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We offer two graduate degrees in Microbiology:


The intent of the Microbiology M.S. program is to produce scientists with the ability to conduct independent research and to be fluent in the scientific literature.  As a terminal degree, the Master of Science in Microbiology qualifies students for technical research positions in academia, industry and government research facilities. It also prepares students to progress into doctoral programs in Microbiology and related areas.

The M.S. program requires a substantial, original research project that culminates in a thesis; a minimum of 30 credits (including research and thesis) earned in graduate courses and seminars and expertise in one or more conceptual areas of the major sub-disciplines of Microbiology. The student’s Advisory Committee will direct the student to specific course offerings to satisfy the coursework guidelines.  The three core areas in the Microbiology M.S. program are:

  • Biochemistry, Genetics, Molecular Biology, and Physiology of Microorganisms
  • Immunology, Virology, and Medical Microbiology
  • Microbial Ecology and Applied, Industrial, and Environmental Microbiology


The degree of Doctor of Philosophy is granted for proven ability, independent investigation, and scholarly attainment in a special field. Although it is primarily a research degree and is not granted solely on the completion of a certain number of credits, there are specific course requirements that must be met. The training of a Ph.D.-level Microbiologist is based on a strong foundation in Mathematics, Chemistry,  Genetics, Molecular Biology, and Biochemistry in addition to coursework in the various disciplines within the field of Microbiology. This base is built upon advanced course work in the major sub-disciplines of Microbiology as the student focuses his/her area of interest .

Application to the Ph.D. program in Microbiology requires (1) at least a 3.0 grade point average (GPA) for all upper division credits taken in the previous degree program, (2) scores in the 35th percentile or higher on the verbal and quantitative sections of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), (3) submission of scores for the GRE Biology or Biochemistry subject area exam, and (4) completed application for the Graduate School and the Microbiology Graduate Programs Information Sheet, including three letters of recommendation.

A complete description of both degree programs may be found in the Graduate Catalog (Ph.D. is on page 146; M.S. is on page 151).

Desired Background for entry into our programs:

It is expected that applicants to either degree program will have a broad scientific background, and will have completed coursework at the undergraduate level in the following areas:

  • 1 semester of Calculus (Calculus through Multivariable Calculus recommended)
  • 1 year of General Chemistry (+lab)
  • 1 year of Organic Chemistry (+ lab)
  • 1 year of Physics (+ lab)
  • 1 semester of Quantitative Analysis, Analytical Chemistry, or Inorganic Chemistry (+ lab)
  • 1 semester of Statistics
  • Genetics (lab recommended)
  • General Microbiology (+ lab)

Instructions for application to graduate studies in Microbiology in the Department of Biological Sciences at ISU:


  • STEP 1 - DOWNLOAD the Microbiology Graduate Programs Information sheet, and complete all areas.  Mail or fax the completed form and an unofficial copy of your transcript to:

Microbiology Graduate Programs Committee

Department of Biological Sciences
921 S. 8th Avenue, Stop 8007
Pocatello, ID 83209-8007

NOTE: A Microbiology faculty member must agree to serve as the applicant's advisor before a student will be accepted in the graduate program. Before returning your application you MUST contact faculty members that have similar research interests to your own and who may be willing to act as a research supervisor. In your application indicate which faculty you have contacted. Please consult the description of research interests and areas of expertise of faculty members in Microbiology at Idaho State University (Faculty and Research Interests).

  • STEP 2 - DOWNLOAD the Microbiology Recommendation Form and have three individuals who can evaluate your potential for graduate study complete and mail the form to the address above.   
  • STEP 3 - Apply to the Graduate School online.

Graduate School Deadlines for Application*

(Degree Seeking students must submit completed applications no later than the following):

Fall: April 1

Spring: November 15

Summer: April 1

  • Application for Admission Form
  • $55 application fee (payable to Idaho State University)
  • GRE scores
  • One official transcript
  • TOEFL scores (if applicable)
  • Graduate Student Non-Resident Tuition Waiver form
  • Submit to:

Graduate Admissions
Graduate School
921 S. 8th Avenue, Stop 8075
Pocatello, ID 83209-00

*Please note:  For consideration for a departmental fall semester Teaching Assistantship (TA), ALL three steps of the application process must be completed prior to February 1 of that year. 

Carolyn Weber,
Feb 6, 2013, 8:27 AM
Carolyn Weber,
Feb 6, 2013, 8:27 AM