Our graduate program in microbiology provides broad training that prepares graduates with the flexibility and depth necessary to compete effectively for research positions in universities, industry and government. We focus on microbial physiology, microbial genetics, immunology, parasitology, pathogenic bacteriology, molecular biology, microbial ecology, and environmental microbiology.
We offer both a M.S. in microbiology and a Ph.D. in microbiology, as well as an M.S. in applied molecular biotechnology, making us just one of a handful of universities in the northeastern U.S. to provide such a professional degree program. In addition, we offer a Fifth-Year Master’s Program that allows academically strong undergraduate students to swiftly earn a graduate degree.
Our graduate enrollment is usually between 35 and 40 students. Most of our Ph.D. graduates during the past ten years have been awarded postdoctoral fellowships at leading academic institutions. A high proportion of the earlier graduates are either faculty members in highly rated university departments or hold senior research management positions in industry.
In recent years, our Ph.D. graduates have had multiple offers of postdoctoral fellowships prior to or shortly after graduation. ASM meetings provide excellent opportunities for our graduates to secure postdoctoral positions or jobs in industry.
Students in our Applied Molecular Biology and traditional M.S. programs have also been very successful with more than 90 percent placement after graduation. They have gone on to Ph.D. programs, medical and professional schools. The majority are currently working at biotech companies or at research institutions in the Boston area.
Scholarships, Awards & Aid
Application Fee Waivers
- University of Massachusetts Amherst Graduate School
Applicants can see if they're eligible to qualify for a Graduate School application fee waiver.
- Elizabeth Stuart Fund for Graduate Education
For Microbiology Ph.D. applicants who are not eligible for the Graduate School fee waiver (above), we offer an additional application fee waiver program for those who are financially disadvantaged.
Student financial support is available for students enrolled in our Ph.D. program in the form of University fellowships, teaching assistantships, and research assistantships. All awards include a waiver of tuition and health insurance.
Graduate students participating in national conferences as first author or presenter are awarded departmental travel funds to the meetings.
Curt Thorne Carry-On Award
Each year the Microbiology Faculty award the "Curt Thorne Carry-On Award" to a Ph.D. student in the Microbiology Graduate Program. The award was established in 2008 to honor former Microbiology Faculty member Dr. Curt Thorne. The student is chosen based on contributions to the Department and their discipline and for serving as a role model to other students.
- 2023 William Rodriguez
- 2022 Emily Bechtold
- 2021 Emily Melzer
- 2020 Srishti Kashyap
- 2019 Kathryn Rahlwes
- 2018 Bryan Salas-Santiago
- 2017 Begüm Topcuoglu
- 2016 Jennifer Hayashi
- 2015 Lucy Stewart
- 2014 Mostafa Elfawal
- 2013 Amy Biddle
- 2012 Jeniffer Concepción
- 2011 Zarath Summers
- 2010 Helene Ver Eecke
- 2009 Katir Patel
- 2008 Nicholas Renzette
Department of Microbiology