Undergraduate Microbiology Major


Students look into petri dish.
When you major in microbiology, you’ll study the life of bacteria, archaea, fungi, algae, protists and viruses. This flexible interdepartmental major prepares you for a career in health, biotechnology, industrial microbiology or environmental microbiology or for medical, dental or graduate school. We are the only university in the state to offer this major and provide opportunities for research experience with faculty across campus. This major is offered in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and the College of Arts and Sciences.

The Nebraska Difference


Flexible cross disciplinary major

Enroll in microbiology courses instructed across departments


1-to-1 Support

Work with advisors and other professionals in each college


Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Hands on learning in cutting edge research laboratories

Two Pathways For Microbiology

When choosing a college, think about your other interests and the general requirements of the college. View the four-year plans or meet with an academic advisor to see which option is best for you.
Students sit at table talking with an advisor.

Program Features

Microbiology Achievement through Research and Valuable Experiential Learning (MARVEL) 

MARVEL provides access to engaging career and research-oriented workshops (e.g. Finding Your Network, Communicating Your Science, The Mentor/Mentee Relationship) as well as participation in the Annual Microbiology Research Symposium each fall. Through the MARVEL program, you will also build community with other microbiology-affiliated students, faculty and staff on campus. 

Microbiology Club 

Engage with other students, faculty and staff outside of the classroom for industry and facility tours. Take advantage of opportunities to put your knowledge and acquired skills to work designing microbial artwork during the annual Agar Art event and other microbiology related activities.  

Learning Community 

Experience the Lab: Forensic Science, Microbiology & Biochemistry is a Learning Community designed to connect first-year students who are interested in the molecular life sciences. Students live in Abel Hall, take introductory science courses together, visit local companies, join in hands-on lab training, participate in a research symposium and attend social events. 

Students working in a lab.

Notable Courses

Introduction to the Microbiology Major (MBIO 101)

Provides an overview of microbiology as a field of science, possible career paths and opportunities available to microbiology majors.

Molecular Genetics (MBIO 420)

Molecular basis of genetics. Gene structure and regulation, transposable elements, chromosome structure, DNA replication, and repair mechanisms and recombination.

Microbial Diversity (MBIO 421)

Diversity of microbial cell composition, structure and function enabling movement, metabolism, symbiosis, and adaptation using bacterial, fungal, algal and viral examples.

Microbial Physiology (MBIO 440)

Molecular approaches to the study of prokaryotic cell structure and physiology, including growth, cell division, metabolism and alternative microbial lifestyles.

Immunology (MBIO 443)

Cellular and humoral mechanisms of immunity, immunoglobulins, antigen-antibody interactions, hypersensitivity, transplantation and tumor immunity and immune and autoimmune disorders.

Huskers Do Big Things


  • Associate management intern, Cargill
  • Advanced research intern, Li-COR Biosciences
  • Research and development summer intern, Estee Lauder Companies
  • Undergraduate student researcher, Children’s Hospital and Medical Center
  • Project manager assistant/engineering assistant, LI-COR Biosciences


  • Clinical research associate, University of Nebraska Medical Center
  • Process engineer, Novozymes, Inc.
  • Science writer, LI-COR Biosciences
  • Scientist I, Aerotek
  • Plant research biologist, Midwest Research Inc.

Graduate Schools

  • M.S., Bioinformatics, Northeastern University
  • M.S., Global Health, Emory University
  • Ph. D., Biomedical Sciences, University of California-San Diego
  • Ph. D., Ecology and Evolution, University of Chicago
  • Ph.D., Microbial Ecology, Standford University
  • M.D./Ph.D., University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Medicine

Outside the Classroom

Depending on your major, interests and goals, you can choose to do research, work as an intern, study abroad, become a leader or serve your community. The university’s Experiential Learning requirement ensures you have at least one of these transformative learning experiences.


Academics & Experiential Learning

  • Microbiology majors regularly engage in research or internships and many study abroad or get involved in service or leadership on campus and beyond.

Career Preparedness

  • MBIO 101: Introduction to the Microbiology Major. Connect with faculty and fellow students as you learn about the major and possible career paths.


  • Join the Microbiology Club and connect with faculty, students, alumni and guest speakers.
  • Participate in a summer Research Experience for Undergraduate Students (REU) and meet other scholars from around the country.

Have Questions? We're Here to Help

If you have questions about the Microbiology major or navigating the application process, contact us.

Nicholas Gordon portrait.
Contact Name
Nicholas Gordon
Contact Title
College of Arts and Sciences
Sue Ellen Pegg portrait
Contact Name
Sue Ellen Pegg
Contact Title
College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources