Microbiology Graduate Program

The microbiology graduate program provides you with a postgraduate education in the basic science disciplines, including microbiology, immunology, and food safety, while embracing an integrative approach to science. You will develop a broad academic foundation with a concentration in at least one science discipline. School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences faculty members constitute the core microbiology faculty, however, there are faculty members in other University of Arizona departments who have academic credentials and interests appropriate to the microbiology graduate program who also participate as microbiology faculty.

Admission to the program is linked to a commitment by a microbiology faculty member to mentor you and assure adequate support for you to successfully complete your degree. Therefore microbiology students have the advantage of a designated graduate advisor from the outset. Limited numbers of graduate assistantships are available through the School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences, and the Soil Water and Environmental Sciences, and Plant Sciences departments to supplement support for microbiology students.

Graduate Degrees Offered

The microbiology graduate program offers both Master of Science (three options) and doctoral degrees. The program provides maximum flexibility in planning programs of study for M.S. and Ph.D. candidates, and no uniform core of coursework is required. Your individual plan of study is developed and approved by your graduate advisory committee (GAC) in accordance with your research interests and career goals. You can expect to become accomplished in verbal and written communication through participation in departmental courses and seminars, and through presentations at local, national, and international meetings. You also are required to gain teaching experience by becoming a teaching assistant or through involvement in other teaching activities.

Traditional M.S.

The traditional M.S. option requires a minimal number of formal graduate courses, complemented by completion of a major research project and preparation of a formal thesis. Students wishing to pursue a Ph.D. degree later (with committee approval) do not have to complete this M.S. degree option.

Accelerated M.S.

Exceptional University of Arizona undergraduate students may apply for admission to the accelerated M.S. program during their third year at the university. You must meet certain academic standards as well as have adequate experience in the research laboratory of a microbiology faculty member who chooses to sponsor you. The accelerated M.S. degree option also requires the completion of a formal thesis project.

The major advantage of the accelerated M.S. option is that you can receive dual credit toward both your bachelor's and master's. degrees for selected courses completed during your fourth year of undergraduate studies. Students admitted into the accelerated M.S. program can reasonably expect to complete their M.S. degree in just one year after receiving their B.S. degree.

Non-Thesis Applied M.S.

The non-thesis applied M.S. degree requires increased formal course credits with no major thesis research project, but you must complete a substantial scholarly paper based on a limited research project and extensive literature review. This degree option is considered a terminal degree program.

Ph.D. Degree

The Ph.D. degree requires a minimal number of formal graduate courses, the passing of traditional comprehensive written and oral exams, and the completion of a formal research project and dissertation defense. Our Ph.D. program does not require the prior completion of a master’s degree.

Microbiology Graduate Minor

A minor in microbiology will consist of nine hours of graded coursework with one member of the graduate student’s committee being part of the MGP. Dissertation work in absentia must be recommended by the MGPC and approved by petition to the Graduate College.

The Fall 2023 application is now closed.

Microbiology Graduate Program Core Faculty

Microbiology Graduate Program Joint Faculty

Microbiology Graduate Program Handbook

Graduate Student Directory