FRONTIER AREA: Microbiologists have a key role to play in many fields.

FRONTIER AREA: Microbiologists have a key role to play in many fields.  

Career in microbiology I would like to know the colleges offering postgraduate courses in microbiology in South India, especially in Kerala and related career prospects. ReshmiMicrobiology is a frontier area of study and research assumes importance owing to its contribution to the pharmaceutical and medical fields. Microbiologists are associated with the evolution of a range of products from antibiotics to insulin. Largescale job openings are in research and development in the medical, pharmaceutical, agricultural fields.

Sub divisions

Microbiology can be divided into different categories such as medical microbiology, industrial microbiology, marine microbiology, applied microbiology, agricultural microbiology, etc.Medical microbiology deals with the study of micro-organisms and their role in causing diseases in humans and animals. Medical microbiologists involved in finding out solutions to cure and prevent diseases. Agricultural microbiologists study plant diseases, the role of micro-organisms in soil fertility and spoilage of farm products. They also contribute to improving agricultural output through research and inventions. Industrial microbiologists employ their professional skills in producing products such as alcoholic beverages, amino acids etc. with the help of micro-organisms. Marine microbiology deals with micro-organisms present in the ocean and it is the new division of microbiology.

Higher studies

To become a microbiologist/scientific assistant or scientist, one should aim for a postgraduate degree or enrol oneself in doctoral degree programmes. Few universities offer microbiology at the post graduate level and those who successfully complete the M.Sc. programme can take up M.Phil. or Ph.D. programmes. Doctoral degree is a must for a good career.At the M.Sc. level, the subjects taught as a part of the microbiology foundation course are biochemistry, biophysics, immunology, genetics, human physiology, biostatistics and bioinformatics and the core courses cover general microbiology, microbial physiology, systematic bacteriology, virology, mycology, medical microbiology, molecular cell biology, molecular biology, industrial microbiology, food and agricultural microbiology and DNA technology. Meritorious graduates in biological science or zoology, botany, physics or chemistry can apply for the M.Sc. Microbiology course. Graduates in physics or chemistry should have studied botany or zoology as subsidiary subjects.

M.Sc. courses in Kerala

In Kerala, Mahatma Gandhi, Calicut and Kannur Universities offer microbiology at the postgraduate level.The School of Biosciences, Mahatma Gandhi University ( > ), conducts a two-year M.Sc. Microbiology course. B.Sc. degree holders in botany zoology, biochemistry, biophysics, microbiology, biotechnology, chemistry, physics with 55 per cent marks in Part III are eligible for admission. Selection is based on an entrance test.The School of Biomedical Education, under M.G. University, conducts a two-year medical microbiology course on self-financing basis. Those who have passed the four-year B.Sc. Medical Microbiology course with 50 per cent marks are eligible.The other colleges under Mahatma Gandhi University offering the M.Sc. Microbiology course are:MES College, Marampally North, Vazhakulam, Aluva - 683 107 ( > Ph: 0484 - 2677104).Mar Athanasius College Kothamangalam - 686 666 ( > Ph: 0484-2822378). Sree Sankara College, Kalady 683 574 (Ph 0484-2462341).Indira Gandhi College of Arts and Science, Nellikuzhi P.O, Kothamangalam - 686 691 (Ph 0485-2851384).Kesari Arts and Science College, North Paravur - 683 513 (Ph 0484 - 2440272).Mar Thoma College, Kuttapuzha P.O, Tiruvalla, Pathanamthitta - 689 103 (Ph 0469-2630342).St. Mary's College for Women, Paliakara, Thiruvalla - 689 101 (Ph 0469-2606560).St. Thomas College, Ranni, Pazhavangadi P.O - 689 673 (Ph 04735 - 226238) offers M.Sc. Applied Microbiology on self-financing basis. University of Kerala does not offer M.Sc. Microbiology either in its Departments or its affiliated colleges. The Department of Life Sciences, University of Calicut, University Campus at Thenhipalam, offers M.Sc. Microbiology. The Centre for Health Sciences of Calicut university, University Campus, also conducts M.Sc. Medical Microbiology.The other colleges under the University of Calicut that offer M.Sc. Microbiology are:Pazhassiraja College, Pulpally P.O, Waynad - 673 579. (M.Sc. Microbiology - self-financing). Farook College, Ferook, Kozhikode - 673 632.EMEA College of Arts & Science, Kondotty, Malappuram - 673 638. MES Ponnani College, PO Ponnani South - 670 586 (M.Sc. Aquaculture and Fisheries Microbiology), St. Mary's College Thrissur - 680 020 (M.Sc. Microbiology - self-financing)Under Kannur University:The School of Life Sciences, Department of Microbiology, Thalassery Campus, Palayad - 670 661 (Ph 0490-2346270), conducts M.Sc. Microbiology. Entry qualification is Bachelor's degree in any of the following subjects with not less than 50 per cent marks in aggregate (excluding languages) - biochemistry, chemistry, zoology, botany, life sciences, microbiology or any other subject with microbiology as one of the subjects of study at the degree level. Selection is based in an entrance test conducted by the department.The School of Health Sciences (Department of Medical Microbiology, Thalassery Campus) also conducts a three-year M.Sc. Medical Microbiology course. Entry qualification is a B.Sc. degree in any of the biological science subjects or chemistry securing not less than 60 per cent marks in aggregate, excluding languages. Selection is on the basis of merit. Website > Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Elamakkara, Kochi - 682 026 (Ph 0484-2802050, > conducts a three-year M.Sc. Medical Microbiology course. Those who have passed B.Sc. Microbiology/Biotechnology/Biochemistry/MLT with first class are eligible for admission.

Outside Kerala

The following universities outside Kerala provide microbiology-related courses:University of Madras, Chennai - 600 005 ( > ) - M.Sc. Industrial Microbiology, M.Sc. Microbiology and M.Sc. Molecular Biology (self-financing)Annamalai University, Annamalinagar, 608 002 - M.Sc. Marine Microbiology.Bharthidasan University, Tiruchirappalli - 620 024 ( > ) - M.Sc. Microbiology.Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, Tirunelveli - 627 012 - M.Sc. Microbiology (self-financing)The Gandhigram Rural Institute (Deemed University) ( > ) - M.Sc. Microbiology (self-financing)Madras Christian College (Autonomous) Tambaram, Chennai - 600 059, ( > ) - M.Sc. Applied Microbiology.Bangalore University, Jananabharathi Campus, Bangalore - 560 056 - M.Sc. Microbiology.Gulbarga University, Gulbarga - 585 106 - M.Sc. Microbiology.Mangalore University, Mangalagangotri - 574 199 - M.Sc. Microbiology.Applied microbiology is one among the subdivisions of microbiology. It covers a vast area of study, which consists of immunobiology, epidemiology, microbial metabolism, virology, pathogenic bacteriology, mycology, metabolism, industrial, agricultural and medical biology. Applied microbiology has several scientific applications in the research field.Those who have degree in life sciences can choose applied microbiology for higher studies, including research.

Job prospects

Qualified candidates in microbiology/allied subjects can find jobs in research and development wings of pharmaceutical/biotech industries, multi-speciality hospitals, food industries, chemical / cosmetic industries or research organisations. Postgraduates and doctoral degree holders are eligible to get research-based jobs such as scientific/research officers, microbiologists, analysts, etc.Those who obtain M.Phil./Ph.D. or qualify the UGC-CSIR/NET-Lectureship Examination can become lecturers in universities or affiliated colleges. GOPAKUMAR KARAKONAM

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