Suburban setting

Interested in Program in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics? Admissions officers are waiting to hear from you!

Get More Info


A Top Program in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics

Emory University offers a Ph.D. program in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics (MMG) for students interested in the study of microorganisms as well as in the use of microbial models to investigate basic problems in molecular genetics. The program is provided through Emory's Graduate Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences (GDBBS), whose research output is ranked among the top 10 in the nation in many biological and biomedical fields by the "Chronicle of Higher Education." Emory University is one of the fastest growing medical centers in the country.

The MMG faculty is dedicated to training students in basic principles in microbiology so that graduates will have an outstanding foundation as they continue their career in science. Faculty are drawn from departments within the School of Medicine (Microbiology and Immunology, Medicine, Pathology and Pediatrics), School of Public Health, Emory College, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the VA Medical Center.

Research Opportunities in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics

The program is designed not only for students interested in academic careers in teaching and research, but also for those interested in careers in related aspects of medicine and industry. Research training is offered in bacterial genetics and physiology, microbial development, molecular biology of viruses and bacterial pathogens, mechanisms of bacterial and viral pathogenesis, molecular biology of gene regulation, antibiotic resistance, antiviral and vaccine development.

The faculty collaborate on contemporary microbiologic problems of interest that impact human health. The faculty is well-funded, with extramural grant support from federal agencies such as the NIH, NSF and VA. The Emory Vaccine Center (faculty member Rafi Ahmed is the Director), the Center of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance (directed by faculty member Richard Compans), and the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Center for Immunology and Vaccines provide unique training opportunities for MMG students. Additionally, some faculty are also members of the Center for AIDS Research and the Georgia Research Alliance. Faculty members Rafi Ahmed and Bruce Levin are members of the National Academy of Sciences.

Coursework and Laboratory Rotations

Doctoral students in the Microbiology and Molecular Genetics program typically complete their degrees in about five and a half years. The graduate experience in MMG begins with an introduction to the faculty, current students, and their research through a series of short talks, discussions and a poster session. The students then choose the first of three research rotations, which are designed to provide exposure to different areas and to varied techniques, and to enable the student to choose a laboratory for thesis research.

Each student is assigned a pre-research advisor for consultation in designing his/her individual curriculum. The MMG program is small and therefore can be tailored to the needs of each individual student. During their first year each student takes the same required courses.

By their second year students are actively pursing research while taking elective courses to fulfill the requirements for the Ph.D. degree. Students also complete a two-day Teaching Assistant Training and Teaching Opportunity Program (TATTO). By the end of the second year, students complete their qualifying exams.

During their remaining years in the program students participate in advanced graduate seminars and advanced graduate research courses as they complete their dissertation proposals, research, theses, and oral examinations.

Competitive Financial Support

Students in the Graduate Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences at Emory receive tuition scholarships, health insurance, and stipends. They enjoy a low cost of living in suburban Atlanta, Georgia.

The stipend for the 2017-18 academic year is $30,000. In addition, several competitive fellowships are offered to outstanding applicants each year. These fellowships provide students with supplements to their stipends that range from $2,500 to $5,000 per year for five years, depending on the award.

Living in Atlanta

Emory University is located in a beautiful, wooded area of northeast Atlanta, Georgia, just four miles from downtown. The area serves as a hub of medical research, encompassing both the CDC and the American Cancer Society.

Midtown Atlanta is home to museums, galleries, and cultural activities that students enjoy. Atlanta's temperate climate affords students many opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, rafting, and camping.

Degrees & Awards

Degrees Offered

Degree Concentration Sub-concentration
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degrees Awarded

Master's Degrees 1
Doctoral Degrees 5

Earning Your Degree

Part-time study available? No
Evening/weekend programs available? No
Distance learning programs available? No
Terminal master's degree available? Yes

Degree Requirements

Doctoral Degrees Entrance Exam GRE General Test
Comp Exam Required
Thesis Required


Acceptance Rate



Application Fee - Domestic
applications accepted?

Application Deadlines

Type Domestic International Priority date
Fall deadline December 1st December 1st No

Entrance Requirements

Doctoral Degree Exam GRE General Test
Doctoral Degree Requirements Minimum GPA of 3.0 in science course work (recommended)
International Students Exam Details
TOEFL: Required

Tuition & Fees

Calculator icon

Financial Support

Types of financial support available Fellowships
Health Care Benefits
Institutionally-sponsored Loans
Scholarship and/or loans

Student Body

Total Graduate Students
Not Reported
International Breakout (representing other countries)
Out-of-state students


Hispanic/Latino 6.82%
Black or African American 4.55%
White or Caucasian 63%
American Indian or Alaska Native Not Reported
Asian 4.55%
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander Not Reported
Two or more races Not Reported
Unknown 9.09%


Male (20%)
Female (79%)


Total faculty
Full-time (40)
Part-time (0)
Male (32)
Female (8)


Focus of faculty research: Bacterial genetics and physiology, microbial development, molecular biology of viruses and bacterial pathogens, DNA recombination
Externally sponsored research expenditures last year: 0

Location & Contact

Address 201 Dowman Drive
Atlanta, GA  30322-1100
United States
Contact Dr. David Steinhauer
Program Director
Email: dsteinh@emory.edu
Phone: 404-712-8542
Fax: 404-727-3659