Online Master's in Microbiology Programs (Clinical or Translational Degrees)

Microbiology involves the study of bacteria, viruses, and fungi to understand how these organisms interact with the environment. In addition, microbiologists identify the causes of diseases and develop drugs to combat them through laboratory experiments and research projects.

Students with a bachelor’s degree in biology or a related field can apply for a master’s program in microbiology. This advanced degree explores many fundamental topics in microbiology and infectious diseases. It can open up several lucrative opportunities for graduates of medicine, pharmaceuticals, and other industries.

The curriculum of an advanced microbiology program focuses on topics such as clinical microbiology, parasitology, immunology, and mycology. In addition, students can also explore infectious diseases, bioinformatics, genetics, virology, metabolic regulation, and immunology. Many of these programs align with specialty training programs in infectious diseases, such as the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) and the American Society for Microbiology (ASM).

Upon completing a master’s in microbiology, students can continue their education in medical, dental, and veterinary schools. They can also work in agriculture, the pharmaceutical industry, research institutes, biotech firms, public health laboratories, and government organizations. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for microbiologists in 2022 was $79,260 per year.

The following guide covers eight reputable online master’s programs in microbiology and three distinguished faculty members who teach them.

Featured Online Master’s Programs in Microbiology

George Washington University – Master of science and graduate certificate

The School of Medicine and Health Sciences at GW provides an online master of science in health sciences (MSHS) in clinical microbiology. The program is ideal for students who wish to get certified in microbiology. It prepares them for positions in diagnostic medical laboratories and the national certification exam in clinical microbiology. Applicants to the program need a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

The 36-credit program comprises 20 credits of medical laboratory science courses, nine credits of graduate research courses, and a four-credit practicum. Along with theoretical knowledge, students gain hands-on experience in clinical microbiology and take a deep dive into medical laboratory topics such as microbial pathogenesis, advanced clinical parasitology, mycology, advanced molecular diagnostics, and advanced laboratory management. The graduate courses include research ethics and scientific integrity, clinical and translational research epidemiology, and biostatistics. While all didactic courses are taught online, the clinical microbiology practicum is completed at an approved hospital or laboratory.

Besides the MSHS program, GWU also offers a 20-credit online post-baccalaureate certificate in microbiology, which covers subjects such as clinical bacteriology, parasitology, mycology, immunology, and lab management and operations. Upon successful completion, students pursue careers as biotechnologists, clinical researchers, clinical microbiology instructors, and microbiology laboratory directories.

  • Location: Washington, D.C.
  • Duration: 24 months
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Tuition: $990 per credit

University of Florida – master of science in microbiology

The University of Florida houses the largest microbiology department in the country. The school’s online master’s program in microbiology, with a concentration in medical microbiology and biochemistry, can be completed within a year, with no campus visit requirements, making it ideal for working professionals who wish to enhance their skills and knowledge. Moreover, online students enjoy the same facilities, faculty, and quality education as their on-campus counterparts.

The 30-credit program combines courses from departments such as molecular genetics and molecular biology. This sets the degree apart from other microbiology programs. Other topics include genetics, bioinformatics, DNA and RNA viruses, virology, infectious diseases, and metabolic regulation. The program also consists of a unique introductory track with two courses on the basic biology of microorganisms and biochemistry and molecular biology fundamentals. Overall, the program provides students with a thorough understanding of microbiology and cell science.

The online master’s in microbiology program prepares students for dental, medical, and veterinary schools. They can also pursue opportunities in pharmaceutical companies, agriculture, and government organizations. Online graduate certificates in medical microbiology, environmental microbiology, and microbiome and health are also options for students with bachelor’s degrees.

  • Location: Gainesville, FL
  • Duration: 12 months
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Tuition: $535 per credit

The University of Edinburgh – Master of science in microbiology and infectious disease

The clinical microbiology and infectious diseases (CMID) postgraduate program offered by the University of Edinburgh is available online and can be completed in three years. This program is designed for junior doctors interested in infectious diseases. It is open to trainees worldwide.

This entirely online and part-time program provides students access to a world of research and critical texts about infection and microbiology. They learn subjects such as introduction to immunology and the biology of bacteria, fungi, parasites, and prions. In the second year, students look at immunopathology, molecular diagnostics of infection, infection prevention and control, and HIV infection. They also better understand bioinformatics, emerging infectious diseases, and infection medicine. The interactive nature of the program offers students an opportunity to learn from classmates, clinicians, and scientists from around the world.

Students who wish to further their careers in academic medicine will find valuable information in the courses offered. The degree also involves training in JRCPTB and RCPath and helps trainees and specialists prepare for FRCPath Part 1 and other hospital-related practices.

  • Location: South Bridge, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • Program length: 36 months
  • Accreditation: Unknown
  • Tuition: £19,100 for the full program

Johns Hopkins University – Master of science in biotechnology (related program)

Johns Hopkins University offers an online master of science in biotechnology degree. Applicants must have a GPA of at least 3.0 and a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Though students can complete the program online, laboratory experience is preferred for biology, chemistry, and organic chemistry.

The ten-course program gives students an in-depth view of applied, basic, and laboratory science. Students conduct research, develop decision-making skills, and implement their investigation into large projects. The concentrations offered include bioinformatics, biodefense, drug discovery, and biotechnology enterprise. In addition, they delve into topics such as bio-organic chemistry, molecular biology, communication for healthcare professionals, cell culture techniques, and marketing aspects of biotechnology.

On successful completion of the MS in biotechnology program, students have several avenues open to them in biospace and the biotech industry. They can also pursue opportunities at upcoming biotech startups.

In addition, a dual degree program combining an MS in biotechnology and an MBA degree is available to students who want to earn two degrees in less time than it takes to earn them separately.

  • Location: Baltimore, MD
  • Duration: 12-36 months
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Tuition: $5,008 per course

Georgetown University – Master of science and graduate certificate (related program)

The hybrid master’s of science in biohazardous threat agents & emerging infectious diseases at Georgetown University is a one-year program that prepares graduates for public and private sector positions. The online 12-credit graduate certificate in biohazardous threat agents and emerging infectious diseases is offered by Georgetown University Medical Center. Both programs examine threat agents in bioterrorism, response, biodefense, community resilience, homeland security, and capacity to CBRNE threats.

The program explores microbiology threat agents such as smallpox, anthrax, Ebola, plague, and tularemia. Online students enjoy the same experienced faculty that teaches the biohazardous threat agents master of science program at Georgetown University campus.

They also have access to Georgetown’s other online resources and get a chance to interact with classmates and professors. Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 to be accepted. Credit hours students earn in the certificate program are transferable to the master’s and doctorate programs offered by the Department of Biohazardous Threat Agents & Emerging Infectious Diseases.

  • Location: Washington, D.C.
  • Duration: 12 months
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Tuition: $58,023 per year

Drexel University – Master of science in infectious disease (related program)

Drexel University’s online master of science in infectious disease program offers graduate-level training in various aspects and causes of infectious diseases, including emerging pathogens. In addition, students can choose to focus their studies on topics such as experimental therapeutics, biocontainment, and vaccine development. This program prepares graduates for a variety of career paths, including those related to microbiology.

With the convenience of an online format, students have the flexibility to continue working while earning their master’s degree. In addition, Drexel’s strong reputation in the field adds further value to this degree program. Overall, the MS in infectious disease at Drexel is a reliable option for those looking to advance their knowledge and skills in this critical and rapidly-evolving study area.

  • Location: Philadelphia, PA
  • Duration: 21-36 months
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Tuition: $1,709 per credit

University of Arizona – Accelerated master of science in microbiology

The University of Arizona’s accelerated master of science in microbiology graduate program offers a unique opportunity for undergraduate students to pursue their master’s degree in just one year. By applying the principles of microbiology, immunology, and food safety, students in this program will develop a comprehensive understanding of microbial pathogens and their impact on humans and animals.

With a focus on infectious diseases and host responses, graduates are well-prepared for careers in academia and various industries. In addition, this accelerated master’s program also allows students to expand their knowledge and skill set while saving time and money.

  • Location: Tucson, AZ
  • Duration: 12 to 24 months
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Tuition: $850 per credit

Colorado State University – Master of science in microbiology-immunology

As a leader in infection research, the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology at Colorado State University offers a master of science in microbiology-immunology. This fully online, non-thesis program allows students to enhance their understanding of theoretical and applied aspects of microbiology, immunology, molecular biology, and virology. With a focus on hands-on learning opportunities, this master’s program can be completed in as little as one year and prepares students for careers in various industries.

The department’s expertise in bacteriology, virology, and prion biology helps guide students toward solving real-world challenges related to infectious diseases. In addition, students have access to state-of-the-art laboratory facilities and innovative research programs focusing on improving diagnostics and treatments for these diseases.

  • Location: Fort Collins, CO
  • Duration: 12 to 24 months
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Tuition: $602 per credit (residents); $1,476 per credit (non-residents)

Professors to Know in Online Master’s in Microbiology Programs

Dr. Joseph Bellanti serves as the International Center for Interdisciplinary Studies of Immunology director at Georgetown University Medical Center. He teaches courses in pediatrics and microbiology-immunology, and his research efforts are focused on antimicrobial research, evaluation of new vaccine strategies, and developmental immunology.

Along with teaching, Dr. Bellanti has also directed developmental immunology and allergy programs. His research has appeared in prominent journals such as Annals of Allergy and Pediatric Research, and he currently serves as editor-in-chief of Allergy & Asthma Proceedings. In recognition of his contributions to his field, Dr. Bellanti has received several honors, such as the E. Mead Johnson Award for excellence in pediatric research and the Outstanding Educators of America Award of the William Peck Society from the American College of Allergy and Immunology. He completed his doctorate of medicine from the University of Buffalo.

Dr. Marcia Firmani teaches clinical microbiology and molecular diagnostics at George Washington University. She is the medical laboratory sciences program director and assistant professor in the integrated health sciences department. She has ten years of teaching and research experience under her belt.

Before she joined the GW, she served as the principal investigator at the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC), where she managed multiple projects on health intervention and disaster response, translational health sciences, military-affiliated programs, and medical laboratory science. Her work has been published in prominent journals such as Infection and Immunity and the Journal of Clinical Microbiology.

In addition, Dr. Firmani has authored several textbook chapters on infectious diseases. She completed her doctorate at the University of California in Berkeley, her master’s in public health from Tulane University, and her bachelor’s degree from Marist College.

Dr. Koval coordinates the biotechnology master’s program at John Hopkins University. Some of the subjects he teaches include advanced cell biology and radiation biology. His research subjects include cell and molecular biology, stress-inducible cellular processes, and cellular radiation and damage. Before joining Johns Hopkins, he was a faculty member at Hahnemann Medical College, George Washington University, and Mayo Medical School.

Dr. Koval has published his work in several peer-reviewed scientific journals, receiving an Excellence in Teaching Award from Krieger School in 2006. He has a doctorate from the Ohio State University and completed his postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Illinois.

Farheen Gani
Farheen Gani Writer

Farheen Gani has immense knowledge about medical technology schools, having researched topics such as medical billing and coding, health information management, nursing informatics, and biotechnology degree programs since 2018. She is a freelance writer, marketer, and researcher. She writes about healthcare, technology, education, and marketing. Her work has appeared on websites such as Tech in Asia and Foundr, as well as top SaaS blogs such as Zapier and InVision. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter (@FarheenGani).