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Graduate Course Catalog 2016-2017

Graduate School


Microbiology (MICR)


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This program is offered in Durham.

Please view as well, the course listings for molecular, cellular, and biological sciences (MCBS).

Degrees Offered: M.S., Ph.D.

The Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Biomedical Science (MCBS) offers the master of science and the doctor of philosophy degrees in microbiology. Research opportunities are available in a broad range of areas, including plant-microbe interactions, signal transduction, microbial development, host-microbe interactions, environmental microbiology, environmental and molecular virology, microbial ecology, microbial evolution, microbial genetics and genomics, molecular microbiology, and biotechnology.

Admission Requirements

Applicants are expected to have had adequate preparation in the biological and physical sciences. This typically includes general and organic chemistry, physics, one semester of calculus, a year of general biology, a semester or more of biochemistry, and general microbiology. Formal courses in quantitative analysis and statistics are recommended. Applicants with deficiencies in these background courses who are admitted to the program may be required to complete appropriate coursework without graduate credit. Applicants must submit current scores (within five years) from the general test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Each applicant to the graduate program must be sponsored by a faculty member in the program. The sponsor's decision is usually based on the Statement of Interest section of the student's application to the Graduate School. Laboratory rotations are available to identify a faculty sponsor, but a mutual decision must be made before the start of the next semester. Persons planning to apply to the program should contact the microbiology graduate program coordinator to obtain information on the department.

Degree Requirements


M.S. Degree Requirements

Students admitted to the M.S. program are required to conduct an independent research project in conjunction with a faculty adviser and must submit a thesis based on this research to a graduate committee, which determines its acceptability. Specific coursework is determined in conjunction with the graduate committee. A minimum of 30 credits, including 6-10 MICR 899 thesis credits, is required. All M.S. students are required to attend all seminars and present one seminar each year. A master's thesis and a formal defense are also required.  In addition, the student must submit at least one manuscript for publication to a peer-reviewed journal.

Ph.D. Degree Requirements

Students with appropriate academic training at the baccalaureate or master's level may be considered for admission to the doctoral program. Advancement to candidacy requires the successful completion of the following:

1. All courses required by the graduate committee 
2. A written qualifying exam administered by the graduate program coordinator and graduate faculty
3. An independent research proposal developed in conjunction with a faculty adviser
4. An oral defense of the research proposal

Students enrolled in the doctoral program are required to complete one semester of teaching and successfully complete and defend a dissertation based on their research proposal. The acceptance of the dissertation is contingent on its approval by the doctoral committee and evidence that at least two manuscripts based on the thesis research have been submitted to a peer-reviewed journal appropriate to the topic.

All graduates are expected to enroll in MCBS 997, Seminar, each semester and present one seminar each year.


For a complete listing of courses, check microbiology and molecular, cellular, and biological sciences.

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