Because students have varied backgrounds and interests, they may choose from a variety of courses. Students must take a minimum of three courses in Microbiology and at least one elective course. In addition, students must do at least three nine-week laboratory rotations and take a course on scientific ethics.
Students must receive a grade of “Honors” in two full-semester courses in order to advance to candidacy.
Each rotation lasts about nine to 10 weeks, during which time students are expected to participate in a research project under the direction of a faculty member. Faculty sponsors provide a written evaluation of each student's performance, and rotations are graded satisfactory or unsatisfactory.
Research rotations give students a chance to identify a laboratory in which they might conduct dissertation research. Rotations also introduce students to different techniques and approaches. Thus, this requirement will not be waived because a student has made an early decision concerning a dissertation laboratory.
Students should choose and organize their rotations in advance through discussions with faculty members and the director of graduate studies.
Recommended rotation schedule:
- The first rotation should start in September and the rotation talk should be given on the first Friday in December.
- The second rotation starts in January and the rotation talk should be given on the third Friday in March.
- The third rotation should begin in March and the rotation talk should be given on the last Friday in May.
At the end of each rotation a talk should be given. Students are required to choose their thesis laboratories by the end of their first year.