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Microbiology and Immunology

The Department of Microbiology and Immunology offers opportunities for study leading to doctoral, master's, and bachelor's degrees. For information on advanced degrees, see graduate Microbiology and Immunology.

The Department offers versatile major and honours specializations leading to the Bachelor of Science. All students take the same core courses but appropriate choices of selections allow students to develop foundations in diverse areas such as applied microbiology, environmental microbiology, immunology, microbial pathogenesis, microbial physiology, molecular genetics, virology, bioinformatics, computer science and oceanography. Eligible students entering second year wanting to apply to the Joint Degree Biotechnology Honours specialization and all students wanting to enter second year Microbiology and Immunology Major, Honours or second year Combined Computer Science and Microbiology and Immunology Major, Honours or Microbiology and Oceanography Major specializations must apply using the online process administered by the Faculty of Science. Eligible students finishing first year will receive an email communication regarding the process in late May or early June. Due to the similarity between the Major and Honours specializations in second year the Faculty of Science only admits students directly to the Major or the Combined Major.

Continuation to the third year of a specialization depends on the particular specialization. The MBIM specializations and the combined MBIM/OCGY specialization require MICB 322 while the combined CPSC/MIBM specializations do not. Although MICB 322 is available to students in the combined CPSC/MBIM specializations, this course is not required. Applications for space in MICB 322 are due on the second Friday in May. Late applications for MICB 322 are considered but acceptance is contingent on space availability. Students that are not offered space in MICB 322 for third year can apply after year three if they have taken four third-year courses that are core parts of a specialization and achieved a competitive average in the four courses.

Further details about these MICB 322-dependent specializations and registration in MICB 322 are found in the undergraduate section of the departmental website. Qualified students may apply to transfer to an Honours specialization in third year. Again, the application procedure differs depending on whether the specialization requires MICB 322 (see above). Details are found at the undergraduate section of the departmental website. Enrolment in any Microbiology and Immunology Honours specialization or combined Honours specialization, requires a sustained, annual academic average of at least 75% in second, third, and fourth year of these specializations.

Co-operative Education Option

This option integrates academic study with relevant supervised work experience. The work placements are arranged by mutual agreement between the students and the employing organizations. Enrolment is limited. Admission is by application to the Science Co-op Office in February prior to third year (late applicants may be considered if they contact the Life Sciences Co-op Coordinator). Selection will be based on previous academic performance and general suitability to the work environment as assessed by resumé and interview. Admissibility to a third-year Microbiology and Immunology Bachelor of Science specialization is prerequisite for admission to the Co-op Option but applicants can apply to Co-op before admission to the third-year microbiology specializations. Graduation from the Co-op program requires completion of four work terms, the normal courses required for the specialization. Detailed information is available from Microbiology and Immunology or the Co-operative Education Office.

Specializations

Major (1153): Microbiology and Immunology

First Year
BIOL 1121 3
One of BIOL 111, 121 3
CHEM 121 (or 111) 4
CHEM 123 (or 113) 4
Communication Requirement2 6
One of MATH 100, 102, 1043,4 3
PHYS 100-level5 3
Electives4 4
Total Credits 30
Second Year
MICB 201, 202 6
BIOL 200, 2017 6
CHEM 205, 233, 2356 7
Electives4 11
Total Credits7 30
Third Year10
MICB 301, 302, 322, 323 12
At least one of MICB 325, BIOL 3358 3
Third or Fourth Year10
BIOC 3029 3
Additional MICB selections. 9
Another MICB selection or a selection from BIOC 402, 410; BIOL 421; CHBE 381, MEDG 421; EOSC 475 3
Electives4 24
Fourth Year10
MICB 40111 3
One of MICB 421, 44711 3
Total Credits10 30
Total Credits for Degree10 120
1 Students with credit for BIOL 200 or sufficient credits of first year biology to enrol in BIOL 200 may skip BIOL 112 if they take an extra 3 credits of upper-level MICB courses in year 3 or 4. Students should be aware that BIOL 140 is a prerequisite for many upper-level BIOL courses at UBC. To maintain flexibility in their ability to study at UBC, students should consider including BIOL 140 in their first year at UBC even though this course is not required in this specialization.
2 For full list of acceptable courses see Communication Requirement. ENGL 112 and SCIE 113 are recommended.
3 MATH 180 or 184 or 120 may substitute for any of the specified differential calculus courses listed by decreasing the electives by 1 credit. MATH 110 may substitute for any of the specified differential calculus courses listed by decreasing the electives by 3 credits. Students taking MATH 110 will still require 6 additional computational science credits. All of the differential calculus courses are suitable prerequisites for later MATH courses. They differ in the expected student background and the types of examples used in the problems.
4 The elective credits in the specialization must include: a) At least 12 credits numbered 300 or higher to meet the Faculty requirement for 48 credits of upper-level courses; b) 12 credits of Arts excluding any Arts courses used to meet the Communication Requirement; c) At least 9 credits outside the field of the Major. These credits must be taken as science courses from eligible departments in the Faculty of Science or additional courses in the Faculty of Arts. The field of the Major is defined as the named courses and selections in the specialization, all MICB and BIOL courses and all courses offered in the Faculty of Medicine for science credit; d) At least 6 credits of either additional MATH or CPSC or STAT or BIOL 300 are needed to meet the Faculty requirement for a specialization total of at least 9 credits of computational credits. MATH 110 would only satisfy 3 of the required computational credits even though it would count as 6 credits for total credit. Any credits used to satisfy Lower-Level requirements (eg., the Computational Requirement, Footnote 2) must be completed in the appropriate years to meet promotion requirements.
5 Chosen from 100-level PHYS courses, excluding PHYS 100. Students lacking Physics 12 must take PHYS 100 before taking any other 100-level PHYS course, using PHYS 100 as an elective. Students requiring PHYS 100 may delay other 100-level PHYS courses until second year.
6 Students with 7 credits of CHEM 203 and 213 do not need to take the combination of CHEM 233, 235 and 205.
7 Students may substitute BIOC 202 or BIOC 203 for BIOL 201. However access to BIOC 203 is restricted and most students will not have the BIOC 202 prerequisite until the summer after second year. This timing is important because the grade for BIOL 201 is used in May following second year when students apply for space in MICB 322 and continuation into third year. Grades for courses taken in the summer are not available in May. Also BIOL 201 places more emphasis on biological diversity and evolutionary aspects of metabolic biochemistry which students may find useful in upper level courses requiring BIOL 201. For these reasons the preferred second year course is BIOL 201.
8 If both courses are taken, MICB 325 counts as an MICB selection.
9 BIOC 303 may be substituted for BIOC 302 by using 3 credits of elective space.
10 The normal course load for the program is 30 credits in each Winter Session of third or fourth year.
11 Students concerned about taking more than one upper level laboratory course in a single term are encouraged to organize their schedule so each lab is taken in a different term if possible.

Honours (1154): Microbiology and Immunology (MBIM)

First and Second Years
Same as for Major1,2 60
Third Year1,2
MICB 301, 302, 322, 323 12
At least one of MICB 325, BIOL 3353 3
Third or Fourth Year1,2
BIOC 3024 3
Additional MICB selections 9
Another MICB course or a selection from BIOC 402, 410; BIOL 421; CHBE 381, MEDG 421; EOSC 475 3
Electives5 24
Fourth Year1,2
MICB 4017 3
One of MICB 404, 406, 412, 4246 3
One of MICB 421, 4477 3
MICB 430, 4497 9
Total Credits for Degree1 132
1 The minimum total of 132 credits must include 60 credits of upper-level science or Arts courses and a total of at least 90 credits of science courses.
2 The minimum number of Winter Session courses is 30 credits. The maximum number of courses permitted in a Winter Session is 36 credits.
3 If both courses are taken the MICB 325 would count as an MICB selection.
4 BIOC 303 may be substituted for BIOC 302 by using 3 credits of elective space.
5 The 36 elective credits in the specialization must include: a) At least 6 credits numbered 300 or higher; b) 12 credits of Arts excluding any Arts courses used to meet the Communication Requirement; c) At least 6 credits of CPSC or additional MATH or STAT or BIOL 300 to meet the Faculty requirements for a specialization total of at least 9 credits of computational credits. MATH 110 would only satisfy 3 of the required computation credits even though it would count as 6 credits for total credit. Students should be aware that BIOL 140 is a prerequisite for many upper-level BIOL courses at UBC. To maintain flexibility in their ability to study at UBC, students should consider including BIOL 140 in their first year at UBC even though this course is not required in the specialization.
6 Extra courses taken from this list would count as MICB selections.
7 Students concerned about taking more than one upper level laboratory course in a single term are encouraged to organize their schedule so each lab is taken in a different term if possible.

Combined Major (1371): Computer Science & Microbiology and Immunology

First Year
BIOL 1121 3
CHEM 121 (or 111) 4
CHEM 123 (or 113) 4
CPSC 110, 1212 8
Communication Requirement3 6
One of MATH 100, 102, 104 (120, 180, 184, 110)4 3
One of MATH 101, 103, 105 (121)4 3
Total Credits 31
Second Year11
CPSC 210, 221 8
MICB 201, 202 6
BIOL 200, 2015 6
CHEM 233 3
Second or Third Year11
CPSC 213 4
One of BIOL 300, MATH 200, 221, STAT 200 3
Electives6,7,8,10 3
Minimum total credits for second year 30
Third Year11
MICB 301, 302 6
MICB 322 or MICB at 300-level or higher9,12 3
One of MICB 325, BIOL 335 3
CPSC 320 3
Third or Fourth Year11
CPSC 310 4
One of CPSC 304, 313, 420, 421 3
MICB 323 or MICB 401 or additional MICB at 300-level or higher12 3
Additional CPSC at 300-level or higher 6
Additional MICB at 300-level or higher 3
Additional electives6,7,8,10 13
Fourth Year11
CPSC 445 3
MICB 405 3
Additional CPSC at 400-level 3
Total Credits for Degree 120
1 Students lacking high school biology must take BIOL 111 as an elective before taking BIOL 112. Students with credit for BIOL 200 or sufficient credits of first year biology to enrol in BIOL 200 may skip BIOL 112 if they take an extra 3 credits of upper-level MICB courses in year 3 or 4.
2 Students intending to pursue Co-op may include CPSC 210 in the first year in order to use the CPSC model for Co-op that starts after first year. Alternatively they may use the MICB model for Co-op that starts in third year.
3 For full list of acceptable courses see Communication Requirement. ENGL 112 and SCIE 113 are recommended.
4 MATH 180 or 184 or 120 may substitute for any of the specified differential calculus courses listed by decreasing the electives by 1 credit. MATH 110 may substitute for any of the specified differential calculus courses listed by decreasing the electives by 3 credits. All of the differential calculus courses are suitable prerequisites for any later MATH courses. They differ in the expected student background and the types of examples used in the problems. MATH 121 may substitute for any of the specified integral calculus courses listed by decreasing the electives by 1 credit.
5 Students may substitute BIOC 202 or BIOC 203 for BIOL 201. However access to BIOC 203 is restricted and most students will not have the BIOC 202 prerequisite until the summer after second year. This timing is important because the grade for BIOL 201 is used in May following second year when those students choosing to do so apply for space in MICB 322. Grades for courses taken in the summer are not available in May. Also BIOL 201 places more emphasis on biological diversity and evolutionary aspects of metabolic biochemistry which students may find useful in upper level courses requiring BIOL 201. For these reasons the preferred second year course is BIOL 201.
6 Students should consider MATH or STAT as recommended electives. There are 15 elective credits in the specialization. Even though they are distributed as 2 credits in second year and 13 in other years, any extra elective credit taken in first or second year can be applied to the later elective credits.
7 BIOL 121 is a mandatory prerequisite requirement for all advanced BIOL courses except BIOL 200, 201, and 335.
8 Students with BIOL 201 and CHEM 233 wishing to choose BIOC 302 or 303 as an elective in third or fourth years should take CHEM 205 as an elective. Students with BIOL 201, CHEM 203 and CHEM 213 (eg. transfer students) do not need to take CHEM 205 to access BIOC 302 or BIOC 303.
9 Space in MICB 322 is limited. Availability depends on the demand by the other specializations requiring MICB 322.
10 The computation requirements and breadth requirements of the Faculty of Science are satisfied by the combination of specializations in the combined major. However, the 15 elective credits in the specialization must include: a) Sufficient credits numbered 300 or higher to meet the Faculty requirement for 48 credits of upper-level courses; b) 12 credits of Arts excluding any Arts courses used to meet the Communication Requirement.
11 The normal course load for the specialization is 30 credits in one Winter Session but that value depends on the combinations of selections and electives.
12 MICB 322, 323 and 401 are laboratory courses. MICB 322 is a prerequisite for MICB 323 and MICB 401. Students wanting a less intensive laboratory experience should consider MICB 203 as an elective at some point in the specialization.

Combined Honours (1373): Computer Science & Microbiology and Immunology

First Year
BIOL 1121 3
CHEM 121 (or 111) 4
CHEM 123 (or 113) 4
CPSC 110, 121 8
Communication Requirement2 6
One of MATH 100, 102, 104 (120, 180, 184, 110)3 3
One of MATH 101, 103, 105 (121) 3
Total Credits 31
Second Year4,11
CPSC 210, 221 8
MICB 201, 202 6
BIOL 200, 2015,11 6
CHEM 233, 2356 4
MATH 200 3
Second or Third Year11
CPSC 213 4
Electives7 3
Minimum Total Credits for Second Year 30
Third Year4,11
CPSC 320 3
MICB 301, 302 6
MICB 322 or MICB at 300-level or higher8,12 3
One of MICB 325, BIOL 335 3
One of STAT 200, BIOL 300 3
Third or Fourth Year4,11
CPSC 310 4
One of CPSC 304, 313, 420, 421 3
CPSC courses numbered 300 or higher 3
MICB 323 or MICB 401 or additional MICB at 300-level or higher12 3
MICB courses numbered 300 or higher 3
One of MATH 302, STAT 302 3
Additional electives6,7 18
Fourth Year4,11
CPSC 445 3
MICB 405 3
One of CPSC 449, MICB 4499 6
Minimum Credits for Degree 132
1 Students lacking high school biology must take BIOL 111 before taking BIOL 112. Students with credit for BIOL 200 or sufficient credits of first year biology to enrol in BIOL 200 may skip BIOL 112 if they take an extra 3 credits of upper-level MICB courses in year 3 or 4.
2 For full list of acceptable courses see Communication Requirement. ENGL 112 and SCIE 113 are recommended.
3 MATH 180 or 184 or 120 may substitute for any of the specified differential calculus courses listed by decreasing the later electives by 1 credit. MATH 110 may substitute for any of the specified differential calculus courses listed by decreasing the later electives by 3 credits. All of the differential calculus courses are suitable prerequisites for later MATH courses. They differ in the expected student background and the types of examples used in the problems. MATH 121 may substitute for any of the specified integral calculus courses listed by decreasing the electives by 1 credit.
4 To continue in the specialization students must maintain at least 75% average in the second, third and fourth year.
5 Students may substitute BIOC 202 or BIOC 203 for BIOL 201. However access to BIOC 203 is restricted and most students will not have the BIOC 202 prerequisite until the summer after second year. This timing is important because the grade for BIOL 201 is used in May following second year when those students choosing to do so apply for space in MICB 322. Grades for courses taken in the summer are not available in May. Also BIOL 201 places more emphasis on biological diversity and evolutionary aspects of metabolic biochemistry which students may find useful in upper level courses requiring BIOL 201. For these reasons the preferred second year course is BIOL 201.
6 Transfer students with credit for CHEM 203 and either CHEM 204 or 213 are exempted from the requirement for CHEM 233 and 235.
7 There are 21 elective credits in the specialization. Even though they are distributed as 3 credits in second year and 18 in other years, any extra elective credit taken in first or second year can be applied to the later elective credits. Students lacking Physics 12 must take PHYS 100 to meet the lower-level course requirements for a B.Sc. The specialization requires 12 credits of Arts excluding any Arts courses used to meet the Communication Requirement.
8 Space in MICB 322 is limited requiring MICB 322.
9 The thesis topic must be related to bioinformatics. Students intending to take CPSC 449 should take CPSC 349 in their third year.
11 Students in honours specializations must complete a minimum of 30 credits in each Winter Session.
12 MICB 322, 323 and 401 are laboratory courses. MICB 322 is a prerequisite for MICB 323 and MICB 401. Students wanting a less intensive laboratory experience should consider MICB 203 as an elective at some point in the specialization.

Combined Major (3144): Microbiology and Oceanography

First Year
Communication Requirement1 3
PHYS 100-level2 3
CHEM 121 (or 111) 4
CHEM 123 (or 113) 4
EOSC 1123 3
BIOL 1124 3
One of MATH 100, 102, 1045 3
One of MATH 101, 103, 1056 3
Electives7,8 4
Total Credits 30
Second Year
Communication Requirement1 3
BIOL 200, 2019 6
MICB 201, 202 6
EOSC 211, 270 6
CHEM 233 3
Electives8 6
Total Credits 30
Second or Third Year10
EOSC 372, 373 6
Third Year10
MICB 301 3
MICB 322 3
Electives8 12
Third or Fourth Year10
MICB 306 3
One of MICB 325, BIOL 335 3
Fourth Year10
MICB 401, 425 6
Two of MICB 405, 418, 424 6
EOSC 472, 475 6
One of EOSC 470, 478 3
One of EOSC 448, 473 3
Electives8 6
Total credits for degree 120
1 A total of 6 credits of coursework is required to meet the Communication Requirement. ENGL 112 and SCIE 113 are recommended. For full list of acceptable courses see Communication Requirement.
2 Chosen from 100-level PHYS courses, excluding PHYS 100. Students lacking Physics 12 must take PHYS 100 before taking any other 100-level PHYS course, using PHYS 100 as an elective. Students requiring PHYS 100 or MATH 110 may delay other 100-level PHYS courses until second year. Qualified students are encouraged to take PHYS 107.
3 Students who enter the specialization after second year may substitute EOSC 340.
4 Students without credit for one of Biology 11 or Biology 12 will be required to take BIOL 111 prior to BIOL 112.
5 MATH 180 or 184 or 120 may substitute for any of the specified differential calculus courses listed by decreasing the electives by 1 credit. MATH 110 may substitute for any of the specified differential calculus courses listed by decreasing the electives by 3 credits.
6 MATH 121 may substitute for any of the specified integral calculus courses listed by decreasing the electives by 1 credit.
7 Recommended electives are EOSC 111 (1 credit) or BIOL 140 (2 credits). The combination of BIOL 121 and BIOL 140 provide the prerequisites to have the flexibility to take upper-level BIOL courses.
8 The computation requirement of the Faculty of Science is satisfied by EOSC 211 and MATH and the breadth requirement is satisfied by the combination of courses in the Combined Major. However, the electives must be selected to ensure that the following Faculty of Science requirements are met: a) 12 credits must be from the Faculty of Arts, excluding Arts credits used to satisfy the Faculty of Science Communication Requirement; b) at least 48 upper-level credits including specialization requirements.
9 Students may substitute BIOC 202 or BIOC 203 for BIOL 201. However access to BIOC 203 is restricted and most students will not have the BIOC 202 prerequisite until the summer after second year. This timing is important because the grade for BIOL 201 is used in May following second year when students apply for space in MICB 322 and continuation into third year. Grades for courses taken in the summer are not available in May. Also BIOL 201 places more emphasis on biological diversity and evolutionary aspects of metabolic biochemistry which students may find useful in upper level courses requiring BIOL 201. For these reasons the preferred second year course is BIOL 201.
10 The normal course load for the specialization is 30 credits in one Winter Session but that value depends on the combinations of selections and electives. Be careful to plan out choices to have the prerequisites for desired courses at the appropriate time.

Specialization Objectives:

Students completing this specialization will be able to:

  1. demonstrate mastery in microbiology/oceanography that will qualify them for graduate school in either microbiology or oceanography or environmental science (given a sufficient level of accomplishment)
  2. demonstrate basic laboratory skills useful for technician-level jobs in environmental sciences

Learning Goals:

Students completing this specialization will be able to:

  1. demonstrate basic knowledge about the chemical and physical ocean environment with emphasis on microbiological processes and chemical processes
  2. use mathematical knowledge including calculus and statistical techniques for experimental set-up and data analysis
  3. use numerical problem solving (using computer programming skills) both with models and with real data
  4. use basic field/laboratory skills for observation and experimentation in microbiological oceanography
  5. illustrate the distinction between data, experiment, theory, and model
  6. integrate concepts across multiple levels of microbiological complexity
  7. conduct independent study on a topic of their choosing
  8. write reports and communicate through oral presentations

Page last updated: March 10, 2017

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