The Virginia Tech Interdepartmental Microbiology Program offers training in all areas required for the development of successful scientists.


Research: During your first semester you will perform research rotations in three laboratories, chosen from a broad range of topic areas. Following those rotations, you will come to a mutual choice with a faculty member to enter their lab and complete your dissertation research. The average time for students to complete the Ph.D. program is 5 years.


Teaching and Presentation skills: All graduate students are required to spend at last one semester as a graduate teaching assistant, generally supervising an undergraduate teaching laboratory. All students have numerous opportunities to develop their presentation skills under non-stressful conditions. First year students give short 10-minute talks describing their research rotation projects. More advanced students present seminars describing their research projects or related topics. Students are expected to participate in lab group meetings and journal clubs to present and discuss the most recent research methods and discoveries. All this prepares the student to present their research at national and international research conferences.


Coursework: The plan of study for each student is based on their prior experience and their future interests. Students are required to complete 18 graded credit hours in advanced coursed (generally 6 courses). Students will take 2-3 courses each semester of their first year and 1-2 courses each semester in their second year. The remainder of their time is spent in the research labs. In addition to the courses listed below, each year there are several specialized courses offered that examine the most recent research advances within various fields of study.


BCHM 5124                             Life Sciences Biochemistry

BCHM 5224                             Protein Structure & Function

BCHM 5344                             Molecular Biology for Life Sciences

BIOL/CSES/CEE 4164        Environmental Microbiology

BIOL (FST) 4604                    Food Microbiology

BIOL 5624                                 Advanced Microbial Genetics

BIOL 4644                                 Microbial Molecular Genetics and Physiology Laboratory

BIOL 5664                                 Advanced Virology

BIOL 5674                                 Advanced Pathogenic Bacteriology

BIOL 4704                                 Immunology

BIOL 5734                                 Advanced Inflammation Biology

BIOL 4714                                 Immunology Laboratory

BIOL 5804                                 Advanced Prokaryotic Diversity

BIOL 5634                                 Advanced Microbial Physiology

BIOL 4075                                 Bioinformatics Methods

BIOL 6634                                 Topics in Microbial Ecology

BIOL 6644                                 Topics in Microbial Genetics

BIOL (PPWS) 6654              Topics in Virology

BIOL (VMS) 6704                 Topics in Immunology

CEE 5194                                   Applied Biology of Environmental Systems

FST 5634                                    Epidemiology of Food and Waterborne Disease

PPWS 5054                              Plant Pathogenic Agents

PPWS 5204                              Principles of Plant Disease Management

PPWS 5214                              Diseases of Crop Plants

VMS 5024                                 Selected Topics in Veterinary Pathogenic Bacteriology

VMS 5044                                 Veterinary Immunology

VMS 5054                                 Veterinary Virology

BMVS 5624                             Molecular Virology