Jun 15-Aug 07, 2020
Credit: 3 graduate
Tuition & Fees: $835.50
Instructor(s): James Burritt and Nancy Burritt

Course Description

Registration begins on March 23rd - register for CRN 10802.
Appreciating the complexity of the biosphere involves consideration of its microbial constituents. Environmental impacts and global climate change often show early evidence in its smallest inhabitants.

This course is designed for science educators, but will provide all interested participants with the fundamentals of environmental and applied microbiology. Information presented will enable individuals to expand their knowledge in these topics and challenge them to utilize microbes as indicators of environmental change.

This experience will be provided through:
  • discussions;
  • readings;
  • web resources;
  • quizzes;
  • assignments;
  • and in designing and implementing an ongoing hands-on research experiment.
Participants will gain an appreciation of how microorganisms are involved in supporting the biosphere. They will also learn how knowledge of environmental microbiology can be applied in biotechnology and complex issues, such as microbial diversity in natural environments, pathogenesis, bioremediation, biological control, water purification and wastewater treatment. This course complements others such as general microbiology, infectious diseases, microbial genetics, and studies on biofilms.

Participants will have proxy access to the Montana State University library online. A time commitment of 13-16 hours per week is typical, but those who are less familiar with the course material or online course delivery may need to put in extra time, especially early in the semester.

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 13 - 16 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 fast paced 3 credit graduate course.


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

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


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, MB542 Microbial Ecology, or 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 environmental microbiology.

Time Commitment:

13-16 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

Required Books/Materials

  • Prescott's Microbiology, 10th Edition.
    Joanne Willey, HOFSTRA UNIVERSITY;
    McGraw-Hill Higher Education; Hardcopy, 1084 pages (2017)
    ISBN10: 1259281590 | ISBN13: 9781259281594
    Approximately $280 new in hardcopy
    Prescott's Microbiology.

    eBook six month access is approximately $90.
    ISBN10: 1259669939 | ISBN13: 9781259669934

    Approximately $210 new in loose leaf format
    ISBN10: 1259670953 | ISBN13: 9781259670954

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

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

Call the Office of Continuing Education at (406) 994-6683 or toll free (866) 540-5660.