Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

*IMPORTANT Note About the Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology and Immunology Degree*
This program is no longer accepting students at this time as this field of study is now a discipline within the new Integrated Biomedical Sciences (IBMS) Program. All information in this section of the Catalog is for the current Microbiology and Immunology students only.

The graduate program in Microbiology focuses on microbial infection, host responses to infection, and other aspects of the immune system in health and disease.  The track faculty members apply state-of-the-art experimental approaches, including genomics, proteomics and bioinformatics, as well as other genetic, biochemical, cellular and functional assays to study the regulation, host interactions and pathogenesis of viral, bacterial, fungal, and parasitic infections.  In addition to mechanisms of host interactions with microorganisms, responses to allergens, tumor, and self-antigens are also investigated at the molecular, cellular and systemic levels.  Students will have the opportunity to gain the broad knowledge and skills necessary for future research careers in many different areas of basic and clinical life sciences, including Microbial Genetics, Physiology and Pathogenesis, Infectious Diseases, Immune Regulation, Vaccinology, Tumor Immunology, Autoimmunity and Allergy.

Microbiology and Immunology Degree Requirements

A minimum of 72 credit hours and a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 is required for the Ph.D. degree. In addition, all doctoral candidates must register for the MICR 7099 Dissertation for at least two semesters in order to graduate. The student is required to demonstrate intellectual command of the subject area of the graduate program and capability to carry out independent and original investigation in the area. The student must successfully defend a dissertation and be recommended by their program COGS for approval of their degree to the Dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

M&I - Plan of Study (Course Curriculum Timeline)

First Year
FallCredit Hours
IBMS 5000Fundamentals Of Biomedical Sciences 8
IBMS 5008Lab Rotations 2
Journal Club (any track)  
Attend weekly research seminars (any track once/week)  
 Total Credit Hours: 10.0
First Year
SpringCredit Hours
MICR 5003Core Concepts In Microbiology & Immunology 4
MICR 5029Building Scientific Thinking Skills 2
INTD 6002Ethics In Research 0.5
IBMS 5008Lab Rotations 2
MICR 6091Seminars In Microbiology & Immunology 1
Journal Club (any track)  
 Total Credit Hours: 9.5
Second Year
FallCredit Hours
MICR 5090Acquiring Presentation Skills 1
MICR 5030Microbiology And Immunology Track Journal Clubs 0.5
MICR 6091Seminars In Microbiology & Immunology 1
MICR 6097Research 1-12
Advanced Elective if needed - see department  
 Total Credit Hours: 3.5-14.5
Second Year
SpringCredit Hours
MICR 5090Acquiring Presentation Skills 1
MICR 5030Microbiology And Immunology Track Journal Clubs 0.5
MICR 6091Seminars In Microbiology & Immunology 1
MICR 6097Research 1-12
Advanced elective if needed - see department  
 Total Credit Hours: 3.5-14.5
Third Year
FallCredit Hours
MICR 5090Acquiring Presentation Skills 1
MICR 5030Microbiology And Immunology Track Journal Clubs 0.5
MICR 6091Seminars In Microbiology & Immunology 1
MICR 6097Research 1-12
 Total Credit Hours: 3.5-14.5
Third Year
SpringCredit Hours
MICR 5090Acquiring Presentation Skills 1
MICR 5030Microbiology And Immunology Track Journal Clubs 0.5
MICR 6091Seminars In Microbiology & Immunology 1
MICR 6097Research 1-12
 Total Credit Hours: 3.5-14.5
Fourth Year
FallCredit Hours
MICR 5090Acquiring Presentation Skills 1
MICR 5030Microbiology And Immunology Track Journal Clubs 0.5
MICR 6091Seminars In Microbiology & Immunology 1
MICR 6097Research 1-12
 Total Credit Hours: 3.5-14.5

Microbiology and Immunology Objectives/Program Outcomes

  1. Students will be able to demonstrate proficiency in core (general) principles of the biomedical sciences and in principles specific to the discipline of microbiology/immunology.
  2. The student will be able to conduct biomedical research.
  3. Students will be able to demonstrate competence in written and verbal communication.
  4. Students will be able to critically read and evaluate the biomedical literature.
  5. Students will have a fundamental knowledge of ethics in research.
  6. Students will complete dissertation research, and write and successfully defend their dissertation.

IBMS 5000. Fundamentals Of Biomedical Sciences. 8 Credit Hours.

This core course covers the fundamentals of biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, organismal and systems biology, and microbiology and immunology. The course is designed for first-year graduate students matriculating into the Integrated Biomedical Sciences Program (IBMS).

IBMS 5008. Lab Rotations. 1-3 Credit Hours.

This course provides an opportunity for students to participate in research activities in the laboratories of faculty members in different disciplines to learn laboratory skills and to gain an introduction to the research fields of faculty members.

INTD 6002. Ethics In Research. 0.5 Credit Hours.

This course covers topics relevant to ethics in scientific research. The course is taught on a case-study basis, dealing with real and hypothetical situations relevant to the conduct of scientific research. Topics discussed will include, but will not be limited to: data management, peer review, recognizing scientific misconduct, authorship, and The University of Texas regulations relevant to human and animal research. This course is required of all doctoral graduate students.

MICR 5003. Core Concepts In Microbiology & Immunology. 4 Credit Hours.

This course will provide an integrated view of the microbial world and the mammalian immune response. Students will receive a foundation in the basic concepts and experimental approaches that are crucial for understanding core concepts in pathogenic microbiology, virology, parasitology, mycology, and immunology through directed readings and didactic instruction. A special emphasis will be placed on integrating knowledge from each discipline using specific examples to illustrate important concepts in host-pathogen interaction.

MICR 5029. Building Scientific Thinking Skills. 2 Credit Hours.

The goal of this course is to provide the opportunity for graduate students to develop critical thinking skills in reading scientific literature, developing/critiquing scientific ideas and grant proposals and effectively communicating one's own scientific ideas with peers. The courses will be offered in three consecutive stages. First, each student will be assigned/encouraged to read articles focusing on a topic in the areas of Microbiology and Immunology and give a 50 minute review presentation on the topic to the class followed by questions/critiques from fellow students and faculty members. Second, each student is guided to develop a mini-proposal on a chosen topic followed by written critiques from fellow students and faculty members. Finally, each student is arranged to give an oral defense of his or her written proposal to the class followed by questions from fellow students and faculty members. Since the proposal writing and defense portions mimic the process involved in M&I track qualification examination, this course will not only have a long lasting impact on the students' scientific skill development, but also help prepare the students for the immediate qualification examination.

MICR 5030. Microbiology And Immunology Track Journal Clubs. 0.5 Credit Hours.

The MI track students, together with faculty members and other researchers, will meet once a week to discuss articles on life science with an emphasis on the Microbiology and Immunology disciplines. At each meeting, an individual will present one or several papers, or a review and related materials. The presentation will be followed by questions and discussions involving everyone present at the meeting. Each meeting is scheduled for one hour.

MICR 5090. Acquiring Presentation Skills. 1 Credit Hour.

This course is designed to prepare the student for giving a scientific lecture or seminar. Students present at least one lecture per academic year. Each student is coached and evaluated by faculty members in terms of both effective public speaking and critically analyzing scientific data. In addition, the seminars are videotaped. Students are required to attend all seminars.

MICR 6091. Seminars In Microbiology & Immunology. 1 Credit Hour.

Presentations and discussions of recent advances in various areas of Microbiology & Immunology. Invited speakers may be from inside or outside the HSC. Each graduate student in the M&I Track is expected to register for this course each fall and each spring semester for as long as the student is enrolled in graduate school.

MICR 6097. Research. 1-12 Credit Hours.

This course consists of independent, original research under the direction of faculty advisor. May be conducted in bacteriology, virology, mycology, parasitology, and immunology.

MICR 7099. Dissertation. 1-12 Credit Hours.

Registration for at least two terms is required of Ph.D. candidates. In addition, Ph.D. candidates may be required to complete a course in Biostatistics. Prerequisites: Admission to candidacy for the Doctor of Philosophy degree.