Microbiology Graduate Program



The Microbiology Graduate Program provides postgraduate education in the basic science disciplines, including microbiology, immunology, and food safety, embracing an integrative approach to science.  Students will develop a broad academic foundation with a concentration in at least one science discipline.  The ACBS faculty members constitute the core Micro faculty, however there are faculty members in other UA departments who have academic credentials and interests appropriate to the Micro Graduate Program that also participate as Micro faculty.  Admission to the program is linked to a commitment by a Micro faculty member to mentor the student and assure adequate support for the student to successfully complete his/her degree.  Therefore Micro students have the advantage of a designated graduate advisor from the outset.  Limited numbers of Graduate Assistantships are available through the School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences and the Soil Water and Environmental Sciences and Plant Sciences Departments to supplement support for Micro students.



The Micro Graduate Program offers both MS (three options) and PhD degrees.  The program provides maximum flexibility in planning programs of study for MS and PhD candidates, and no uniform core of coursework is required.  The student’s Plan of Study is developed and approved by the student’s Graduate Advisory Committee (GAC) in accordance with the student’s research interests and career goals.  Students become accomplished in verbal and written communication through participation in departmental courses and seminars, and through presentations at local, national and international meetings.  Students are required to gain teaching experience by becoming teaching assistants or involvement in other teaching activities.

The traditional MS option requires a minimal number of formal graduate courses, complemented by completion of a major research project and preparation of a formal thesis. Students wishing to pursue a PhD degree later (with committee approval) do not have to complete this MS degree option.

Exceptional UA undergraduate students may apply for admission to the Accelerated MS program during their third year at the University of Arizona. They must meet certain academic standards as well as have adequate experience in the research laboratory of a Micro faculty member who chooses to sponsor them. The Accelerated MS degree option requires completion of a formal thesis project. The major advantage of the Accelerated MS option is that the student can receive dual credit toward both their BS and MS degrees, for selected courses completed during the student’s fourth year of undergraduate studies. Such students can reasonably expect to complete their MS degree in just one year after receiving their BS degree.  

The Micro Graduate Program also offers the Applied MS degree option is a non-thesis degree program which requires increased formal course credits, with no major thesis research project but rather a substantial scholarly paper based on a limited research project and extensive literature review. This degree option is considered a terminal degree program. 

The PhD degree requires a minimal number of formal graduate courses, the passing of traditional comprehensive written and oral exams, and completion of a formal research project and dissertation defense.  Our PhD program does not require prior completion of a Master’s degree.

A Minor in the MGP will consist of nine hours of graded coursework with one member of the graduate student’s committee being part of the MGP.  Dissertation work in absentia must be recommended by the MGPC and approved by petition to the Graduate College.

The Fall 2020 application is now OPEN. The deadline to submit the application via GradApp and all documentations is January 1st, 2020. 

Microbiology Graduate Handbook 2019-20


  1. Dhar, Arun K - (adhar) <adhar@email.arizona.edu>
  2. Duca, Frank Anthony - (faduca) <faduca@email.arizona.edu>
  3. Kerry Cooper <kcoopero145@gmail.com>
  4. Lopez, Gerardo U - (lopezg3) <lopezg3@email.arizona.edu>
  5. McCarthy, Fiona M - (fionamcc) <fionamcc@email.arizona.edu>
  6. Ravishankar, Sadhana - (sadhravi) <sadhravi@email.arizona.edu>
  7. Riggs, Michael W - (mriggs) <mriggs@cals.arizona.edu>
  8. Van Doorslaer, Koenraad M - (vandoorslaer) <vandoorslaer@email.arizona.edu>
  9. Vedantam, Gayatri - (gayatri) <gayatri@email.arizona.edu>
  10. Viswanathan, VK - (vkv) <vkv@email.arizona.edu>


  1. Stock, Patricia S – (spstock) <spstock@email.arizona.edu>
  2. Baltrus, David A - (baltrus) <baltrus@email.arizona.edu>




View our current graduate students



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