2006 - 2007 Site Archive



Graduate Bulletin

Microbiology and Immunology, M.S.


Admission Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadline:

Fall: July 1                                     [December 15 for international applicants]

Spring: November 1                             [August 1 for international applicants]

Applications are processed as they are received throughout the year.

Letters of Reference:

Number Required: 2

From Whom: Letters of recommendation should be obtained from college/university faculty members familiar with academic and research competence.

Coursework Required for Admission Consideration:

While there is no fixed list of courses that are prerequisites for admission, understanding of and success in present-day microbiology and immunology requires good preparation in the biological, chemical, and physical sciences. Thus, formal course work in cellular and molecular biology, inorganic and organic chemistry, biochemistry, physics, and calculus is desirable.

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline:


Statement of Goals:

The Statement of Goals should be approximately 500-1,000 words in length and should include the following elements: your interest in Temple's program, in particular; your research goals; your future career goals; and your academic and research achievements.

Standardized Test Scores:

The GRE is required. The program weighs the analytical and quantitative sections of the GRE more heavily than the verbal section. Under certain circumstances, MCATs can be substituted for the GRE.

The GRE Subject Exam is required. Biological Sciences and/or Chemistry.

Minimum TOEFL score or range of scores needed to be accepted: 600 on the paper-based test or 250 on the computer-based test.


A resume is required.

Transfer Credit:

Graduate credits from an accredited institution may be transferred into this program. The credits must be equivalent to coursework offered at Temple and the grade must be a "B" or better in order to transfer. The Graduate Program Committee makes recommendations for transferring credits to the Chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. The maximum number of credits a student may transfer is 4.

Program Requirements

Campus Location:

Health Sciences

Full-Time/Part-Time Status:

Students are required to complete the degree program through classes offered before 4:30 p.m.

General Program Requirements:

Number of Didactic Credits Required Beyond the Baccalaureate: 20

The Department of Microbiology and Immunology participates in the "Interdisciplinary Program in Biomedical Sciences" described on the School of Medicine Graduate Studies Website.  The program requires Ph.D. and M.S. students to take a defined set of courses over the first two years:

-2 courses from the "Foundations of Biosciences Series" of the Interdisciplinary Program, comprising either a basic or advanced Biochemistry course, and a course on Molecular and Cell Biology.

-2 courses comprising Scientific Communication and Scientific Integrity.

-2 courses from the "Integrated Biosciences Series" from the following list:

Molecular Approaches to Research

Principles of Physiology

Principles of Pharmacology

Principles of Organ Pathology

Principles of Genetics

Principles of Development

Comprehensive Immunology

Cancer Biology

Host-Pathogen Interactions

Cell Structure and Function

Proteins and Enzymes


Generally, students of Microbiology and Immunology will take "Comprehensive Immunology " and "Host-Pathogen Interactions."

In addition, all students will take the following required courses offered by the Department of Microbiology and Immunology:


Required Courses:

Microbiology 403, 2 of 405-410, 413, 415, 433, 545

In addition to the required courses, students must have at least 12 credits of 500 level courses. Of these, 3 credits must be in the area of Molecular Biology and 3 in the area of Biochemistry.

Internship: No internship is required.

Language Examination: No language examination is required.

Additional Requirements:

  • Attend orientation meeting.

  • Submit signed copies of the thesis or dissertation and relevant forms to the Department and Graduate School as described by current graduate school policy.

  • Participate in laboratory rotations for which individual rotation evaluation forms should be submitted to the Administrative Office after completion of each individual rotation. In special circumstances the Graduate Program Committee may reduce the number of required rotations.

  • In a consultation with proposed advisor, submit letter to the Chairperson of the Department requesting that the advisor be appointed thesis advisor.

  • Have a rotation review with all faculty members in whose lab the student rotated, within 1 month of decision of advisorship, and submit evaluation of rotation review forms to the Administrative Office.

  • Before the defense of thesis, complete 20 hours of departmental approved course work.

  • Have a research review with the research committee within 6 months of Chairperson's written approval of advisor. This committee must have a minimum of 3 faculty members of this department (including advisor). An abstract and announcement of the review must be circulated to the faculty seven days prior to the review. Subsequent reviews must be scheduled with a maximum interval of 6 months. These reviews continue until the research committee indicates that the work is ready to be written and submitted as an M.S. thesis.

  • Complete and successfully defend a Master's thesis. This thesis must be submitted and defended within 1 year of being directed by the advisory committee to do so. At least 3 weeks in advance of the final examination (defense) all examiners must receive a typed copy of the thesis in near final form. At least 2 weeks in advance of the final examination, the student should notify the Chairperson of the Department about the date and place of the examination and the examiners for the final. This announcement must be provided at least 10 days in advance to all members of the Department, and must be posted in the School of Medicine. Within one month of the final examination, the student must complete all recommended revisions to the thesis and must submit signed copies of the thesis and relevant forms to the Graduate School.

Culminating Events:


The master's thesis is an original empirical study that demonstrates the student's knowledge of both research methods and a mastery of his/her primary area of interest. The thesis should be rigorously investigated under the direct supervision of a major advisor and should be limited to a specific problem in microbiology and immunology.

It is expected that the thesis supervisor will receive the thesis in a timely fashion and will review the thesis before it is submitted to the examining committee. Five is the minimum number of qualified examiners for the defense of the M.S. thesis. The examining committee is composed of all members of the advisory committee. The chair of the examining committee will be selected by majority vote of the examining committee and shall not be the student's major advisor. At least three weeks in advance of the examination, all examiners must receive a typed copy of the thesis in its final form. At least two weeks in advance, the student should notify the chair of the department in writing about the date and place of the final and the examiners for the final examination. This announcement must be provided at least 10 days in advance to all members of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, and must be posted in the School of Medicine. A majority vote plus one is required of the examining committee in order to pass the master's thesis defense. The major advisor must vote in the majority in order for the student to pass the defense.


Program Contact Information:


Department Information:

Dept. of Microbiology and Immunology
School of Medicine
3400 North Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19140


Department Contacts:


Dr. Chris D. Platsoucas


Program Coordinator:

Graduate Chairperson:

Dr. Chris D. Platsoucas



Dr. Chris D. Platsoucas


About the Program

The mission of the graduate program of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology is to provide aspiring scholars with the training and fundamental knowledge necessary to become independent researchers and teachers. These skills will enable them to meet the needs of academic, governmental, and industrial organizations. A graduate program at Temple University leading to an advanced degree in the biomedical sciences is a scholarly endeavor requiring originality and creativity. As such, it challenges students to think and express themselves independently. Research opportunities include molecular and cellular immunology, molecular and biochemical microbiology, and eukaryotic and prokaryotic genetics and physiology.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 3 years

Campus Location:

Health Sciences

Students are required to complete the degree program through classes offered before 4:30 p.m.

Department Information:

Dept. of Microbiology and Immunology
School of Medicine
3400 North Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19140



The Department has been ranked 26th in the country based on the level of NIH grant monies awarded to its faculty.


One of the highest marks of approval and distinction that can be bestowed on a graduate program in the health sciences is the awarding of a Training Grant by the National Institutes of Health. The department has been recognized by NIH with a Training Grant, from the National Intitute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, that has been continually in place for over 20 years. In addition, faculty in the department are approved mentors for additional NIH Training Grants in the areas of Immunopharmocology (supported through a National Institute of Drug Abuse), Cancer (supported through the National Cancer Institute) and Thrombosis (supported through the National Institute of Heart, Lung, and Blood Research).

Areas of Specialization:

Active research areas include:

Molecular and Cellular Immunology: Molecular genetics of T cell antigen receptors and immunoglobulins; signal transduction in T cells; molecular basis for the superantigen activity of certain microbial agents; cellular and molecular analysis of the role of opioid receptor in the function of the cells of the immune system; molecular aspects of autoimmune diseases in humans and animal systems;and molecular basis for the function of cytokines.

Molecular and Biochemical Microbiology: Quorum sensing and stationary phase survival; cytokinesis in bacteria; virulence factors and microbial pathogenesis; and molecular biology of Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Epstein-Barr Virus.

Eukaryotic and Prokaryotic Molecular Genetics: Molecular genetics of sporulation in bacillus; cellular and viral oncogenes and their role in cell growth and transformation;and molecular modeling and protein structure/function.

Job Placement:

Since 1965, more than 100 students have graduated from our graduate program. Our graduates hold academic positions, have industrial or federal research positions, and are directors of clinical microbiology or immunology laboratories.


Not applicable.

Interdisciplinary Study:

The program encourages interdisciplinary coursework and research, among faculty and students with interests in microbiology, immunology, molecular biology, cancer biology, genetics, immunopharmacology, etc. There are extensive collaborations within the department, with other faculty in the School of Mediciine and the University, and with colleagues at other institutions. These extensive interdepartmental collaborations and multi-disciplinary programs have increased the breadth of the potential research projects available to the graduate student. The graduate faculty maintains close ties with clinical departments, including surgery, cardiology, infectious diseases, oncology, pulmonary medicine, and gynecology.

Study Abroad:



Not applicable.

Non-Degree Student Policy:

Non-matriculated students can take courses with permission of the instructor. If accepted to the program, those courses may be applied toward the degree program.

Financing Opportunities

M.S. students are not always funded. However, students granted a Research Assistantship (RA) are expected to devote a minimum of 20 hours per week on average to research obligations. RAs will be assigned to a faculty member investigating a specific research project. The appropriate subjects are determined by consultation between the student and the student's research and academic advisors.

January 2006