For general information consult the Graduate School     Master of Science (M.S.) Program Flowchart

The Department of Microbiology offers two MS degree options:  A Non-thesis MS degree and a Research-based MS degree (which includes students in the Accelerated M.S. track).

This program aims to train students in critical aspects of microbiology including exposure to modern thinking and techniques in microbiology and virology.  The curriculum is based on coursework and the completion of a capstone synthesis project.  It does not require the completion of a research-based Master's thesis.  We offer two distinct specialty "tracks" to better prepare individuals for today's in-demand workforce:  "Microbiome Analytics" and "Biohealth Sciences."  Each track will require that students take our current master's program core course work in addition to 13 additional NTM core credits and 25 credits that are distinct for each option.  The additional NTM core credits replace the "thesis credits" required for our thesis master's degree.  The remaining elective courses will be selected by the students based on individual interests.  The program is constructed to be completed in one academic year with the possibility of adding some course work in the summer before or after, if necessary.

Program of Study (45 graduate credits required; i.e., 500 or 600 level):

(1) An initial progam of study meeting

(2) A ten-credit core sequence of five courses must be taken during the first year of enrollment:  MB 507 Seminar (1 CR F/W/S), MB 511 Scientific Skills (1 CR);  MB 512 Highlights of Microbiology (1 CR); MB 513 Microbial Systems (3 CR);  GRAD 520 Responsible Conduct of Research (2 CR)

(3) Completion of an additional 10 core credits:  MB 520 Microbial Genomes, Biochemistry and Diversity (3 CR); MB 534 Virology (3 CR); MB 556 Microbial Genetics and Biotechnology (3 CR); MB 506 Projects:  Capstone/Professional Skills (3 CR); MB 507 Microbiology Seminar (1 CR)

(4) Completion of an additional 25 credits of course electives specific to either the Microbiome Analytics or BioHealth Sciences Non-Thesis track.


Program of Study for the Completion of a Research-Based Master's in Microbiology

The M.S. Thesis Committee consists of 4 members of the OSU graduate faculty, at least 2 of whom must be from the Microbiology Program Graduate Faculty.  The committee includes a Graduate Council Representative, who serves as advocate for appropriate process.  A Program Meeting will be held no later than the end of the second term of work in the thesis lab.  The Program meeting will cover two aspects:  the proposed coursework (Program of Study) and the proposed research (Thesis Outline).  This meeting will include all members of the committee.  A Program of Study form should be completed during this meeting.

For guidelines specific to the Accelerated M.S. requirements and timeline, please refer to those pages on the website.

Program of Study (45 graduate credits required; i.e., 500 or 600 level):

(1) 24-33 coursework credits consisting of:

a.  The required core sequence of 4-5 courses (10 credits) that must be taken during Year 1:  MB 507 Seminar (3 cr F/W/S), MB 511 Scientific Skills (1 cr, F); MB 512 Highlights of Microbiology (1 cr, W); MB 513 Microbial Systems, (3 cr, F); GRAD 520, Responsible Conduct of Research (2 cr, all terms and eCampus).

b.  15-24 credits from MB listings or courses relevant to the thesis research offered by other programs IF agreed to by the thesis committee

(2) 12 Thesis credits (MB 503):  minimum of 6, maximum of 12 (12 cr recommended).

(3) 0-9 "Blanket" credits (XOX course designation excluding Thesis  MB 503) from MB 501 Research, MB 505 Reading and Conference, or MB 507 Seminar/Colloquium.

  • Note: A minimum of 50%, or 23 of the 45 credits must be graduate stand-alone courses (500/600 level) that are not derived from the 500 component of 400/500 courses.  For example, after the 6 required first year core sequence credits and typical 12 MB 503 thesis credits, 5 further credits must be graduate only. 
  • Note:  Enrollment in MB 501 Research is appropriate while rotating or before thesis project has been decided.
  • Note: Full time enrollment is 16 credits per term in the academic year and 5 in the summer.  Maximum load permitted is 16 credits.


Thesis Outline
Students must prepare and submit to the thesis committee an outline of the thesis project.  This outline must be sufficiently detailed to enable the thesis committee to evaluate the progress of the student on a yearly basis.

Annual Meeting Requirements
Students are required to meet yearly with their committee to evaluate their progress.  The Annual Graduate Student Progress Report form must be completed by the second year (and beyond) student and major professor and returned to the Microbiology Graduate Student Advisor (Dr. Rebecca Vega-Thurber) by the end of December each year. Registration for winter term classes requires departmental approval, which will be given upon receipt of the completed progress report.

Other Requirements

  1. Students must maintain an overall GPA of 3.0 and will be notified by the Graduate School if their GPA falls below 3.0 for any term.  The cumulative GPA must be at or above 3.0 before the final exam can be taken.  Grades C (=2.0) or below cannot be used as graduate credit.
  2. Candidates must complete one term of service as a Graduate Teaching Assistant before graduation.  This is considered a valuable experience and an integral part of training towards a higher degree.

Final Defense
The Graduate Committee will conduct the final examination.  Substitutions may be made if approved by the Program and Graduate School. 

The student must contact members of the committee to arrange the date, time, and place of the defense, and then schedule the exam with the Graduate School not less than two weeks before the examination.  One copy of the pre-text pages of the thesis must be submitted to the Graduate School.  Copies of the thesis should be distributed to all committee members, two weeks prior to the exam.  All members of the graduate committee should generally be physically present at the required graduate exam (for exceptions, see Remote Participation requirements). 

The first part of the exam is the thesis presentation portion and is open to anyone.  After the thesis seminar and open questions, the committee and student will continue in closed session with the oral examination of the thesis work and its relationship to microbiology.

  • The decision on the outcome of the exam will be based on a Scoring Guide rubric.  The committee will use this form to evaluate the student's performance (with specific reference to rubric items) at the conclusion of the defense.
  • It is the responsibility of the student and major professor to provide the Scoring Guide/Rubric Sheet for each graduate committee member and of the major professor to explain its use.  The committee will discuss the student's performance (with specific reference to rubric items) with the student at the conclusion of the defense. 
  • The major professor will collect completed forms for filing in the Microbiology Office.