Jan 25-Apr 16, 2021
Credit: 3 graduate
Instructor(s): Nancy Burritt and James Burritt

Course Description

Registration begins on October 26th - please register for CRN 33253.
Exploring Microbiology delves into the complex world of microorganisms by introducing students to the prokaryotes, viruses, fungi, and the human microbiome. This information will allow participants to expand their understanding and appreciation of microbiology through readings, web searches, active participation in discussions, and a research project on microorganisms. Students will also learn that microbiology can be applied in daily life, biotechnology, and in studying complex issues such as healthcare and our dependence on microbes. The course also provides a foundation in microbiology for those who intend to take future courses such as microbial ecology, environmental microbiology, infectious diseases, immunology, and microbial genetics.

The following topics will be covered: evolution of microorganisms, cell structure and function, viruses and other acellular agents, microbial growth, antimicrobial compounds, and fungi.

Each student will also set up an experiment that will run for the entire semester. This activity will involve designing and utilizing a medium to isolate a select group of microbes, a literature search, a proposal, weekly observations, and a final PowerPoint presentation on the completed experiment.

This course requires participation in weekly discussions, online quizzes, and research. Participants will have proxy online access to the Montana State University library.

Meeting Place and Times

Teachers log into the course at a time of day that best fits their schedule. It is necessary to connect at least 4 - 6 times per week spending 10 - 13 hours each week while the course is in session, either online or in the textbook working on course-related assignments.


Nancy Burritt. has a BS in Biology, a BA in Education, and a MA in Science Education.

James Burritt. has a PhD. In Microbiology, and is a Professor of Biology at the University of Wisconsin-Stout.


This course is designed for those with an interest in expanding their knowledge of the amazing life science of microbiology. To maximize comprehension of the material, it is expected that participants have taken a college level biology course or equivalent.

Time Commitment:

10-13 hours per week. If you are unfamiliar with this field of study and/or method of delivery, you may require more time.

Tuition and Fees

If you are accepted into a qualified online program, see the appropriate MSU Online Only Tuition and Fee table below:

  • Go to the Student Accounts page.
  • On the left navigation bar, click "Tuition & Fee Charts--Current & Historical."
  • Then click "Online Programs Only."
  • Click the link appropriate to your semester and status as a student.

If you are also taking a face-to-face course, please refer to the MSU Fee Schedules.

Participants are responsible for purchasing the required text for the course on their own before the course begins.

Required Books/Materials

  • Prescott's Microbiology, 10th Edition.
    Joanne Willey, HOFSTRA UNIVERSITY;
    McGraw-Hill Higher Education; Hardcopy, 1084 pages (2017)
    ISBN-13: 978-1259281594
    Approximately $210 new in loose leaf format

    Participants are responsible for purchasing the required text for the course on their own before the course begins.

You can order the text online from McGraw Hill or from another bookstore of your choosing.

Computer Requirements:

  • Internet access
  • A device and browser that pass the system check for Brightspace LE, MSU's learning management system.

This course uses a learning management system. You will learn more closer to the course start date.

For More Information

Regarding registration, please contact NTEN/MSSE by email at

For questions regarding course content, please contact Nancy Burritt at

How to Register

You must be accepted as a student to Montana State University to take this course.

Learn how to apply.

After your application has been accepted, you will register via MSU's online registration system, MyInfo.

Registration requires a PIN number. Learn how to find your PIN.

Once you have your PIN, learn how to register through MyInfo.