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Program Overview

Master of Science (MS) Degree

Features of a Masters of Science Degree in Microbiology

  • Coursework completion in 1.5-2 years
  • Research-based MS degree available in both academic and applied science laboratories
  • May include teaching assistantships to build teaching credentials
  • Financial support opportunities

The MS degree offers a flexible program for the study of different aspects of modern microbiology.  The Graduate Program in Microbiology offers either a plan A (thesis research) or plan B (non-thesis) degree, depending on your interests and laboratory opportunities.  During the first year, students in both programs will complete a core series of coursework that includes options in Genetics, Bioinformatics, Molecular Microbiology, and Ecology and Evolution as well as scientific presentations.  Additional elective courses will allow you to specialize in a particular area of Microbiology.  Non-thesis MS degrees can be completed in 1-2 years depending on your background.  If you elect to include thesis research you can apply research credits towards your degree, typically completed in 2 years.  In some situations, students desiring to continue their research as a PhD candidate can apply to the PhD program in Microbiology and their MS coursework applied to meet the PhD course requirements.

Ph.D. Program

Features of a Ph.D. in Microbiology

  • 1st year lab rotations to find an appropriate lab and mentor for dissertation work
  • Foundational coursework in microbial physiology, genetics, and computational approaches
  • Training in effective scientific writing and communication
  • Funding for attendance at scientific meetings
  • Emphasis on Ph.D. students leading research projects
  • 94% post-graduation placement in competitive positions (postdoctoral positions, research scientists, etc.)
  • Financial support as a guaranteed monthly stipend

Our Ph.D. program in Microbiology offers an individualized approach to graduate study in one of the nation's largest teaching and research institutions. You will actively participate in planning your graduate program while working with colleagues from around the world while pursuing your Ph.D. D degree.

Upon entering our graduate program, you will do three seven-week rotations in laboratories of your choice. These rotations will expose you to a variety of researchers, their laboratories, and their specializations, enabling you to select an advisor who best suits your interests. Once you have selected your dissertation advisor, you will work with your advisor to design a curriculum that complements your research project.

You will select courses from a broad spectrum of microbiology including: microbial genetics and physiology, immunology, fermentation technology, pathogenic microbiology, and environmental microbiology. You can also enroll in a variety of courses offered by related departments such as biochemistry, molecular genetics, and chemistry.  Your course work will be supplemented by participation in informal laboratory group meetings, journal clubs, and our departmental seminar series that features prominent research scientists at academic and industrial laboratories from The Ohio State University and around the world. You will also have the opportunity to meet with these scientists and discuss your research projects with them.

To help you develop communication skills, we offer a seminar series that gives you practice in presenting your work before a friendly audience. Each microbiology graduate student has several opportunities to present research papers at national or international meetings during his or her graduate career. Annual research competitions give you the opportunity to present your research to a wider audience and to compete for awards that honor the best presentations.

A Brief Overview of Graduate Programs in Microbiology