​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Program Description

Do you correct your classmates when they mispronounce “microscopy?” If you do, you have a level of knowledge and curiosity that are the foundations of something bigger than any bacteria. CMU’s biology major with a microscopy option can morph you into a biological microscopist. Broken down into micro terms, this major will allow you to investigate the growth, structure, development and other characteristics of microscopic organisms such as bacteria, algae or fungi. Research labs, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and chemical companies are big employers of people who geek all things micro. People like you.​​

Points of Pride

CMU is the only university in Michigan with a bachelor’s degree concentration in microscopy, where biology students gain experience using optical, confocal, scanning and transmission electron microscopes.

Put Your Degree to Work

Microscopists may be employed as biochemists or biophysicists. Common employers include research and development departments of engineering, life and physical sciences organizations and companies, as well as colleges, universities and pharmaceutical manufacturers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for microscopists is around $36,000; optical and electron microscopists and research microscopists earn an average of $78,000 per year.

​U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics sample data

JobMedian PayJob Growth through ​2022​
Biochemist$81,480 per year19% (5,400 more jobs)
Chemist/materials scientist$73,060 per year6% (5,400 more jobs)
Microbiologist$66,260 per year7% (1,400 more jobs)

For More Information

Visit the biology website or contact:

Department of Biology
Brooks Hall 217
Phone: 989-774-3227
Fax: 989-774-3462

Program Overview

The course listings below are a representation of what this academic program requires. For a full review of this program in detail please see our official online academic bulletin AND consult with an academic advisor. This listing does not include the General Education courses required for all majors and may not include some program specific information, such as admissions, retention, and termination standards.

(Click on the course name or number for a complete course description.)

Biology Major: Microscopy Option

Microscopy Option is for students who plan a career as a biological microscopist. Research laboratories, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, chemical companies, food processing laboratories, and forensic laboratories are areas in which opportunities exist for microscopists.
Total: 67-71 semester hours A chemistry minor is suggested.
Core Courses
(20 hours)
BIO 110
Concepts of Biology
BIO 203
General Botany
BIO 208
BIO 218
General Zoology
BIO 326
BIO 340
Required Courses
(20-21 hours)
BIO 324
Cell Biology
BIO 330
Light Microscopy
BIO 403
Undergraduate Research
BIO 550
Transmission Electron Microscope Technique
BIO 552
Scanning Electron Microscope Technique
BIO 553
Confocal Microscopy
Other Requirements I
(5-8 hours)
Select one of the following options:
Option A
(8 hours)
Option B
(5 hours)
Other Requirements II
(7-8 hours)
Select one of the following options:
Option A
(8 hours)
Option B
(7 hours)
Other Requirements III
(10 hours)
Select one of the following options:
Option A
(10 hours)
Option B
(10 hours)
Other Requirements IV
(3 hours)
A higher-level math course may be substituted for MTH 109.
MTH 109
Plane Trigonometry
(1-2 hours)
Biology electives to be selected in consultation with a biology advisor.