M.S. in Microbiology and Immunology

M.S. in Microbiology and Immunology

The Department of Microbiology and Immunology offers both the Master of Science (M.S.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Degree Programs. The M.S. program includes training in a broad range of research areas using state-of-the-art immunological, microbiological, and molecular technologies. All applicants accepted into the Master's Program must be self-supporting, as financial assistance is not available at this time.

The program is designed to provide students with a strong background in integrated theory and mentored training in research design, grant writing, and oral presentation.

Areas of faculty research interest include molecular aspects of pathogenesis of infectious disease, and regulation of innate and adaptive immune responses in the contexts of autoimmunity, cancer, and infectious diseases. Areas of allied interest include microbiological and immunological aspects of cardiovascular disease, autoimmune diseases, cancer, diabetes, ophthalmology, surgical sepsis, and organ and bone marrow transplantation.

The department joined with the other four basic science departments within the School of Medicine to form the Integrated Programs in Biomedical Sciences (IPIBS) for the fall of 2001 semester. This approach will give students broad exposure to basic science disciplines and greater flexibility in choosing a dissertation research project and advisor during the first year in the program.


Required Courses

Course NumberCourse TitleCredit HoursSemester
BIOC 645Biochemistry I4Fall
either -MBIO 601Molecular Microbiology2Fall
-or- MBIO 602Immunology3Fall
MBIO 606Seminar/Journal Club2Fall, Spring & Summer
MBIO 610Analysis and Methods in Biomedical Sciences2Fall
BIOC 606-03Survival Skills and Research Ethics 
MBIO 619Research1-12Fall, Spring, & Summer
MBIO 620Thesis(optional)1-6Fall, Spring, & Summer


Select two courses from the list of suggested electives.

Course NumberCourse TitleCredit HoursSemester
MBIO 622Advanced Immunology of Disease2Fall
MBIO 621Advanced Immunology : Innate and Adaptive Immunity2Spring
MBIO 689Microbiota in Health and Disease2Fall
MBIO 687Microbial Pathogenesis2Spring
BIOC 667Cell Biology4Spring

Research Advisor and Project

Students in the M.S. program are required to obtain a Research Advisor before being admitted to the program. Students should form a Thesis Committee, and decide upon an area of research 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; composed of the Advisor, one other graduate faculty member of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, and a third member with graduate faculty 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 Advisor does not have a primary appointment 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 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 MBIO 601), 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.

Thesis and Final Oral Examination

All students in the M.S Program are required to write and defend a Master's Thesis. Students, with the consent of the departmental graduate faculty, may elect to substitute a written research proposal instead of a traditional thesis, based on laboratory research performed by the student, describing successive research to be pursued. The thesis must be a work of sufficient quality to demonstrate the student's ability to participate effectively in a laboratory. Following preliminary review and approval by the student's Advisor, the thesis should be distributed to the 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, students and other interested persons. The oral exam will be administered by the Thesis Committee, and will be open to any other interested graduate faculty members. The final manuscript is submitted electronically to the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies through the Electronic Thesis Submission form by the published deadline date. Along with the PDF the student is required to submit a hard copy of the signature page, which should be on white paper with original signatures.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
319 Abraham Flexner Way, 55A Rm. 316B Louisville, KY, 40202
Fax: (502) 852-1514
Graduate Program Office
Phone: 502-852-6208

E-mail: cmburt01@louisville.edu