During the Fall of the first year, each student takes a common Core Program. The Fall Core includes M500 Research Rotations, B501 Integrated Biochemistry, L585 Genetics and Bioinformatics, and L523 Critical Analysis of Scientific Literature. In the Spring of the first year, students continue Research Rotations. In addition, graduate courses are available in virology, physiology, and biochemistry. Other courses offered within the Department of Biology and Chemistry may be taken to satisfy individual student’s interests. In each case, an individual’s curriculum is arranged by the student in consultation with the Microbiology Graduate Advisor.
Through M500 each student participates in research projects in at least 3 different laboratories prior to selecting a permanent research advisor and laboratory at the end of the first year. At the end of the first year, each student selects a research advisor and laboratory. Together with his/her advisor, the student also selects the other members of an advisory committee of 3-4 faculty appropriate to the student's intended degree. This advisory committee guides and monitors the student's research and course work.
The Microbiology program requires a total of 90 credit hours, including the Core Program, and at least 4.5 credit hours of Advanced Course work. The Advanced Course offerings change from year to year, to provide breadth in topics covered. Most Advanced Courses are half-semester 1.5-credit hour courses in areas requested by students. Each student must also take Grant Writing (Z620) during year 2, and Research Ethics and Career Development (Z620) during year 3. Each student must teach during at least 2 semesters.
Grades: Every student must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.2 in order to remain in good standing and retain a merit-based fellowship or award. Courses to be counted toward the Ph.D. degree must be passed with a grade of B- (2.7) or better.
Students take a Preliminary Examination at the end of the fourth semester. Students who pass this examination are admitted to formal candidacy for the Ph.D. The final requirement of each program is a Ph.D. thesis, which must be defended in a public research seminar and in a meeting of the research advisory committee.
Throughout their graduate career, students participate in the Microbiology Seminar Program, a weekly seminar series in which students analyze, present and discuss recent data from the literature.