Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree

The Microbial Biology graduate program consists of core requirements that establish a sound basis in microbiology. Starting with this strong foundation students will conduct original research with one of the many faculty participating in the program.

The Ph.D. degree requires 72 credits with a minimum of 30 course credits and a minimum of 30 research credits. A written Comprehensive Exam covering the core courses (16:682:501, 502, 503, and 504) must be passed at the end of the first year. An oral Qualifying Exam based on a written thesis research proposal must be passed by the end of the second year. Students will receive their Ph.D. degree after a successful public defense of their thesis (dissertation).


Required First Year Courses (21 credits):

  1. 16:682:501 (F) Microbial Life (3)
  2. 16:682:502 (F) Microbial Biochemistry (3)
  3. 16:682:530 (F) Scientific Conduct and Ethics (1)
  4. 16:682:521 (F) Seminar in Microbiology (1)
  5. 16:682:503 (S) Microbial Physiology (3)
  6. 16:682:504 (S) Microbial Genetics and Molecular Biology (3)
  7. 16:682:522 (S) Seminar in Microbiology (1)
  8. 16:682:611, 612, 613 (F/S) Laboratory Rotation in Microbial Biology (2 cr each)

Required Second, Third, and Fourth Year Courses (3 credits):

  1. 16:682:522 (S) Seminar in Microbiology (1 x 3 years)
    Note: 16:682:522 should be taken every year for the first four years

Elective Courses (minimum of 6 credits):

Any graduate level Life Science course may be taken as an elective. Non-Life Science graduate courses and upper level undergraduate courses taken as an elective require written permission of the Program Director. A partial list of elective courses can be found under the "Course Descriptions" link. Elective courses are typically chosen in consultation with the thesis advisor and are governed by the interests and needs of the student.


Research Courses (minimum of 30 credits):

Ph.D. students should sign up for 16:682:701/702 Research in Microbial Biology with their thesis advisor starting their second year in the program.


Learning Goals:

  1. Ph.D. Learning Goals