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Microbiology

photo of microbiology lab and studentsGlorious players in the biosphere.

Microbiology is the study of microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, protists) and noncellular microscopic agents (viruses, viroids, and prions). Microbiologists study not only the cell and molecular biology of microbes, but also their interactions with other organisms, ecosystems, and habitats. While we most often think of microbes as agents of disease, we now know that by far most species of microbes are not pathogens.

Microbes are glorious players in the biosphere and are fundamental to everything else that goes on in the living world. They are the world’s most talented chemists. Microbes can bring down civilizations, alter the course of world wars, change the weather, spawn multibillion dollar health and hygiene industries, and cause little girls to run from Georgie-Porgie Puddin’ & Pie screaming, “Cooties!”

Microbes contribute to the art of fine dining producing delicacies such as sausage, artisan cheeses, yogurt, chocolate, sour cream, fine wines, and microbrews. Microbes contribute to intestinal health, paint desert landscapes, clean up the most contaminated of soils, mitigate damage from oil spills, control pests in agricultural crops, and reduce our dependency on foreign oil. Microbes serve as remarkable experimental models helping us to decipher the complexities of life at the atomic, molecular, and cellular levels of organization. As has been said, "Le rôle de l'infiniment petit dans la nature est infiniment grand."

Interested in pursuing a career in microbiology? Visit the American Society for Microbiology.

Program Description

TCC offers courses that cover the first 2 years of a typical 4-year college microbiology program (college-level courses) as well as courses to develop skills needed for college-level courses.

Degree Options: Associate in Arts and Sciences degree (Option B)

Program Planning

High School Preparation: While in high school, students should pursue all the available courses in mathematics, chemistry, biology, and physics.

Recommended Class Schedule: We suggest the following schedule of classes for students who wish to earn the Associate Degree of Arts and Sciences (college transfer). The program outlined below prepares students intending to complete a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology at the University of Washington. This program should be modified with the assistance of a Tacoma Community College microbiology advisor to meet the specific requirements of other transfer institutions.

First Year

ENGL& 101
CHEM& 161
PHYS 114
ENGL& 102 or ENGL 103
CHEM& 162
PHYS 115
BIOL& 221
CHEM& 163
MATH& 146, 148 or 151c
FallWinterSpring

Second Year

FallWinterSpring
BIOL& 222
CHEM& 261
Social Science (5 credits)d
BIOL& 223
CHEM& 262
Humanities (5 credits)b
Humanities (5 credits)b
CHEM& 263
Social Science (5 credits)d
  • a. Some students may need to complete additional prerequisite courses.
  • b. We recommend that students select a humanities distribution course that transfers as a UW VLPA course. (See the UW Equivalency Guide.)
  • c. Students considering graduate work beyond a bachelor's degree should complete one year of calculus (MATH& 151, 152 and 153) in addition to MATH& 146.
  • d. We recommend that students select a social science distribution course that transfers as a UW I&S course. (See the UW Equivalency Guide.)

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