduate microbiology research from around the world, produced right here at Ball State. Our students review manuscripts for scientific accuracy, make recommendations to the editorial board and design, write for and publish the content of the journal. Learn more.

The Department of Biology is home to several academic clubs that provide an opportunity to connect with other students in your concentration for support, professional development opportunities and academic discussion.

A few student organizations you may be interested in joining as a microbiology student include:

Our low student-to-professor ratio and small class sizes give you daily contact with professors in lecture, laboratory and out in the field, plus the individualized attention you need to excel.

Program Requirements

The concentration in microbiology fulfills part of the requirements that lead to a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree with a major in biology. All biology majors must also complete the biology core curriculum and the University Core Curriculum.

Credits Required

Total to Graduate: 120

  • Biology Core Curriculum: 44-45
  • Microbiology Concentration: 26
  • University Core Curriculum: 66-70

Courses

Biology Core

All biology majors in every concentration are required to complete a core curriculum in biology that is separate from your concentration requirements and from the University Core Curriculum.

These foundational courses provide you with an overview of the principles in biology and develop a necessary competency in chemistry, physics and math.

Biology Core Courses: 25 credits

  • BIO 111 – Principles of Biology 1
  • BIO 112 – Principles of Biology 2
  • BIO 210 – Intro to Botany
  • BIO 214 – Genetics
  • BIO 215 – Cell Biology
  • BIO 216 – Ecology
  • BIO 315 – Cell Methods or Bio 316 – Ecology Methods
  • BIO 499 – Senior Symposium

Other Required Courses: 19-20 credits

  • CHEM 111 – General Chemistry 1
  • CHEM 112 – General Chemistry 2
  • CHEM 231 – Organic Chemistry
  • PHYCS 110 – General Physics 1
  • one course in mathematics:
    • MATH 112 – Pre-calculus Trigonometry
    • MATH 161 – Applied Calculus
    • MATH 165 – Calculus 1

Note: All aquatic biology and fisheries concentration students are required to take Math 161.

View Catalog

The courses you will take to complete the microbiology concentration are:

  • BIO 313 – Microbiology
  • BIO 341 – Pathologenic Bacteriology
  • BIO 444 – Immunology-Virology
  • BIO 446 – Applied Microbiology
  • BOT 446 – Medical Mycology
  • CHEM 360 – Essentials of Biochemistry
  • 5 hours from the 200-400 level in biology, biotechnology, botany or zoology

For a complete list of all the courses you will take for your degree and their descriptions, please see our Course Catalog.

View Catalog

What Can You Do with a Degree in Biology with a Concentration in Microbiology?

A bachelor's degree in microbiology gives you a broad and rapidly growing world of opportunity. Whether your interest focuses on immunology, food microbiology, industrial microbiology, plant pathology, or biotechnology, your studies will prepare you for work in hospital and environmental laboratories, the expanding biotechnology sector, or many other possibilities.

You can pursue a broad range of science career options—any one of which would prepare you for a graduate program and research career.

And no matter where you are in your education or career, our faculty and the Ball State Career Center will help guide you every step of the way.

Paying for Your Education

Apply to Ball State

Admission to Ball State is selective, and we carefully evaluate all applications on an individual basis. Applying is easy. Use our convenient, comprehensive, and secure online application.

Apply Now

Want to Learn More?

The best way to get a true feel for Ball State is to spend some time here, so we encourage you and your family to schedule a campus visit. Take a tour, attend an information session, meet with a professor in our area, and ask plenty of questions. Or if you’d rather speak to someone directly by phone or email, please feel free to contact us.

Visit Campus     Contact Us