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The Department of Microbiology is part of the School of Life Sciences.


Jerri Bartholomew, Head
226 Nash Hall
Oregon State University
Corvallis, OR 97331-3804

Microbiology: 226 Nash Hall, 541-737-4441
BioHealth Sciences: 225 Nash Hall, 541-737-3875


Professors Bartholomew, Bermudez, Bottomley, Dreher, Field, Geller, Giovannoni, Kent, Ream, Sarker, Trempy

Associate Professors Schuster, Vega-Thurber

Assistant Professors Halsey, Lowry, Mueller, Sharpton

Senior Instructor/Advisor Bruslind

Instructor/Advisor Anderson

Undergraduate Major

BioHealth Sciences (BS, CRED, HBS)

Pre-professional Options in Health Sciences
Pre-Clinical Laboratory Science
Pre-Physical Therapy
Pre-Physician Assistant

Microbiology (BS, HBS)

Aquatic Microbiology



Graduate Major

Microbiology (MA, MS, PhD)

Graduate Areas of Concentration
Environmental Microbiology
Food Microbiology
Microbial Ecology
Microbial Evolution
Pathogenic Microbiology


Graduate Minor


Microbiology is concerned with the forms and activities of bacteria, archaea, fungi, protozoa, and viruses. It plays varied roles in the practical applications of technology and medicine, as well as in the most theoretical problems of biology. Microbiologists are involved in activities as different as the study of gene structure, the control of disease, and the industrial processes based on the ability of microorganisms to decompose and synthesize complex organic molecules. Microbiology is one of the most rewarding of professions because it provides the opportunity to be in contact with all the other natural sciences and thus to contribute in many different ways to the betterment of life.

Undergraduate Studies in Microbiology

Many fields of microbiology are available to students and research workers. These include fundamental areas such as the physiology, ecology, and genetics of microorganisms; and the applications of microbiology concerned with soil and water quality, food safety, immunology, and human, animal and plant diseases. Undergraduate studies prepare students for admission to professional schools, graduate programs in microbiology, and for positions in education and as health officers, sanitarians and biotechnicians in private industry, state and federal government.

High school students or community college transferees considering a career in microbiology will find it helpful to have a strong background in mathematics and chemistry. An excellent advising program is available to undergraduates, and prospective students are encouraged to consult with a departmental advisor or with faculty members working in an area of interest to them. Upper-division students are also encouraged to carry out a research project in the laboratory of a faculty member and/or to serve as an undergraduate teaching assistant. Several partial scholarships are available for microbiology majors. For more information, contact a microbiology advisor.

Undergraduate Studies in BioHealth Sciences

Specialized programs are offered to students who wish to pursue careers in health-related fields. Such programs provide excellent academic preparation for students who plan to enter medical, pharmacy, or dental school, and for those choosing careers in physician assistant, physical therapy, optometry, clinical laboratory science, and podiatry. The curricula of the BioHealth Sciences major and accompanying options generally fulfills requirements at the respective professional schools. Because specific requirements vary from school to school, it is the student's responsibility to check requirements for any school to which the student plans to apply.

Graduate Studies

The Department of Microbiology offers graduate programs leading to the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. Major fields of study in the program include molecular biology, microbial physiology, genetics, virology, soil and aquatic microbiology, immunology, pathogenic microbiology, and microbial genomes. The department also participates in the Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies program. Students in both the master’s and PhD programs are required to complete a research project leading to a thesis. Students pursuing the PhD degree must complete both written and oral qualifying examinations. Teaching and research assistantships are available.

For additional information, contact the department head or other faculty members conducting research in areas that are of interest.

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