« Back

Graduate Program

UTMB studentsThe Microbiology and Immunology Program is a multidisciplinary, interdepartmental program with the goal of providing state-of-the-art training for careers in biomedical research. The Ph.D. Program aims to produce scientists capable of solving basic biological and health-related problems who will be competitive for leadership positions in universities, government laboratories and the private sector. The program emphasizes innovative research and versatile approaches to problem solving. Students are required to study a specialty area in depth, while also acquiring a breadth of knowledge.

Individualized research programs are available in several areas:

  • Bacterial and viral pathogenesis
  • Microbial genetics
  • Molecular virology
  • Host defenses
  • Autoimmunity
  • Neuroimmunology
  • Immune regulation
  • Structural and molecular biology

The time required to complete a doctorate in microbiology and immunology will vary with the background of the student. In general, a student entering with a master's degree should plan for a 3- to 4-year program; a student entering with a suitable bachelor's degree should anticipate a 5-year program. The average time to completion of the Ph.D. in the program is 5.5 years. This compares favorably with the national average in the life sciences which is currently at 6.7 years. Students should know that the course of study and requirements for graduation are subject to approval and modification by the faculty at any time.

MD/PhD students should plan on approximately 3 years for completion of PhD requirements. A satisfactory draft of the dissertation is required prior to returning to the medical school curriculum.