M.S. in Microbiology (Plan A)

Course credits

  • A minimum of 30 credits is required for graduation of which 20 must be for course work and not thesis credit.
  • At least half of these 20 credits must be in the major subject area (MB).
  • A minimum of 10 thesis credits must be successfully completed.
  • Two-thirds of the minimum 30 credits must be at the 5XX-level. (Undergraduate courses at the 4XX-level are allowed but not 3XX-level).
  • Credit in Seminar (MB 594)Independent Study (MB 592) and Internship (MB 598) courses in seminar (500), individual problem (570) and internship (576) courses may not exceed 1/3 of credits required.
  • Course work more than 6 years old cannot be applied toward the program - see The Graduate School policy on transfer and age of credits.
  • Transfer credits –  see The Graduate School policy at Transferring Credits.


No more than 3 credits taken on Pass/Fail basis may be applied to a M.S. program (aside from thesis credits). For more information on Pass/Fail courses, see The Graduate School policy on Pass/Fail.

Core Curriculum

All M.S. Plan A students are required to take two courses: MB520 - Microbial Physiology (fall semester) and BIOB524 - Ethical Practice of Science (spring semester).

All M.S. students are required to take at least one course in three of the six areas of the core curriculum. The six areas of the core curriculum and the courses which can be used to satisfy the requirement are:

MB 537Advance in Molecular Evol (Fall TBA)3
MB 544Advanced Bioinformatics (Spring even yrs)4
BCH 543Proteins (Fall odd yrs)3
BCH 544Molecular Biology (Spring odd yrs)3
MB 527Toxicology (Spring)3
MB 525Advanced Immunology (Spring even yrs)3
Microbial evolution & ecology
MB 560Infectious Disease Ecology & Spillover (Fall)3
MB 591Special Topics (Precambrian Biosphere)3
ERTH 505Geomicrobiology (Spring even yrs)3
Microbial genetics & physiology
MB 528Advanced Genetics (Spring odd yrs)3
IMID 505Eukaryotic Gene Regulation (Spring odd yrs)3
EBIO 566Fundamentals of Biofilm Engr (Fall)3
Microbial pathogenesis & epidemiology
MB 505Host-Associated Microbiomes (Fall)4
MB 530Virology (Fall)3
Scientific Writing
MB591 Scientific Writing3

Courses required to fill each area of the core are likely to change as new courses are developed and approved by the Graduate Program Committee. Current course descriptions are available in the MSU On-Line Catalog. Current course availability is found in the MSU On-Line Schedule of Classes.

  • MB 594 seminars
    • All students are required to attend and participate in the Departmental Seminar (MB 594 section 01) each semester in residence. [Students who are also members of the Center for Biofilm Engineering will have the option of attending either the Departmental Seminar or the CBE Seminar during their first two years, but must attend at least two semesters of each during this time.]
    • Students are encouraged to register for these each semester, if possible, although there are limits to the number of MB 594 credits allowed in a Graduate Program (3 for M.S.)
    • Have the office staff register you online – there are conflicts when taking multiple MB 594 sections.
  • Thesis
    • A thesis approved by the Graduate Committee, Department Head, and the Dean of The Graduate School is required.
    • A hardbound copy of Thesis must be provided to the Microbiology Department for inclusion in the Cotner-Morris library.