Program: Microbiology, M.S. - University of South Florida (2022)


2019-2020 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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Program: Microbiology, M.S. - University of South Florida (1) Return to: Graduate Majors (A-Z)

Degree Information

Priority Admission Application Deadlines:

Minimum Total Hours: 30
Level: Masters
CIP Code: 26.0503
Dept. Code: BIO
Major/College Codes: MIC AS
Approved: 1973

Contact Information

College: Arts and Sciences
Department: Cell Biology, Microbiology and Molecular Biology (CMMB)

Contact Information:

The M.S. in Microbiology is administered by the Department of Cell Biology, Molecular Biology and Microbiology (CMMB). Most research in the CMMB Department is done by faculty housed in the Bio-Science Facility building (BSF). Due to the interdisciplinary aspect of most Research projects, faculty and graduate students often work together on broad ranging research projects that bring together many of the traditionally separate areas of biology. Many of the faculty within CMMB are involved in cooperative research with their colleagues in Chemistry, Integrative Biology, Public Health, Nursing, Medicine, Geology, Psychology, Geography, Marine Science, and Environmental Science. Often CMMB graduate students have faculty members from these other areas of USF as members of their graduate committees.

Because of the many undergraduate courses that require hands-on experimental laboratories, CMMB support many graduate students as Teaching Assistants. CMMB values high quality teaching at all levels of support. Research Assistant positions may also be available to support research with specific faculty members depending on an individual faculty members funding. Numerous scholarship opportunities are also offered on a competitive basis through the USF Office of Graduate Studies.

Applying to the Department of Cell Biology, Microbiology and Molecular Biology
Students interested in attending graduate studies within the CMMB Department should visit the CMMB website that can be accessed from the main USF site and review the current CMMB faculty. It is recommended that potential students consider at least 2-3 CMMB faculty that they would be interested in working with and communicate this information in their letter of application. It is also recommended that potential students contact the CMMB Graduate Director as well as the individual faculty members they are interested in working with via email. Such communication will facilitate the assignment of the laboratory rotations that CMMB students will participate in during their first semester of residency and also allow the applicant to determine whether the desired faculty member has positions available in the laboratory.

All students admitted to the Masters in Microbiology must establish a supervisory committee. The supervisory committee shall constitute the major professor and at least two additional credentialed faculty. At least one of the committee members must be a faculty member at USF. Supervisory committee must be formed within two semesters after matriculation. The CMMB Graduate Director and CMMB Chair must approve the Supervisory Committee. Once a major professor has been assigned and/or a student occupies or utilizes significant space or facilities for research or analogous scholarly activity directly pertinent to the generation of a thesis, the student shall enroll for a minimum of two (2) hours of research credit each semester (other than summer semester), until eligible to enroll in thesis credits.

Major Research Areas: Applied Microbiology, Pathogenic Microbiology, Cellular Microbiology, Molecular Microbiology, Ecological Microbiology

Admission Information

Must meet University Admission and English Proficiency requirements as well as requirements for admission to the major, listed below.

  • Prospective students must apply to the Microbiology major via the online application process through the USF Office of Graduate Admissions.
  • Preferred minimum scores of 153V (500V on the old test; 61st percentile), and 148Q (600Q on the old test; 30th percentile), 4.5 AW on GRE
  • It is expected that candidates for the M.S. degrees will have completed courses equivalent to those required for the B.S. in Microbiology at U.S.F.

Materials necessary for a complete application are listed below:

The following items should be submitted in the envelope provided to:

CMMB Graduate Office
Attention: CMMB Graduate Director
University of South Florida
4202 E. Fowler Ave – ISA 2015Tampa, FL 33620-5150

  1. Two official transcripts in a sealed envelope from each post-secondary institution. Transcripts of work completed at USF will be secured by the Office of Admissions. Thus, applicants only need to secure transcripts from other institutions for the application packet.
  2. Three letters of recommendation from faculty in sealed envelopes (on their university letterhead) with the envelope seal signed by the recommender. Students shall complete a Student Recommendation Form that can be found on the CMMB website and submit it to the recommenders.
  3. A brief essay stating your intended field of research and professional goals. Please indicate your specific research interests, in order that we may refer your application to appropriate CMMB faculty members. In the essay please list 2-3 CMMB faculty members that you would like to have review your file.
  4. Applicants must complete the Application for Teaching Assistantship (TA) Form that can be found on the CMMB or IB website if they wish to be considered for a TA position. Applicants who do not return this form will not be consider for a teaching position. Applicants should attach a resume to the Application for Teaching Assistantship (TA) Form that highlights any previous teaching experience.
  5. OFFICIAL test scores must be sent to USF directly from the testing agency. The University of South Florida’s 4-Digit Institution Code is: 5828 Official GRE scores. This exam must have been taken within the last five years.

Curriculum Requirements

Total Minimum Hours 30 hours

The thesis based M.S. degree requires successful completion of the following:

  1. structured coursework
  2. an oral qualifying exam
  3. research thesis
  4. comprehensive final examination

The Master’s Degree Requirements should be completed in two to three years. The CMMB Department requires that all graduate work applied toward the completion of degree requirements be completed within a five year period after matriculation. Thesis research should be publishable and students are encouraged to publish their findings. The specific requirements for the Master of Science (M.S.) in Microbiology are provided below

  1. Credit hour requirement: 30 semester hour credits beyond the Baccalaureate Degree are required. (including: BSC 6910, BSC 6971, BSC 6935and other structured and unstructured courses approved by CMMB or IB)
  2. Students admitted to the CMMB Department must complete three laboratory rotations during their first semester of residency.
  3. Successful completion of the comprehensive qualifying examination. The exam should be taken at the end of the first year, or early in the second year of study. The examination is administered and evaluated by the student’s graduate committee.
  4. Submission of a thesis proposal and approval by the major professor, graduate committee and graduate director.
  5. A minimum of eight (8) thesis research credit hours (BSC 6971).
  6. Seminar requirement: one presentation, excluding the thesis seminar and defense. Students should present posters or oral presentations based on their thesis research at national/regional professional meetings. The student’s graduate committee must approve the presentation.
  7. Submission of an acceptable thesis.
  8. Presentation of the thesis seminar (BSC 6935) and successful defense of the thesis.

M.S. in Microbiology Course Requirements

Required Coursework (9 Credit Hours)

  • BSC 6930 Lectures in Contemporary Biology Credit Hours: 1 (Enrollment in this course is required during each semester of residency)
  • BSC 6932 Selected Topics in Biology Credit Hours: 1-4
  • PCB 6956 Scientific Grant Writing Credit Hours: 3
  • PCB 6930 Current Topics in Cancer Biology Credit Hours: 2

Microbiology Electives* (6 credit Hours Minimum)

*The supervisory committee may approve additional courses not listed here

  • MCB 5206 Public Health and Pathogenic Microbiology Credit Hours: 3
  • MCB 5655 Applied and Environmental Microbiology Credit Hours: 3
  • PCB 5335 - Principles of Immunology Credit(s): 3
  • PCB 6236 Advanced Immunology Credit Hours: 4
  • MCB 5815 Medical Mycology Credit Hours: 3
  • BSC 5931 Selected Topics in Biology Credit Hours: 1-4 (3 credits for this program) (Molecular Microbial Ecology)
  • BSC 5931 Selected Topics in Biology

    Credit(s): 1-4 (3 credits for this program) (Prokaryotic Molecular Genetics)
  • MCB 5410 - Cellular Microbiology Credit(s): 3
  • PCB 5616 Molecular Phylogenetics Credit Hours: 3
  • PCB 6525 Molecular Genetics Credit Hours: 3
  • BSC 5420 - Genetic Engineering and Recombinant DNA Technology Credit(s): 3

Comprehensive Oral Qualifying Examination.

A final comprehensive oral examination is required for all master’s students. This examination is open to all departmental faculty. Students must take their comprehensive exam within two years of matriculation and the exam is normally taken after the completion of all formal course work. Thesis students must take the examination at least one semester before the thesis is presented. Any graduate work counted toward the requirement for the M.S. degree must be completed within five (5) years after matriculation.

All thesis-based Master’s Degree students must present a seminar to the Department of CMBB and must be enrolled in BSC 6935, during the final semester. The seminar should be a concise summary of the research completed to satisfy the requirements for the M.S. Degree. The seminar is open to the general public and must be announced two weeks prior to the presentation. Upon completion of the seminar, the general public will be invited to ask questions. At the discretion of the student’s graduate committee, members of the committee may continue to question the graduate student after the general public has departed the seminar room. Each student is expected to defend his/her research to the unanimous satisfaction of the graduate committee.

M.S. in Microbiology Non-Thesis Option

Non-Thesis - For students enrolled in the non-thesis option, a 30-hour minimum is required at the 5000-6000 level; 26 hours must be in formally structured courses; 16 hours must be at the 6000 level; 15 structured hours must be offered by CMMB. A review paper of a topic approved by the supervisory committee is required as well as successful completion of the comprehensive qualifying exam after all course work has been completed. For non-thesis master’s students, this exam will occur at the end of the program of study.

Comprehensive Exam

The comprehensive qualifying exam after all course work has been completed. For non-thesis master’s students, this exam will occur at the end of the program of study.

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