Academic Programs Catalog

College of Natural Science

Graduate Study

The Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics is administered jointly by the colleges of Natural Science, Human Medicine, Osteopathic Medicine, and Veterinary Medicine.  Study for the Master of Science degree in microbiology and molecular genetics or the Doctor of Philosophy degree in microbiology and molecular genetics may be administered by any one of the four colleges referenced above. Study for the Doctor of Philosophy degree with a major in microbiology—environmental toxicology is administered by the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Students who are enrolled in Master of Science degree programs in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics may elect a Specialization in Food Safety.  For additional information, refer to the statement on the specialization in the College of Veterinary Medicine section of this catalog.



Microbiology and Molecular Genetics - Master of Science

In general, qualified students will be admitted to graduate study leading directly to the Ph.D. degree in microbiology and molecular genetics.  Students who are enrolled in the professional programs in the colleges of Human Medicine, Osteopathic Medicine, and Veterinary Medicine, or in professional programs in other colleges, may pursue a graduate degree in microbiology and molecular genetics concurrently.

The objective of the graduate programs in microbiology and molecular genetics is to provide basic education in various subdisciplines of microbiology and intensive research experience in specialty areas relative to the student's interest.  In the master's program, students extend their comprehension of microbiology and cognate science through advanced course work, seminars, and research. The Doctor of Philosophy is a research–oriented degree; the emphasis is placed on original research, and the aim is to enable the student to become a self–educating and creative scholar. Facilities and opportunities are also available for postdoctoral associates. Financial subsidy is available for qualified applicants.

A new graduate student in microbiology and molecular genetics  is advised by the Director of Graduate Studies until a major professor is chosen.  This choice should be made by the end of the second semester of enrollment in the program.  The major professor assists the student in selecting a guidance committee.  The committee helps the student in planning a program of study.  The program must be approved by the end of the third semester of enrollment in the program.  A Manual for Graduate Study in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics is available from the department.  This manual contains a philosophy of graduate education and information about the department's master's and doctoral degree programs and related procedures.

Several members of the faculty of the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics are appointed jointly in other departments or are affiliated with the NSF Science and Technology Center for Microbial Ecology or with the Michigan Biotechnology Institute.  Some members of the faculty contribute to interdepartmental graduate programs of study.

Scheduled courses and research are offered at the W. K. Kellogg Biological Station located at Gull Lake, near Battle Creek.  

Master of Science

Most students admitted to the M.S. program in microbiology and molecular genetics  have the Ph.D. degree as their eventual goal.
In addition to meeting the requirements of the university and of the College of Natural Science, Human Medicine, Osteopathic Medicine, or Veterinary Medicine, students must meet the requirements specified below.

Admission

In general, applicants should have had the equivalent of two semesters each of physics, inorganic chemistry, and organic chemistry; one biochemistry course; mathematics through integral calculus; and one or more courses in the biological sciences. Applicants should have proficiency in written and spoken English, a minimum grade–point average of 3.00, and grades of 3.0 or above in science and mathematics courses. Scores on the Graduate Record Examination General Test and a personal letter of professional intent and objectives are required. Although preparation in the fundamentals of microbiology is desirable, interested students with degrees in any of the physical or biological sciences or mathematics are invited to apply for admission to the program. Applicants not possessing all of the requirements may be admitted to the program provisionally and permitted to make up deficiencies on a collateral basis.

Requirements for the Master of Science Degree in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics

The student must complete 30 credits under Plan A (with thesis).  At least 5 credits of master's thesis research are required.  The final oral examination, which covers both course work and thesis research, is administered by the student's guidance committee and a representative of the department Graduate Committee.  The examining committee recommends a grade for the thesis research and the advisability of further graduate study.  All master's students are required to participate in laboratory teaching, and are expected to attend departmental seminars.

 


Microbiology and Molecular Genetics - Doctor of Philosophy

In addition to meeting the requirements of the university and of the College of Natural Science, Human Medicine, Osteopathic Medicine, or Veterinary Medicine, students must meet the requirements specified below.

Admission

A student may apply for admission to the doctoral program in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics when the individual is about to earn or has earned a Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts, Master of Science, or a professional medical degree. In general, applicants should have had the equivalent of two semesters each of physics, inorganic chemistry, and organic chemistry; one biochemistry course; mathematics through integral calculus; and one or more courses in the biological sciences. Applicants should have proficiency in written and spoken English, a minimum grade–point average of 3.00, and grades of 3.0 or above in science and mathematics courses. Scores on the Graduate Record Examination General Test and a personal letter of professional intent and objectives are required. Although preparation in the fundamentals of microbiology is desirable, interested students with degrees in any of the physical or biological sciences or mathematics are invited to apply for admission to the program. Applicants not possessing all of the requirements may be admitted to the program provisionally and permitted to make up deficiencies on a collateral basis.

Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics

The student must:

  1. Complete a minimum of four graduate courses (excluding topics and seminar courses) covering the areas of genetics, microbiology, and biochemistry.  At least two of these courses must be offered by the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics.
  2. Complete five graduate seminar courses, each of which involves an oral presentation by the student.
  3. Complete at least two, and preferably three, rotations in the laboratories of different faculty members in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics.  This requirement must be completed by the end of the first calendar year of enrollment in the program.
  4. Pass the preliminary examination, which involves an oral defense of the research proposal.  This examination is normally given at the end of the second year of enrollment in the program.
  5. Submit a dissertation and a publishable manuscript, based on original research and representing a new and significant contribution to knowledge.

All doctoral students in microbiology and molecular genetics are required to participate in laboratory teaching, and are expected to attend departmental seminars.

Academic Standards

Failure to pass the preliminary examination will result in dismissal from the program.



BioMolecular Science Gateway - First Year

Students are encouraged to apply for admission to the Ph.D. program through the BioMolecular Science Gateway – First Year, where students choose a doctoral major from any of six Ph.D. programs: biochemistry and molecular biology, cell and molecular biology, genetics, microbiology and molecular genetics, pharmacology and toxicology, or physiology. For additional information refer to the College of Natural Science section of this catalog.


Microbiology - Environmental Toxicology - Doctor of Philosophy

For information about the Doctor of Philosophy degree program in microbiology—environmental toxicology, refer to the statement on Multidepartmental Doctoral Programs in Environmental Toxicology in the Graduate Education section of this catalog.