Montana State University

MB 542-801: Microbial Ecology

The Office of Continuing Education at Extended University offers both face-to-face and online learning opportunities:

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Sep 12-Dec 02, 2016
Credit: 3 graduate
Instructor(s): Nancy Burritt and James Burritt

Course Description

The objective of this course is to introduce educators and others to the complex world of Microbial Ecology. We will achieve this by exploring a wide range of topics within this subject area including the ecology of microorganisms in relation to nutrition, growth, metabolism, biogeochemical cycling, natural environments, and microbial interactions. This class relies on readings, literature and internet searches, active participation in discussions, online quizzes, a semester-long experiment, sharing approaches and materials, and culminates in a final presentation. Participants will have proxy online access to the Montana State University library.
You will be encouraged to dive in and investigate the various topics and make them relevant within your life, own classroom or work situation. We believe that you will develop an enduring interest into this fascinating realm of science.

Meeting Place and Times

Participants 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.


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 middle school and high school science teachers, or anyone with an interest in expanding their knowledge of the microbial world. MB536 Exploring Microbiology, MB540 Environmental Microbiology, a college level general microbiology course or equivalent would complement this class, but is not required.

Target Audience

Science educators or anyone with an interest in learning about microbial ecology.

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

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

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

Course participants will also need to purchase the required text listed below on their own.

Required Books/Materials

  • Prescott's Microbiology, 9th Edition.
    Joanne Willey, HOFSTRA UNIVERSITY;
    McGraw-Hill Higher Education; Hardcopy, 1152 pages (2014)
    ISBN-13: 978-0073402406
    Approximately $200 new
    Prescott's Microbiology.

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 Kelly Boyce by phone at (800)282-6062 or (406)994-6812, or 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.

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