Graduation Requirements

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

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5


IGPBS All Fall Core Courses (MICR801, MICR802, MICR803)
At least one Spring Course (MICR808, MICR820, MICR825)

Advanced Course (MICR930), if needed

Seminars & Presentations IGPBS Presentation of 2 SLS (1 per semester; MICR830), Participation in MBS and RIP Series Presentation of 2 SLS (1 per semester, MICR830), Participation in MBS and RIP Series Participation in MBS and RIP Series  Participation in MBS and RIP 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.

Course Requirements for the Ph.D. degree in Microbiology

Students must demonstrate competence in the content of the IGPBS curriculum and in 2 of the following 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.

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.

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 Principles of Microbiology series, take 2 additional advanced level courses, 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.

Required courses:

MICR 801: Principles of Immunology
MICR 802: Principles of VirologyDr. Joe Lutkenhaus lab meeting
MICR 803: Principles of Bacteriology
MICR 830: Seminar in Microbiology

Two of the following courses (or equivalent level and credit):

MICR 808: 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

Course requirements for the Master's Degree in Microbiology

A new Master's degree that incorporates thesis research and diverse professional training is under design.  It is expected that we will begin enrolling students in the Fall of 2015.

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

The department offers a combined 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: Feb 19, 2015