Degree Requirements

Master of Arts

The microbiology graduate program does not accept applications for the master’s degree. However, a student accepted into and in good standing with the doctoral program may, at the discretion of the graduate adviser, be permitted to pursue a master’s degree in lieu of the PhD. The student must complete 36 semester hours of coursework, including Biology 395G, 395H, 395J, 395M, and 698, and three hours in related fields outside the microbiology program. The student must earn a grade of at least in Biology 395G, 395H, 395J, and 395M. No more than nine semester hours of upper-division coursework may be counted toward the degree, and no more than six of these nine may be in any one field of study. In addition to the above requirements, a master’s degree student must pursue original research under the direction of a faculty member and submit an approved thesis.

Doctor of Philosophy

To be admitted to candidacy for the doctoral degree, the student must complete their preliminary examination during the spring semester of their second year. This examination consists of a presentation and defense of (1) a mock National Institutes of Health grant proposal on the topic of their PhD thesis research and (2) a proposed Specific Aims page in NIH format on a topic selected by their committee. Students will be admitted to candidacy after the successful passing of this preliminary examination. The candidate will then be required to convene their first meeting with their dissertation committee by the end of the semester following the successful passing of their preliminary examination. Individual programs of study are tailored to the student’s interests, but each student must earn a grade of at least in the following coursework: Biology 395G, 395H, 395J, and 395M, and at least three additional hours in graduate lecture courses approved by the graduate adviser. The student must also pursue independent, original research under the direction of a faculty member; the results of this research constitute the dissertation, which fulfills the requirements of the required course Biology 399W. Each student must serve as a teaching assistant for one long-session semester; two six-week summer terms are considered equivalent to a semester. A well-qualified student can usually complete the doctoral degree program in five to seven years.