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Microbiology & Molecular Genetics - Ph.D.

Since the Ph.D. degree is primarily a research degree, our doctoral program is designed to foster and nurture creative and independent research. Ph.D. students generally perform rotating research projects (about 10 weeks each) in three laboratories during their first academic year. The choice of a major professor is made by mutual agreement at the end of spring semester of the first year. Required courses in the Ph.D. program are chosen by the student and his or her thesis committee to meet individual needs.  Generally four lecture courses (usually three credits each) are required along with three seminar courses (usually one or two credits each), a teaching methods class (one credit), and a research ethics workshop or class.  Details of the Ph.D. program including course requirements and descriptions can be found in the department's Graduate Manual and by accessing and choosing the Graduate Studies link. Questions can be emailed to

The comprehensive examination for candidacy to the Ph.D. consists of the written preparation and oral defense of a research proposal on the student’s doctoral research. The comprehensive examinations are generally completed by the end of the second year. In addition, 24 credits of research and one year of residence are required for the Ph.D. degree. Typically, the full Ph.D. program requires about five years to complete (assuming entry with a B.S. and no previous graduate experience).

The Plan A thesis-based M.S. is available in special cases, but students are rarely accepted directly into this program. Thirty credits, including ten research credits, are required, along with completion and defense of a research thesis. Generally, the program requires two to three years, or more, to complete.