Microbiology (Ph.D.)

Microbiology (Ph.D.)

Medical Microbiology

Why pursue a Ph.D. in microbiology at UNH?

Our microbiology Ph.D. program 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. You’ll be prepared for leadership positions in biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, and academic and government research laboratories, as well as roles in teaching and research at the college and university level.

Program highlights

We emphasize interdisciplinary research training, with opportunities in cutting-edge areas including host-microbe interactions, parasitology and immunology; environmental microbiology; signal transduction pathways; molecular microbiology; genomics and bioinformatics; microbial ecology and evolution; and biotechnology. You’ll have access to state-of-the-art instrumentation, becoming familiar with our facilities through lab rotations early in the program. We hold weekly graduate student seminar presentations, as well as a departmental seminar series of invited speakers. You’ll also enjoy opportunities to gain teaching experiences as a graduate teaching assistant.

Potential career areas

  • College or university faculty
  • Director of university or hospital core laboratory facilities
  • Government or non-profit research institute scientist or program officer
  • Research and development scientist in biotechnology or pharmaceutical industries
  • Scientific writing, and communication

Contact

Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Biomedical Sciences
Rudman Hall
46 College Road
Durham, NH 03824
603-862-4095
mcbs.dept@unh.edu

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  • Doctoral Candidate Wins Graduate Student Teaching Award
    Jennifer (Jenny) Calawa is a doctoral student in microbiology. She recently won a Graduate Student Teaching Award — one of only two PhD candidates to win this university-wide competition. The award recognizes graduate students who have demonstrated excellence in teaching, including enthusiasm for...
    Doctoral Candidate Wins Graduate Student Teaching Award
    Jennifer (Jenny) Calawa is a doctoral student in microbiology. She recently won a Graduate Student Teaching Award — one of only two PhD candidates to win this university-wide competition. The award recognizes graduate students who have demonstrated excellence in teaching, including enthusiasm for...

Curriculum & Requirements

The Ph.D. 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 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 invited speakers
  • Opportunities to gain teaching experiences 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 Ph.D. 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 future teaching and research roles in a college or university environment

Admission Requirements

  • Completion of foundational courses in biology, chemistry (including organic chemistry), physics, genetics, 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
  • International applicants living outside the U.S.A. should first complete a free online application
  • 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.

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.

Approved courses for the Microbiology Ph.D. and M.S. programs:
Biological Sciences
BIOL 804Plant-Microbe Interactions3
Microbiology
MICR 805Immunology3
MICR 815Immunology Laboratory2
Genetics
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 Ph.D 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.
  • Independently construct analytical arguments as demonstrated by the development, execution, defense and publication of a dissertation research project.

Deadlines

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

  • Fall: 1/15 (priority consideration) and 3/1 (final deadline)
  • 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.

Transcripts

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

If you did not attend UNH, or attended prior to September 1, 1991, then you must request one official transcript be sent directly to our office from the Registrar's Office of each college/university attended. International transcripts must be translated into English. 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 are required for any school you earned a degree from, attended for at least one year, or attended for 2 or more semesters. Exceptions to this rule may be approved at the discretion of the program you are applying to and the UNH Graduate School Admission’s office.

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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