Microbiology is about microscopic, single-celled organisms: bacteria, viruses, yeasts, algae, fungi, protozoa, etc.

Studying in this area involves learning about their structures, functions, life cycles, distributions, and taxonomies.

Microbiology is also about how micro-organisms interact with the environment and their effects on humans.

This includes cancer and AIDS, and how 'germs' (pathogenic microbes) affect the immune system.

NZ university majors related to this area

Though in the same subject area, they may be very different.

Did you know?

In 1676 Antonie van Leeuwenhoek was the first person to see micro-organisms using a microscope.

Bacteria and yeast are important components in the production of cheese, yoghurt, beer, wine, bread and pickles.

Examples of career opportunities

Most entail additional learning (lifelong learning!).

  • Microbiologist
  • Environmental microbiologist
  • Biotechnologist
  • Research scientist
  • Research assistant
  • Laboratory technician
  • Science teacher
  • Biology teacher
  • Academic

Income and employment prospects


130% of national
median earnings


Further study
Other or unknown

Figures based on young domestic graduates 5 years after graduation. Source: Ministry of Education.

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