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.

Course Requirements (2024) 

1. Either Microbiology (MBIO601 – 2 credit hours) OR Immunology (MBIO602 – 3 credit hours)

2. Seminar/journal club (MBIO 606 – 1 credit hour/semester)

3. Research Ethics (BIOC630 - 1 credit hour)

4. Methods and Analysis (MBIO610 - 2 credit hours)

5. Biomed Res Data Analysis (BIOC662 - 1 credit hour) OR any other statistics course offered at UofL (must be approved by the CC)

• All other courses offered by M&I or Biochemistry can be taken as electives to fulfill the remaining requirement of 15 credit hours in the subject area. Courses outside the department (other than Biochemistry) can also be taken to fulfill the minimum requirements, but the course must be approved by the CC.

• Curriculum for each student will be tailored based on their needs in consultation with their laboratory and MS thesis Mentor.

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. 


For more information


Baughn Laboratory

Department of Microbiology and Immunology

University of Minnesota

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:

  • A completed application form and $60 application fee
  • Official scores of the TOEFL or IELTS (only applies to international applicants)
  • 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)
    • International applicants must provide evaluations (WES or ECE) on transcripts completed outside of the United States to be admitted
  • 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. 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:

University of Louisville
School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies
2211 S Brook St, Houchens Bldg, Rm 105
Louisville, Kentucky 40292
United States of America
Email Address:
Phone Number: (502) 852-3101, (800) 334-8635
Fax Number: (502) 852-3111

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
Graduate Program Office
Fax: (502) 852- 7531