Microbiology is the study of microscopic organisms. It's a very specialized field of study that requires years to complete. But just like any specialty, you have to start somewhere. Students still exploring their career options might choose to take a basic microbiology course, offered at many universities, to see if the specialty might be a good fit for them. You can learn a great deal in these introductory classes.

Basic Biology

Microbiologists study many unicellular and multi-cellular organisms, including things like fungi and prokaryotes. But in order to get a good feel for what is being observed, microbiologists first need to understand basic biology. This is a part of the curriculum at California State University Long Beach's general microbiology course. The class consists of introducing students to microorganisms and biological aspects such as structure, function, metabolism, growth, genetics, diversity and host-parasite relationships.

Microscopy

A large part of an introductory microbiology class consists of spending time in the lab actually observing the microorganisms that students will be introduced to in lectures. Cornell University offers a general microbiology laboratory course that complements a basic lecture course. Here, students learn about microscopy, which consists of viewing samples and objects that are unable to be seen with the naked eye. Students will also learn aseptic techniques that sterilize samples for studying.

Varying Types of Microbiology

Microbiology is a broad term. There are various fields of microbiology, which students typically learn about in the introduction to microbiology courses. Such fields include environmental microbiology, which study microbes to benefit environmental health. Others include industrial microbiology, which consists of studying microbes to advance the manufacturing of products. Another field is medical microbiology, in which students learn about microbes to make better medicines to treat and prevent certain diseases.

Teamwork

Society benefits from microbiology. For example, certain microorganisms are necessary for producing food products and medicines. In addition to methods of studying such organisms, Cornell University also encourages students to work as a team in the lab. Professionals also encourage teamwork in terms of discovering new microorganisms. For example, microbiologists commonly use open innovation, which is the sharing of information and research between companies, to help speed the development of advanced medicines.