Updated December 29, 2022
The scope of Microbiology on both counts viz. as a study stream and as a vocation is huge. The employment scope in Microbiology is increasing with the advancement of science and technology. Moreover, the microbiology being a multi-disciplinary study of micro-organisms, offers career avenues in diverse specialties.
Talking about intra disciplines of Microbiology, the virology, bacteriology, protistology, mycology, immunology and parasitology all come under this umbrella discipline. And, all these sub-disciplines has to further deal with food science, agriculture, genetics, medicine and many others. Obviously, the inter-dependency of these scientific fields make microbiology a popular choice in terms of career making.
The demand for competent microbiologists has only increased globally and India is no exception. Precisely, the professionals working in the Microbiology field are responsible for many significant works. A microbiologist’s assignment would typically include: discovering new diagnostic kits, manufacturing life-saving drugs, educating students, getting into new research etc.
What is Microbiology: The Broader Picture?
Microbiology is the study of every essential aspect of microorganisms that are too small to be seen from the naked eye. Microorganisms are very crucial for the life of human beings because, by using microorganisms, microbiologist develops several life-saving drugs.
In fact, the microbes have two facets, one can break your life into pieces, and the another can save your life. There are several unicellular, clusters of microscopic animals, fungi, viruses, Algae, Archea, etc., on the earth and around us that play a critical role in well being of human life or otherwise.
The microbes do not only work as a life-saving agent for us but they also play their role in several other things. This includes nutrient cycling, climate change, biodegradation, food spoilage, the cause and control of disease, and biotechnology. Microbes are centrally important to meet aspirations and curb the challenges, like manufacturing of biofuels, cleaning up pollution, and producing/processing food and drink, to name a few.
Study of all this is comes within scope of Microbiology. Thanks to many researchers like Fleming, Jenner, Marshall, Zur Hausen, etc., who discovered the life-saving medications to underpin society. Jenner discovered Vaccine against smallpox; Fleming made Penicillin, Zur Hausen identified the link between papillomavirus and cervical cancer, and amongst others that play a crucial role in curbing the challenges over the world.
Who are Microbiologists?
Microbiologists are individuals who develop proficiency in the same field. They intensively study all the facets of microscopic organisms that contribute to changes in the food, climate, living organisms, to name a few. Microbes, although being too small to be seen with the unprotected eye, create a massive impact in and around the lives of human beings. In fact, microbiologists also study the effect of the interaction of microscopic organisms with climate, food, and other living creatures! And how far does it take on human life?
Microbiology and its relevant field are vast, and therefore, offer diverse career scope for the students who graduated with microbiology courses. Biomedical scientists, immunologists, virologists, cellular Biologists, Lab Technician, and several others are popular career opportunities for the students. They can work in both research and non-research fields. So, the professionals or microbiologists working in the field play a significant role in curbing dangers and challenges encountered by human beings and other organisms.
Branches of Microbiology: The Scope of Sub-disciplines
Broadly, the branches of microbiology are in two groups; (a) Applied Sciences (On the basis of Application), (b) Pure (on the basis of Taxonomic characters). Students can pursue any specialization course after completing a BSc in microbiology program. A detailed segmentation of the specialties are listed below:
(1) On the Basis of Application (Applied Sciences)
(a) Soil Microbiology: In this branch of microbiology, students do an intensive study of the aspects of microscopic organisms found in soil.
(b) Water Microbiology (or Aquatic Microbiology): Students choose such specialization when they are inspired to make changes in the water. Graduate students do detailed studies of those microorganisms that are found in water.
(c) Aero Microbiology (Air Microbiology): It covers the study of airborne microorganisms.
(d) Medical Microbiology: In this specialization, aspirants learn about pathogenic microbes and their role in human beings’ illness.
(e) Pharmaceutical Microbiology: It covers the study of those microscopic organisms that are beneficial in making antibiotics, enzymes, vitamins, vaccines and other pharmaceutical products.
(f) Industrial Microbiology (Brewing): With this course, participants learn how to use microbes in making industrial products. For instance, it includes industrial fermentation and wastewater treatment.
(g) Microbial Biotechnology: The students learn how to exploit and manipulate microscopic organisms at the genetic and molecular level to develop significant products.
(h) Food Microbiology: Under this branch, candidates study the role of microbes in causing food-borne illness and producing foods. For instance, we can produce Wine, Yogurt, Sauerkart, and many more by fermentation.
(i) Plant Microbiology and Plant pathology: It covers the impact of interactions between microbes and plants and plants’ pathogens.
(j) Veterinary microbiology: Students learn the role of microbes in veterinary medicine or animal taxonomy.
(k) Biotechnology: The students intensively study in the field related to recombinant DNA technology or genetic engineering.
(2) On Basis of Taxonomic Characters (Pure)
(a) Bacteriology: Within this branch, students learn about bacteria.
(b) Mycology: It covers the study of Fungi.
(c) Protozoology: Students take up this branch to study the Protozoa.
(d) Phycology: Students do an intensive study of essential features of Algae.
(e) Parasitology: It is the study of parasites
(f) Immunology: Providing knowledge and experience about the immune system is the main focus of this branch.
(g) Virology: This branch specifically provides knowledge of viruses to the students.
Wikibooks enumerates broadly on the subject matter of Microbiology. However, the specializations as I highlighted above is clearer picture of the stream of Microbiology.
For well read students, placement scope in microbiology space is all lined up. The students can take up any branch of microbiology and any specializations thereunder. What only matters is the knowledge and proficiency acquired under the respective courses.
Eligibility & Admission Process for Microbiology Courses
The students can easily take admission to the microbiology courses. But, it requires one to possess some standard qualifications and basic eligibility requirements. Candidates can get into the program by fulfilling the requirements and qualifications demanded by the institutes and universities. They are even required to qualify in the entrance exams, including NEET, JIPMER, LPU NEST, Assam CEE, and several other tests. Preliminary requirements on the part of aspiring candidates include the following:
(a) For microbiology courses at UG Level, students must have completed class 12th with science stream from a deemed institute, especially Biology, physics, chemistry as the compulsory subjects. Students might also need to qualify in the entrance exams to get admission in the reputed colleges and universities.
(b) For Microbiology courses at the PG level, Students must have a degree in Biology, Microbiology or any related specialization from a deemed university. Candidates might also need to qualify in the entrance exams like NEET PG, AIIMS PG, JIPMER, etc.
(c) If any individual is willing to take up Microbiology courses abroad, they might be required to submit ACT/SAT scores for undergraduate-level courses and GRE scores for PG-level courses. Additionally, they also have to provide English proficiency scores like IELTS/TOEFL, etc., as well as an SOP and LORs.
Employment Scope of Microbiology
There is no dearth of career scopes for the students who graduate with microbiology courses. With many disciplines like: genetics, medicine, agriculture and immunology, the employment scope in microbiology is huge. One can explore numerous exciting fields to avail themselves of rewarding and lucrative career opportunities.
In fact, professionals or microbiologists today are in huge demand in a number of microbiology industries and sectors worldwide. Even opportunities in its relevant fields are also expanding in every possible way. Here are the most in-demand fields and areas where the scope of microbiology is visibly high:
(b) Healthcare and Medicine
(c) Agro-chemistry Biotechnology
(d) Food Microbiology
(e) Environmental Science
(f) Genetic Engineering
(g) Pollution control boards
(j) Research Centres
(k) Forensic Labs
Popular Career Fields in Details
Some popular sectors wherein students who have graduated with microbiology courses can find rewarding and exciting career opportunities:
1. Environmental Science
The environmental science field is vast as it consists of several branches of microbiology that help students to avail themselves of prosperous career opportunities in the very field. Microbiologists can work as an environment to study the role of microbes in climate change. Therefore, an array of career scopes of microbiology exist for the professionals who aspire to work in the field.
2. Food Industries
Students also have a career scope of microbiology in the food industry. Even career opportunities are growing with time as the demand for food is also increasing at a good pace. Within this area, microbes are used in producing food products by manipulating the original features of food, including pickles, cheese, vinegar, alcohol, bread, green olives, etc.
3. Healthcare and Medicine Sector
Healthcare is a very crucial sector all around the world. It is so because individuals always encounter illness, injuries and disorders. And with only proper medications, people can come out of these challenges.
Several microscopic organisms are used to manufacture essential antibiotics, vitamins, vaccines, and other medications to provide treatment to living creatures. The Healthcare sector is expanding its reach in every possible way with the course of time, which also opens an array of career scope of microbiology in the very field.
4. Agro-Chemistry Biotechnology
Bio Tech is also an important area that offers numerous career scopes of microbiology. In this field, students learn and apply the concepts of the relation of microbes, organic chemistry and technology for protection, and better production of crops. Courses like B. Tech Biotechnology and M. Tech in Biotechnology have gained massive traction in recent years for their promising futures.
5. Genetic Engineering
The field also offers numerous career opportunities to students who studied microbiology courses. As the name suggests, microbiologists do some engineering with microbes. They manipulate the genes of microbes in order to produce useful and valuable products such as hormones, enzymes, etc.
6. Universities and Colleges
It is a great option for professionals who want to pursue a career as an educator and lecturer in the very field. Universities and colleges provide jobs to microbiologists.
What Are the Popular Courses in Microbiology?
Students must be wondering about the different courses of microbiology. Well, there are several courses in microbiology that students can choose one, which includes major undergraduate, post-graduate and doctoral level courses:
Microbiology Courses at Graduate Level-
(a) BSc Microbiology
(b) B.Sc. in Clinical Microbiology
(c) Bachelor of Science in Applied Microbiology
(d) B.Sc. Hons Biology (Microbiology)
(e) Bachelor of Science in Industrial Microbiology
(f) B.Sc. in Food Technology
(g) Bachelor of Science in Cell & Molecular Biology
Microbiology Courses at Post-Graduate Level
(a) MSc in Medical Microbiology
(b) Master’s in Microbiology
(c) MSc in Clinical Microbiology
(d) Master of Applied Science (Microbiology)
(e) Master’s in Drug Delivery and Microbiology (Research)
(f) Master’s in Molecular Biology & Biotechnology
(g) MSc in Microbial Genetics and Bioinformatics
Microbiology courses at Doctoral Level
(a) PhD in Microbiology
(b) PhD in Microbiology & Immunology
(c) DMed in Medical Microbiology
(d) PhD in Drug Delivery and Microbiology (Research)
Career Opportunities (Jobs) in Microbiology
Earlier, the career scope of microbiology was limited, but now it covers vast areas that offer numerous promising career opportunities to students holding a degree in the very field. Students now become aware of the use of the study of microbiology; therefore, aspirants start to advance their step in the field. Microbiologists, immunologists, Mycologists, virologists, and several other scientists and researchers are some of the prominent job roles. Being an exciting and lucrative career field, students are flocking to pursue the course after 12th science. Here are is the list of top careers in microbiology:
(i) Research Assistant
(ii) Food, Industrial or Environmental Microbiologists
(iii) Quality Assurance Technologists
(iv) Sales or Technical Representative
(v) Clinical and Veterinary Microbiologists
(vi) Medical Technologists
(vii) Biomedical Scientist
(viii) Clinical Research Associate
(xi) Food Technologist
(xii) Scientific Laboratory Technician
(xiii) Physician Associate
(xiv) Research Scientist (life sciences)
Concluding Words on Scope of Microbiology
As a multi- disciplinary branch of science, scope of microbiology has evolved over the recent years as a branch of study and as a promising career path. Studying unicellular, multicellular and acellular microorganism, which microbiologists do has immense bearing with quality of our life and health. Owing to this, courses in microbiology has become a gateway to vast career scopes in microbiology.
Students of Microbiology can explore the career avenues in the field of microbiology and its associated fields. Pharmacy, medicine industry, water industry, Agro-chemistry biotechnology, chemical technology, to name a few, have potential demands of microbiologists. Research & Analysis post Covid-19 pandemic has shot up in microbiology as the panacea lies with it.
What microbiologists examine and research on, are tiny or microscopic organisms like fungi, algae, Protozoa, Bacteria, etc. And, it is not possible to improve quality of life without this study by microbiologists as to how the tiny creatures can impact humans and entire ecology of life on earth in general.
Questions Mostly Asked About Scope of Microbiology
Ans- The Employment scope in microbiology is wide and growing only. Scope of study and acquiring specialty includes Immunology, genetics, medicine, agriculture, nano-technology and the likes. Microbiology is crucial for other disciplines such as biotechnology as they are pivotal for the welfare of civilization
Ans- More than 8 important fields of microbiology are-
(a) Molecular Microbiology
Ans- Medical microbiology is a subset of microbiology that deals with the study of pathogenic microbes, their physiology, etiology and their life cycle. And the concerning professionals or microbiologists of the field are involved in preventing, diagnosing, and providing therapeutics of infectious diseases.
Ans- Yes, it could be a good career option in India for the students. Microbiology courses help aspirants to lend many promising and lucrative career avenues in India as well as abroad. Students can hold any job profile, including pharmacologist, microbiologist, Immunologist, etc., after completing a bachelor’s or master’s degree.