Microbiology at the University of Washington

Microbiology at the University of Washington

The UW Department of Microbiology was founded in 1915 and the first Ph.D. was awarded in 1930. It quickly became and still remains one of the premier biological science departments in the country. The department has a national reputation for high quality teaching and an international reputation for excellence in research. The department is in the School of Medicine but it is responsible for an undergraduate microbiology major, and a graduate program. More than 30 departmental faculty serve as graduate student research advisors. While the majority of faculty members have research laboratories within the South Lake Union Campus and at the Health Sciences Building, several faculty work at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle Children’s Research Institute and at the Northwest Regional Primate Research Center.

Microbiology at the University of Washington

Image Source: https://microbiology.washington.edu/

Graduate Program Overview

Study towards the Ph.D. begins in Autumn quarter. During their first and second years, students take a number of graduate courses in the Department of Microbiology as well as other basic science departments. While all students are required to take several core courses, the program leaves substantial flexibility for a number of elective courses best suited for individual interests. In addition to formal courses, students participate in a departmental journal club and attend the weekly microbiology seminar series. Students are also encouraged to attend seminars offered throughout the academic year by other basic science departments.
During the first year, students participate in 10-week research rotations in three laboratories. These rotations allow students to familiarize themselves with the research directions of individual laboratories, assure a broad research experience, and aid in selection of a research advisor and a dissertation project.
The teaching requirement for the Ph.D. degree is satisfied by assisting in the teaching of undergraduate laboratories during the first and second year, and by giving two or more formal lectures in undergraduate courses in the third or fourth years of training.
In addition to meeting formal requirements, students take part in various scholarly activities on a voluntary basis. This includes a student journal club and an annual graduate student weekend retreat combining science and recreation. Furthermore, students participate in various departmental activities through their representatives on search committees, the graduate admissions committee, and the seminar committee.
Financial Aid for Graduate Students:
Financial support is provided for all fulltime graduate students by teaching assistantships, research assistantships, and predoctoral trainee fellowships, following stipend rates for Basic Sciences Departments in the School of Medicine. The department attempts to ensure continuous support for all students through five years. The support covers resident tuition, student health insurance benefits, and a stipend. Click here to see a list of available Training Grants. 
Graduate Program Coordinator

Admissions and FAQs

Click here for FAQs.

Preparation for admission to the Graduate Program:

The Department of Microbiology strongly recommends that undergraduate preparation include courses in biochemistry, physics, general and organic chemistry, microbiology, molecular biology, and cell biology.  It’s important that prospective students seek opportunities to carry out undergraduate research. Selection is based on the evaluation of a student’s undergraduate record for indications of the ability to excel in independent and creative research. Applicants must have completed a baccalaureate or advanced degree by the time of matriculation.

How to apply:

Deadline: December 1st for domestic and international applicants. Interviews are by invitation only and are normally held in February.

Apply Online: Review the information before starting the application process. The UW Graduate School’s application fee is paid online using MasterCard or Visa credit or debit cards. Apply online here.

Tips While Applying Online:

  • Graduate Record Exam: The GRE is no longer required. It will not be considered in the admissions process.
  • TOEFL: International applicants only.
     English Language Proficiency Requirements.. Institution Code 4854. Scores are valid for two years.
  • Transcripts: Unofficial transcript(s) are to be uploaded into the provided space. Do not send hard copy transcripts. Official transcripts will be required of those admitted to the University of Washington.
  • Resume: Include your educational background, course work in progress, work experience, honors, internships, awards and prizes, and papers that you have co-authored, if any.
  • Short Answer Questions: We are requesting that applicants respons to specific prompts rather than submit a personal statement so that we may assess an applicants research interests and fit for our program.
  • Letters of Recommendation and Evaluation: Limit of 3 letters. When you list your references, they are automatically sent instructions on how to submit a letter of recommendation, and an evaluation. Be sure that the email addresses are correct.
  • The review is done online: Please do not send application materials.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the application deadline?
A. December 1st. If the first falls on a weekend, it will be the first Monday in December. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed by our Admissions Committee. It is recommended that international applicants apply by November 1st.

Q. Do you offer admittance more than once a year?
A. No. We accept students for only autumn.

Q. Can I apply to more than one program or department at the University of Washington at the same time? 
A. Yes. However, you must submit a separate application and pay an additional fee for each program to which you apply.

Q. Do you offer a Masters Degree Program?
A. No. Our program is designed for those seeking a Ph.D. degree.

Q. Is it recommended that I contact individual professors to request their support of my application?
A. No. Our first year students are required to complete three laboratory rotations before choosing a permanent lab.

Q. Is the GRE Exam required?
A. No. Do not submit GRE scores, they will not be considered in the application review.

Q. Is the TOEFL required for international students?
A. Yes. TOEFL requirement is 237 computer-based or 580 paper based. TOEFL scores are valid for 2 years.

Q. Is the TSE required for international students to be accepted into the program?
A. You do not need to take the TSE until after you are accepted into the program.

Q. Is funding available?
A. Yes. Typically, microbiology graduate students are supported by research or teaching assistantships. These positions provide a monthly stipend for living expenses, tuition waiver, and health benefits. Students are responsible for paying a student activity fee quarterly. Note: Students are encouraged to apply for training grants and fellowships (often international students are not eligible). Foreign applicants are advised that financial assistance in the form of a teaching assistantship cannot be awarded unless the applicant has scored above 580 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language.

Q. Can I be a part-time student?
A. No. We do not accept students on a part-time basis.

Undergraduate Program

The science of microbiology primarily encompasses the realms of bacteria and viruses, but also includes other microbes such as fungi and protozoa.

Despite a microscopic size, microorganisms influence the world of humans in monumental ways, ranging from infectious diseases to healthful living, and from food production to waste treatment. Microorganisms also sense and respond to their own world, fending off competitors and promoting their own propagation.

Our undergraduate program in Microbiology offers courses that provide an introduction to the microbial world as well as in depth studies of genetics, physiology, infectious disease, diversity, and structure of microorganisms. Nearly all undergraduate microbiology courses satisfy the Natural World (NW) requirement in the Areas of Knowledge component for a bachelors degree at the University of Washington.

For students interested in microbiology but not planning to major in the field, Microm 301 and 302 are good options. Microm 301 is a lecture course while Microm 302 is a hands-on laboratory course. Both Microm 301 and 302 are commonly required for students preparing to enter health science professions such as nursing, dentistry, pharmacy, and physical therapy.  If you have a strong biology background and want more focused content, our 400-level courses are excellent choices. 

Source: https://microbiology.washington.edu/

Microbiology at the University of Washington

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