Microbiology major: Bachelor of Science

Interested in how micro-organisms interact with the environment? Keen to know how to detect causal micro-organisms of diseases and spoilage? Want to be part of industries that produce valuable products for society, such as antibiotics, foods and drinks, and alternative fuels? Microbiology is the study of living organisms and infectious agents that cannot be seen by the naked eye. Microbiology is an interesting and dynamic field where basic knowledge of micro-organisms is applied to human health, industry, agriculture and the environment.

As well as developing knowledge of the role of micro-organisms across many areas you will acquire the practical skills required in research and industry to become a skilled and highly adaptable employee, capable of working in a wide variety of settings, whether in industrial, research or government organisations.

Bachelor of Science: degree outline


Below is a summary only. For a comprehensive overview of this qualification, please refer to the Academic calendar.

Year 1

In your first year you take six compulsory papers. These papers provide a general scientific grounding that is important for students:
775205 General Chemistry
555301 Knowledge, Enquiry and Communication
555401 Health and Environment
775102 Biological Chemistry
775317 Ecology and Evolution
775111 Microbiology

Plus two electives.

Years 2 and 3

You will study aspects of microbiology in greater depth, and will apply basic theories to more complex scenarios and scientific phenomena. Specifically, areas such as environmental, food, medical and industrial microbiology will be covered, followed by advanced food microbiology, biotechnology and molecular genetics. You will study advanced topics and develop skills in experimental design, literature research and the collection, treatment, interpretation and reporting of results.

Level 6 papers (Year 2 or 3)
775411 Food Science
776111 Biochemistry
776113 Environmental Microbiology
776114 Industrial Microbiology
776412 Food Microbiology
776515 Medical Microbiology I

Plus two electives.

Level 7 papers (Year 2 or 3)
777113 Biotechnology
777120 Molecular Genetics
777411 Food Microbiology II

Plus five electives.

Research project
In the final year of your degree you will have the opportunity to enrol in the Research Project paper (30 points) if you had a B grade average in 60 points at level 6. This may involve a placement in an employer organisation related to your major and undertaking a mini research project.
777003 Research Project


The School of Applied Sciences offers competitive fee-only scholarships for the first year of Bachelor of Science (one for every major). Some of these scholarships are for the full three years and are co-funded by external institutions, such as the Department of Conservation.
Visit the scholarship website to find out more

Career opportunities

  • Environmental microbiologist
  • Food quality assurance scientist
  • Food microbiologist
  • Research scientist
  • Technical brewer
  • Science teacher*

*Upon completion of the Graduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching (one additional year of full-time study and training in how to teach, subject to meeting entry and selection criteria).

Graduates and students of science

Other majors and pathways in the Bachelor of Science

Other courses you may be interested in


Last updated: 05-Mar-2015 4.05pm

The information on this page was correct at time of publication. For a comprehensive overview of AUT qualifications, please refer to the Academic Calendar.