Graduation Requirements for Ph.D.

Recommended Time Line* for a Ph.D. in Microbiology

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5



All Fall Core Courses (MICR810, MICR811, MICR812)

At least one Advanced Course from MICR808, MICR809MICR820, MICR825, MICR855

Advanced Course from MICR808, MICR809, MICR820, MICR825, MICR855

Seminars & Presentations IGPBS Presentation of 2 SLS1 (1 per semester; MICR830), Participation in MBS1 and WIP1 Series Presentation of 2 SLS (1 per semester, MICR830), Participation in MBS and WIP Series Participation in MBS and WIP Series  Participation in MBS and WIP Series
Lab Work Rotations in 3 laboratories (≥6 weeks or per IGPBS schedule)** Research in Microbiology (MICR835) Research for Ph.D. in Microbiology (MICR990), after Qualifying Exam Research for Ph.D. in Microbiology (MICR990) Research for Ph.D. in Microbiology (MICR990), 
Dissertation for Ph.D. in Microbiology (MICR999)
Committee Meetings Research Committee Meeting Research Committee Meeting Dissertation
Committee Meeting
Exams Module Exams Course Exams Course Exams (if needed)
Qualifying Exam (Preproposal deadline: Sept. 1.)

*Time lines for transfer students will be designed on a case-by-case basis.
**Students recruited by and admitted directly into a specific laboratory are not required to rotate.
1SLS: Student Literature Series, MBS: Microbiology Seminar Series, WIP: Work in Progress Series

Course Requirements for the Ph.D. degree in Microbiology

Students must demonstrate competence in the content of the IGPBS curriculum and in each of the following three areas:

  • Immunology
  • Virology
  • Bacteriology

Students should also take an advanced course in the student's research area. Students also must present literature seminars and participate in the Research in Progress series.

All students in doctoral programs must meet the research skills and responsible scholarship requirement of the university.

Microbiology Ph.D. students meet these requirements during their IGPBS year of study by taking GSMC 857 Biographics, GSMC 852/GSMC 855 Introduction to Biomedical Research I and II, and GSMC 856 Introduction to Research Ethics.

During the first year, students enroll in the IGPBS curriculum and do rotations. At the end of the first year, students select an advisor and commence dissertation research. During the second year, students enroll in the Fundamentals of Microbiology series, take one additional advanced level course, participate in literature seminar series, and continue research. At the beginning of the third year, students complete the oral examination and continue to do dissertation research.

The student takes an oral comprehensive examination based in part on defense of an original written research proposal. This examination evaluates the student's ability to write and defend an original research proposal, design experiments, and interpret results in a sound and critical manner.

Doctoral candidates are expected to conduct original research, prepare a written dissertation detailing the results, and defend the dissertation in a final oral examination. It is expected that the research will be published in reputable scientific journals.

Required courses:

MICR 810: Fundamentals of Immunology
MICR 811: Molecular Genetics of Bacteria & PhagesDr. Joe Lutkenhaus lab meeting
MICR 812: Molecular Virology & Pathogenesis
MICR 830: Seminar in Microbiology

One of the following courses:

MICR 808: Immunology
MICR 809: Tumor Immunology
MICR 820: Bacterial Genetics & Pathogenesis
MICR 825: Virology
MICR 855: Host-Pathogen Interactions

Research courses:

MICR 835: Research in Microbiology
MICR 990: Research for PhD in Microbiology

Dissertation course:

MICR 999: Dissertation for PhD in Microbiology

Requirements for the M.D./Ph.D. degree in Microbiology

The department offers a combined degree program for students who wish to pursue the M.D. and Ph.D. degrees concurrently. Admission through the KU M.D./Ph.D. Physician Scientist program is highly competitive, and selection is based on academic achievement and potential for a career in research. Requirements for completion of the Ph.D. portion of the combined degree are the same as for the traditional Ph.D. and include a comprehensive exam and defense of a written dissertation based on original research. Certain Ph.D. course requirements can be fulfilled by academic credit earned in the M.D. portion of the program. Completion of the combined degree program generally requires seven years.

Last modified: Dec 16, 2015