Masters Programs in Microbiology: Degree Information
Learn about the interdisciplinary coursework included in a master's degree program in microbiology. Find out what careers can be sought, as well as potential salary for this field.
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.
These 2-year programs typically emphasize the importance of research. A student working toward a Master of Science (M.S.) in Microbiology may be required to demonstrate proficiency in molecular biology, immunology, microbial physiology and general microbiology. Students may also be required to complete a thesis. A master's degree program in microbiology prepares students to become professionals in the biological field or enter a Ph.D. program.
In order to enter into this graduate program, students should have a bachelor's degree in biological sciences. Applicants typically must have completed courses in physics, biology, organic chemistry and mathematics. Prior research experience is strongly preferred as well.
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
- Marine microbiology
- Microbial physiology
- Pathogen microbiology
- Genetics of bacteria
- Virology of animals
- Oceanography microbiology
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that as of May 2012, the median salary of microbiologists in general was $66,260 and that the highest levels of employment for microbiologists were in pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing, scientific research and development services and the federal government (www.bls.gov). The employment of microbiologists is expected to increase by 13% from 2010-2020, according to the BLS.
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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