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Career Library

Microbiology

Summary

Microbiology is the scientific study of microscopic organisms and how they interact with other organisms in their environment, including humans, animals, and plants. A key role of microbiology is to investigate and discover how microorganisms affect our lives. For this, it incorporates knowledge and concepts from various subfields of study in biology such as virology, mycology, parasitology, and bacteriology, etc. Microbiologists work in research and clinical settings in various fields including biomedicine, pharmacology, food production and technology, genetics, forensic science, health care, environmental protection, and other domains.

Career Opportunities in Microbiology

  • Hospital/Clinical Laboratories
    Microbiologists in this field typically investigate and research on microorganisms to identify the disease-causing microbes that result in various diseases affecting, or with the potential to affect, the human body. Their work can assist in the prevention of the spread of various diseases by containing and treating them.
  • Food Industries
    Microbiologists try to ensure that the supply of food and food products is free of pathogenic organisms that may be harmful to the health of those who consume it. Food microbiologists thus provide a way to guarantee the food is safe to distribute to the public.
  • Sales and Technical Representative
    Microbiologists also work in sales positions or as technical representatives for pharmaceuticals, where they impart information about various pharmaceuticals drugs and other medical products to prospective customers, such as doctors, clinics, etc.
  • Research Laboratories
    A primary field of work for microbiologists is the domain of research. Microbiologists as researcher's study and test various microorganisms in controlled environments. Such scientific discoveries play a great role in the production and distribution of medicines, treatment of illnesses, and management of health care systems.
  • Teaching
    Microbiologists can work as full-time or guest lecturers at universities and colleges. They may also teach in schools to higher secondary class students.

How to Pursue a Career in Microbiology

Stream Graduation After Graduation After Post Graduation
Path 1
Clear Class XII with Science Stream with BiologyPursue B.Sc. (Hons) Microbiology or B.Sc. (Hons) Molecular Biology or B.Sc. (Hons) Biological Sciences or B. Sc. (Hons) in Life Sciences for 3 yearsPursue M.Sc. Microbiology or M.Sc. In Life Sciences for 2 yearsPursue Ph.D for 3-5 years.
Path 2
Clear Class XII with Science Stream with BiologyPursue B.Sc. (Hons) Microbiology or B.Sc. (Hons) Molecular Biology or B.Sc. (Hons) Biological Sciences or B.Sc. (Hons) in Life Sciences for 3 yearsPursue PG Diploma Microbiology for 1- 2 years-

Important Facts

  • Some colleges/university have admissions in B.Sc. (Hons) in Microbiology following their own entrance test or consider the marks in the qualifying exam.

Leading Institutes

Top Microbiology Institutes in India
College Location Website
University of Delhi Delhi www.gargi.du.ac.in
University of Madras Chennai www.mcc.edu.in
Bangalore University Bangalore www.theoxford.edu
SavitribaiPhule Pune University Pune www.fergusson.edu
University of Madras Chennai www.ethirajcollege.in
University of Calcutta Kolkata www.scottishchurch.ac.in
University of Mumbai Mumbai www.jaihindcollege.com
University of Calcutta Kolkata www.maulanaazadcollege.in
University of Mumbai Mumbai www.siesascs.edu.in
University of Mumbai Mumbai www.mithibai.ac.in
University of Mumbai Mumbai www.somaiya.edu/lang/en
University of Mumbai Mumbai www.gnkhalsa.edu.in
SavitribaiPhule Pune University Pune www.sinhgad.edu
Savitribai Phule Pune University Maharashtra www.unipune.ac.in/dept/science/microbiology
Top Microbiology Institutes in the World
Institution Location Website
Harvard University United States www.harvard.edu
University of Oxford United Kingdom www.ox.ac.uk
University of Washington United States www.washington.edu
University of California, San Francisco United States -
Duke University United States www.duke.edu
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) United States www.web.mit.edu
University of Wisconsin-Madison United States www.wisc.edu
John Hopkins University United States www.jhu.edu
Imperial College London United Kingdom www.imperial.ac.uk
University of Tokyo Japan www.u-tokyo.ac.jp/en/index.html
University of Cambridge United Kingdom www.cam.ac.uk
University of Edinburgh United Kingdom www.ed.ac.uk
University of Glasgow United Kingdom www.gla.ac.uk
University of Queensland Australia www.uq.edu.au
University of Hong Kong Hong Kong www.hku.hk
McGill University Canada www.mcgill.ca
Aix-Marseille Universite France www.univ-amu.fr/en
Erasmus University Rotterdam Netherlands www.eur.nl/english

Work Description

Typical work activities vary depending on the area of specialisation. For instance, healthcare scientists working in microbiology are more involved in preventing, diagnosing and controlling the spread of infections, whereas those working in manufacturing are involved in quality checks, finding signs of contamination.
However, typical activities may include
  • Employing a variety of identification methods such as molecular techniques to test samples
  • Tracking of microbes in a variety of environments
  • Developing and planning methods to prevent the spread of diseases
  • Developing and registering new diagnostic tests, medicines, vaccines, enzymes, vitamins, hormones, antimicrobials and pharmaceutical products
  • Scheduling, implementing and evaluating new products in clinical trials
  • Growing microbial cultures for use in the food and drink industry or in agriculture

Pros & Cons of a Career in Microbiology

Pros
  • Professionals in this field have an opportunity to specialize in various disciplines, such as bacteriology, immunology, etc.
  • Microbiologists can work in a variety of work settings, including agriculture, research, clinics, education, etc.
Cons
  • There are possible risks involved due to the danger of being exposed to harmful microorganisms.
  • The educational path for a research role is long.
  • It involves spending most of the time indoors, in the laboratory.
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