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Microbiology is a branch of the biological sciences which is concerned with the study of microorganisms (microbes) including bacteria, viruses, algae, fungi and protozoa. In practice, algae, fungi and protozoa have become the domain of botanists and zoologists whereas microbiologists focus on the study of bacteria and viruses.
Microbes have long been recognized as causative agents of infectious disease. The study of microbes continues to be important in the control of diseases due to newly emerging and re-emerging pathogens. With modern techniques, it is now possible to study microbe/host interactions at the molecular level and thereby develop strategies for prevention and treatment of specific diseases. However, the significance of microbiology goes far beyond the control of infectious disease. Bacteria and viruses control the health and ecological balance of this planet; without bacteria, life on earth would not be possible. For centuries, microorganisms have played a valuable role in food production. More recently, microbes and their metabolic activities have provided the basis for modern techniques in molecular biology and biotechnology.
Microorganisms and the specialized techniques for their study are used not only in microbiology but also in related fields such as biochemistry, immunology, pathobiology, pharmacology, genetics, nutrition and ecology. A background in microbiology opens up many career opportunities. Some graduates proceed to graduate studies here or at other universities, to professional schools or to further study in related disciplines, whereas others enter the workforce directly. Some of the many career opportunities can be found in universities, colleges, research institutes, hospitals and government or private laboratories, as well as in business or law. Microbiologists can also have careers in biotechnology and in industries which manufacture products such as food, beverages, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and vaccines.
Microbiology (Science program)
Enrolment in this program is limited and selection is based on performance in science and math courses. Students should enrol at the end of their first year of studies. It is possible to enrol after second or third year provided that the student has completed the required courses and meets the criteria for performance. Apply via the Web from early April to mid-May. At later times, contact the Undergraduate Secretary.
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