Search | Directories | Reference Tools
UW Home > Discover UW > Student Guide > Course Catalog 

Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Denise G Anderson
Seattle Campus

General Microbiology

Acquaints students with microorganisms and their activities. Topics include microbial cell structure and function, metabolism, microbial genetics, and the role of microorganisms in disease, immunity, and other selected applied areas. Prerequisite: either CHEM 120, CHEM 140, CHEM 142, or CHEM 145; recommended: biology; organic chemistry. Offered: ASpS.

Class description

Micro 301 is a one quarter survey course that covers a wide variety of topics dealing with the biology of microorganisms (specifically bacteria and protozoan parasites) and viruses. In the first half of the course topics include prokaryotic cell structure and function, metabolism, genetics, and biotechnology. The second half focuses on the medical aspects of microbiology including factors that contribute to the ability of microorganisms/viruses to cause disease (pathogenesis), how diseases are transmitted and can be controlled (epidemiology), the mechanisms the human body has to defend itself against pathogens (immunology), and the use and specificity of antimicrobial drugs. The overall goal is for students to have a better understanding and appreciation of the importance of the microbial world to life on this planet and to our well-being. Previous students have commented that the course should be a requirement for every University student because the information learned is so relevant to everyday life.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

A large lecture format is used, along with independent study. A required course pack contains detailed lecture outlines, textbook reading assignments, and review questions. Select information in the required text is assigned as "independent study", meaning that it will not be covered during lecture; outlines, along with questions about this information, is included in the course pack. All students need to come to each class prepared to answer the independent study and review questions. Individual students will be called on at the beginning of the class period to answer some of those questions.

Course information can be obtained by visiting Denise's course website (

Recommended preparation

General chemistry is the only prerequisite for the course. Although this course was designed for the non-science major, the course is highly competitive because of the number of science majors who want a one quarter survey course in microbiology. Microbiology is a biological science, so it is not surprising that students who have a basic understanding of biology find the course material easier to comprehend. Strong listening and note-taking skills and study habits, a curiosity about the world, and the initiative to seek assistance are keys to success in this course.

Class assignments and grading

To be successful in this course, students must learn the information well enough to be comfortable explaining it concisely and accurately to someone else. There will be two midterm exams, as well as a comprehensive final exam.

Grades are based on two midterms, a comprehensive final, and various minor assignments. Final grades are calculated by first determining the average score of the top 5% of undergraduate students in the course. This score represents the 100% mark by which grades will be determined. Because the course is not graded on a curve, it is possible for everyone to get a 4.0, but historically the average grade has been approximately a 2.8.

The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
course Web page
Last Update by Denise G Anderson
Date: 03/09/2010