Microbiology class.

Program Overview

Quick Facts

  • Delivery: On Campus
  • Credits: 120 

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 the health of humans and other animals, plants, soil, aquatic habitats, and a diverse array of other applications in this ever-evolving field of science.

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 have ample opportunities to perform guided research with faculty members, present data in local, regional, and national conferences. You will also have opportunities to take an active role in writing and submitting your work for publication and managing others’ research manuscripts for a microbiology journal, Fine Focus.

Our program prepares graduates to seek out careers in the environmental microbiology, the public health sector, or 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.

Meet the Biology Faculty Who Teach in this Concentration

Research Opportunities

Ball State’s microbiology faculty are more than teachers—they are also active researchers in their field that regularly invite students to work alongside them.  There are opportunities for student grantsmanship and mentored research.

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
  • understanding how immune cells respond to their environment

Laboratories and Advanced Equipment

At Ball State, you will be able to conduct research in modern, spacious facilities, and you will have the opportunity to apply your knowledge using advanced equipment.

Relevant Student Organizations

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.

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:

Small Class Sizes

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.

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: 37-38
  • Microbiology Concentration: 30
  • University Core Curriculum: 66-70


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: 18 credits

  • BIO 111 – Principles of Biology 1
  • BIO 112 – Principles of Biology 2
  • BIO 201 - Symposium
  • BIO 214 – Genetics
  • BIO 216 – Ecology
  • One of the following:
    • BIO 314 – Methods in Genetics
    • BIO 315 – Methods in Cell Biology
    • BIO 316 – Methods in Ecology

*Note:  All microbiology concentration students are required to take either BIO 314 or BIO 315.

Other Required Courses: 18-20 credits

  • CHEM 111 – General Chemistry 1
  • CHEM 112 – General Chemistry 2
  • PHYC 110 – General Physics 1
  • One of the following:
    • CHEM 230 – Organic Chemistry for the Life Sciences AND CHEM 241 – Organic Chemistry Laboratory 1
    • CHEM 231 – Organic Chemistry 1 AND CHEM 241 – Organic Chemistry Laboratory 1
  • One of the following:
    • MATH 112 – Precalculus Trigonometry
    • MATH 114 – Precalculus Trigonometry (accelerated 8 week course)
    • MATH 161 – Applied Calculus 1
    • MATH 165 – Calculus 1 


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

  • BIO 215 – Cell Biology
  • BIO 313 – Microbiology
  • BIO 314 – Methods in Genetics OR BIO 315 – Methods in Cell Biology
  • BIO 341 – Pathogenic Bacteriology
  • BIO 444 – Immunology
  • BOT 446 – Medical Mycology
  • CHEM 360 – Essentials of Biochemistry
  • CHEM 361 – Introductory Biochemistry Laboratory
  • 6 credits 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

Hear what our Microbiology students have to say about this concentration!

Kieran Claypool
"I like learning about new things, and for a lot of biology courses from high school, all you cover is macroscopic life. That's why I chose microbiology. Microbiology can also explain the details that help make macroscopic life possible, which is equally interesting."

Sarah Crossley
"I initially became interested in the Microbiology concentration due to intriguing and specialized courses such as Pathogenic Bacteriology and Medical Mycology. I chose the Microbiology concentration as this allowed me to pursue my passion for healthcare while exploring my interest in microbes and infectious disease. This concentration has given me the opportunity to have accommodating and individualized learning experiences in both the classroom and labs."


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Take the Next Step

Do you want to learn more about our program or have questions about the application process or financial aid? We’re here to help! One of the best ways to understand why Ball State is right for you is to schedule a visit through our Office of Undergraduate Admissions to see it for yourself. Or if you’d like to speak directly to someone in our department, please feel free to call or email us.


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