Microbes in Society

Course Information

These course outlines are a guide only. They are provided for the information of prospective students. Although every effort is made to ensure the most up to date information is provided, timetables often change each semester due to the availability of rooms and resources. Content (including lecture/practical topics, assessment and textbooks) is also regularly reviewed to ensure relevance and effective learning.

Unit of Study Overview

Microorganisms have a large impact on human society, and are particularly notorious as the causative agents of infectious diseases. However, microbes also have many beneficial roles in agricultural, industrial, biotechnological and environmental processes. Understanding the biology of microorganisms and their relationship to human society is critical to fighting the harmful microbes and harnessing the activities of the beneficial microbes. MICR2022 will build on skills and knowledge gained in MICR2021/2921. The laboratory sessions are integrated with the lecture series and are designed to give students practical experience in isolating, identifying and manipulating microorganisms.

The course is divided into four themes, as follows:

  • Microbes in industry
  • Microbes in nature
  • Microbes in agriculture
  • Microbes in health and disease

Career opportunities

MICR2022/2922 provides a good basis for careers in clinical, environmental or industrial microbiology. Graduates have found work in diagnostic and research laboratories based in hospitals, universities, government organizations such as the CSIRO and Sydney Water, and private industries including biotechnology companies and industries involved in the production of food, crops and pharmaceuticals. Employment can also be found in sectors related to these industries, such as sales, technical support, marketing, scientific journalism and communication, and education.

Course Coordinator Contact Details

A/Prof Andrew Holmes

Room: 563

Telephone: 9351 2530



For MICR2022
6 credit points of Junior Biology and (6 credit points of MBLG (1001 or 1901) or PLNT (2001 or 2901)) and 6 credit points of Junior Chemistry

For MICR2922
6 credit points of Junior Biology and (6 credit points of MBLG (1001 or 1901) or PLNT (2001 or 2901)) and 6 credit points of Junior Chemistry. Distinction grade required in at least one of Junior Biology or MBLG (1001 or 1901) or PLNT (2001 or 2901)


1st Lecture Monday 12:00pm-1:00pm, Merewether Lecture Theatre 2 (Rm 136)
2nd Lecture Thursday 12:00pm-1:00pm, Merewether Lecture Theatre 2 (Rm 136)

Tutorials: (4 tutorials) Tuesday 12:00pm-1:00pm, Quadrangle Building, Oriental Room S204

For MICR2922
Lecture: Tuesday 12:00pm-1:00pm, Biochemisty Lecture Room 471 (Week 3, 7-9)


Willey et al. (2013) Prescott's Microbiology. 9th ed, WCB/McGraw-Hill.


For MICR2022
One 2 hour theory exam, continuous assessment in practicals, two assignments, two quizzes, practical assessment exercises.

For MICR2922
As for MICR2022 plus additional essay.