University of Sydney Handbooks - 2021 Archive

Download full 2021 archive Page archived at: Thu, 23 Sep 2021 13:38:12 +1000


Study in the Discipline of Microbiology is offered by the School of Life and Environmental Sciences in the Faculty of Science. Units of study in this major are available at standard and advanced level.

About the major

Microbiology teaches us about life forms that are too small to see with the naked eye. They are vital for life on Earth but can also cause huge problems as infectious disease agents, plant pathogens, contaminants of food and water and biofoulers. A major in Microbiology introduces you to this tremendous diversity of function and form in the microbial world. You will explore the impact of microbes on other life forms, look at their role in health and disease at the level of individuals, populations and ecosystems, and in particular their place in the nexus of human, animal and environmental inter-relationships. You will investigate ways in which microbes are used to manufacture products, remediate polluted environments and both produce and spoil food. You will explore microbial genetics and microbial life at the molecular level, with a particular emphasis on current research in Microbiology in our 3000-level units.

By progressing through the major students will learn advanced concepts and methods including molecular microbiology, systems biology, genomics, advanced microscopy techniques, genetic manipulation, microbial evolution, and the use of antimicrobials and antimicrobial resistance.

Requirements for completion

The Microbiology major and minor requirements are listed in the Microbiology unit of study table.

Contact and further information


Professor Dee Carter

Learning Outcomes

Students who graduate from Microbiology will be able to:

  1. Exhibit a broad and coherent body of knowledge in the identification, classification and evolution of microbes and integrate knowledge across these areas.
  2. Integrate depth of knowledge in fundamental differences in size, complexity and replication strategies to differentiate between the major groups of microbes – the Bacteria, Archaea, Fungi, viruses and protists.
  3. Demonstrate skills in safe and ethical laboratory practice in microbiology, including ensuring aseptic conditions to avoid contamination.
  4. Grow, enumerate and observe microbes macroscopically and microscopically, and interpret these observations to address questions in microbiology.
  5. Source, collate, synthesise and critically evaluate information from a range of sources in microbiological research.
  6. Communicate concepts and findings in microbiology to diverse audiences through a range of modes, using evidence-based arguments that are robust to critique.
  7. Assess how microbes contribute to both harmful and beneficial processes that affect human health and the ecosphere.
  8. Address authentic problems in microbiology, working professionally and responsibly both as individuals and within diverse, collaborative, interdisciplinary teams.
  9. Evaluate the critical importance of microbes across a range of environmental and cultural settings.