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Microbiology Undergraduate Program

Iowa State University offers

  • Extensive hands-on lab experiences that develop problem solving & technical skills used in a variety of professional careers.
  • Application of science to issues in the modern world
  • Excellent preparation for human medicine and veterinary medicine
  • Preparation for employment in a variety of professional settings
  • Involvement of professors from across Iowa State University in the Interdepartmental Microbiology Programs
  • Degrees in microbiology at both the undergraduate (B.S.) level and graduate (M.S., PhD.) level.


What does a BS in microbiology prepare you for?

Graduates have used their BS in microbiology from ISU to continue their schooling.  These students make up about 45% of each graduating class and have found positions in graduate school, medical school, pharmacy school, veterinary school, dental school, public health programs or medical laboratory sciences programs.  The remaining 55% find jobs directly after college in microbiology related fields such as food microbiologists, vaccine developers, microbiologists, lab technicians, and immunologists.  They work in the private sector, at USDA labs, or in academia.

Can I graduate in four years?

YES, most microbiology students that started in the microbiology program right after high school will graduate in four years.  We have also had several students complete 3 years of coursework and apply for early admission to veterinary school.  We also have several students double-majoring in Microbiology/Animal Science or Microbiology/Genetics or Microbiology/Food Science or majoring in microbiology with a Food Safety or Emerging Global Diseases Minor.

Will I know my professors or my advisor?

Microbiology is a small program of approximately 120 students.  The faculty are approachable and really get to know the students, especially in the students’ junior and senior years, when the students take more advanced microbiology courses in smaller classes.  You will have two advisors.  Briony Atkinson advises the incoming students for the first 2 years they are here at ISU.  During those two years, you will get to know the other faculty in the program and will choose a faculty member to advise you for the final two years of your college career.

Please contact us via the email address or phone number listed below if you have any questions, or would like to learn more about Microbiology at ISU. You can also visit the ISU Courses & Programs Catalog page which has information about majoring in Microbiology.