Graduate M.S. Program2019-01-17T22:41:45+00:00

M.S. in Microbiology

With the growth of the biotechnology industry, and the increase in technology and specialization in applied microbiological sciences, there is a significant regional and national need for highly trained microbiologists. The Master of Science degree in Microbiology provides an excellent opportunity to meet these needs. The M.S. in Microbiology gives students the opportunity to carry out research in the laboratories of world-renowned microbiologists and opportunities to interface with industrial and governmental partners through internships.

Application deadline for admission for Fall 2019: June 1, 2019.


We offer two Master of Science degrees in Microbiology that are tailored to the student’s individual career goals.

The first is a one-year non-thesis M.S. degree that entails formal coursework, with no research requirement. This one-year professional degree is designed to prepare students for careers in biomedical sciences in universities, industry, and government, and to provide an in-depth educational experience to improve the probability of admission into a postgraduate professional school, such as medical, dental, or veterinary schools.

The second is a thesis M.S. degree that requires significant laboratory research, and a written thesis. The research option helps students develop scientific research skills for improved preparation for entry into PhD programs, or for direct employment in research laboratories in academia, government, and industry.

Summer internship opportunities are available for either degree to help students explore career options, and to support job placement.


Applicants should have completed an undergraduate degree in one of the life sciences, with at least 3 semesters of Biology, including Microbiology, 4 semesters of Chemistry, including Organic Chemistry, 1 semester of Biochemistry, 2 semesters of Physics, and one advanced Mathematics course beyond algebra and trigonometry. Applications from students lacking any of the general requirements will be considered, but any deficiencies must be resolved before completion of the program. Qualified students are admitted to the Microbiology M.S. program under the non-thesis option.

A student desiring a thesis M.S. must identify a faculty member, or industrial/government partner, who agrees to serve as the student’s research advisor.

To apply, follow the instructions on our How to Apply Page.


Microbiology Master’s students are required to find their own funding source for the duration of their studies. More information on funding options can be found on the Financial Aid page.


One Year Non-Thesis Masters: Requires 36 credit hours of course work. Six hours of internship can substitute for 6 hours of course work in the summer. The final exam is a library research paper.

Thesis Masters: Requires 32 credit hours, including at least 12 h of research (or 6 h of research and 6 h of internship) and 20 hours of coursework.  It is possible to complete the degree in one year, but most likely will take 2 years.

Fall Semester Courses Credit Hours
STAT 651 Statistics in Research I  3 credit hours
BIOL 622 Microbial Physiology or BIOL 609 Molecular Tools  3 credit hours
VTMI 643 Pathogenic Bacteriology I  3 credit hours
BIOL 681 Seminars in Microbial Genetics  1 credit hour
Elective (non thesis) or Research (thesis)  3 credit hours
Total Semester Hours
 13 credit hours
Spring Semester Courses Credit Hours
BIOL 606 Microbial Genetics or BIOL 651 Bioinformatics 3 credit hours
VTMI 649 Immunology 3 credit hours
PHEB 600 Fundamentals of Epidemiology 3 credit hours
BIOL 681 Ethics and Responsible Research 1 credit hour
BIOL 661 Antimicrobial Agents 1 credit hour
Elective (non thesis) or Research (thesis) 3 credit hours
Total Semester Hours
14 credit hours
Summer Semester Courses Credit Hours
BIOL 689 Diagnostic Microbiology Laboratory 3 credit hours
BIOL 689 Research (thesis) OR 6 credit hours
BIOL 684 Internship (4 cr max for non-thesis degree) OR 6 credit hours
Electives up to 6 credit hours
Total Semester Hours
9 credit hours
Elective Course Offerings Credit Hours
Fall Semester
BIOL 651 Bioinformatics 3 credit hours
BIOL 609 Molecular Tools 3 credit hours
BIOL 650 Genomics 3 credit hours
BIOL 613 Cell Biology 3 credit hours
VTMI 647 Virology 3 credit hours
FSTC 619 Molecular Methods For Microbial Detection 3 credit hours
SCSC 637 Environmental Microbiology 3 credit hours
Spring Semester
BIOL 651 Bioinformatics 3 credit hours
BIOL 608 Light Microscopy 3 credit hours
BIOL 683 Experimental Design in Biology 3 credit hours
BIOL 437 Molecular & Human Medical Mycology 3 credit hours
BIOL 487 Biomedical Parasitology 4 credit hours
Fall or Spring Semester
BIOL 651 Bioinformatics 3 credit hours
BIOL 689 Thesis Research Variable
BIOL 681 Departmental Colloquium 1 credit hour
Summer Semester
BIOL 689 Digital Biology 4 credit hours
BIOL 684 Professional Internship Variable
BIOL 685 Directed Studies Variable