Jun 15-Jul 31, 2015
Credit: 3 graduate
Tuition & Fees: $915.50
Instructor(s): Elinor Pulcini

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Course Description

This course is designed to provide an understanding of the fundamentals of genetic processes in bacteria (prokaryotes). The study of bacterial genetics has provided much of the understanding of fundamental genetic processes for all organisms, especially through the use of in vivo and in vitro genetic tools. Prokaryotic genetics is somewhat simpler than eukaryotic genetics due to the organization of the cell, its genome and transfer of genetic information. However, the basic concepts such as transcription, translation, mutation and recombination are similar if not identical in all organisms. The short generation time of bacteria lends themselves to genetic studies. Bacterial genetics labs are becoming easier to use, are relatively inexpensive and provide an ideal platform for genetic studies in the secondary school setting. This course will provide science teachers with the information necessary to understand the fundamental processes of genetics particularly as they apply to microorganisms. Emphasis will be placed on the advances in microbial genetics and effects on technological and medical advances.

Major topics to be covered:

1.) Why study Prokaryotic genetics

2.) DNA and RNA
  • Bacterial chromosomes
  • Plasmids
  • Protection of DNA
3.) Mutations
  • DNA Repair
4.) Genetic recombination
  • Genetic transfer
  • Transformation
  • Conjugation
  • Bacteriophage
  • Transposable elements
5.) Gene Maps
  • Operons
  • Gene expression
6.) Current Research
  • Tools and protocols
  • World Wide Web Databases
7.) Issues
  • Genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
  • Technological advances
  • Controls and cautions

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 and spend 9 - 12 hours each week while the course is in session, either online or offline working on course related assignments, to stay current and successfully complete this 3 credit graduate course.


Elinor Pulcini, PhD. Department of Microbiology, Montana State University


A minimum of one year of science teaching and at least one college level course in either biology or microbiology.

Target Audience

The course is designed primarily for teachers with one year of teaching experience seeking graduate credit in Microbiology.

Time Commitment:

9-12 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

 Program Fee $105.50
 Computer Fee$10.50
 Distributed Learning Fee$0.00

A $30 registration fee is also charged once per semester.

The costs above assume that you are taking only MSU Extended University courses during the semester that the course is offered. If you also registered for courses through the MSU Registrar, the regular MSU fee structure may apply.

A $40 late fee will be assessed if payment is not posted to your account by 3 pm (Mountain Time) of the course start date (or the business day before if the course starts on a weekend or a holiday).

To learn more about tuition and fees, please see the University Business Services' Student Accounts Web page.

NSTA Members are eligible to receive a 10% discount. Enter your NSTA Membership Number when prompted to do so as you are filling out the registration form to receive your discount.

Required Books/Materials

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

contact Diana Paterson at or 406-994-5679.

How to Register

Register Online