M.S. thesis track in Microbiology and Immunology

M.S. thesis track in Microbiology and Immunology

The intended purpose of the thesis track is to both deepen the conceptual understanding in the fields of microbiology and immunology and provide an opportunity for students to perform research. Consequently, the thesis track consists of training in both integrated theory and mentored training in research design, experimentation, grant writing, and oral presentation. Applicants interested in pursuing the thesis track must identify a faculty sponsor who will financially support their research and serve as their Research Advisor prior to admission into the program. Research Advisor’s for thesis track students may also be capable of offering additional financial assistance (stipend, tuition, and benefits).

Areas of faculty research interest include molecular aspects of bacterial and viral pathogenesis, in vivo pathogenesis of infectious diseases, and regulation of innate and adaptive immune responses in the contexts of autoimmunity, cancer, and infectious diseases.


*A minimum of 30 credit hours is required for completion of the degree.

Required Courses

Course NumberCourse TitleCredit HoursSemester
either -MBIO 601Molecular Microbiology2Fall
-or- MBIO 602Immunology3Fall
MBIO 610Methods 2Fall
MBIO 606Seminar/Journal Club2Fall, Spring & Summer
BIOC 645Biochemistry I4Fall
BIOC 667Cell Biology3Spring
BIOC 603BMG Statistics2Summer
XXXX XXXElective2Fall/Spring
BIOC 606Research Ethics 1Spring
MBIO 619Research1-11Fall/Spring/Summer
MBIO 620Thesis1Fall/Spring/Summer


Course NumberCourse TitleCredit HoursSemester
*MBIO 601Molecular Microbiology2Fall
*MBIO 602Immunology3Fall
MBIO 604General Virology1Spring
MBIO 622Advanced Immunology of Disease2Fall
MBIO 621Advanced Immunology : Innate and Adaptive Immunity2Spring
MBIO 689Microbiota in Health and Disease2Fall
MBIO 687Microbial Pathogenesis2Spring

*If MBIO 601 is taken as a “Required Course” then MBIO 602 can be taken as an elective. Likewise, if MBIO 602 is taken as a “Required Course” then MBIO 601 can be taken as an elective.

**Additional courses outside of the department can be taken as electives in consultation with the Research Advisor and Graduate Program Director.

Research Advisor and Project

Students in the M.S. thesis tract program are required to obtain a Research Advisor before being admitted to the program. Students should form a Thesis Committee and decide upon a research project early in the second semester of graduate study. The student, in consultation with her/his Advisor, should form a Thesis Committee of at least three (3) faculty members. The Thesis Committee will consist of two graduate faculty members with primary appointments in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and a third graduate faculty member with primary status in another department. One of the two faculty members with primary appointments in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology will serve as Co-Advisor, if the Research Advisor does not have a primary appointment in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. The Thesis Committee may consist of more than three faculty members, however a majority of the faculty on the Thesis Committee must have primary appointments in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. Selection of the Research Advisor and formation of the Thesis Committee must be approved by the Graduate School Dean.

Evaluation of Student's Progress

The Thesis Committee will meet at least annually to evaluate the student's progress. Students are expected to maintain satisfactory progress in his/her research project each semester. Students may proceed to degree candidacy provided they have successfully maintained an overall and program GPA of 3.0 or higher (with a grade no lower than a B- in any MBIO course), Pass grades in all required courses with Pass/Fail grading, and successful completion of all required coursework. It is anticipated the student will complete the degree program at the end of the second year of study.

Master's Thesis Examination

Students are required to write and defend a Master's Thesis. The thesis must be a work of sufficient quality to demonstrate the student's ability to participate effectively on a research project. Following preliminary review and approval by the Research Advisor, the thesis should be distributed to the Thesis Committee members, and a written request submitted to the Graduate School Dean, at least two weeks prior to the scheduled date of the final oral exam. The final oral defense/exam will be preceded by a research seminar open to all graduate faculty members, students and other interested persons. The oral exam will be administered by the Thesis Committee. A signed unbound copy of the Thesis must be delivered to the Graduate School by the published deadline date. To satisfactorily pass the thesis defense, a majority of the committee members must approve it. Guidelines and requirements concerning the Thesis and final oral examination are set forth in the Programs and Publications section of the Graduate School Website and the current Graduate School Bulletin. 


How to Apply

For admission to the M.S. program, the applicant must have earned the B.S or B.A. degree, or equivalent, with a minimum grade-point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 point scale). In addition, the following should be submitted online directly to Graduate Admissions (http://louisville.edu/graduate/futurestudents/apply-materials/application):

  • A completed application form and $60 application fee
  • Official scores of the General Test Section of the Graduate Record Examination and the TOEFL (when applicable)
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • A brief statement of purpose describing interests and career goals
  • A current resume or curriculum vitae
  • Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate course work(mailed to Graduate Admissions)
  • A letter of scientific support from a Department of Microbiology and Immunology faculty member

The application deadline is March 1st each year. Submission prior to March 1 is strongly encouraged in order to ensure that all required materials (especially letters of reference) are received by the deadline. In order to receive the test scores by the deadline an applicant must take the GRE no later than December. Qualified prospective students will be invited for a visit and personal interviews.

M.S. students are not eligible for fellowships, departmental stipend support or any tuition remission. Go to the Bursar's website, to see the proposed graduate tuition rates for the upcoming year. Graduate non-resident tuition is about $24,879 annually, because of this, MS admission is usually limited to self-supporting resident students. In addition, students applying to the M.S. Program are required to find a faculty research advisor. The time required to complete the M.S. degree ranges from 2 to 3 years. To continue towards a Ph.D. after completion of the M.S. degree, you will need to apply and be admitted to the Ph.D. program.

Specific course prerequisites for all applicants include:

  • one year of biology
  • one year of organic chemistry
  • one semester (or equivalent ) of introductory calculus
  • one semester of biochemistry

Apply Online Now

Please have universities mail your official transcripts to:

Graduate Admissions Office
University of Louisville
Louisville, Kentucky 40292
United States of America

Graduate Program Address

(transcripts are sent to Graduate Admissions, University of Louisville, NOT the address below)

Department of Microbiology & Immunology
School of Medicine
505 South Hancock, CTRB, Rm. 602A Louisville, KY, 40202
Fax: (502) 852- 7531
Graduate Program Office
Phone: 502-852-6208

E-mail: cmburt01@louisville.edu