Undergraduate Overview

The Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics (MIMG) major at UCLA will provide you with the skills needed to tackle an array of societal problems, from human disease to global warming. The microorganisms that form the core of this curriculum, bacteria, eukaryotic parasites, and viruses, are agents of disease, but they also are critical to our health, food system, biotechnology (e.g. biofuels), and the environment.  Our immune system controls health and disease, by detection and destruction of microorganisms and cancer cells, and is also a core of the curriculum.  To this, our research and curriculum seeks a detailed molecular genetic understanding of both microorganisms and the immune system to address the most pressing questions in the field. 

In addition to key core courses, the MIMG major emphasizes learning through an authentic research experience.  All our students carry out primary research, either by working in a faculty member’s laboratory, or through collaborative research projects in laboratory courses.  Through this research experience, we will help you develop skills needed in your future careers, including the ability to present your research in both written and oral forms.

Students will have the ability to do one or more of the following:

Prepare an application to one or more of the following:

  • Professional schools (Medical, Dental, Pharmacy, etc.)
  • M.S. and Ph.D. programs in the Biological Sciences

Acquire sufficient lab skills to be employed by:

  • Biotechnology/Pharmaceutical/Agricultural companies
  • Academic Research Laboratories

Have sufficient knowledge of the MIMG disciplines, combined with additional training, to become a:

Students will additionally have the ability to:

Understand how Microbiology, Immunology, & Molecular Genetics impacts the world:

  • Critically assess science related to MIMG topics in news articles.
  • Explain the role of MIMG topics in medicine, ethics, research, the environment, and agriculture.

Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of key concepts in MIMG through coursework

Effectively communicate on topics in MIMG both orally and in written format.

Discuss current research articles in the topics of MIMG

  • Execute database searches for appropriate scientific literature.
  • Use as evidence to substantiate conclusions.

Address scientific questions or solve problems in the MIMG field by:

  • Developing hypotheses.
  • Designing and performing experiments.
  • Analyzing data and interpreting results.

Counseling is available to Microbiology majors and anyone else interested in finding out more about the Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics major.

For in-person or virtual appointments, please contact our Student Services Advisor, Jenesis Fonseca.

Please note that your schedule doesn’t have to exactly match the sample schedules for the Biology Curriculum Options. These samples are merely suggestions to be used as guides with focus on a 4 year graduation timeline. Students arrive at UCLA with different credit for Chemistry, Math etc., and different placement in each Life Science Core curriculum sequence that might influence their schedule. If you are uncertain about what courses you should take, and when, set up an appointment with an academic advisor.  

The sample curriculum options do not take into account upper division major requirements, minor, or double major program requirements. They do also not reflect opportunities for students to complete other university requirements including General Education, Diversity and the 60 upper division graduation requirement.

Scheduling Options for Life Science Core Curriculum

Notes about course planning for the upper division major courses:

  • Path 1—Students are highly encouraged to take an lab requirement “AL” course in Winter or Spring of their 3rd year. You must take MIMG 101 before enrolling in a lab sequence.
  • Path 2—Students must apply no later than Winter quarter of their 3rd year.  Exceptions may be made for transfer students. View more information on Path 2 in the General Catalog. 

 MIMG General Catalog 

Laboratory Research Overview

The Competency-based Research Laboratory Curriculum (CRLC) is comprised of a series of courses that build upon the competencies described in the AAMC-HHMI (2009) and Vision and Change (2011) reports.  Upon completion of requisite introductory courses in the Life Sciences Core Program, MIMG students fulfill their major requirements by one of two research paths. Upon completion of either Path 1 or Path 2, students present their research at the MIMG Undergraduate Research Poster Symposium.

Path 1 is an authentic research experience in which students participate in all aspects of the scientific process, from sample collection through preparation of data for publication. Students choose to enroll in one of three laboratory courses referred to as Research Immersion Labs (course AL).  The process of discovery is demonstrated through a guided, inquiry-based experience organized around team research projects.  Activities span two consecutive quarters with each Research Immersion Lab followed by an Advanced Research Analysis course (BL).  The first course offers hands-on experience collecting data, analyzing preliminary results, and reading the scientific literature, while the second course emphasizes rigorous quantitative and computational analysis of data, oral presentation and discussion of research ideas, and written documentation of research accomplishments.

Learn more about Path 1

Path 2 is intended for students who are interested in fulfilling their degree requirements by conducting independent research in a faculty mentor’s laboratory.  Undergraduates engage in at least two-quarters of letter-graded research (196A and 196B) and concurrently participate in research seminars (180A and 180B) designed to help students acquire in-depth and broad knowledge about their research project.  Students achieve this goal by evaluating relevant scientific literature, as well as orally presenting and formally writing about their research progress.  Students who meet the eligibility requirements must submit their application and begin Path 2 coursework in their third year.  Students also should discuss the application process with faculty mentors, together designing a research project to be described in the proposal submitted with other Path 2 application materials.

Learn more about Path 2

 What unifies this interdepartmental configuration of research-based courses are the student learning outcomes described below.  Course activities and assignments are devised specifically to help students achieve these goals.  Students who complete the CRLC, irrespective of path, should be able to:

  • demonstrate knowledge of key disciplinary concepts and their relationship to biological systems
  • demonstrate knowledge of their research project
  • develop technical expertise and confidence through hands-on experience
  • develop problem-solving skills associated with conducting experiments
  • address scientific questions using quantitative, computational, and inquiry-related skills
  • improve presentation skills (oral communication needed for seminar and poster presentations)
  • improve scientific writing abilities (written communication needed for research papers)
  • effectively work in both individual and collaborative contexts
  • value research and its relevance to their own life and society
  • understand the process of scientific research
MIMG Lab Research Overview Pathways