Undergraduate Program Overview

Microbiology or Molecular Genetics Majors

Pre-Medical School and Pre-Graduate School Tracks

Contact us: MMGUGRAD@uvm.edu

ClassroomIf you are interested in attending Medical School or Graduate School in the Biomedical Sciences, then majoring in Microbiology or Molecular Genetics is the place for you!! Fascinating recent developments in medicine and biomedical sciences, such as stem cell research, emerging microbial infectious diseases, genetic engineering, and cancer therapeutics, have emerged from a detailed understanding of the molecular events that underlie the routine functions of cells and organisms.

Microbiology majors study in detail the microbes involved in:

  • infectious disease
  • human health
  • industrial manufacturing
  • ecology
  • and basic science research

Molecular genetics majors investigate the principles that underlie all living processes at the molecular level:

  • chemical
  • biological
  • genetic

Why major in Microbiology or Molecular Genetics?

First and foremost, our majors have an excellent track record of admittance into top-notch medical and graduate schools and/or in acquiring high-paying laboratory research jobs upon graduation. The Microbiology and Molecular Genetics Department is unique at UVM because it exists within two colleges: the College of Medicine and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. From this position, it allows undergraduates to interact with faculty from diverse departments such as Animal Sciences, Biology, Biochemistry, Plant Biology, Medicine, Pathology, Pediatrics, and Pharmacology. It also allows undergraduates to have research opportunities in laboratories doing biomedical research in the College of Medicine.

Small classes, hands-on/intensive classroom laboratory experiences, and a strong commitment to undergraduate advising give students many opportunities to interact with the faculty, including a first-year colloquium in which students meet directly with the faculty to discuss on-going research projects and contemporary issues in microbiology and molecular genetics. Undergraduates are encouraged to get involved in cutting-edge research projects in the department and the College of Medicine in such areas as DNA repair, infectious diseases, bioinformatics, structural biology, developmental genetics, and other fields. Internship opportunities outside of UVM with the local hospital, Fletcher Allen Health Care, and the Department of Health, for example, are also available to pre-med students (Internship Guidelines). 85% of our majors take advantage of either research or internship opportunities. Here are examples of undergraduate research experiences.

What Will I Study?

AmandaYou can choose a major in Microbiology with a concentration in clinical, applied or general microbiology, or a major in Molecular Genetics. All students must fulfill the basic distribution requirements for a Bachelor of Sciences (B.S.) degree from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Majors also take a foundation of biological and physical science courses, plus upper-level microbiology and molecular genetics courses, such as Clinical Microbiology, Immunology, Mammalian Cell Culture, Molecular Cloning, Prokaryotic Molecular Genetics, and Virology to complete their major requirements. These courses provide excellent preparation for students who plan to apply to graduate school and medical school, which are requiring more science-based preparation for their incoming students than ever before.

The program is flexible enough to allow you to minor in another scientific discipline such as animal sciences, biochemistry, biological sciences, chemistry, mathematics, medical technology, or nutrition — or in a field that is altogether different. Students have graduated with minors in French, business, and statistics, allowing them to put together a career plan that spans a wide range of opportunities. The program is also flexible enough to allow students to experience a Study Abroad semester.

Future Career Opportunities:

B.S. degrees in Microbiology or Molecular Genetics prepares you to go on to study for an advanced M.D. or Ph.D. degree in medicine, biotechnology, microbiology, and biochemistry. Microbiology or Molecular Genetics majors are also uniquely qualified to explore career options in bioinformatics, biomedical ethics, genetic counseling, secondary school science teaching, or something as divergent as patent law.

In addition, you will be qualified to work in virtually any type of laboratory in the biological sciences — research, clinical, or applied sciences — such as forensics, public health, or toxicology. Our graduates have gone on to work in academic research laboratories at Harvard, Yale, MIT, and Massachusetts General Hospital, to name but a few, or to work in the biopharmaceutical industry with companies such as DNAX, Hoffman LaRoche, and GenProbe. Within these careers — whether in industry or an academic setting — you might conduct experiments, lead a research team, teach, or any combination thereof. The food processing industries also offer many openings for our graduates, and some graduates have even chosen to start their own businesses.

So, if you are interested in attending Medical or Graduate School in the Biomedical Sciences, or want a high-paying job in the biopharmaceutical industry after graduation, then a Microbiology or Molecular Genetics major is where you should be!! Please contact us directly at MMGUGRAD@uvm.edu if you have any questions.

  • What our students have to say...

    Just a general thank you to the MMG faculty that made my experience at UVM such a good one. I hope you all realize what an amazing job you're doing. I feel I owe a huge part of being accepted to grad school to this department, both the faculty and courses.

    Sam (Microbiology), graduated 2013