Life on earth began with, and continues to depend on, the activities of microorganisms, most of which are beneficial. However, some microorganisms can cause infections, with potentially disastrous outcomes.

While the immune system has evolved to control harmful microorganisms, it can, however sometimes inflict damage on its host. Infectious disease is still responsible for many deaths and much suffering worldwide. Never has there been a better time to learn about microorganisms and their incredible ability to adapt, evolve and survive; and our immune system that controls infections and provides immunity against those microorganisms that cause harm.

This major offers two specialisations, these being Microbiology and Infection and Immunity. The Microbiology specialisation explores infectious microorganisms and the infections they can cause, whereas the Infection and Immunity specialisation combines the study of infectious disease with the response of the immune system to pathogenic microorganisms. Additionally, in this major you will develop the ability to acquire, analyse and apply information from multiple sources, both within and beyond the laboratory.

Paulina Koszalka

“Microorganisms have far-reaching effects on human health and as a result infectious diseases such as HIV, Malaria and Tuberculosis continue to exhibit devastating effects on the human population. In my final semester I was lucky enough to complete an internship at the WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza as well as a research project under the supervision of the Jason Mackenzie laboratory at UoM.”

Sample course plans

Sample course plans for the BSc [PDF]

  • Career Outcomes

    Graduates can pursue careers in diagnostics, forensic microbiology, vaccine development, molecular biology, biotechnology, and biosafety and regulation. You can also undertake further research into a range of infectious diseases, the genetics and pathogenesis of the causative agent, and the various outcomes of the immune system in a setting of infection, autoimmunity and cancer.

    Earnings for life scientists, which includes Microbiology and Immunology, are above average and employment for this occupation is expected to grow moderately to 2019.

  • Graduate Pathways

    Bachelor of Science graduates with a major in Microbiology and Immunology are well-placed to apply for:

    • Professionally focused graduate degrees in the sciences and technology, including biotechnology, environmental systems, informatics and nanotechnology;
    • Graduate degrees preparing for a wide range of professions including engineering, law, medicine and other health sciences, and teaching;
    • Masters and Honours pathways to research higher degrees in the sciences and technology within the Faculty of Science, Melbourne School of Engineering, Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, and the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences.