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Microbial Biology Ph.D. First Year Requirements

Registration: All first year Ph.D. students take the same courses. Please wait until August before you register otherwise Rutgers will send you tuition bills all summer. Fellowship students must also fill out paperwork to obtain tuition remission (below). Please register for the courses listed below using the Rutgers Web Registration site.

Year 1: Fall Semester (9 credits)
16:682:501 Microbial Life (3)
16:682:502 Microbial Biochemistry (3)
16:682:521 Seminar in Microbiology (1)
16:682:530 Scientific Conduct/Ethics (1)
16:682:611 Laboratory Rotation (1)

Year 1: Spring Semester (9 credits)
16:682:503 Microbial Physiology (3)
16:682:504 Microbial Genetics (3)
16:682:522 Seminar in Microbiology (1)
16:682:612 Laboratory Rotation (1)
16:682:613 Laboratory Rotation (1)

Fellowships, TAs, and GAs: Students on Fellowships, Teaching Assistantships, or Graduate Assistantships should also register for one of the following courses both semesters:
16:682:811 Graduate Fellowship (0 credits)
16:682:866 Graduate Assistantship (6 E credits)
16:682:877 Teaching Assistantship (6 E credits)
Very Important: You must sign up for the 682 (Microbial Biology) GA/TA/Fellowship course.

Do not register for any courses beyond the first year core curriculum.

Laboratory Rotations: Students should contact three different Microbial Biology faculty members and arrange research rotations. A list of Microbial Biology faculty and their research interests is in the Faculty Research section. It is recommended that you arrange your first rotation as soon as possible. If you need help in choosing rotation advisors please discuss your research interests with Dr. Zylstra and he will suggest some professors. While not recommended, you may rotate with the same professor two or three times. Please fill out the Rotation Form prior to the start of each rotation and return a signed electronic copy to Ms. Vasy ( Immediately following each lab rotation a written report should be emailed to Dr. Zylstra ( The one page (single spaced) written report should include the background, specific aims, results, and discussion of the research performed.

Tuition Remission: Ph.D. students on fellowships are entitled to full tuition remission and fee coverage. Ms. Michelle Mac Pherson will contact you about filing the Tuition Remission and fee coverage form (RT-100 form).

Comprehensive Exam: The Comprehensive Exam is given at the end of the first year, usually on the first Friday in June. Part 1 (4 hours) will be eight questions dealing with material covered by the four core courses. Part 2 (4 hours) will be eight questions dealing with primary journal articles passed out two weeks in advance. Ph.D. students must have a minimum 3.0 GPA in the four core courses to take the Comprehensive Exam. No more than one C or C+ is allowed in the four core courses.

Choice of Thesis Advisor: After the three lab rotations the thesis research advisor should be chosen. If necessary a fourth or fifth rotation can be arranged. Please fill out the Ph.D. advisor selection form, have the supervising professor sign it, and return the form to Ms. Vasy by April 1 (this form can be filled out electronically and emailed to Ms. Vasy). If you do not have a multi-year fellowship then your thesis advisor is responsible for your stipend and tuition starting the second year. It is crucial to choose an advisor as soon as possible so that the advisor has time to arrange funding. Formal coursework for the second and subsequent years should be chosen in consultation with your thesis advisor and Dr. Zylstra. Remember that a minimum of 30 course credits and a minimum of 30 research credits are needed for the Ph.D. (and a minimum of 72 credits overall).