With all there is to see in the world, there’s even more the human eye can’t see. As a student in the biology program studying microscopy, you will use a variety of state-of-the-art instruments to study up close and personal everything left unseen by the naked eye. Using microscopes equipped with a variety of imaging techniques like laser scanning and electron scanning and transmitting, you will develop a strong foundation in biology, chemistry and physics. The common optical microscope that uses visible light — we have those too.
Points of Pride
- CMU's $95 million Biosciences Building is the largest capital project in the university’s 120-plus year history. The four-story, 169,000-square-foot building will dramatically advance our instructional learning and scientific research space.
- CMU is the only university in Michigan with an undergraduate degree in microscopy, where students receive specialty training and take part in an independent research project.
Put Your Degree to Work
This degree will give you publication-quality preparation and analysis of specimen and provide actual experience with research projects.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics sample data
Below is a list of potential careers, median salary over the course of the career and projected job growth.
|Job||Median Pay||Job Growth through 2026|
|Lab technician||$51,700 per year||13% (42,700 more jobs)|
|Biological technician||$43,800 per year||10% (8,400 more jobs)|
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 Concentration
The Microscopy concentration 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: 67-75 semester hours
Core Courses I
Foundations of Evolution and Diversity
Basic principles of evolution and the application of these principles to the history and diversity of life. Satisfies University Program Group II laboratory requirement. (University Program Group II-A: Descriptive Sciences)
Foundations of Cell Biology
Structure and function of bacteria, archaea, and eukaryotic cells including biological molecules, bioenergetics, membrane transport, respiration, photosynthesis, cell communication, and cell division. Prerequisite: BIO 111 with a C- or better. Prerequisite/Co-requisite: CHM 131.
Foundations of Genetics
Foundations and applications of molecular and transmission genetics in a diversity of organisms. Prerequisite: BIO 112 with a C- or better. Prerequisite/Co-requisite: CHM 132.
Foundations of Form and Function
An integrative and comparative survey of plants, animals and microbes, with emphasis on their form and function. Prerequisite: BIO 211 with a grade of C- or better. Pre/Co-requisite: BIO 213.
Foundations of Ecology
Study of the relationship between organisms and their environment. Prerequisite: BIO 112 with C- or better.
Core Courses II
Principles and practice of light microscopy including the use of dissecting, brightfield, and fluorescence microscopes; sample preparation of living and preserved specimens; and image analysis. Prerequisites: BIO 212, 213 both with a C- or better; permission of instructor.
Faculty-supervised research experience in the biological sciences. Requires planning with a faculty mentor the semester prior to enrollment. Writing Intensive. Prerequisites: BIO 212, 213 both with a grade of C- or better; permission of department chairperson. Recommended: Cumulative GPA of B (3.0) or better in all BIO courses.
Transmission Electron Microscopy
Biological specimen preparation and examination using transmission electron microscopy. Use of digital photography in electron micrograph production. Prerequisites: BIO 212, 213 both with a grade of C- or better; or BIO 324; BIO 330; or graduate standing; permission of instructor.
Scanning Electron Microscope Technique
Principles and techniques of SEM including biological specimen preparation and examination. Use of digital photography in electron micrograph production. Prerequisites: BIO 212, 213 both with a grade of C- or better, or BIO 324; BIO 330; or graduate standing.
Principles and practice of biological confocal laser scanning microscopy, including sample preparation and the use of molecular probes. Prerequisites: BIO 212, 213 both with a grade of C- or better; or BIO 324; BIO 330; or graduate standing.
Select one of the following:
Laboratory experience emphasizing the theory and practice of techniques used in basic cell and molecular biology research and their applications in biotechnology. May be offered as Writing Intensive. Prerequisites: BIO 212, 213 both with a grade of C- or better; or BIO 211 with a grade of C- or better and a signed major in Biochemistry; or BIO 324 or 326; CHM 132.
Analyze biological data by appropriately selecting, assessing, and interpreting results of statistical tests including chi-squared analyses, t-tests, one-way ANOVA and correlation/regression. Prerequisites: BIO 212, 213 with a C- or better; or BIO 211 and a signed major in Neuroscience or Biochemistry; or graduate standing. Recommended: MTH 130.
Study of cells and tissues that comprise human organ systems with emphasis on their integration and function using light microscopy. Prerequisites: BIO 212, 213 both with a C- or better; or BIO 390 or 392; or admission to the Biology M.S., Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology M.S., Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology Ph.D. program, or Earth and Ecosystem Sciences Ph.D. program.
Other Requirements I
Note: You may only count one of MTH 130 OR 132, not both.
General Chemistry I
Introductory course covering fundamental concepts of chemistry including atoms, properties of matter, reactions and stoichiometry, electronic structure, chemical bonding, molecular structure, thermochemistry, gas laws. Satisfies University Program Group II laboratory requirement. Recommended: High school algebra or MTH 107; high school chemistry or CHM 120. (University Program Group II-B: Quantitative and Mathematical Sciences)
General Chemistry II
Continuation of CHM 131 including solutions, kinetics, equilibrium, weak acids and bases, thermodynamics, and electrochemistry. Prerequisite: CHM 131. Recommended: a grade of C or better in CHM 131.
Functions and their graphs, inequalities, analytic geometry. This course may be offered in an online format. Prerequisite: MTH 107 or 109 or placement.
Limits, continuity, interpretations of the derivative, differentiation of elementary functions, applications of derivatives, antiderivatives, Riemann sums, definite integrals, fundamental theorem of calculus. This course may be offered in an online or hybrid format. Recommended: MTH 107, 109; or MTH 130. (University Program Group II-B: Quantitative and Mathematical Sciences)
College Physics I
Mechanics, heat, kinetic theory, and sound. The mathematics used is algebra and trigonometry. The sequences PHY 130-131, PHY 170-171 satisfy minimum requirements for medical and dental schools. Quantitative Reasoning. Recommended: A high school math background that includes a good foundation in algebra and trigonometry, or MTH 109. (University Program Group II-B: Quantitative and Mathematical Sciences)
College Physics II
A continuation of PHY 130 that covers the topics of electricity, magnetism, optics and modern physics. Prerequisite: PHY 130.
Other Requirements II
Select one of the following options:
Note: Students selecting Option A in Other Requirements II must select Option A in Other Requirements III. Students selecting Option B or C in Other Requirements II may select any option in Other Requirements III.
Other Requirements III
Select one of the following options:
Other Requirements IV
Capstone Exit Exam and Survey
This capstone experience may include taking the Biology Major Field Test, analyzing and interpreting data, and/or completing an exit survey.