5 Year BS/MS in Microbiology

Wagner is one of only a few colleges in the Northeast offering a combined BS/MS in Microbiology. With the Microbiology Program established more than 50 years ago, majors are prepared not only for further postgraduate studies, but also for careers as microbiologists in public health, hospital, industrial and research laboratories.  The strong clinical emphasis of our program also makes it an excellent choice for pre-professional health program students wishing to pursue a career in medicine.


Students in the five-year microbiology program will engage in both rigorous course work and independent research with one of Wagner College's microbiology professors, a process that culminates in the fifth year with the preparation and defense of a graduate thesis.  Through these experiences, students gain the knowledge and critical thinking skills needed to apply the scientific method, as well as practical laboratory skills required for modern laboratory-based microbiology.

Wagner’s Microbiology faculty have diverse backgrounds, some being research scientists, while others come in from hospital, industrial, and biotechnology laboratories giving our students the benefit of a broad perspective of the field in general.
Microbiologists who have earned their BS or their MS degrees from Wagner College have found employment in hospital laboratories throughout the tri-state area, pharmaceutical companies such as Merck, governmental agencies like the CDC, EPA, and the FDA, forensics laboratories, and the biotechnology industry. Other students have been accepted into various doctoral programs, received appointments in the National Institute of Health (NIH) Post baccalaureate program while others have entered medical school.

  • Admission requirements for the undergraduate portion of the five-year program are the same as those for the four-year undergraduate microbiology major.
  • Students must declare their intent to pursue the integrated five-year program by the end of their sophomore year.
  • Students will be able to opt out of the integrated five-year program and receive their BS degree at the end of their senior year or upon successful completion of the requirements for this degree.  Those remaining in the program will receive both BS and MS degrees at the end of their 5th year or upon successful completion of the program's requirements.
  • In order to proceed into the fifth year, students must have obtained a 3.0 GPA or higher in their undergraduate microbiology core classes.

Program Requirements

Years 1-4

In addition to satisfying general education requirements, students must take a minimum of 18 units with the following distribution in the first four years of the program:

Core requirements – 7 units of Microbiology and 1 unit of Biology as follows:

  • Microbiology 200, 212, 314, 512, 521, 522, & 525
  • Biology 221

Elective requirements – 2 units chosen from:

  • MI 216, 291, 493, 503, 513, 517, 523, 524, 591; CH 517

Cognate courses - 4 units of Chemistry, 2 units of Physics, 1 unit of Mathematics (beginning catalog year 2018):

  • Chemistry 111, 112, 211, 212
  • Physics 131, 132 or Physics 141, 142
  • Math 121

Senior Year Learning Community – 2 units

  • Microbiology 400E (0 unit), 400 & 491
  • Students must successfully complete MI 400E in the spring of their junior year and MI 400 in the fall of their senior year.
  • Masters work begins in the spring semester of the senior year for 5 year program.  Students in the thesis track must register for MI 797 (2 credits) in the spring or summer prior to starting the 5th year.  This is taken in addition to the requirements of the BS degree and counts towards the 30 credits necessary for the MS. This course will culminate with a masters thesis proposal and assembled committee.  Students in the non-thesis program must register for a graduate course in the summer prior to the 5th year.
  • Because microbiology is primarily a laboratory-based science a laboratory section must be taken as part of any course for which a laboratory section is offered. Lecture and laboratory must be taken concurrently.
  • It is recommended that microbiology majors complete Mathematics 121 or higher.  (MA 121 is required beginning 2018.)

Program Requirements

Year 5

Students must successfully complete 28 credits over two semesters which, including MI 797 (see above) gives a total of 30 credits required for the master's degree.

  • Any microbiology courses 500-level or higher that were not taken as part of the BS degree.
  • At least 18 credits must be in courses 600-level or higher.
  • Students in the thesis track will take research courses MI 798 in the fall and MI 799 in the spring towards their master's thesis.  Students in the non-thesis track will complete an additional 6 credits of coursework.
  • Students will take research courses MI 798 in the fall and MI 799 in the spring toward their master’s thesis.
  • Students in the 5 year program have four required courses:  MI 611 Medical and Public Health Microbiology and MI 710 Graduate Seminar I in the fall and MI 626 Advanced Microbial Physiology and MI 720 Graduate Seminar II in the spring, in addition to the above mentioned research courses.
  • All other courses are determined by the student with the assistance of their adviser.
  • All students in the five year program must take MI 700 Comprehensive Exam.
  • Microbiology Five-Year Checklist 2017
  • Microbiology Five-Year Checklist- beginning catalog year 2018

Program Forms:


Microbiology Lab Renovated in 2008