PhD Program

Curriculum and Requirements

In our 72-credit PhD Program in Microbiology and Immunology, you will build knowledge with our core curriculum and engage in significant laboratory research.

First Year Curriculum

You will spend your first year in our interdisciplinary PhD Program in Biomedical Sciences (PPBS). You will have the chance to explore a variety of disciplines before committing to your specific research area.

You will gain a broad base of experience and knowledge in our lab rotation system. You will collaborate with our renowned research scientists on cutting-edge research.

You will build expertise as you complete our structured, interdisciplinary curriculum. You also will receive strong support to pursue your individual interests.

If you are interested in microbiology and immunology, you should devote at least one of your first-year rotations to research within our department. This will prepare you to begin your dissertation research in your chosen field.

Recommended Electives for Students Interested in Microbiology and Immunology

As part of the PPBS program, you will complete two elective courses in the second semester of your first year. If you want to pursue a PhD in microbiology and immunology, you may fulfill the following requirements as electives during your initial year. This will give you a head start and allow you to devote more time in your second year to research, advanced topics or electives.

One of the following biochemistry courses:

Second Year Curriculum

If you choose microbiology and immunology, you officially enter our program in your second year. You will complete the following courses for our PhD degree.

1st Semester

2nd Semester

* If not taken previously

Third Year Curriculum and Beyond

Seminars and Advanced Topics, 4 courses, variable credit

You will choose four seminar or advanced topics courses from the list below. You may take the same advanced topic course twice. However, we encourage you to study topics outside your primary area of interest to gain a broader understanding of the field.

Advanced Topics Courses

Professional Development

We are committed to working with you to consistently develop your professional acumen. You will gain the knowledge and skills you need to succeed in our constantly evolving field. Through our department and the Witebsky Center for Microbial Pathogenesis and Immunology, you will have opportunities to participate in significant research, presentation forums and seminars.

Our PhD candidates routinely generate high quality publications and move on to postdoctoral positions in top infectious disease laboratories.

Thesis Research

You conduct your thesis research under the supervision of your mentor and a PhD Thesis Advisory Committee. Your committee will include your mentor as chair and at least three other UB faculty members in the graduate school selected by you and your mentor.

Two members of your committee must have appointments in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, and one may have a primary appointment in another UB department.

Your research culminates in a written thesis dissertation, which is an original contribution to the scientific literature. You also must orally defend your thesis before your advisory committee. In addition, you will formally present your research during a public seminar.

On average, our PhD students complete degree requirements in about five years.