Microbiology and Immunology Graduate Program Requirements

The following requirements must be met in order to complete the Microbiology and Immunology graduate program:


Students in the program are required to take the three elective courses offered by the department:

  • Bacteriology
  • Immunology
  • Virology

If these were not completed in the first year they can be taken in year two following entry into the program.

In years two and three, students also participate in Advanced Topics, a literature-based, discussion-oriented course in which students present and critique current research articles. As a part of this course, students receive training in grant-writing and review.

Candidacy Examination

Students who have taken two semesters of Advanced Topics and have no less than a 3.0 GPA are eligible to take the PhD Candidacy Examination. The student's Thesis Advisory Committee will serve as the Candidacy Committee.

Each student will prepare a research grant proposal on his/her proposed thesis work using the current NIH grant proposal format. The proposal is written in consultation with the advisor or any other resource person. The student will submit the proposal to the Candidacy Committee at least two weeks prior to the examination date.

The examination will be scheduled to occur prior to August 15th of the second year.

Thesis defense

The Thesis Committee will consist of the members of the Advisory Committee. The Chairperson of the committee shall be from another department.

The thesis defense will consist of a formal seminar on the thesis research presented by the student to the committee and other members of the University community. This is followed by a question period with the committee. The committee will provide an evaluation of the thesis defense according to the guidelines of the Graduate School.

Seminar series

Students attend the weekly departmental seminar series. Research conferences on immunology, bacteriology, and virology are presented by invited faculty from other institutions.

In addition, students in the third year and beyond present research progress seminars in this venue.

Teaching requirement

As part of the training as teachers, each student will present a lecture to graduate students during their fourth year of training. The student may request to lecture in the core Bacteriology, Virology, or Immunology courses, or to direct a session of the Advanced Topics course.

The student will work with their advisor and the course director on the development of the lecture.