Skip to main content


Nicole Kirchoff talking with Thomas Sharpton in the lab.

While at OSU, Nicole Kirchoff discovered a correlation between aggressive behavior in rescued dogs and their gut microbes. She is now a postdoc at the University of Connecticut.

Join our thriving and tight-knit graduate program in microbiology

Our master's and Ph.D. graduate students contribute to world-class research in all areas from microbiology, including environmental and pathogenic microbiology. Every graduate student in the Department of Microbiology is mentored and advised by one of our 19 research-active faculty who foster them in their studies that encompass a spectrum of approaches, from the ecological and organismal to the molecular, genetic and biochemical.

Meet our graduate students

Get a strong, multidisciplinary experience in microbiology

We train about 30-40 graduate students earning M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. Our research covers a broad range of subjects involving viruses, bacteria and parasites, and their roles in the health of the environment and humans, animals and plants. Microbiology faculty are strongly multidisciplinary and also train graduate students enrolled in related programs such as Molecular & Cellular Biology, Soil Science, Fisheries & Wildlife, and Oceanography.

See admissions requirements and guidance 

A rich experience inside the lab and out

Explore all the opportunities to get involved in our student and campus community and discover why the Department of Microbiology can be the right place for you.

Learn more about life as a grad student 


As part of your training, you will take a core set of courses and participate in the departmental seminar program. The master’s program leads to a thesis or research report (non-thesis option) on a specific problem; the Ph.D. program emphasizes independent thesis research on a major topic at the forefront of your chosen field.

Learn more about the microbiology graduate program 

Graduate program goals

Our department takes your education seriously. Our aim is to train a diverse group of students so that they will have the necessary tools to succeed and become leaders in industry, research institutes, government agencies and academia. Here is how we will do that:

  1. Provide a compelling and relevant microbiology curriculum that will train you at a high standard of scientific literacy and impart appropriate skill sets.

  2. Provide exposure to a diverse scientific community where there are increased and equal opportunities for under-represented minorities and for students with diverse life experiences.

  3. Provide personalized mentoring and the necessary support for you to progress to a timely completion of your master's and Ph.D. degrees.

  4. Provide the facilities and resources commensurate with a top tier research university so that you can gain valuable skills and compelling learning experiences.

Come and visit us!

Prospective graduate students are welcome to visit microbiology either virtually or in person! Typically, a fall visit is best for students planning to applying in January and begin their studies the following fall term (our normal cycle).

Learn more about visiting campus 
Tour campus virtually