Students begin their program of study by taking an intensive graduate level course that provides a unified presentation of the fundamental principles in the basic disciplines of biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, and genetics. This is a core course that is designed for all first year basic science graduate students at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. In the spring semester of the first year, students take additional courses in bacterial and viral pathogenesis. In addition to the Microbiology Program's required courses, students may take additional elective courses offered by other graduate programs. Students must earn 30 semester credit hours prior to the comprehensive examination and advancement to candidacy for the PhD degree.
In addition to formal course work, during their first year, Microbiology Graduate Program students conduct a series of three independent research projects, or laboratory rotations. Students may do these rotations in the laboratories of any of the Microbiology Graduate Program training faculty. By the end of the spring semester of the first year, students have completed much of the required course work. At this time, the students must pass a written and oral Preliminary Examination that addresses problem solving aspects of the first year course work.
Students usually select a laboratory and dissertation advisor by the end of the first year of study. Any faculty member of the Microbiology Graduate Program can serve as a dissertation mentor. Selection of a laboratory is a mutual decision made by the student and the prospective mentor, and is, in part, contingent upon available space and research funding.
At the end of the second year, a written and oral Comprehensive Examination is taken by the students. This examination is based on a written research proposal prepared by the student and based on their thesis research. After successfully completing the Comprehensive Examination, the student is advanced to candidacy for the PhD degree. At this time, a Doctoral Thesis Committee is appointed to advise the student and mentor in matters pertaining to the student's research. Through regular meetings with the student and mentor, the committee evaluates and monitors the student's progress. A typical doctoral dissertation requires three to four years of full-time research.
Laboratory skills are necessary for successful completion of any PhD program. Three (3) laboratory rotations are required of first year students, running concurrently with the graduate course curriculum. First-year students may choose to perform laboratory rotations with any of the training faculty participating in the Microbiology program. After acceptance into the program, rotations begin in the fall semester. At the end of each rotation, students in the Microbiology program present a short oral presentation on their work to program students and faculty.
Throughout their graduate training, students also participate in a variety of journal clubs and "Research in Progress" seminars. In these interactive sessions, students learn to critically evaluate the scientific literature and develop strong presentation skills. Each year the graduate students present their ongoing research in the weekly Immunology and Microbiology Research-in-Progress Seminar Series. In addition, all students are expected to regularly attend and present in the Infectious Diseases Journal Club.
|Fall Semester Course Curriculum|
|Research in Microbiology||1 credit||MICB 7650-001|
|Research in Microbiology||1 credit||MICB 7650-002|
|Statistics for Basic Scientists||3 credits||BIOS 6606*|
|Foundations in Biomedical Sciences||6 credits||BMSC 7806**|
|Core Topics in Biomedical Sciences – topics A |
Microbiology in Biomedical Research
|2 credits||BMSC 7810-002|
|Core Topics in Biomedical Sciences – topics B |
The Microbiome in Health and Medicine, Gene Regulation
and RNA Biology in Disease, Principles of Cancer Biology
|2 credits||BMSC 7810-009, -008, or -011|
|Spring Semester Course Curriculum|
|Research in Microbiology||1 credit||MICB 7650, 001|
|Molecular Mechanisms of Bacterial Disease||3 credits||MICB 7703|
|Molecular Virology and Pathogenesis||3 credits||MICB 7701|
|Summer Semester Course Curriculum|
|Doctoral Thesis||1 credit||MICB 8990|
*Dates are approximate. Time from May finals - end of June are reserved for Prelims until final dates announced; *BSP students take in their first year; **MSTP students take their first year in the program.
|Science as a Profession, |
|1 credit||IMMU 7607|
|Research in Microbiology, |
|Workshop in Scientific Writing, |
|1 credit||IMMU 7605|
|Summer Semester Course Curriculum|
|Doctoral Thesis||1 credit||MICB 8990-OV1|
|Doctoral Thesis||5 credits Fall/Spring, |
1 credit Summer,
*5 credits if defending in Summer