Microbiology

Whether you’re interested in microbial diversity, basic cellular processes, interactions between microbes or viruses and their hosts, or any number of interdisciplinary microbiology areas involving food safety, bioenergy or the environment, microbiology and its various focus areas provide many dynamic and exciting research opportunities.

Numerous opportunities exist for careers in academic and industrial research, teaching, government service and many other areas in which microbiology has an impact. A strong undergraduate record in the life or physical sciences, supported by some exposure to a research experience, will prepare you for the NC State Microbiology graduate program, giving you the professional training to launch your career.

Learn more about the program in Microbiology.

Degrees

The Microbiology Graduate Program offers the non-thesis Master of Microbiology (M.M.) degree. This degree is frequently sought by individuals employed in the local biotechnology industry and by pre-professional students. In general, those who who are interested in expanding their familiarity with Microbiology through courses and do not wish to pursue research training find this program of interest. Students who desire a research-intensive program are encouraged to apply to the M.S. or Ph.D. degree programs.

Requirements for the M.M. degree are as follows:

  • Upon entering the program, the student meets with the Director of Graduate Programs (DGP) and selects a faculty advisor, who may be the DGP.
  • At the start of the first semester, a Plan of Graduate Work is prepared by the student, in consultation with his/her graduate advisor and with the approval of the DGP.
  • A total of 30 semester hours is required. Twelve credits from the core graduate curriculum (MB 714, MB 718, MB 751, MB 758 or MB 535) are required. Other courses in Microbiology or related life science disciplines must be approved on the Plan of Graduate Work that total a minum of 18 graded credit hours. Additional graded graduate courses can be taken, as can S/U graduate courses in relevant dsicplines as approved for the Plan of Work.
  • An annual “Graduate Student Progress” evaluation form is completed by the student with his/her advisor and submitted to the DGP.
  • An overall grade point average of at least 3.00 on graduate course work at NCSU is required.
    Students must be enrolled in one credit or more the semester they apply to graduate.
  • M.M. students must be continuously enrolled, and all degree requirements must be completed within six calendar years beginning with the date the student commences courses carrying graduate credit applicable to the degree program.

The Master of Microbial Biotechnology degree program at N.C. State University represents one of the first and most successful Professional Science Master’s programs in the country. Coupling innovative graduate science training with MBA-level business coursework, the MMB experience promotes strong transitions into bioscience careers. The university sits near Research Triangle Park, one of the country’s largest hubs for biotechnology and innovative research, and the MMB program draws upon interactions with bioscience industry companies in RTP and elsewhere to offer students highly relevant bioscience industry practicum projects and internships. The MMB program further offers students an opportunity to earn an MBA degree after an additional year of study!

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The Master of Science (M.S.) curriculum provides motivated individuals the opportunity to develop in-depth understanding of microbiological processes and to emerge from the program with the skills for making valuable contributions to research, education and biotechnology endeavors. Students are educated in research systems and in communicating science to colleagues and the public.

M.S. Course Requirements

There are core course requirements taught by MGP faculty, as well as electives offered in disciplines from throughout NC State University. Elective courses are chosen by the student, with the help of the student’s advisory committee. Continuous enrollment requirements of the Graduate School (for tuition and health benefits) requires all graduate students to enroll for nine credits in each Fall and Spring semester. In a two-year M.S. program, students need to complete 30 credits. Details of the graduate student support plan (GSSP) are available from the Graduate School homepage. All graduate students must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0.

The MGP requires the following MB course credits in its M.S. degree program. All 500 and 700 level courses are letter graded. The 600 and 800 level courses use satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading policies.

Course Number Title Credits

  • MB 700 Core courses 6
  • MB 620 Professional Development 1
  • MB 670 Laboratory Rotations 1
  • MB 680 Microbiology Research Presentations 1
  • MB 686 Teaching Experience 1
  • MB 601 Seminar in Microbiology 2
  • MB 695 Microbiology Research 6 maximum
  • 500-800 Graduate Elective Courses (MB or others) 12

Required Microbiology Core Courses (3 credits each)
The field of Microbiology includes several specialized disciplines such as bacterial physiology, environmental microbiology, immunology, molecular genetics and virology. M.S. students are required to take a minimum of two core courses (6 credits) that represent the various disciplines of Microbiology. Prerequisites in biochemistry are often required of these courses, so all Microbiology graduate students should have the equivalent of introductory biochemistry (NCSU BCH 553) early in the curriculum. The other core courses can serve to fulfill the remaining MB elective credits.

  • MB 714 Metabolic Regulation
  • MB 718 Introductory Virology
  • MB 751 Immunology
  • MB 758 Prokaryotic Molecular Genetics
  • MB 735 Pathogenic Microbiology

Graduate Elective Courses (MB 500 – 800 or others)
Students can select elective courses offered by several departments at NCSU. Letter graded or satisfactory/unsatisfactory course formats can be used. M.S. students are allowed a maximum of 6 credits in MB 695 Microbiology Research; the remaining credits will be obtained from other MB or elective courses. Selection of elective courses is done by the student, in consultation with and approval by the advisory committee. Below are examples of elective courses available. The graduate catalog should be consulted for the current comprehensive listing.

  • MB 520 Fundamentals of Microbial Cell Bio-transformations
  • MB(SSC) 532 Soil Microbiology
  • MB 555 Microbial Biotechnology
  • MB(BO,PP) 575 Introduction to Mycology
  • MB(FS) 725 Fermentation Microbiology
  • MB(BO,PP) 730 Fungal Genetics and Physiology
  • MB 610 Special Topics in Microbiology
  • MB 620 Special Problems
  • MB 601/801 Seminar in Microbiology
  • MB 690/890 Master’s Exam/Doctoral Preliminary Examination
  • MB 695/895 Microbiology Research
  • MB 705 Biological Scanning Electron Microscopy
  • MB 725 Fermentation Microbiology
  • MB(IMM) 783 Advanced Immunology
  • MB 790I Practical Digital Imaging
  • BCH 553 Biochemistry of Gene Expression
  • BCH 701 Macromolecular Structure
  • BCH 703 Macromolecular Synthesis and Regulation
  • BCH 705 Molecular Biology of the Cell
  • BIT 810 Core Biotechnologies
  • BIT 815X Advanced Biotechnology Modules
  • GN 513 Advanced Genetics
  • GN 701 Molecular Genetics
  • GN 735 Functional Genomics
  • GN 850 Professionalism and Ethics

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) is the highest degree offered by the Microbiology Graduate Program. The goal of graduate education in the MGP is to provide students with the foundation necessary to pursue a career in a university, industry or research institute setting. Students are trained to recognize significant biological problems, to design experimental approaches for solving these problems, and to communicate their results to the scientific community and the public. The Ph.D. program presented below is intended for a timely completion of the required course work, examinations, research and an approved dissertation.

Ph.D. Course Requirements

There are core course requirements taught by MGP faculty, as well as electives offered in numerous disciplines across campus (e.g., Biochemistry, Bioinformatics, Biotechnology, Computer Science, Animal Science, Food Science, Genetics, etc.). Elective courses are chosen by the student, with the help of the student’s advisory committee. Continuous enrollment requirements of the Graduate School (for tuition and health benefits) requires all graduate students to enroll for nine credits in each Fall and Spring semester. After the first year, most of these are Research credits. Therefore, in a four-year Ph.D. program, students will have completed 72 credits. Details of the graduate student support plan (GSSP) are available from the graduate school homepage. All graduate students must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0.

The MGP requires the following MB course credits in the Ph.D. program. All 700 level courses are letter graded, whereas 800 level courses use satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading policies.

Course Number Title Credits

  • MB 700 Core courses 12
  • MB 870 Laboratory Rotations 1
  • MB 880 Microbiology Research Presentations 1
  • MB 886 Teaching Experience 1
  • MB 801 Seminar in Microbiology 2
  • MB 895 Microbiology Research 6 minimum
  • various Professional Development 1
  • 500-800 Graduate Elective Courses (MB or others) variable

Required Microbiology Core Courses (3 credits each)
The field of Microbiology includes several specialized disciplines such as bacterial physiology, environmental microbiology, immunology, molecular genetics and virology. Doctoral students are required to take a set of core courses that represent the various disciplines of Microbiology. Substitutions will only be allowed in cases where prior experience can be demonstrated (such as when a student enters the program with an M.S. degree in Microbiology from another institution) and must be approved by the student’s advisory committee. Prerequisites in biochemistry are often required of these courses, so all Microbiology graduate students should have the equivalent of introductory biochemistry (NCSU BCH 553) early in the curriculum. For the Ph.D., at least four MB core graduate courses must be selected from the list below. These courses can also serve to fulfill the remaining MB electives.

  • MB 714 Metabolic Regulation
  • MB 718 Introductory Virology
  • MB 751 Immunology
  • MB 758 Prokaryotic Molecular Genetics
  • MB 735 Pathogenic Microbiology

Graduate Elective Courses (MB 500 – 800 or others)
Students can select elective courses offered by departments and programs throughout NC State. The Ph.D. is a research-intensive degree, so many of the elective credits will be for research (MB 895 Microbiology Research). Letter graded or satisfactory / unsatisfactory course formats can be used. Selection of elective courses is done by the student, in consultation with and approval by the advisory committee. Below are examples of elective courses available. The graduate catalog should be consulted for the current comprehensive listing.

  • MB 520 Fundamentals of Microbial Cell Bio-transformations
  • MB(SSC) 532 Soil Microbiology
  • MB 555 Microbial Biotechnology
  • MB(BO,PP) 575 Introduction to Mycology
  • MB(FS) 725 Fermentation Microbiology
  • MB(BO,PP) 730 Fungal Genetics and Physiology
  • MB 610 Special Topics in Microbiology
  • MB 620 Special Problems
  • MB 601/801 Seminar in Microbiology
  • MB 690/890 Master’s Exam/Doctoral Preliminary Examination
  • MB 695/895 Microbiology Research
  • MB 705 Biological Scanning Electron Microscopy
  • MB 725 Fermentation Microbiology
  • MB(IMM) 783 Advanced Immunology
  • MB 790I Practical Digital Imaging
  • BCH 553 Biochemistry of Gene Expression
  • BCH 701 Macromolecular Structure
  • BCH 703 Macromolecular Synthesis and Regulation
  • BCH 705 Molecular Biology of the Cell
  • BIT 810 Core Biotechnologies
  • BIT 815X Advanced Biotechnology Modules
  • GN 513 Advanced Genetics
  • GN 701 Molecular Genetics
  • GN 735 Functional Genomics
  • GN 850 Professionalism and Ethics

Admission Requirements

Read more about applying to the Microbiology program.

Student Financial Support

Many graduate students receive stipend and tuition support through research grants, teaching assistantships, industry internships or other sources. Support cannot be guaranteed in all cases. However, we urge potential applicants to consider their research and academic interests and to contact the faculty in those areas or the director of the specific degree program they wish to pursue.

Participating Faculty

RB

919-515-8105

Jim Brown

Professor

919-515-8803

Jason Flores

Teaching Associate Professor

919-515-0474

Scott Laster

Professor

919-515-7958

Jim Mahaffey

Professor

919-515-5791

Vicki Martin

Professor of Biological Sciences

919-515-3745

919-513-1586

Jonathan Olson

Associate Professor

919-515-7860

Lisa Parks

Teaching Associate Professor

919-515-3494

Tim Petty

Associate Vice Provost, Online and Distance Education

919-515-2393

Antonio Planchart

Assistant Professor

919-513-2530

Reade Roberts

Asst Professor

Frank Scholle

Associate Professor

919-513-7574

Michael Sikes

Associate Professor

919-513-0528