Our interdisciplinary program provides a large number of potential research advisors. You participate in lab rotations to sample the interests, approaches, and styles of different laboratories. This allows informed decisions about what area of research to pursue and which laboratory to join.
In the first year, you take a common core program. In the fall, you take a course each in biochemistry, genetics, bioinformatics, and critical analysis of scientific literature. In the spring, you take courses in prokaryotic biology, microbial pathogenesis, and virology.
In addition to the courses, you complete three 5-week research rotations during the first semester. Following completion of rotations, you select a research advisor and laboratory. Together with your advisor, you select 3 to 4 faculty members appropriate to your intended degree to serve on the advisory committee. This advisory committee guides and monitors your research and course work.
The Microbiology program requires a total of 90 credit hours. Of these, 24 credit hours come from course work, including the core program, and at least 3 credit hours from advanced course work. The advanced course offerings change from year to year, to provide breadth in topics covered. Most advanced courses are half-semester 1.5-credit-hour courses in areas requested by students. You must take grant writing during your second year and a research ethics and career development course during your third year. The IU Graduate School also requires you to complete a minor. You have the option to select any minor in consultation with your advisor and the Microbiology Graduate Program director.
The Microbiology program has a two-part preliminary exam. In Part 1, you are examined on a set of primary literature papers. These papers test the breadth of student knowledge in each area of microbiology. You are expected to understand the concepts and technology within the papers, critically evaluate the experiments, and appreciate their relevance to the field. In Part 2 of the exam, you write and defend a thesis proposal to your advisory committee. Both exams are completed prior to beginning your third year in graduate school. Students who pass both of these examinations are admitted to formal candidacy for the Ph.D.
Throughout your graduate career, you participate in the Microbiology seminar program and a weekly Microbiology research discussion. The Microbiology seminar hosts world-renowned researchers and exposes you to cutting edge research in the field. The Microbiology research discussion is a forum that allows you to present your findings and discuss your recent data with peers, postdocs, and faculty. The final requirement of the program is a Ph.D. thesis, which must be defended in a public research seminar and in a meeting of the research advisory committee.