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Explore the biology - microbiology emphasis bachelor's degree program at UW-Eau Claire

Uncover ways to improve our health and the environment with a bachelor's degree in biology - microbiology emphasis from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

Through the study of bacteria, viruses, parasites, yeasts and molds, you'll discover the many microbes that make life on earth possible — and those that cause disease and death. In-depth exposure to topics like virology, immunology and bacteriology will further show you the beneficial and detrimental functions microorganisms have on plants, animals, humans and the planet.

An excellent path for those who wish to enter the medical, pharmaceutical, dental, agriculture, food, veterinary or health care field, the microbiology program will help you find your niche and be successful in your chosen career.

Through projects and collaborative research, you'll develop and enhance your accuracy, precision and observation skills. Unique internship opportunities will also provide you with practical experience and help you feel prepared and empowered to take on anything in the microbiology field. 

No matter your path, UW-Eau Claire's microbiology program will give you the guidance, tools and experiences needed so you can push boundaries and make a positive impact wherever you go.

Life-saving work for babies with heart defects

At UW-Eau Claire, we strive to provide transformative learning experiences that allow students to change lives and shape the world for the better. UW-Eau Claire microbiology graduate Casey Huxtable is a perfect example of that. 

Casey is pursuing his passion as part of a team of specialists whose job it is to save the lives of babies born with congenital heart defects. At a key moment in open-heart surgeries around the country, Casey prepares a syringe of life-saving stem cells that will help a baby's heart to regain strength and function.

Why biology - microbiology emphasis at UW-Eau Claire?

Outside-the-classroom learning. At UW-Eau Claire, you will have many opportunities to learn and explore outside of the classroom. Our proximity to lakes, rivers, streams, forests and wildlife areas — including a 230-acre scientific natural area — offers the perfect environment for microbiology majors. Our biology department is also associated with Beaver Creek Reserve in Eau Claire County; the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Ocean Springs, Mississippi; and the Gerace Research Centre in the Bahamas.

Exceptional collections. Explore hundreds of thousands of specimens right on campus. UW-Eau Claire is home to extensive collections of amphibians, reptiles, fish, insects, invertebrates, mammals and birds as well as saltwater aquaria and a herbarium.

Course-based trips. Broaden your perspective and step outside your comfort zone on course-based trips to places like Costa Rica, the Charles Darwin Research Station in the Galapagos, rural Ecuador, Utah, Nebraska and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.

Strong community partnerships and internship opportunities. UW-Eau Claire has strong ties to major clinics and hospitals, including Mayo Clinic Health System, Marshfield Clinic and Sacred Heart Hospital, as well as smaller health care facilities like the Chippewa Valley Free Clinic. Many of our microbiology students receive internship and research opportunities with these hospital systems.

3500

square feet of on-campus greenhouse space

230

acres of natural area right on campus

99% employed

or continuing education after graduation

2020-2021 Graduate Report

A more efficient and beneficial agricultural process

Kevin Mayer’s research is leading to new ideas and ways of thinking. By studying red light signaling, Kevin found that corn stalks have the potential to be altered — yielding smaller plants with bigger cobs of corn. This would allow the crop to be planted closer together and watered less, creating a more efficient and beneficial agricultural process.

But meaningful data isn’t Kevin’s only takeaway. He’s also working alongside expert faculty, exploring career paths and discovering just all that he can do with a degree from UW-Eau Claire.

“Getting undergraduate research experience has guided me on my path. Working alongside the professors, you get first-hand knowledge of how to run the experiments and work the equipment,” he said. “It adds so much to your education because you can learn to think at the level of a scientist and think critically and logically.”

Quick facts

Biology - microbiology emphasis program details
  • Program length: four years
  • Offered: in person
  • Campus: Eau Claire
  • This major does not require a minor.
  • Students majoring in this program may choose either a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) degree.
Student organizations
  • Biology Club
  • Conservationists
  • Molecular Movement
  • Pre-Professional Health Club
  • Reef Team
  • Tri Beta Society

What can I do with a biology - microbiology emphasis degree from UWEC?

Earning a microbiology degree from UW-Eau Claire empowers you to take on many different career paths and opportunities. 

Where are biology - microbiology emphasis degree alumni now?

Microbiology careers

You work really closely with the professors here. At a large research institution, you wouldn't have that opportunity — you'd be working with a post-doc or graduate student. Working alongside the professors, you get firsthand knowledge of how to think, run the experiments and work the equipment.

Kevin Mayer Microbiology
Two students hold their awards and smile at the camera.

Improvements to patient care and ER protocols

There’s no shortage of research opportunities for students at UW-Eau Claire. In fact, it was why microbiology student Sierra Kleist decided to enroll. And the decision has certainly paid off.

Sierra collaborated with Mayo Clinic to assess the tools used to determine heart attack risks in patients complaining of chest pain. The goal was to uncover whether it’s safe for patients to be sent home for outpatient care rather than hospital admission. The results could lead to possible revisions to ER protocols.

“It’s really exciting to know that work I did could be implemented in hospitals all over the world in the future,” she said. “My work directly impacted the lives of patients and that’s an amazing feeling.”

Biology - microbiology emphasis bachelor’s degree program curriculum

At UW-Eau Claire, you will obtain a well-rounded, diverse education. You'll have the opportunity to dive into liberal arts courses as well as those focused specifically on microbiology.

What classes do biology - microbiology emphasis majors take?

Your classes may cover topics like: 

Learn more about the comprehensive biology - microbiology emphasis major in the UWEC course catalog.

Blugolds Sebastian Torres (left) and Nathan Hau at Mayo Clinic Health System

Reducing waste, saving money

Sebastian Torres and Nathan Hau never dreamed they’d be part of a physician-led summer research project that would take them into Mayo Clinic Health System operating rooms. But thanks to UWEC’s collaborative research agreement with Mayo Clinic, that’s exactly what they go to do.

As part of a research project, the Blugolds were notified whenever certain surgeries were scheduled so they could go to the medical center to evaluate the time required for personnel to prepare the room, count instruments and clean up instrument tables. They also documented the time required for processing, sterilization and repackaging of instruments.

“I was expecting that I would be doing lab work, and I know I would have been content with that experience,” Sebastian said. “When they told us that we would be in the OR during surgeries, my jaw dropped to the floor. I did not see that coming.”

Even more surreal is knowing their work — done as undergraduate students — may help shape hospital protocols in ways that will reduce medical costs by documenting the efficiencies and cost savings that come from standardizing the instrument trays used during some common surgeries.

Related programs at UW-Eau Claire

Thinking about a bachelor’s degree in biology? Here are other programs you may be interested in exploring.

Department information

Photo of student working in a biology lab

Biology

Phillips Science Hall 330
101 Roosevelt Avenue
Eau Claire, WI 54701
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