Microbiology is the study of organisms that usually require the aid of a microscope in order to be seen.

Micro-organisms include viruses, bacteria, archaea bacteria, algae, fungi, and protozoa. Microbiologists seek to understand the interactions between these organisms and components of our biosphere. Many micro-organisms are essential for life, as we know it, to exist on earth. Many of these organisms produce useful biologically active products, such as enzymes and antibiotics. A small number of them cause diseases in plants and animals, including humans.

The study of micro-organisms has led to many important discoveries concerning:

  • the complexities, universality and mechanism of expression of the genetic code;
  • the transfer of genetic information between species and modulation of the gene pool;
  • the mechanism of antigen-antibody reactions and cellular immunity;
  • the synthesis of proteins, nucleic acids and other cellular constituents;
  • the structure, function and biogenesis of membranes; and,
  • the process of molecular and cellular differentiation. 

Students majoring in Microbiology will understand basic principles relating to molecular, cellular and organismal biology. In addition to these, students will exhibit proficiency in selected empirical laboratory skills, develop knowledge of contemporary research using the scientific method and demonstrate competence in oral and written communication. This background of knowledge and experience will prepare the students for entry into professional/graduate school or for employment in government, academic or industrial positions. The learning goals are divided into five parts including (1) Conceptual knowledge; (2) Critical and independent thinking skills; (3) Communication skills; (4) Collaborative skills; and (5) Societal impact.

Please visit the Microbiology webpage for more information.

Dearborn Discovery Core Requirement

The minimum GPA for the program is 2.0. In addition, the DDC permits any approved course to satisfy up to three credit hours within three different categories. Please see the General Education Program: The Dearborn Discovery Core section for additional information.

Foundational Studies

Written and Oral Communication (GEWO) – 6 Credits

Upper Level Writing Intensive (GEWI) – 3 Credits

Quantitative Thinking and Problem Solving (GEQT) – 3 Credits

Critical and Creative Thinking (GECC) – 3 Credits

Areas of Inquiry

Natural Science (GENS) – 7 Credits

  • Lecture/Lab Science Course
  • Additional Science Course

Social and Behavioral Analysis (GESB) – 9 Credits

Humanities and the Arts (GEHA) – 6 Credits

Intersections (GEIN) – 6 Credits


Capstone (GECE) – 3 Credits

Foreign Language Requirement

Complete a two-semester beginning language sequence.

Ancient Greek I and II MCL 105 and MCL 106
Arabic I and II ARBC 101 and ARBC 102
Armenian I and II MCL 111 and MCL 112
French I and II FREN 101 and FREN 102
German I and II GER 101 and GER 102
Latin I and II LAT 101 and LAT 102
Spanish I and II SPAN 101 and SPAN 102
Chinese I and II CHIN 101 and CHIN 102

Pre-Major Requirements

A solid background in mathematics is essential to success in any of the scientific disciplines. Incoming students who intend to choose a major in Microbiology should have completed at least three years of high school mathematics. First year students should plan to enroll in MATH 104 or MATH 105; MATH 113 or MATH 115; or MATH 114 or MATH 116 based on the results of their math placement tests. CHEM 134 or CHEM 144 and CHEM 136 or CHEM 146 are prerequisites to many other courses in the Natural Sciences Department; students majoring in any of the sciences should complete this sequence as soon as possible.

BIOL 130
BIOL 140
Intro Org and Environ Biology
and Intro Molec & Cellular Biology
CHEM 134General Chemistry IA4
or CHEM 144 Gen Chemistry IB
CHEM 136General Chemistry IIA4
or CHEM 146 General Chemistry IIB
CHEM 225
CHEM 226
CHEM 227
Organic Chemistry I
and Organic Chemistry II
and Organic Chemistry Laboratory
MATH 113Calc I for Biology & Life Sci4
or MATH 115 Calculus I
Select one of the following:3-4
Calc II for Biology & Life Sci
Calculus II
Biostatistics I 4
Statistical Computing 4
Select one of the following:8
Introductory Physics I
and Introductory Physics II (preferred sequence)
General Physics I
and General Physics II
Total Credit Hours39-40

Major Requirements

A minimum of 29 upper level credit hours in Microbiology (MICR) or Biological Sciences (BIOL) must be completed as outlined below:

Note: Students should begin the chemistry sequence before electing any MICR/BIOL course.

Required Courses

All of the following courses are required:
MICR/BIOL 385Microbiology4
MICR/BIOL 405Applied & Environ Microbiology4
MICR/BIOL 406Microbial Genetics3
MICR/BIOL 440Micro Genetics & Physi Lab1
MICR/BIOL 485Physiology of Microorganisms3
Select at least one credit hour from the following: 11
Off-Campus Research
Seminar in Microbiology
Ind Study in Microbiology
Lab in Micro Research
Complete an additional 13 credit hours (to reach minimum 29 hours required for the major) from the following list, of which at least four credit hours must be from microbiology courses (MICR).
Microbiology (MICR) Courses- A minimum of 4 credit hours from: 24
Topics in Microbiology 3
Medical Virology
Pathogenic Microbiology
Off-Campus Research
Seminar in Microbiology
Ind Study in Microbiology
Lab in Micro Research
Select a minimum of 9 credits from:9
Cell Biology
General Genetics
Principles of Biochemistry 5
Topics in Biology 3
Medical Virology
Pathogenic Microbiology
Biochemistry I 5
Biochemistry II 5
Biochemistry Lab I
Biochemistry Laboratory II
Molecular Biology
A minimum of six credit hours upper level courses from the following:6
Any upper level courses in BCHM, CHEM, ENST, ESCI, GEOL, PHYS
Biostatistics I 4
Statistical Computing 4
Intro to Survey Sampling
Medical Ethics
Philosophy of Science
Medical Anthropology
Human Genetics
Physiological Psychology
Medical Sociology
Total Credit Hours35

 Other appropriate cognate courses may be permitted with approval of the faculty program advisor by petition.


   1.   A maximum of 44 credit hours of MICR or BIOL may count in the 120 hours required for graduation.

   2.   At least 12 of the 29 credit hours of upper level MICR/BIOL used toward the major must be elected at UM-Dearborn.

  3. A maximum of 6 credit hours of Independent Study (courses numbered 495, 498, 499) in any science discipline may count in the 120 hours to graduate.

  4.  A maximum of 6 credit hours combined in MICR 495/BIOL 495, MICR 498/BIOL 498, MICR 499/BIOL 499 may be applied toward the 29 credit hours required in the major.

  5.  In the entire minimum 35 credit hours required for both the microbiology major and cognates, students may use either BIOL/BCHM/CHEM 370 or BIOL/BCHM/CHEM 470 and/or 471.

 6. Any one course may be used to satisfy only one requirement within the major.

Minor or Integrative Studies Concentration

A minor or concentration consists of 12 credit hours of upper-level courses in microbiology (MICR).

MICR 309     Introduction to Mycology     4 Credit Hours

An introduction to the biology of the fungi. Classification, structure, industrial use, gastronomic qualities, and disease-producing ability of macroscopic and microscopic forms are studied. Laboratories include microscopic and macroscopic examinations of fungi, and their growth and field studies on the occurrence and classification of edible and poisonous varieties. Three hours lecture, four hours laboratory. (OC).

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 130 and BIOL 140

MICR 380     Epidemiology     2 Credit Hours

A study of disease occurrence and spread in human populations. The primary concern is with groups of persons, rather than individuals. Emphasizes methods of study that would contribute to understanding disease etiology. Two hours lecture. (OC).

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 140

MICR 385     Microbiology     4 Credit Hours

The biology of microorganisms is considered through study of the properties of bacteria, fungi, algae, protozoa, and viruses. Microbial structures are discussed and correlated with their function. Aspects of cellular metabolism pertinent to microorganisms are emphasized. The interaction of microorganisms and their environment, animate and inanimate, is discussed with respect to the beneficial or harmful effects of the different microbial groups. Laboratory exercises introduce the student to basic, practical microbiological techniques and illustrate various principles of microbial life. Three hours lecture, four hours laboratory. (F,S).

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 130 and BIOL 140

Corequisite(s): MICR 385L

MICR 390     Topics in Microbiology     1 to 6 Credit Hours

Current topics in microbiology will be presented through a lecture, discussion and/or laboratory format. Topics will vary, as appropriate, and may cover any area of microbiology including studies on bacteria, algae, fungi, protozoa, viruses, biotechnology, mechanisms of pathogenesis and immunology. (OC).

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 385 or MICR 385

MICR 405     Applied & Environ Microbiology     4 Credit Hours

Advanced treatment of the interplay of microorganisms and the environment. Topics will include soil and water microbiology (bacteria, archaea, fungi, algae, protozoans and viruses) and plant-microbe interactions (pathogenic and symbiotic) as well as the role of microorganisms in decomposition, nutrient cycling (carbon, nitrogen, sulfur and metal cycling), wastewater and biosolids treatment, and bioremediation. 3 hr lec, 1-4 hr lab. For graduate credit elect MICR 505.

Prerequisite(s): MICR 385 or BIOL 385


Can enroll if Class is Senior

MICR 406     Microbial Genetics     3 Credit Hours

A course that emphasizes the genetics and molecular biology of bacteria and their viruses. Topics include DNA structure and replication, recombination, DNA repair, genetic mapping, mechanisms of gene transfer, regulation of gene expression, mutagenesis, and recombinant DNA techniques. (YR, W).

Prerequisite(s): MICR 385 or BIOL 385 or BIOL 306

MICR 430     Medical Virology     3 Credit Hours

The course provides a general description of the history and nature of animal virus disease. Emphasis is placed on the pathogenesis and clinical description of specific diseases. Three hours lecture.

Prerequisite(s): MICR 385 or BIOL 385

MICR 440     Micro Genetics & Physi Lab     1 Credit Hour

This course emphasizes the use of advanced microbiological techniques for understanding the genetics and physiology of microorganisms. Experiments focus on the understanding of general microbial phenomena, such as nutrition, metabolism and biochemistry; protein and nucleic acid synthesis; energy generation, enzyme regulation, membrane transport, motility, differentiation, cellular communication and the behavior of populations.

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 385* or MICR 385* or BIOL 301* or BIOL 406* or MICR 406* or BIOL 485* or MICR 485*

Cannot enroll if Class is Freshman
Can enroll if Level is Undergraduate

MICR 450     Virology     4 Credit Hours

The first half of this course deals with bacterial viruses, with emphasis on classical events in this field. The second half surveys the field of animal viruses, with emphasis on recent discoveries, including replication, pathogenesis, and viral association with cancers. Three hours lecture, four hours laboratory. (AY,W).

Prerequisite(s): (BIOL 385 or MICR 385) and CHEM 226

MICR 455     Immunology     4 Credit Hours

A detailed study of the field of immunology. Among the topics covered are various aspects of the immunological response, such as humoral or cell-mediated immunity, cell-cell interactions, and immunology as related to the cause and prevention of disease. Three hours lecture, four hours laboratory. (AY,F).

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 385 or BIOL 301 or MICR 385

MICR 459     Pathogenic Microbiology     4 Credit Hours

An introduction to pathogenic microorganisms and mechanisms of microbial pathogenicity. Disease-causing bacteria, fungi, viruses, and protozoa are studied. Laboratories emphasize clinical approaches to isolation, identification, and treatment. Three hours lecture, four hours laboratory. (AY,F).

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 385 or MICR 385

MICR 485     Physiology of Microorganisms     3 Credit Hours

An in-depth examination of the physiology of microorganisms. Areas of emphasis include the growth and nutrition of microorganisms, the development of viruses, the microbial degradation of organic compounds, the regulation of degradation reactions, and the biosynthesis of uniquely microbial compounds and secondary metabolites, such as antibiotics and toxins. Consideration is given to the natural environments of specific microorganisms. (YR, W).

Prerequisite(s): (BIOL 385 or MICR 385 and CHEM 225* or BCHM 370) or BIOL 370 or CHEM 370

MICR 490A     Topics in Microbiology     3 Credit Hours

TOPIC TITLE: Receptors and Cell Signalling. A study of how receptor binding causes changes in cell activity. Topics will include an analysis of protein/ligend binding and a study of selected receptor signalling systems: ion channels, G-protein systems, tyrosine kinase activation, and the steroid receptors.

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 301 or BIOL 303 or BCHM 470 or BIOL 470 or CHEM 470

MICR 495     Off-Campus Research     1 to 3 Credit Hours

Participation in ongoing experimental research at an off-campus laboratory (or in the field). Arrangements made between the research laboratory, (director of field study), the student, and the microbiology concentration advisor. No more than 6 hours combined from MICR 495, 498, and 499 may be credited toward the 120 hours required for a degree. Four to twelve hours laboratory. Permission of concentration advisor. (F,W,S).

MICR 497     Seminar in Microbiology     1 Credit Hour

Topics of current interest in microbiology will be presented by guest lecturers, faculty members or students. Topics chosen will vary from term to term. Can be elected up to three times. One hour seminar. Permission of instructor. (W).

MICR 498     Ind Study in Microbiology     1 to 3 Credit Hours

Library research and independent study performed under the guidance of a faculty member. Four to twelve hours readings. (F,W,S).

MICR 499     Lab in Micro Research     1 to 3 Credit Hours

Directed laboratory research performed under the guidance of a faculty member. Four to twelve hours laboratory. Permission of instructor. (F,W,S).


Frequency of Offering

The following abbreviations are used to denote the frequency of offering: (F) fall term; (W) winter term; (S) summer term; (F, W) fall and winter terms; (YR) once a year; (AY) alternating years; (OC) offered occasionally