Academics


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  • Graduate Studies in Microbiology

    The Department of Microbiology offers qualified students the opportunity to earn a PhD in microbiology with special emphasis in the areas of bacteriology, immunology, parasitology, or virology. Recent graduates have been awarded postdoctoral fellowships at universities and research organizations such as the Scripps Institute, Stanford University, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Trudeau Institute and the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and have gone on to faculty positions at Auburn University, University of Pittsburgh, Montana State University, and the University of Georgia. Graduates are also serving positions of great responsibility for the U.S. government at the National Institutes of Health. Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority of the U.S. Department of Human Services.

    The department emphasizes a creative research environment with close relationships between students and faculty. Currently the department has 14 full time faculty and 13 graduate students. The low faculty-to-student ratio facilitates an exchange of ideas between students and faculty and enhances the student’s graduate training. In addition to laboratory research under the direction of a faculty mentor, training includes formal course work, seminars, and journal clubs. Our core curriculum includes introductory courses in medical microbiology and biochemistry, and specialized graduate courses in immunology, bacterial physiology and virology. Together these experiences aid the student in learning to critically read the scientific literature, and in developing proficiency and competence in scientific writing and public speaking, all of which are crucial for success in a scientific career.

    The department has active research programs funded by the NIH, National Science Foundation, and the US Department of Agriculture in the fields of cellular and molecular virology, comparative immunology, microbial pathogenesis, and vaccine development. Students actively participate in these research programs and present their findings at both regional and national meetings Furthermore, there is a strong emphasis on the publication of student research in peer-reviewed journals.

    Interested students can learn more about the specific areas of research by reviewing the web pages of individual faculty members. Interested students can apply online, or for more information, contact Dr. Eva Bengten or individual faculty members. Applicants are expected to have a B (3.0) grade point average in college courses and a quantitative plus verbal score on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) of at least 300.

    International students whose native language is not English and/or who have completed their tertiary education primarily outside of the United States must submit official scores of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or Pearson Tests of English-Academic (PTE-A) as evidence of English Language Proficiency.

    • TOEFL - Internet Based Test (IBT): 79 or higher
    • TOEFL - Paper Based Test (PBT): 550 or higher
    • IELTS: 6.5 overall band score or higher
    • PTE-A: 53 or higher

    The department is flexible concerning specific course requirements for admission, although it is expected that undergraduate course work will have been in the biological and/or chemical sciences. A limited number of graduate assistantships ($24,000/year) are available and will be awarded on a competitive basis. Student health insurance is also available. Mississippi residents are able to compete for an Ing "Ike" Ho scholarship. The Ho Scholarship is a full-tuition scholarship awarded for outstanding academic achievement.