6 Best Accredited Online Microbiology Courses [2021]

Accredited online microbiology courses are a useful way to fulfill course prereqs, pick up credit, and further your education.

I’ve researched the top courses that deliver exactly that and listed them in this article.

Here’s what else we’ll cover:

  • Accredited online microbiology courses from top colleges
  • The best courses offering online or virtual lab
  • Recommended free/cheap options
  • What to expect from studying microbiology online

As a med student who’s taken microbiology courses myself, I know what’s important to look out for when it comes to selecting the best courses available.

Ready to learn more about what’s out there? Let’s go.

Best Accredited Online Microbiology Course Listings

Here’s a quick overview of the recommended microbiology courses in this article: 

Course PlatformInstitutionLevelPrerequisitesLengthHoursCost
Microbiology with Lab N/AUC San Diego BIOL-40335 Undergraduate (Credits: 6)NoneVariableSelf-paced $845 ($350 for a lab pack)
Applied Environmental Microbiology Swayam Central Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee and NPTEL Postgraduate None 12 weeks Variable $14 (exam and certificate) 
Microbiology With Lab (BIOL 1020L)N/AUniversity of New England OnlineUpper-level undergraduate (Credits: 4) College-level biology and either college-level anatomy or physiology16 weeks Self-paced$1510 
Introduction to Practical Microbiology Future Learn British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy N/AHealthcare professionals, laboratory personnel, anti-infectives commercial staff, researchers, students/others in training 3 weeks 9 hours $77 (inc certificate) 
Microbiology with LabN/ASUNY Empire State University BeginnerNoneVariedSelf-paced See website
Microbiology Course Saylor Straighter LineBeginnerCollege-level biology courseSelf-paced Variable $59 (inc textbook) 

Best Accredited Online Microbiology Courses (With Lab) 

UC San Diego Microbiology with Lab

This 6-credit course introduces the fundamentals of microbiology and allows students to explore the ways microbes are involved in our world.

The course is taught by Maria Wendy Ochoa, Ph.D., marketing communications manager at MO BIO Laboratories.

Topics covered include microbial diversity, cell structure/function, physiology, genetics, reproduction, and host-parasite relationships. 

The course has a lab component that introduces basic techniques and procedures including:

  • Handling microbes,
  • Identifying microorganisms
  • Aseptic techniques
  • isolating single colonies
  • preparing stained slides.

Lab kits are ordered home which allows for hands-on laboratory experiments outside of the institution.

Learning outcomes include:

  1. Describing historical aspects of microorganisms’ impacts on human societies
  2. Comparing differences between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells
  3. Applying fundamental stains, basic staining techniques, and corresponding bacterial and fungal morphology

The full list of learning outcomes can be viewed on their website. Enrolment is ongoing.

UC San Diego is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

DETAILS: 

  • Name: Microbiology with Lab
  • Institution: UC San Diego
  • Level: Undergrad
  • Prerequisites: N/A
  • Length: Self-paced
  • Hours: Variable
  • Website: extension.ucsd.edu/microbiology-with-lab
  • Cost: $845 (labpaq $350 + shipping)

University of New England Microbiology With Lab

BIOL 1020L is a 4-credit lecture/lab microbiology course that is 100% online and self-paced.

It lasts 16 weeks but some students can finish earlier. Classes begin 1st and 3rd Wednesdays.

Students wishing to enroll will need to have completed the following prereqs:

  1. One semester of college-level biology
  2. One semester of college-level anatomy or physiology

Topics covered in the course include:

  • History of microbiology
  • Morphology and physiology
  • Bacterial metabolism
  • Genetics
  • Ecology
  • Classification of microorganisms

All exams are taken online and are proctored through ProctorU with a UNE-approved external webcam.

The coursework consists of lab exercise assignments, lab reports, and a final exam.

The kit provided allows for online labs without institutional attendance. There is a price reduction for the 3-credit online lecture course (without lab).

DETAILS:

  • Name: BIOL 1020L – Microbiology Course
  • Institution: University of New England
  • Level: Upper level undergraduate: 4 credits
  • Prerequisites: College level biology and either college-level anatomy or physiology
  • Website: online.une.edu/microbiology-lecture-lab
  • Length: 16 weeks
  • Hours: Self paced
  • Cost: $1510

Microbiology with Lab (SUNY Empire State College)

SUNY Empire State College offers a 4-credit lab and lecture-based microbiology course offered via their independent online learning platform (as part of their online degree programs).

Although there are no strict prereqs, some knowledge of biology and chemistry is recommended.

Terms start in March, May, September, November, and January. 

Course topics include:

  • Microbial structure and function
  • Metabolism and growth
  • Genetics and diversity
  • Disease and control

The lab component and the kit can be purchased from their online bookstore. 

This course meets the guidelines for Biology concentrations.

DETAILS:

  • Name: Microbiology SMT- 272034 
  • Institution: SUNY Empire State University 
  • Level: Beginner
  • Prerequisites: Some knowledge of biology and chemistry recommended but not required 
  • Length: Self paced
  • Hours: Variable
  • Website: explore.suny.edu/100321

Other Online Microbiology Courses 

The following online courses are offered by some of the top colleges in the world.

Indian Institute of Technology Environmental Microbiology Course 

If you’re more geared towards environmental microbiology, this is the online course for you.

It’s targeted towards students of civil engineering, chemical engineering, and related sciences. It is an elective course for undergraduate students and a very cost-effective option at only $14. 

The course prepares students to address pressing environmental challenges and understand microbial communities. It builds on foundations and explores the diverse role of microbes. The full course structure is viewable on their website. 

The instructor (Dr. Gargi Singh) works at the university, specializing in the interaction between microbiology and environmental engineering. She is also a faculty member of the Centre of Nanotechnology there. You can see her credentials on Linkedin here

Watch a video to learn more about this course below… 

DETAILS: 

  • Name: Applied Environmental Microbiology
  • Institution: Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee and NPTEL
  • Level: Postgraduate
  • Prerequisites: N/A
  • Length: 12 weeks
  • Hours: Variable
  • Website: onlinecourses.nptel.ac.in/noc21_ce07
  • Cost: $14 (exam and certificate)

University of Reading (FutureLearn): Introduction to Microbiology 

This preliminary course aims to help you discover the basics of microbiology and antimicrobial agents.

The 3-week course delivers the foundations from a practical perspective; showing you how to identify microbes, what antimicrobial resistance is, and how to interpret data received from experiments.

The course covers concepts such as: 

  1. Basics of microbes, including classification and structure 
  2. Antimicrobial susceptibility testing- lab techniques and using the data 
  3. Identifying common microbes and where they can colonise 

Enrolment is ongoing but mentor interaction is restricted to specific dates (see course website for details).

DETAILS: 

  • Name: Introduction to Microbiology
  • Institution: University of Reading (FutureLearn)
  • Level: Undergrad
  • Length: 3 weeks
  • Prerequisites: Healthcare professionals, lab workers, researchers, students etc.
  • Hours: 3 hours per week
  • Website: futurelearn.com/introduction-to-microbiology
  • Cost $77 (inc. certificate)

Microbiology Course from Saylor (Straighter Line) 

This course is designed to teach microbiology specifically to individuals working in healthcare. 

Course objectives include: 

  1. Describe basic characteristics and classify microorganisms
  2. Understand interactions between microbes and host 
  3. Describe symptoms, causative agent, pathogenesis, epidemiology, prevention and treatment for infectious diseases  

It is equivalent to 3 college credits and is an entirely self-paced, online course. 

It uses the “Microbiology: A Systems Approach” textbook that can be purchased on their website.

If you have chosen a Partner College to award credit for this course, your final grade will be based upon that college’s grading scale. Passing scores are 70% or above.

DETAILS: 

  • Name: Microbiology Course
  • Institution: Saylor.org
  • Level: Beginner
  • Length: 3 weeks
  • Prerequisites: College-level biology
  • Hours: Self-paced
  • Website: straighterline.com/microbiology
  • Cost $59 (inc. textbook)

Free/cheap online microbiology courses

The following courses are not officially accredited but can be good for students looking to learn microbiology and related subjects.

EdX Microbiology Courses

EdX has several microbiology-related courses offered by some of the world’s leading institutions.

Here are a few of our recommended picks:

EdX’s courses are usually self-paced while levels vary from beginner to advanced.

All courses are free but certificates are available at a cost.

See EdX’s Microbiology course list here


Coursera Microbiology Courses

Coursera’s microbiology classes are delivered by top alumni from institutions like the Technical University of Denmark and The University of Manchester. 

All sessions have high-quality videos, downloadable resources, and more.

Here’s our recommended pick:

  • Stories of Infection (Stanford University School of Medicine): learn about infectious diseases via a patient centred and story based approach

Coursera’s course offerings are free with a paid option for certification.

See Coursera’s Microbiology course list here


Udemy Microbiology Courses

Courses on Udemy are a little different in that they’re usually put together by individuals rather than institutions.

On the subject of microbiology, they have 40+ courses.

Here’s our recommended pick:

The cost of courses on Udemy is set by the course creators themselves.

Most of the microbiology-related offerings cost around $10-50.

See Udemy’s Microbiology course list here


Related Questions

What Are The Most Important Things To Look For In An Online Microbiology Course?

Microbiology is a hard subject to learn (we talk about this here). But learning it online can be just as effective as taking a class in person. To get the best out of an online course you’ll want to look for the following qualities:

  • Structure: how well are the course goals defined and the curriculum laid out?
  • Time commitment: does the course give you a rough estimate of how much time you’ll need to commit to it each week?
  • Cost: does it fit your budget?
  • Instruction: is the teaching professor suitably qualified and delivering the classes in an easy-to-understand format?
  • Prerequisites: what level of knowledge should you have before starting the course?
  • Support: once signed up, how much support is available to you to help meet your goals?
  • Assessment: how is your knowledge and progress assessed?

Many of these questions are answered in the introductory table at the beginning of this article.

Anything else should be researched via your own criteria and the contact you make with course providers.

What Is A Microbiology Lab?

The microbiology lab is the practical component of a course. A reputable and accredited course should have a lab component that has you making hypotheses and designing experiments based on scientific concepts.

Virtual labs typically introduce you to microscopes and other important instruments. Depending on the institution, they’ll typically have you observing microbial staining and cultures too.

What Study Tips Can I Use For Microbiology?

Microbiology is best studied via active recall techniques such as flashcards and a ton of practice questions.

I’ve put together a comprehensive guide on the best way to study microbiology here.


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