Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Microbiology


Program Description

The objective of the Ph.D. degree in Microbiology is to impart advanced scientific knowledge in microbiology, to provide training opportunities in conducting state-of-the-art basic research in microbiology, and closely related disciplines.

Program Vision and Goals

The ultimate vision of the Ph.D. program in microbiology at Alabama State University is to make essential scientific and societal advancements for the benefit of the state of Alabama, region, and nation through the operation of a unique new doctoral research and training program. The research, education and service outcomes of the proposed Ph.D. Program in Microbiology will benefit Alabama’s citizens in important ways, namely:

  1. create new opportunities to study environmental and commercial food resource issues important to the state’s economy, and the health and safety of its citizens,
  2. provide marketable, doctoral-level training opportunities in areas of emerging scientific importance,
  3. foster the development and implementation of scientific strategies that maximize stewardship of the state’s environmental and commercial resources, and
  4. produce a pool of scientists capable of employing contemporary tools to address emerging societal threats such as rising food and waterborne diseases, bioterrorism, environmental contaminants, and new-generation microbial pathogens.

Financial Support

Financial assistance in the form of Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) and Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) awards are available to selected Ph.D. students. All GTAs must have completed at least 18 credit hours of graduate course work beyond undergraduate courses to be eligible. All GTAs are required to teach undergraduate laboratory courses working under the direct supervision of a faculty member. Assignment of course laboratories is determined by the department chair. A GTA may be assigned to teach up to 2 undergraduate laboratory sections.

Residency Requirements

For the Ph.D. degree in Microbiology, at least four consecutive semesters of full-time work, excluding summers, must be spent in resident study. Undergraduate courses and doctoral research will not be counted toward residency fulfillment. A full-time student is expected to register for eight to nine semester hours.

Program of Study

A preliminary program of study developed by the student and the major advisor and approved by the advisory committee should be submitted to the graduate coordinator for approval by the end of the student's first year of residency. A final program of study, approved by the advisory committee, should be submitted to the graduate coordinator prior to application for admission to candidacy. A minimum of 53 hours of graduate coursework beyond the bachelor's degree is required to complete the doctoral program, excluding doctoral research. A minimum of three hours of doctoral dissertation and a graduate seminar class must be included on the program of study.

Comprehensive Examinations

The student must pass formal, comprehensive written and oral examinations prior to being admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree. Only students who have completed all required core courses, as listed in the Graduate Handbook, are eligible to take the exam. Students must complete the comprehensive examination within three (3) years from admission to the Program.

Dissertation Proposal

All students pursuing the Ph.D. degree in microbiology must prepare a dissertation proposal on the original research to be conducted for the degree. The proposal must be presented to the advisory committee in conjunction with the student and verification of the advisory committee's approval. The dissertation proposal must be approved prior to admission to candidacy for the degree.

Dissertation Defense and Graduate Seminar

Upon completion of the dissertation work, the major advisor will indicate his/her acceptance of the work and schedule the defense of the dissertation. All members of the advisory committee must agree on the dissertation and its defense. No later than thirty (30) days prior to the proposed date of the defense, the completed notice of the dissertation defense form must be filed with School of Graduate Studies. The results of the defense must be reported to the Ph.D. coordinator.

The Ph.D. coordinator will notify the School of Graduate Studies regarding satisfactory dissertation defense, and following approval, the student's advisor will schedule the open graduate seminar (dissertation research presentation). It is the responsibility of the student to schedule the day, time and place for the graduate seminar, in consultation with his/her committee. The graduate seminar should be open to all ASU faculty and staff and a notice to that effect should be distributed to ASU community by the Ph.D. coordinator at least two weeks prior to the date of the seminar.


Admission to CandidacyCandidacy approval will be granted by the School of Graduate Studies. Students who have completed all course requirements and passed the written and oral comprehensive examinations are admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree. A student-initiated application for admission to candidacy must be submitted to and approved by the graduate coordinator at least two semesters prior to the date of graduation. This application is a certification that the candidate has demonstrated the ability to do acceptable graduate work in microbiology.

Course Number Course Title Semester Credit Hours
BIO 710.01 Scientific Communication 3
BIO 720.01 Microbial Genetics and Genomics 3
BIO 730.01 Microbial Physiology and Diversity 3
BIO 740.01 Environmental Microbiology 3
BIO 740.02 Microbiology of Food Systems 3
BIO 740.03 Microbiology of Water Systems 3
Course Number Course Title Semester Credit Hours
CHE 700.01 Biochemistry 3
BST 500/700.01 Biostatistics 3
BIO 700.01 Laboratory Research Rotation 3
BIO 750.01 Microbial Risk Assessment and Management 3
BIO 875.01 Seminar in Microbiology 1
Course Number Course Title Semester Credit Hours
CHE 705.01 Environmental Chemistry 3
BIO 805.01 Microbial Ecology 3
BIO 815.01 Microbial Pathogenesis 3
BIO 825.01 Microbiology of Food Sanitation 3
BIO 835.01 Microbial Water Quality 3
BIO 845.01 Microbial Bioterrorism and Safety 3
BIO 855.01 Microbial Biotechnology 3
BIO 865.01 Special Topics in Food and Water Microbiology Repeatable for Up to 3
BIO 865.02 Special Topics in Environmental Microbiology
Course Number Course Title Semester Credit Hours
BIO 799 Doctoral Research Variable
BIO 899 Doctoral Dissertation 3
Course Number Course Title Semester Credit Hours
BIO 510/701 Advanced Microbiology 4
BIO 614/702 Applied Microbiology 4
BIO 618/703 Virology 4
BIO 619/704 Molecular Genetics 4

Graduate Fees

Below are estimated tuition and costs for full-time graduate students residing on-campus during the 2017-18 academic year. Actual costs and fees may vary depending on enrollment and lifestyle decisions. You also may wish to review estimated tuition and costs for part-time graduate enrollment on our complete budget worksheet. For a breakdown of fees by credit hour and by semester, download the 2017-18 Schedule of Student Tuition and Fees. DurationAverage time to graduation ranges from four to five years.

In-State Out-of-State
Billed Expenses
Tuition/Fees $10,156 $17,572
Room/Board $5,422 $5,422
Subtotal $15,578 $22,994
Other Estimated Expenses
Books $1,000 $1,000
Transportation $1,552 $1,552
Miscellaneous/Personal $1,840 $1,840
Subtotal $4,392 $4,392
Estimated Total $19,970 $27,386
Last updated Oct 2018

About the School

The fundamental mission of The Murphy Graduate School is to (1) provide leadership for the University’s doctorate, educational specialist, master’s and certificate level, post-baccalaureate degree pro ... Read More

The fundamental mission of The Murphy Graduate School is to (1) provide leadership for the University’s doctorate, educational specialist, master’s and certificate level, post-baccalaureate degree programs; (2) serve as the campus-wide advocate for the advancement of graduate education; and (3) provide oversight for standards of excellence, fairness and equity in all graduate programs. Read less