Graduate Bulletin

Microbiology and Immunology, M.S.


Admission Requirements and Deadlines
Application Deadline:

Fall: July 1

Spring: November 1

Applications are processed as they are received throughout the year.

APPLY ONLINE to this graduate program.

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 coursework in Biochemistry, Calculus, Cellular and Molecular Biology, Inorganic and Organic Chemistry, and Physics is desirable.

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline:

All applicants must present credentials that are the equivalent of the appropriate baccalaureate degree at Temple University.

Statement of Goals:

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

Minimum TOEFL score needed to be accepted: 600 paper-based, 250 computer-based, or 100 internet-based.


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 regarding the transfer of credits to the Chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. The maximum number of credits a student may transfer is 4.

Program Requirements
General Program Requirements:

Number of Didactic Credits Required Beyond the Baccalaureate: 20

Required Courses:

The Department of Microbiology and Immunology participates in the "Interdisciplinary Program in Biomedical Sciences" at the Temple University School of Medicine.  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:


      Cancer Biology

      Cell Structure and Function

      Comprehensive Immunology

      Host-Pathogen Interactions

      Molecular Approaches to Research

      Principles of Development

      Principles of Genetics

      Principles of Organ Pathology

      Principles of Pharmacology

      Principles of Physiology

      Proteins and Enzymes

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

In addition, all students take the following required courses:

Microbiology 5301, 5302, 5351, 8309, 2 of 8310-8350, 9301

In addition to the required courses, students must have at least 12 credits of 5000 level courses. Of these, 3 credits must be in the area of Molecular Biology and 3 in the area of Biochemistry.

View all COURSE OFFERINGS in Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, and Molecular Biology and Genetics.

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 consultation with the proposed advisor, submit a letter to the Chair 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 one month of the decision of advisorship, and submit an evaluation of the rotation review forms to the Administrative Office.

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

  • Have a research review with the research committee within six months of the Chair's written approval of advisor. This committee must have a minimum of three faculty members from the 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 six 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. The thesis must be submitted and defended within one year of being directed by the advisory committee to do so. At least three weeks in advance of the final examination/defense, all examiners must receive a typed copy of the thesis in near final form. At least two weeks in advance of the final examination, the student should notify the Chair 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 her/his 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 members 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 Eukaryotic and Prokaryotic Molecular Genetics, Molecular and Biochemical Microbiology, and Molecular and Cellular Immunology.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 3 years

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.

Department Information:

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


Interdisciplinary Study:

The program encourages interdisciplinary coursework and research among faculty and students with interests in Cancer Biology, Genetics, Immunology, Immunopharmacology, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, and the like. Collaborations are extensive 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 multidisciplinary programs have increased the breadth of the potential research projects available to graduate students. The graduate faculty maintains close ties with clinical departments, including Cardiology, Gynecology, Infectious Diseases, Oncology, Pulmonary Medicine, and Surgery.


Not applicable.

Study Abroad:



The Department has been ranked 26th in the country based on the level of grant monies awarded to its faculty from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).


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 Institute 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 Cancer (supported through the National Cancer Institute), Immunopharmocology (supported through the National Institute of Drug Abuse), and Thrombosis (supported through the National Institute of Heart, Lung, and Blood Research).

Areas of Specialization:

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

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

Active research in Molecular and Cellular Immunology occurs in 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; molecular basis for the function of cytokines; molecular basis for the superantigen activity of certain microbial agents; molecular genetics of T cell antigen receptors and immunoglobulins; and signal transduction in T cells.

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.

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.

Updated 11.21.07