Microbiology (MS)

Why Earn A Master's Degree In Microbiology At UW-La Crosse?

Two students working in a biosafety cabinet.

We Focus On Your Master's Education

The Microbiology Department offers an intimate and rigorous master’s program that produces highly sought graduates. Earning a master’s degree in microbiology sets one apart from the numerous Bachelor's degree holders

  • Improve marketability for jobs and eligibility for promotion as many careers require a master's degree rather than a Ph.D.

  • A master's degree can be a steppingstone to professional and Ph.D. programs.

The master’s program in the UWL Department of Microbiology is unique. Most institutions offering master’s programs in Microbiology also have PhD programs which can overshadow the MS programs.

  • UWL does not have a PhD program, allowing individual mentoring.

  • Faculty are focused on working directly with our graduate students, both in the classroom and the lab. 

  • We offer courses not found at PhD-offering institutions.

  • Our faculty have a wide range of research interests spanning medical, environmental, and industrial microbiology so you can find a mentor tailored to you.

  • Our new Prairie Springs Science Center offers state-of-the-art research facilities to support our program and your research.

A Great Place To Live

With accolades from publications including Forbes magazine and Outdoor Magazine, La Crosse offers a great cultural and natural environment.  La Crosse combines a small-town feel with ample cultural and recreational opportunities. Situated on the Mississippi River in the geologically unique Driftless region, La Crosse offers four-season recreational and research opportunities on water and land.

Which Track Is Right for You?

There are two tracks in the Microbiology Master’s Program:

The Microbiology Track: 

  • A traditional Master's program in which students focus on coursework and producing original research with a faculty mentor. (Non-thesis seminar track available).

  • Students plan course work in consultation with a faculty committee to choose classes from a list of 28 courses.

  • Students research with a faculty mentor in any aspect of microbiology, including environmental microbiology, microbial ecology, food and industrial microbiology, bacterial physiology, genetics, immunology, infectious disease microbiology and more. 

The Clinical Microbiology Emphasis Track:

  • The Clinical Microbiology MS emphasis is truly distinct - there is no other program like it in the United States. 

  • Unique and specialized training in the fight to control infectious disease.

  • Considerable focus on diagnostics, but all aspects of human and animal infection by bacterial, viral, fungal and protozoan pathogens are covered. These include the epidemiology of infectious disease, the life cycles and behaviors of infectious agents, and the interactions of infectious agents with the immune system.

  • The Program is a collaboration involving UW-La Crosse, Gundersen Health System, Marshfield Clinic, Wisconsin Diagnostic Laboratories and the Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene

  • Students who complete the program can go on to receive American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) certification in Microbiology or Molecular Biology.

  • Course work is at the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse and the clinical laboratory rotations are conducted at:
    • Clinical Microbiology Practicum I - 6 weeks at Gundersen Health System (La Crosse, WI).
    • Clinical Microbiology Practicum II - 6 weeks, two possible locations; Gundersen Health System or Wisconsin Diagnostic Laboratories (Milwaukee, WI).
    • Clinical Microbiology Practicum III - 2 weeks, Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene (Madison, WI).

  • The combination of advanced microbiology course work, clinical rotations and research experience prepares students for a wide variety of career opportunities.