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Jul 28, 2023 12:10PM IST

Microbiology Overview

Microbiology is the study of single-celled, multi-celled and acellular micro-organisms, wherein the effect and impact of every organism on the environment are assessed. The need for professionals with the knowledge and understanding of such microorganisms can be seen across a variety of industries and sectors like agriculture, dairy processing, nanotechnology and chemical technology, among many others. From medicines and food we eat, to the production and maintenance of our basic sustenance, microorganisms hold a significant role in the functioning of a society.

Understanding the need for such professionals, universities in India and across the globe offer a variety of courses, i.e. short-term, full and part-time and even distance learning programmes. Therefore, if you are interested in pursuing a Microbiology course, can do so right after passing your class 12 board exams and continuing your studies in the field up till receiving your doctorate as well. Admissions to such programmes can be done based on merit alone, however, some universities and degree programmes may also require applicants to present valid entrance test scores as well. Let’s dig deeper to find out more about Microbiology courses in India and how you can go about studying them.

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Microbiology Course Highlights

Given below are some of the key highlights related to Microbiology courses in India:


Life Sciences

Biological Sciences,  

Applied & Pure Sciences

SpecialisationsVarious branches and sub-branches
Qualifications AvailableBachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctorate
Highest QualificationDoctorate (PhD)
Online CoursesAvailable
Entrance ExamsCUET, IISER-IAT, IIMK, etc.
Average Course Duration4 months-10 years
Average Course FeesINR 15,000-5,00,000
Top Medical CollegesIndian Institute of Science, Osmania University, University of Mumbai, and Delhi University
Career OpportunitiesClinical, Environmental, or Industrial Microbiologist, Biologist, Virologist, and Biochemist
Average Starting Salary INR 3,00,000-10,00,000
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Why Choose Microbiology?

Students who are confused, as to why they should pick Microbiology as a specialisation for their higher studies, can have a look at the benefits below:

  • Wide Scope of Opportunities: The scope of microbiology is huge. As is known, there are more microorganisms than humans or animals. In fact, even our body consists of various microorganisms. Hence, there are a lot of sub-specialisations available for students to choose from, which eventually leads to a plethora of eventual career opportunities. 

  • High-Paying Jobs: The impact of microbiological studies on human life is so huge that it makes up for a very responsible and risky job. While the scope of human error is negligible, the equipment and practices are all conducted on a highly specialised level. As a professional in such an environment, high-paying job profiles are a given. The highest annual salary of a microbiologist can reach up to INR 45,00,000-75,00,000 per year.

  • Huge Impact on Human Lives: Microbiology is concerned with many responsibilities, including the study of virology and bacteria, which is eventually related to human diseases and their cures. Hence, every win of a microbiologist creates a huge positive impact on human lives, and the same is for the losses.

  • Research and Development Cell: While R&D is an open sector for various biologists and even other scientists and researchers, in the case of microbiology, it is the main sector of working. A microbiologist may deal with patients, but for a major part, their efforts are executed in laboratories, hence, making R&D to be the most popular job cell.

  • Contribution to Sustainability Drive: The power of microbiology lies in the fact that it can use nature’s micro-organisms to solve huge problems, such as oil spills in the sea. Microbiology is used as a corrector of various environmental hazards and accidents, and even sometimes replenishes precious natural habitats.
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Who Should Study Microbiology?

Being a course dealing with the functioning and understanding of microorganisms, the different courses available in the field are designed for specific individuals with certain career goals in mind. Here are the individuals for whom Microbiology courses are a perfect choice:

  • Those passionate about understanding everything there is to know about bacteria and their impact on the society and environment should look into Microbiology courses.
  • Being a research-heavy field, students who possess the patience and ability to research, compile and evaluate information can pursue a Microbiology course.
  • Being a specialised programme, candidates planning to study Microbiology should be certain of their career and future prospects in the field as the opportunities to change their fields are limited.

Regardless, Microbiology is one of the best options for students who wish to make a difference in the world, however, find it difficult to work in a hospital or medical setting. Microbiology provides individuals with the ability to use the effects and benefits of microorganisms for the benefit of the society and environment.

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Types of Microbiology Courses

The different microbiology courses that students can pursue in India have been summarised below, along with their description and course duration:

Microbiology Course TypeCourse DurationDescription
Certificate Courses2-6 monthsThese short-term courses only cover selected basics of the course and are good as a substitute or foundational course for full-time study.
Diploma & PG Diploma Courses1-2 years

These long-term courses are best when students are trying to enter the field as fresher.

PG Diploma will help in avoiding to study bachelor’s if they have already completed in other subjects.

The student is considered qualified and knowledgeable enough to pursue master’s or PhD courses.

Bachelor’s Courses in Microbiology3 years

A full-time (or part-time) course is responsible to set a strong knowledge and experience foundation for higher studies.

Graduates earn a B.Sc. degree qualification.

Master’s Courses in Microbiology2 years

It is a full-time (or part-time) course with an in-depth study of selected microbiology specialisation(s).

Graduates earn an M.Sc. degree qualification.

PhD Courses in Microbiology3-6 years

These full-time degree courses act as the first step to the research area of microbiology.

Graduates earn a Dr. title and PhD degree.

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Microbiology Courses Eligibility Criteria

The eligibility criteria of the microbiology courses are dependent on the qualification level of the course.

Microbiology Bachelor’s Courses Eligibility Criteria 

To get admission to undergraduate microbiology courses, such as B.Sc. in Microbiology, or Diploma in Microbiology, etc., candidates must have:

  • At least 50% in 10+2 examination
  • Having completed 10+2 education with Physics, Chemistry, Biology/Mathematics as compulsory subjects
  • Clear the cut-off score required for the entrance exams

Microbiology Master’s or Doctorate Courses Eligibility Criteria  

Postgraduate courses in microbiology include M.Sc in Microbiology, PG Diploma in Microbiology, PhD in Microbiology, etc. Students need to meet the following to be eligible for admission to these courses:

  • B.Sc. degree in a relevant field,
  • At least 50% in B.Sc. degree, and
  • Cut-off score in recommended entrance exams to clear the minimum score requirements.
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How to Get Admission to Microbiology Courses in India?

Admissions to different Microbiology courses will be done based on the admission policies of each individual university or institution offering the course. In other words, students can be selected for a microbiology course in India either on the basis of merit or on the basis of merit and entrance test scores. Here is how you can get admission to a microbiology course in India.

Merit-Based Admissions

Universities accepting admission to their microbiology course on the basis of merit alone would commonly carry out the following processes.

  • Candidates must thoroughly read through the admission process, which would normally include the minimum eligibility criteria for the microbiology course of choice.
  • Upon meeting the admission requirements, candidates should submit the necessary documents as per the course requirements, i.e.
    • For undergraduate, Class 12 board exam results in the stream of Science, preferably with the subject of Biology covered as well as entrance test scores (if applicable)
    • For postgraduate, a valid undergraduate microbiology degree or any other related degree programme with a minimum of 60% or higher.
  • Candidates must then complete the admission process which may include elements of group discussion and personal interview, allowing universities to select the best possible students.

It should be noted that the university accepting admission based on merit will have the authority to define the admission and the selection process as well as the number of seats available for the course. Therefore, thoroughly read through the admission guidelines of the university of your choice before applying to any university.

Entrance Test-Based Admissions

Admissions to most Microbiology courses will be based on entrance test scores, which would either be conducted individually by the university offering the degree programme or by the state for admission to state-run universities. Regardless, aspirants are required to attempt the test and secure the highest possible score in order to become eligible for admission to a Microbiology course based on entrance tests.

  • Along with compiling the necessary documents for admissions, students must prepare and attempt the entrance test which is accepted by their desired university.
  • In the case of a university-conducted entrance test, candidates may be asked to appear for a group discussion and/or a personal interview as part of the selection process.
  • Upon receiving news of your selection to the program, candidates must deposit the non-refundable deposit and pay the tuition fees if they wish to study at the university.
  • In the case of a state-conducted entrance test, admissions will be done based on the cut-offs decided by the universities at the respective state-run universities. Candidates must ensure they have secured high enough to pass the cut-off set by their desired university.
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Entrance Exams for Microbiology Courses

As highlighted above, admissions to different Microbiology courses at different levels are conducted based on entrance exam test scores. Therefore, candidates interested in studying Microbiology at any level in India must first determine the test they need to clear in order to study the course at their desired institution. Here are some top entrance exams for Microbiology courses in India that you may have to clear to get admission this year:

  • Undergraduate Microbiology Course: for undergraduate courses, aspirants may have to take the following tests.
    • CUET: Short for Common University Entrance Test, is a nationalised test where central universities across the country accept admissions based on the scores achieved by students in the test.
    • NPAT: An online computer-based test, NPAT is the entrance test conducted by Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies for admission to programmes after the 12th board exams, offered by the institute.
    • CUCET: Another university-level entrance test, CUCET is conducted by Chandigarh University for admission to a number of undergraduate as well as postgraduate courses as well as scholarship opportunities.
  • Postgraduate Microbiology Course: For admission to the postgraduate microbiology course, students may have to clear the following tests-
    • CUET PG: Conducted by the NTA in India, students interested in pursuing microbiology at the postgraduate level may be required to clear the CUET PG test to study the course at one of the central universities in the country.
    • BITSAT: Admission to the postgraduate microbiology course at this reputable university is done via BITSAT, one of the most common admission tests conducted in the country.
    • DUET PG: Admissions to the renowned Delhi University postgraduate microbiology courses will be based on DUET PG entrance test scores, however, some colleges may also consider applications purely on the academic merit of the applicant.

Similarly, there are hundreds of universities that offer different microbiology courses, admissions to which will either be conducted on academic merit or entrance test scores. In either circumstance, students are advised to thoroughly read through the admission guidelines and requirements before applying to any university.

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Microbiology Syllabus

The common microbiology subjects included in the Indian college course curriculum are:

Microbiology Syllabus

Microbial Physiology, Ecology & Genetics


Molecular Biology

Cell Biology

Enzyme Technology

Food Microbiology

Virology & recent trends

Medical Bacteriology

Recombinant DNA Technology


Bioinstrumentation & Biophysics

Fermentation Technology



Tissue Culture

Industrial, Medical & Environmental Microbiology

Note: This list is not exhaustive and subjects may vary depending on the course and university one is applying to.

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Top Colleges to Study Microbiology in India

The best colleges in India to study microbiology courses are summarised here along with their annual tuition fees:

Name of Institute/University

Annual Tuition Fees (in INR)

Aligarh Muslim University


Banaras Hindu University


Guru Nanak Dev University


Indian Institute of Science


Lovely Professional University


Mahatma Gandhi University


Manipal Academy of Higher Education


Osmania University


University of Calicut


University of Kerela


University of Mumbai


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Average Course Fees of Microbiology

Here is an average course fee analysis of different microbiology courses in India:

Microbiology Course

Annual Tuition Fees (in INR)

Certificate Courses & Online Courses


Diploma & PG Diploma Courses


Bachelor’s Courses


Master’s Courses


Doctorate Courses


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Microbiology Study Abroad

Indian students can always opt for universities abroad to study microbiology courses. Just like India, it is a prestigious course of study in foreign countries as well. Here are certain picks from the 50 best global universities for microbiology (biological sciences) according to the QS Subject Rankings 2022:

Name of University 


Harvard University

United States

University of Cambridge

United Kingdom

ETH Zurich


University of California (Berkeley, San Diego, & Los Angeles)

United States



University of Toronto


University of Tokyo 


University of Copenhagen


Tsinghua University


Ludwig Maximilians Universität München


Sorbonne University


Karolinska Institutet


Seoul National University

South Korea

University of Melbourne


Wageningen University & Research


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Required Skills to Become a Microbiologist

As a microbiologist, students will require the following skills to be able to achieve recognition and land lucrative jobs:

  • Patience: Microbiologists need to work on a single project for months and years. The results during this period may or may not be in their favour. However, they need to carry on consistently, which makes patience of extreme importance in their careers.

  • Independence and Teamwork: A microbiologist not only needs to undertake group projects but also independent research, where they are building a case for their own theory. The work dynamics of both situations are highly different and they need to easily settle and switch between the two.

  • Communication Skills: While interaction with the general public of a microbiologist is limited, they do need to present the findings of their research, progress, and other relevant details. They need good communication skills to express their ideas and project status to research financers and reviewing committees.

  • Observational & Analytical Skills: Research projects naturally demand working individuals to have observational and analytical skills. In order to draw conclusions from the experiment analysis is important, and to even track the changes and reactions, observation is required.

  • Detail-Oriented: Microbiologists work with microorganisms. They have to be alert and detail-oriented to capture the stages of reactions and changes in their ongoing research.

  • Efficient in Other Sciences: Apart from biological sciences, microbiologists also need to have a good knowledge of other pure and applied sciences to ensure proper conclusions. For instance, geological conditions are a huge factor in the nature of microorganisms.

  • Tech-Savvy: Technology is the consistent lab partner of microbiologists, and they need to be well versed in using it to ensure proper recording and independence in their work.
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Course Curriculum for Microbiology Courses

The course curriculum for Microbiology courses in India will vary from university to university as well as degree programme to degree programme. In other words, each programme will carry a unique curriculum or course structure that students will have to follow and complete in order to receive their degrees. Listed here are the course curriculum for different microbiology courses offered in India.

Undergraduate Microbiology Course Curriculum

The undergraduate microbiology course curriculum or structure will be individually defined by the university or institution offering the course. Moreover, the degree type will also determine the structure students will follow while completing their course. Outlined below is the course structure for BSc Microbiology that students follow at universities across India:

  • 6 semesters of core and elective subjects.
  • Laboratory Sessions
  • Research Project and Dissertation Submissions
  • Internships

The university offering the programme will determine the number of courses and credits that students need to complete in order to receive their degrees as well as the number of projects that need to be submitted.

Postgraduate Microbiology Course Curriculum

Those planning to study a postgraduate course in Microbiology will also be required to follow a defined course curriculum/structure, which will be dictated by the university or institution offering the course. Outlined below is the course curriculum for MSc Microbiology that students may have to follow at their desired university.

  • 4 semesters of core and elective subjects
  • Classroom sessions with professors and industry experts
  • Laboratory sessions
  • Dissertation or research projects
  • Thesis submissions
  • Seminars and Workshops

Each university offering the programme reserves the right to determine the subjects and credits that students need to complete for students to earn their degree. Aspirants will be able to check out the course curriculum of the desired university, which will allow them to shortlist the best universities in India for MSc Microbiology.

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Career Scope for Microbiology in India - Career and Job Prospects

The career options available for microbiology graduates in India are:

  • Clinical Microbiologist

  • Environmental Microbiologist

  • Industrial Microbiologist

  • Mycologist

  • Parasitologist

  • Virologist

  • Food Technologist

  • Biochemist

  • Molecular Biologist

  • Cell Biologist

  • Bacteriologist

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What is Microbiologist Salary?

Here is a summary of common microbiologist job profiles and their annual salary in India:

Job Profile

Annual Salary (in INR)





Clinical Microbiologist


Environmental Microbiologist


Food Technologist


Industrial Microbiologist








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FAQs about Microbiology

What do we study in Microbiology?

Microbiology is a broad subject, wherein individuals are trained to study the biology of microscopic organisms like viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, algae, and slime moulds. To thoroughly understand the effects and roles that microorganisms play in the sustenance of life on Earth, microbiologists use a series of different tests and investigative techniques, making them central to global challenges and aspirations.

Is it better to study Microbiology in India or abroad?

The scope of microbiology is immense both in India and abroad, however, pursuing microbiology abroad carries significantly higher benefits. While both Indian universities and universities abroad offer the same understanding and knowledge on the field, access to state-of-the-art infrastructure and equipment will be easier abroad. Additionally, the career opportunities after microbiology abroad also get significantly better.

What are some subjects in Microbiology that I would have to study?

There is a range of subjects and topics covered under Microbiology that any aspirant would have to study, which include Microbial Physiology, Food Microbiology, bio instrumentation and Biophysics, Industrial, Medical and Environment Microbiology, Enzyme Technology, Parasitology, Tissue Culture, Biotechnology, Cell Biology, Immunology, Fermentation Technology, Recumbent DNA Technology and much more. However, the universities hold the authority to add subjects to their core subject list for Microbiology.

Is there a short-term Microbiology course in India?

Yes, students can pursue a short-term Microbiology course in India which range from certificate courses to diploma or PG diploma courses. Some higher education institutions may also offer online courses, allowing greater insight into the field. Certificate courses in Microbiology last two to six months while diploma or PG diploma courses can last one to two years.

How much can I earn after Microbiology?

The average starting salary for microbiologists can range from INR 3-10 LPA. However, this salary range will be affected by the type of degree the graduate holds, the job role and the company where they have been employed and other factors. Therefore, the career prospects of graduates after Microbiology is extremely high, with high-paying jobs awaiting them across different sectors and industries in the world.

Is Microbiology a medical course?

No, Microbiology is not classified as a medical science but as a pure or applied science, wherein individuals are trained to understand the impact and benefits of microorganisms and use them for society’s benefit. However, Microbiology is key in the advancement of healthcare and medicine as it deals with the causes, effects, and prevention of illnesses caused by pathogens to host bodies.

Is Microbiology difficult?

Yes, Microbiology can be considered a difficult field of study since it deals with the science of microorganisms. The complexities surrounding organisms that are not visible to the naked eye are immense, however, this results in extremely lucrative career opportunities awaiting graduates in this field. Moreover, Microbiology is a rewarding career as professionals are able to learn and exploit their understanding of microorganisms.

Is Microbiology better than Biotechnology?

No, Microbiology is not better than Biotechnology, since both fields train professionals with different career goals. While Microbiology trains individuals to become professionals capable of exploiting the benefits of microorganisms for the enhancement of life on Earth, Biotechnology trains individuals to use their knowledge of biology and technology to improve the quality of life for all beings.

Is Microbiology a good career path?

Yes, microbiology is one of the more lucrative fields in the world as a result of its importance in the advancement of healthcare, medicine and food production and processing. Apart from professional career paths, Microbiology also offers lucrative academic career opportunities as well, where graduates can either become university professors or pursue research, becoming crucial to the advancement of the field itself.

Are there different types of Microbiology?

Yes, microbiology is further divided into bacteriology, (the study of bacteria), Mycology (the study of fungi like moulds and yeasts), and Immunology (the study of immune systems). However, students interested in studying these specialisations may have to pursue PG medical courses, whereas, Microbiology gives an overall outlook into all the different types of microorganisms.

Which colleges are better for microbiology courses, government or private?

Government colleges are better than private colleges for microbiology courses, as their fees are relatively lower, but their courses are of high academic standards. However, it is a known fact that seats are limited in government colleges and it is not easy to get admission to popular courses like Microbiology and other related courses.

What is microbiology used for?

Microbiology is used to study microorganisms, the effect of their surroundings on them, and the impact they eventually make on human lives. The branch of study uses scientific methods to gather intelligence about the said organisms and their behavioural characteristics. The applied and experimental methods are used to make conservatory and evolutionary use of intelligence gathered.

Can I apply for R&D jobs without a PhD degree in microbiology?

Yes, you can apply for R&D jobs without a PhD degree in microbiology. All the microbiology courses, including bachelor’s and master’s courses, train students to become microbiologists, who need to work mainly in investigative or research departments. Hence, even if you choose to not do a PhD, you can still become a laboratory microbiologist.

Can I become a Microbiologist abroad after completing studies in India?

Yes, you can become a Microbiologist abroad after completing your studies in India. You may apply for a fellowship or even membership with foreign universities and research institutes dedicated to microbiology. If you have a research project or ideas to drive an already existing project, it will be easier to get the job.

Is it compulsory to attempt entrance exams for admission to microbiology courses?

No, it is not compulsory to attempt entrance exams for admission to microbiology courses. They may be required only if your chosen college requires it. If the college specifically demands exam scores, you have to attempt and present the scores, irrespective of their viability. Popular entrance tests for microbiology include CUET, DUET, NPAT, BITSAT and many others.

Which are some of the popular college entrance exams for admission to microbiology courses in India?

The most popular college entrance exams for admission to microbiology courses in India are IISER (Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research), IISc Entrance Exam (Indian Institute of Sciences, BHU UET (Banaras Hindu University), and AMU MET (Aligarh Muslim University). Apart from this, aspirants may also attempt nationalised entrance tests like CUET and DUET, which is the gateway to central universities.

Is it worth applying for online microbiology courses?

Online microbiology courses are a great way to get an insight into course studies, especially when it is a new subject. However, they are not of much help as long-term devotion to the course. However, an online degree in your CV can help you elevate your chances of getting your desired jobs.

Is NEET applicable to microbiology courses?

No, NEET is not applicable to microbiology courses. The NEET exam is conducted for admission to medical or dentistry courses in India. If you have appeared for the exam, you may use the scores to apply for microbiology courses. However, universities offering Microbiology courses do not need NEET scores for the purpose of admission to a Microbiology course.

Which is the parent science of microbiology?

The parent science of microbiology is the biological science stream of life sciences and pure sciences. It is also considered a part of applied sciences as many branches of microbiology use the relevant principles.

Can I switch to medical courses from microbiology?

Yes, you can switch to medical courses from microbiology. You must have completed at least B.Sc. in microbiology and you can appear for NEET PG entrance examinations or MCAT (if applicable) to apply for master’s level medical education. However, being unfamiliar with the medical field, candidates may face additional difficulty in clearing the NEET PG test.

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