Microbiology is the study of organisms that, in general, are too small to be seen by the unaided human eye. Such organisms include protozoa, algae, fungi, lichens, bacteria and viruses. Microbiology is one of the most important and exciting of the biological sciences. Not only is it a basic biological science, which has provided us with much of our understanding of the chemical and physical principles behind living processes, but it is also an applied biological science, dealing with aspects of medicine, agriculture, biotechnology, food technology and pollution control.
School of Molecular Bioscience website
How do you study microbiology?
You can major in microbiology in the Bachelor of Science, the Bachelor of Science (Advanced), Bachelor of Medical Science and in the Bachelor of Science in Agriculture.
What will you study in microbiology?
The study of microbiology does not begin until second year. Students intending to study microbiology should include biology, mathematics, chemistry and molecular biology and genetics among their first year subjects.
Your microbiology studies begin in second year, where you cover the diversity of the microbial world, how microbes grow and function, their genetics and genomics, their ecology and their interactions with other organisms. You will also study food microbiology, the microbiology of health and disease, industrial microbiology and biotechnology.
In third year, you can study Microbes in Infection and Virology in first semester, and Molecular Microbiology Concepts and Molecular Microbiology Research Strategies in second semester.
Students who choose to do the honours year undertake a project in one of the major research areas in the microbiology discipline. Major areas of research in microbiology at Sydney include: bacterial genetics and evolution, bacterial physiology, environmental microbiology, molecular virology, antibiotic resistance, medical microbiology and fungal molecular biology.
Careers in microbiology
Employment opportunities for microbiologists are diverse; they are employed by research and teaching organisations such as schools, universities, CSIRO, agriculture and biotechnology companies. Many start their careers in the fields of medical and public health microbiology in hospitals, private pathology laboratories, and government health services. Others are employed as technical representatives for lab supply houses, in the pharmaceutical industry, in sterility testing and quality control, and in the wine, brewing and dairy industries. Employment opportunities in environmental microbiology have also been increasing. Recent graduates have been employed by organisations such as the London School of Tropical Medicine, CSIRO, the Australian Government Analytical Laboratories, Sydney Water, Mauri Foods Research and Procter and Gamble.