Microbiology, PhD

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The microbiology graduate program offers a dynamic research environment, encompassing a broad range of base, translational, and use-inspired research areas, as well as cutting-edge transdisciplinary training.

You will have many opportunities to work with world-class faculty and collaborative research partners committed to training scientific leaders with the necessary skills to address significant, global, microbiological research problems and challenges. 

This PhD program provides a unique environment in which to receive advanced training in the scientific study of microbes and their impact on humankind. We have a vibrant group of faculty, post-doctoral fellows and students interested in attaining a broad understanding of the biology of microbes and their influence on disease and the environment.

We integrate many aspects of microbiology ranging from the molecular to global and planetary. We work with scientific tools ranging from nanotechnologies to genomics, and mathematic models to satellite-based imaging.

We also draw on the expertise of microbiologists from diverse research areas — an asset only possible in a large research institution such as ASU. The Microbiology faculty conduct research in immunology and disease pathology, microbiome and virome analyses, vaccines and virotherapy approaches to enhance immunity, metabolic regulation and generation of biofuels, bioremediation and microbial ecology, and antimicrobials for treatment of disease.

For this reason, we welcome graduate students with non-traditional backgrounds who may be able to transcend these diverse research areas. 

The program will prepare you for careers in research and teaching in universities and colleges, and specialized work in government agencies and industry.

28 students
31 faculty
1 core course

Degree Overview

In this exciting PhD program, you'll have many opportunities to work in a dynamic research environment. Students will find a broad range of basic, translational and use-inspired research areas, as well as cutting-edge transdisciplinary training.

Our award-winning faculty members are world-class researchers who are skilled in collaborative research and are deeply committed to training new scientific leaders with skills necessary to address significant global microbiological problems and challenges.

This program requires a total of 84 credit hours.

How to apply

Follow the Apply Now link.
You will be asked to:

  • review university standards, degree program timelines and application requirements
  • complete the graduate admission application
  • send official transcripts and language tests (international students only)
  • complete the academic record form and upload it 
  • submit a non-refundable application fee 

The microbiology PhD program admits one group of students annually to start the program the following August. Before applying, we encourage you to read our Tips for Applying.

Application deadline
Applications are accepted Sept. 1 - Dec. 15, with a preference date of Dec. 1. 

There is no guarantee that applications received after Dec. 15 will be reviewed. In January, the top applicants will be invited to a recruitment event scheduled in mid- to late-February. We will notify you of your admissions status by April 15. 

Desired qualifications

  • research experience 
  • undergraduate GPA minimum 3.0 (on 4.0 scale)
  • international students: TOEFL score of 100, or IELTS score of 6.5

We guarantee 5 years of academic-year funding as a teaching or research assistant. This includes stipend and insurance, and tuition support to cover the required 84 hours for the degree.

The microbiology graduate program at ASU is all about freedom to forge your own path. You can choose the best courses that fit your research goals and tap into numerous microbiology faculty within and outside of the School of Life Sciences.

—Daniel Roush, Microbiology PhD candidate


The program of study is designed by you and your supervisory committee, which consists of a professor in the major and three additional faculty members. In addition to the formal coursework in microbiology, virology, and/or immunology, which will be tailored to facilitate your individual research goals, you will receive training in scientific teaching and responsible research. 

A minimum of 84 credit hours is required, including 12 dissertation hours, are required to complete your PhD degree program. Written and oral comprehensive examinations are required in order to advance to doctoral candidacy.  


 Credit Hours

Core courses


Elective courses






Total hours required


Courses and electives

A minimum of 84 credit hours, including 12 dissertation hours, are required to complete your PhD degree program. In your elective courses, you can deepen your understanding of topics such as virology, immunology, bioinformatics and bacterial pathogenesis. You'll round out your degree program with research and dissertation credit hours.

  • MIC 501 Foundations in Microbiology
  • MIC 791 Seminar: Virology Journal Club
  • MIC 598  Special Topics: Immun: Molecular and Cell Foundations
  • MIC 598 Special Topics: Advanced Immunology
  • MCB 791  Seminar: Molecular Virology Journal Club 
  • BIO 611 Topics Resp Conduct Research: Emerging Technologies Life Science
  • MIC 598: Immunology: Molecular & Cellular Foundations
  • MIC 598: General Virology
  • MIC 598: Advanced Immunology
  • MIC 598: Bacterial Diversity and Systematics
  • MIC 598: Novel Models for Host-Microbe Interactions
  • MIC 598: Bioinformatic Analysis of High-throughput DNA Data
  • MIC 598: Bacterial Pathogenesis
  • MIC 598: Geomicrobiology
  • MIC 598: Microbial Ecology and Evolution
  • MIC 598: Viromics 
  • MIC 792
  • Seminars and journal clubs

Interdisciplinary partners
Participating faculty members and researchers come from many departments, colleges, centers and institutes across the university, including:

Additional faculty members are based at partner institutions in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, including: