Microbiology Ph.D.

Medical Microbiology
Microbiology Ph.D.

Program Overview

The Ph.D. in Microbiology combines a rigorous curriculum in a broad range of areas with interdisciplinary research opportunities at the frontiers of microbiology, virology, host-microbe interactions and environmental microbiology. Graduates of the program are equipped for leadership positions in biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, academic and government research laboratories, and successful careers in teaching and research at the college and university level.

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 outside speakers
  • Opportunities to gain teaching experiences as a Graduate Teaching Assistant

Research Opportunities

  • Host-microbe interactions
  • Environmental microbiology
  • Signal transduction pathways
  • Molecular microbiology and biotechnology
  • Genomics and bioinformatics
  • Transcriptional and translational regulation
  • Microbial ecology and evolution

Financial Support

  • Students admitted to the Ph.D. Program are typically supported by Research Assistantships or Teaching Assistantships
  • Internal summer and academic year fellowships are available to students on a competitive basis.
  • Teaching Assistantships are not available for students enrolled in the Accelerated M.S. program

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 future teaching and Research roles in a college or university environment

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
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores (taken within the past five years)
  • Applicants from non-English speaking countries must provide Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores
  • International applicants living outside the U.S.A. should first complete a free online application
  • Three letters of recommendation

Personal statement, including research interests and two or three potential Microbiology faculty thesis advisors.


Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Biomedical Sciences
Rudman Hall
46 College Road
Durham, NH 03824

Curriculum & Requirements

Ph.D. Degree Requirements

Students with appropriate academic training at the baccalaureate or master's level may be considered for admission to the doctoral program. Students admitted to the Ph.D. program are required to conduct an independent research project in conjunction with a Microbiology graduate program faculty adviser. Specific coursework is determined in conjunction with the graduate committee. Advancement to candidacy requires the successful completion of the following:

  1. All courses required by the graduate committee
  2. A written qualifying exam administered by the graduate program coordinator and graduate faculty
  3. An independent research proposal developed in conjunction with a faculty adviser
  4. An oral defense of the research proposal

Students enrolled in the doctoral program are required to complete one semester of teaching and successfully complete and defend a dissertation based on their research proposal. The acceptance of the dissertation is contingent on its approval by the doctoral committee and evidence that at least two manuscripts based on the thesis research have been submitted to a peer-reviewed journal appropriate to the topic.

All graduate students are required to enroll in and attend MCBS 997 Seminar each semester and present one seminar each year.

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