Get PhD in Microbiology: How?

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To earn a PhD in microbiology, students must research and choose a program that aligns with their interests and meets the school’s requirements. Most programs require a bachelor’s degree in biology, biochemistry, microbiology, or pre-med, and some prefer a master’s degree. Students must also take the GRE, provide letters of recommendation, and pass a comprehensive exam before completing a dissertation. The process takes about four to five years and can lead to careers in research or teaching.

A PhD in microbiology makes a commitment to earn, and students will have to make choices about what they would like to do with that PhD. Some microbiology programs have a specific focus, such as cancer research, or offer dual degrees in subjects such as microbiology and immunology. Applicants will need to investigate various programs to find ones that are closely aligned with their interests, or they will need to look for good general schools that tolerate flexibility and exploration in many areas. This is not the only requirement, and students need to meet many other school requirements before being accepted into the school.

Departments that offer a doctorate in microbiology specify exactly what they require in candidate students. Many programs accept students with only an undergraduate degree. This degree often needs to have a similar focus, and courses in biology, biochemistry, microbiology, or pre-med may be the most accepted degrees. Some colleges rarely admit those with only a bachelor’s degree and instead look for students with a master’s degree specifically in microbiology or in areas such as genetics, immunology or public health. Some of the more prestigious schools will not accept applicants unless they have a graduate-level degree and several years of work experience.

There are additional application requirements. Many universities require students to take the general Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Strong classes, especially in the sciences, can be highly valued. Students also need academic or professional letters of recommendation attesting to their suitability for doctoral work. International students may also need to take tests to prove their language fluency.

Students who have done their research well and found the schools that best meet the requirements will likely find themselves well on their way to earning a PhD in microbiology. As with any doctoral program, students participate in classes and also spend a lot of time working in labs. Many schools want their graduate students to teach or work as a teaching assistant for a year or more, and this is really beneficial for many students because they often receive a scholarship, which can help reduce college costs.

In the second or third year of schooling, most colleges that offer a doctorate in microbiology ask students to take a comprehensive exam. This is to ensure certain students have adequate knowledge to continue in the field. Some schools will allow students to retake the exam if they fail. Once the exam is passed, students move on to the doctoral application and begin work on their dissertation, which is a long project involving original research presented to faculty. Faculty must approve this dissertation prior to completion of the doctorate.

In total, most students spend about four to five years earning a doctorate in microbiology. The time may be extended if a dissertation is extremely complex or is not initially accepted by the faculty’s board of reviewers. Obtaining this degree is worthwhile for many people, who may pursue careers in private research, university teaching, or in many other areas.

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