Microbiology (M.S.)

Microbiology (M.S.)
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Why get your master’s degree in microbiology?

With a master’s degree in microbiology, students are well prepared for a wide range of careers in science- and health-related fields. Graduates of the microbiology program at UNH have the knowledge, skills and experience for successful careers in biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, academic and government research laboratories, and are ready for doctoral programs, medical school, and health-related professional programs.

Why choose UNH’s microbiology program?

The M.S. in microbiology combines a dynamic curriculum in a broad range of areas with interdisciplinary research opportunities at the frontiers of microbial genetics and genomics, host-microbe interactions and environmental microbiology. Research opportunities are available in many cutting-edge microbiology research areas, including host-microbe interactions, parasitology, and immunology; environmental microbiology; signal transduction pathways; molecular microbiology and biotechnology; genomics and bioinformatics; transcriptional and translational regulation; and microbial ecology and evolution. Distinctive features of the program include: emphasis on interdisciplinary research training, well-equipped research laboratories and core facilities on the UNH campus, laboratory rotations allowing students to become familiar with a wide range of research and laboratory management styles. Weekly graduate student seminar presentations, as well as a departmental seminar series of outside speakers, supporting a lively and engaged culture of shared research and discoveries. Opportunities to gain teaching experiences and earn money as a graduate teaching assistant.

Potential career areas

  • Academic research
  • Biotechnology research scientist
  • Lab manager
  • Pharmaceutical research scientist

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Curriculum & Requirements

The M.S. in Microbiology combines a dynamic curriculum in a broad range of areas with interdisciplinary research opportunities at the frontiers of microbiology, host-microbe interactions, and environmental microbiology. Graduates of the program are equipped for successful careers in biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, academic and government research laboratories, and as preparation for doctoral programs, medical school, and health-related professional programs.

Distinctive Features of the Program

  • Research opportunities are available in many cutting edge microbiology research areas
  • Emphasis on interdisciplinary research training
  • Well-equipped research laboratories and core facilities on the UNH campus
  • Laboratory rotations upon entry to the program to become familiar with different research laboratories
  • Weekly graduate student seminar presentations, as well as a departmental seminar series of invited speakers
  • Opportunities to gain teaching experience as a Graduate Teaching Assistant

Research Opportunities

  • Host-microbe interactions, parasitology, and immunology
  • Environmental microbiology
  • Signal transduction pathways
  • Molecular microbiology
  • Genomics and bioinformatics
  • Microbial ecology and evolution
  • Biotechnology

Financial Support

  • Students admitted to the M.S. Program are typically supported by Research Assistantships or Teaching Assistantships
  • Intramural summer and academic year fellowships are available to students on a competitive basis.

Career Prospects

  • Research scientists in biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries
  • Lab managers in academic research labs and research institutes, state and federal government agencies
  • Academic preparation for doctoral programs and professional health programs (e.g., medical school)

Admission Requirements

  • Completion of foundational courses in biology, chemistry (including organic chemistry), physics, and mathematics
    • Otherwise well-qualified applicants can correct academic deficiencies with enrollment in appropriate courses or independent study during the first year of graduate studies
  • Applicants from non-English speaking countries must provide Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement, including research interests and names of two or three potential Microbiology faculty thesis advisors.

M.S. Degree Requirements

The Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Biomedical Science (MCBS) offers a Master of Science in Microbiology. 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 thesis credits (MCBS 899 Master's Thesis), and a minimum of two other graduate level courses at the 800 or 900-level in the area of microbiology, are required. All M.S. students are required to enroll in and attend seminar (MCBS 997) every semester and present one seminar each year. A 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.

Approved courses for the Microbiology Ph.D. and M.S. programs:
Biological Sciences
BIOL 804Plant-Microbe Interactions3
MICR 805Immunology3
MICR 815Immunology Laboratory2
GEN 804Genetics of Prokaryotic Microbes5
GEN 813Microbial Ecology and Evolution4
GEN 817Molecular Microbiology5
Natural Resources
NR 806Soil Ecology4
Additional non-disciplinary courses to consider:
ANFS 933Design, Analysis, and Interpretation of Experiments4
BCHM 825Cell Phenotyping and Tissue Engineering Laboratory4
BCHM 853Cell Culture5
BCHM 854Molecular Biology Research Methods5
BIOL 811Experimental Design & Analysis4
BIOL 902Writing and Publishing Science2
BIOL 950Scientific Communication2
GEN 812Programming for Bioinformatics5
GRAD 891National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Preparation0
GRAD 930Ethics in Research and Scholarship2 or 3
LSA 900College Teaching2
MATH 835Statistical Methods for Research3
MCBS 901Introduction to Research in the Life Sciences2
MCBS 913Applied Bioinformatics3
MCBS 910Cell Signaling Networks Across the Kingdoms3
MCBS 997Seminar1
NR 905Grant Writing2
NR 909Analysis of Ecological Communities and Complex Data4

All MCBS graduates will be able to:

  • Critically apply theories, methodologies, and knowledge to address fundamental questions in their primary area of study.
  • Pursue research of significance in the discipline or an interdisciplinary or creative project. Students plan and conduct this research or implement this project under the guidance of an advisor while developing the intellectual independence that typifies true scholarship.
  • Demonstrate skills in oral and written communication sufficient to publish and present work in their field and to prepare grant proposals.
  • Follow the principles of ethics in their field and in academia.
  • Demonstrate, through service, the value of their discipline to the academy and community at large.
  • Demonstrate a mastery of skills and knowledge at a level required for college and university undergraduate teaching in their discipline and assessment of student learning.
  • Interact productively with people from diverse backgrounds as both leaders/mentors and team members with integrity and professionalism.

Graduates of the Microbiology M.S. degree program will be able to:

  • Demonstrate strong foundational knowledge in microbiology theory and practice, and sub-disciplinary and cross-disciplinary knowledge specific to the student’s research area.
  • Critically analyze and interpretate the primary literature.
  • Integrate knowledge by 1) synthesizing research questions and/or hypotheses, 2) designing, executing, and interpretating research and 3) contextualizing their contributions to the field of study.
  • Demonstrate competency in laboratory safety, and specialized microbiological methods.
  • Promote the importance of science, the discipline of microbiology, and microbes themselves to society by communicating the meaning and value of your scholarship across formal and informal forums.

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Applications must be completed by the following deadlines in order to be reviewed for admission:

  • Fall: December 15
  • Spring: N/A
  • Summer: N/A
  • Special: N/A

Application fee: $65

Campus: Durham

New England Regional: No

Accelerated Masters Eligible: No

New Hampshire Residents

Students claiming in-state residency must also submit a Proof of Residence Form. This form is not required to complete your application, but you will need to submit it after you are offered admission or you will not be able to register for classes.


If you attended UNH or Granite State College (GSC) after September 1, 1991, and have indicated so on your online application, we will retrieve your transcript internally; this includes UNH-Durham, UNH-Manchester, UNH Non-Degree work and GSC. 

If you did not attend UNH, or attended prior to September 1, 1991, then you must upload a copy (PDF) of your transcript in the application form. International transcripts must be translated into English.

If admitted, you must then request an official transcript be sent directly to our office from the Registrar's Office of each college/university attended. We accept transcripts both electronically and in hard copy:

  • Electronic Transcripts: Please have your institution send the transcript directly to grad.school@unh.edu. Please note that we can only accept copies sent directly from the institution.
  • Paper Transcripts: Please send hard copies of transcripts to: UNH Graduate School, Thompson Hall- 105 Main Street, Durham, NH 03824. You may request transcripts be sent to us directly from the institution or you may send them yourself as long as they remain sealed in the original university envelope.

Transcripts from all previous post-secondary institutions must be submitted and applicants must disclose any previous academic or disciplinary sanctions that resulted in their temporary or permanent separation from a previous post-secondary institution. If it is found that previous academic or disciplinary separations were not disclosed, applicants may face denial and admitted students may face dismissal from their academic program.

Letters of recommendation: 3 required

Recommendation letters submitted by relatives or friends, as well as letters older than one year, will not be accepted.

Personal Statement/Essay Questions

Prepare a brief but careful statement that includes the following: 1) the reasons you wish to do graduate work in this field, including your immediate and long-range objectives, 2) your specific research or professional interest and experiences in this field, and 3) a review of MCBS graduate program faculty research descriptions and the identification by name of two or three potential mentors for your graduate studies.

Statements must be included with your submitted application.

Additional Department Requirements

Please note the GRE is no longer required.  No GRE score is needed to apply.

Important Notes

All applicants are encouraged to contact programs directly to discuss program-specific application questions.

International Applicants

Prospective international students are required to submit TOEFL, IELTS, or equivalent examination scores. English Language Exams may be waived if English is your first language. If you wish to request a waiver, then please visit our Test Scores webpage for more information.

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