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  • Microbiology and Cell Science (CALS)

    The Bachelor of Science in microbiology and cell science offers a flexible curriculum that develops an excellent knowledge base and an understanding of concepts in microbiology, cell biology and the bio-molecular sciences. Emphasis will be placed on application of the scientific method to gain an understanding of the biological world at the cellular and molecular levels. Students will learn to evaluate hypotheses, interpret experimental data and communicate results effectively.

    About This Major


    This major prepares students for entry into professional programs in medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine and provides a strong foundation for graduate studies in microbiology, cell biology and related cellular and biomedical sciences. The major also provides a background for entry into government, industrial research and diagnostic laboratories.

    The curriculum develops fundamental knowledge of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells and viruses. Courses include the physiology and genetics of microorganisms, mechanisms of pathogenesis and innate immunity systems, astrobiology, bacterial and genome sequencing and bioinformatics.

    Coursework for the Major

    All majors must take 28-29 credits: 15 credits are core requirements, 10 credits are upper-division department electives and 3-4 credits are the quantitative requirement. A minimum of one credit in an advanced laboratory is required as part of the 10 department-elective credits.

    Minimum grades of C, attained within two attempts (including withdrawals), are required in all critical-tracking courses, major courses, department core requirements, department electives and the quantitative requirement. Second attempts must be completed the next semester of enrollment. A 2.0 cumulative GPA of also is required.

    Required Coursework

    • Integrated Principles of Biology 1 and 2 and laboratories (BSC 2010/2010L and
      BSC 2011/2011L). AGR 3033 may be substituted for BSC 2011 and 2011L
    • General Chemistry 1 and laboratory (CHM 2045 and 2045L)
    • General Chemistry 2 Qualitative Analysis and laboratory (CHM 2046 and 2046L)
    • Analytic Geometry and Calculus 1 (MAC 2311)
    • Physics 1 and 2 and laboratories (PHY 2053/2053L and PHY 2054/2054L or
      PHY 2048/2048L and PHY 2049/2049L)
    • Organic Chemistry and laboratory (CHM 2210, 2211 and 2211L)
    • All majors must complete the biology and general chemistry sequences and calculus by the end of the sophomore year. CHM 2210 Organic Chemistry must be completed by the end of tracking term five. To continue in the major, students must attain a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA in these graded courses with no grade lower than a C.

    Core Requirements

    • BCH 4024 or CHM 3218 Biochemistry or Organic Chemistry/Biochemistry 2
    • MCB 3023 and 3023L Principles of Microbiology and laboratory
    • MCB 4203 Pathogens or PCB 4233 Immunology
    • MCB 4304 Genetics of Microorganisms or PCB 4522 Molecular Genetics

    Students must take MCB 4203 Pathogens or PCB 4233 Immunology as a core course. If they take both, one will count as a core course and the other will roll over into the 10-credit department elective requirement.

    Department Elective Requirements

    A total of 10 credits of approved department electives, including one credit in an advanced lab, are required. The list of approved department electives is available on the department website. A maximum of four credits of approved department electives with course prefixes of CHM, FOS, HOS, SWS and ZOO (excluding ZOO 4232) may be taken in other departments. The remaining six credits must be chosen from approved department electives and may include these BSC and ZOO courses: BSC 2891, BSC 4434 and ZOO 4232.

    Quantitative Requirement

    A total of 3-4 credits of approved courses meets this requirement. Courses include CHM 3120 and 3120L, or STA 2023, or COP 3275, or PCB 3063, or MCB 4320C, or BSC 4434, or BSC 2891. Several of these courses are also department electives and cannot be used to fulfill both the quantitative and the department elective requirements. No overlap is allowed.

    Course Details

     MCB 4911 Supervised Research may be taken for a maximum of three credits per semester and six credits total. This policy applies to all microbiology and cell science majors registered for undergraduate research in other out-of-department undergraduate research courses such as BCH 4905, BMS 4905, ZOO 4905, etc.

    MCB 4934 Special Topics is often used for TA lab positions. TA positions may be repeated for two semesters with one lab assignment per semester.

    Enrollment in MCB 4911 Supervised Research, MCB 4905 Undergraduate Research and MCB 4934 Special Topics: Teaching Assistantship will not fulfill any credits toward the microbiology department elective requirements; they will count only as general elective credit toward the 120 credits for the B.S. degree.

    Undergraduate Research

    A majority of MCS students are actively involved in undergraduate research for credit with mentors throughout the university. The department encourages preprofessional and graduate school bound students to complete a minimum of two semesters of undergraduate research. The department maintains a list of mentors across campus who allow undergraduate students to participate in valuable research under their guidance. More information is available about undergraduate research and faculty mentors who have worked with microbiology and cell science students.

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    Combined-Degree Program

    A Bachelor of Science and Master of Science (non-thesis) program is offered by the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Microbiology majors in both the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences are eligible for admission to the combined degree program. Students should set up an appointment with Dr. James Preston at to determine their eligibility for this program.

    Preparation for Graduate Study

    This major prepares students for entry into graduate studies in microbiology, cell biology, biochemistry and other areas.

    All students interested in graduate education should develop a strong background in chemistry. Suggested schedules for students who plan to attend graduate school are available on the website. Students planning graduate study in microbiology, biochemistry or molecular biological sciences should consider taking these courses:

    • CHM 3218 Organic Chemistry/ Biochemistry 2 (4 credits) for the biochemistry requirement
    • MAC 2312 Calculus 2 (4 credits)
    • STA 2023 Introduction to Statistics (3 credits)
    • MCB 4403 Prokaryotic Cell Structure (3), PCB 3134 Eukaryotic Cell Structure and Function (3) and CHM 3400 Physical Chemistry (3) to fulfill nine credits of required department electives
    • MCB 5305L Microbial Genetics Laboratory (2) or
      MCB 5136L Techniques of Advanced Microbiology Laboratory (3) to fulfill the microbiology advanced laboratory requirement, and
    • PCB 4233 Immunology (3) to fulfill the pathogens or immunology requirement.
    • In addition, MCB 4905 will provide valuable laboratory research experience.

    Relevant Minors and/or Certificates

    The Department of Microbiology and Cell Science also offers a minor in bioinformatics to students majoring in any life sciences subject, including and not limited to microbiology, biology or biochemistry.

    So integrated is bioinformatics with the life sciences that it is difficult to find an active research program that does not rely on bioinformatic analysis to achieve results. By integrating bioinformatic and traditional methods, the minor in bioinformatics provides critical training to future professionals in the life science disciplines.

    Critical Tracking

    To graduate with this major, students must complete all university, college and major requirements.

    Equivalent critical-tracking courses as determined by the State of Florida Common Course Prerequisites may be used for transfer students

    Semester 1

    • Complete CHM 1025 or CHM 2045/2045L
    • 2.5 GPA required for all critical-tracking courses
    • 2.0 UF GPA required

    Semester 2

    • Complete CHM 2045/2045L and MAC 2311
    • 2.5 GPA required for all critical-tracking courses
    • 2.0 UF GPA required

    Semester 3

    • Complete CHM 2046/2046L and BSC 2010/2010L
    • 2.5 GPA required for all critical-tracking courses
    • 2.0 UF GPA required

    Semester 4

    • Complete BSC 2011/2011L
    • 2.5 GPA required for all critical-tracking courses
    • 2.0 UF GPA required

    Semester 5

    • Complete CHM 2210
    • 2.5 GPA required for all critical-tracking courses
    • 2.0 UF GPA required
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    Recommended Semester Plan

    To remain on track, students must complete the appropriate critical-tracking courses, which appear in bold.

    Semester 1 Credits
    CHM 2045 and 2045L General Chemistry 1 (3) and Chemistry 1 Laboratory (1) (GE-P) 4
    HUM 2305 What is the Good Life (GE-H)​ 3​
    MAC 1147 Precalculus: Algebra and Trigonometry (GE-M) (if needed for MAC 2311)
    or another (GE-M) course if not taking STA2023 in semester 7
    Composition/Writing (ENC 1101 recommended; GE-C, WR) 3
    Total 14
    Semester 2 Credits
    CHM 2046 and 2046L General Chemistry 2 (3) and General Chemistry 2 Laboratory (1) (GE-P) 4
    MAC 2311 Analytic Geometry and Calculus 1 (GE-M) 4
    Electives 4
    Social and Behavioral Sciences (GE-S and WR) 3
    Total 15
    Semester 3 Credits
    BSC 2010 and 2010L Integrated Principles of Biology 1 (3) and Integrated Principles of Biology 1 Laboratory (1) (GE-B) 4
    CHM 2210 Organic Chemistry 1 3
    Electives 6
    Social and Behavioral Sciences (GE-S) 3
    Total 16
    Semester 4 Credits
    AEB 2014 Economic Issues, Food and You (3) or
    AEB 3103 Principles of Food and Resource Economics (4) or
    ECO 2013 Principles of Macroeconomics (4) or
    ECO 2023 Principles of Microeconomics (4) (GE-S)
    BSC 2011 and 2011L Integrated Principles of Biology 2 (3) and Integrated Principles of Biology 2 Laboratory (1) (GE-B) 4
    CHM 2211 and 2211L Organic Chemistry 2 (3) and Organic Chemistry 2 Laboratory (2) 5
    Humanities (GE-H, N and WR) 3
    Total 15-16

    A 2.5 GPA with minimum grades of C in the bolded science and math courses listed above is required to continue in the major.

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    Semester 5 Credits
    BCH 4024 Biochemistry or
    CHM 3218 Organic Chemistry/Biochemistry 2
    PHY 2053 and 2053L Physics 1 (4) and Laboratory for Physics 1 (1) or
    PHY 2048 and 2048L Physics with Calculus 1 (3) and Laboratory for Physics with Calculus 1 (1)
    Diversity (GE-D) 3
    Elective 3
    Total 14-15
    Semester 6 Credits
    AEC 3030C Effective Oral Communication or
    SPC 2608 Introduction to Public Speaking
    MCB 3023 and 3023L Principles of Microbiology (3) and Principles of Microbiology Laboratory (2) 5
    PHY 2054 and 2054L Physics 2 (4) and Laboratory for Physics 2 (1) or
    PHY 2049 and 2049L Physics with Calculus 2 (3) and Laboratory for PHY 2049 (1)
    Elective 3
    Total 15-16
    Semester 7 Credits
    AEC 3033C Research and Business Writing in Agricultural and Life Sciences (WR) or
    ENC 2210 Technical Writing (WR)
    MCB 4203 Bacterial and Viral Pathogens 3
    MCB 4320C Bacterial Genome Sequencing and Analysis (3) or
    BSC 2891 Python Programming for Biology (3) or
    BSC 4434 Bioinformatics (3) or
    COP 3275 Computer Programming with C (3) or
    CHM 3120 and 3120L Analytical Chemistry (3) and Analytical Chemistry Laboratory (1) or
    PCB 3063 Genetics (3) or
    STA 2023 Introduction to Statistics 1 (3)
    Department elective 3
    Elective 3
    Total 15-16
    Semester 8 Credits
    MCB 4034L Advanced Microbiology Laboratory 1
    PCB 4522 Molecular Genetics 3
    Department electives 6
    Electives 6
    Total 16
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majors: microbiology-and-cell-science