Microbiology is a broad science encompassing the study of bacteria, algae, protozoa, fungi, and viruses in terms of their ecology, biochemistry, physiology, genetics, and role in disease processes. Of particular interest is the use of microbes in industrial applications for the production of foods and natural products, such as vitamins, as well as their rapidly expanding role in biotechnology and genetic engineering studies. A thorough understanding of microorganisms requires a broad educational background, not only in microbiology, but also in chemistry, physics, mathematics, and other areas of biology. Within the undergraduate program, the student may choose to emphasize either the areas of general microbiology or medical microbiology.
At the completion of the appropriate coursework, individuals are qualified to enter laboratory positions in private industry or government, such as those listed under Career Options.
Completion of the Masters of Science in Biology with a concentration in Microbiology may also allow the student to continue into more specialized and in-depth advanced study leading to the Master of Arts degree in Biology with a concentration in Microbiology. The breadth of interests and expertise of the faculty includes environmental microbiology, microbial genetics, genetic engineering, immunology and immunochemistry, medical microbiology, mycology, protozoology, virology and microbia physiology, and bio-chemistry.
Therefore, a wide variety of research areas is available for investigation by students. Opportunities provided by the additional educational training of the master's degree include those listed under "Career Options," various supervisory positions, and entry into Ph.D. programs at other universities. In the San Francisco Bay Area our most recent graduates have been hired as quality control microbiologists or as research technicians and associates in hospitals, government laboratories, and private industry, including those specializing in genetic engineering. It is possible for a student majoring in microbiology to pursue a career in medical technology.