Department of Microbiology College of Natural Sciences University of Massachusetts Amherst

Department of Microbiology College of Natural Sciences University of Massachusetts Amherst

Amherst, MA
student ratio
total students
average amount to complete degree
December 20
fall application deadline
acceptance rate
11 Degrees Offered
degrees offered


Dynamic Faculty and Outstanding Specialties Lead to Student Success

The Department of Microbiology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, is driven by young and dynamic faculty, who listen to students' needs and want to give them the best education possible. When joining the program, students study side by side with faculty whose cutting-edge research has gained this University international recognition for their applied science and theoretical accomplishments.

Outstanding specialties are environmental microbiology, medical microbiology, molecular microbiology, microbial genetics, and biotechnology. Research areas span themes from cancer-related regulation of DNA duplication to renewable energy production, from parasitic strategies to the microbial ecology of Amazonian rainforests, from life forms thriving in boiling water to microbial communication and genetic networks.

High-ranking research and education standards enable UMass Amherst to place its graduates into uniquely successful leading positions in academia, industry, and regulatory agencies.

Distinguished Ph.D. Program and Requirements Clearly Outlined for Students

Formal course work in the Ph.D. program is generally completed during the first two years. After the first year, an increasing proportion of students' time is dedicated to research. Students select a dissertation problem from a wide spectrum of research areas pursued by the faculty. During the first year students will actively participate in current research projects during two laboratory rotations that last one semester each. A listing of currently offered rotation projects is provided to all students prior to the semester.

In the second year, Ph.D. candidates must pass a comprehensive preliminary examination. Final degree requirements are completed by submission and defense of a dissertation. There is no foreign language requirement. Completion of the Ph.D. program generally takes four to five years beyond the bachelor's degree.

UMass Amherst's State-of-the-Art Facilities and Equipment Foster Excellence in Research Projects

Students' research projects flourish supported by the state-of-the-art research apparatus necessary for investigation into all aspects of microbiology available within departmental space. Various instrument rooms containing shared high-tech preparative and analytical tools such as ultracentrifuges support further large equipment needs.

In addition, the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, offers students centralized facilities which provide modern equipment and expertise to support their research projects, such as the Genomics and Bioinformatics Facility, Central Microscopy Facility, and Mass Spectrometry Facility, to name a few.

Well-Structured Graduate Program Provides Extensive Options at Five Colleges

Graduate students at UMass Amherst enjoy a catalog of high-quality graduate-level courses within a well-structured graduate program. The UMass and Five College Interchange allows students to take all available courses for free not only from the extensive offerings at the large UMass campus, but also at four prestigious colleges in the area: Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, and Smith College. A free bus system conveniently connects all surrounding schools with every part of the UMass Amherst campus.

Graduate Student Development Is a Vital Aspect of the Graduate Program at UMass Amherst

Graduate student development is actively supported in UMass' Department of Microbiology. Each incoming graduate student is assigned an experienced graduate student mentor from the department who is able to provide support, encouragement, and information pertaining to graduate life and the program.

The Microbiology Graduate Student Group (MGSG) in the Department of Microbiology, a strong self-organized group, fosters and encourages student involvement and communication within the department, at scientific conferences, and in local, state, and national activities of the American Society of Microbiology. Graduate students organize their own American Society of Microbiology Student Chapter and invite seminar speakers.

Financial Support and Assistance Available for Students and Research

All PhD level graduate students in microbiology at UMass Amherst are supported by a competitive salary all year, are covered by excellent benefits, a waiver of tuition, and supported by a very active graduate student union (health, dental, and vision).

To get involved in the real-life situation of fund-raising for research, additional funding opportunities are provided by the campus-wide Graduate School that has its own Graduate Student Grant Service (GSGS). Currently, the service offers its very popular FindFunding and proposal writing workshops, as well as databases on fellowships.

Students Receive Many Benefits from the Beauty of the Campus and the Location of the School

Amherst, an island of education and intellectual stimulation, is nestled in the green rolling hills of the Connecticut River valley. Active culture meets history here, and multiple festivals throughout the year parallel fifty museums in a twenty-mile radius.

Students live in one of New England's most picturesque areas, offering renowned restaurants and exciting cultural events, and they are within easy driving distance to metropolitan Boston (two hours) and New York City (three hours). International airports are only fifty miles (Bradley Airport in Hartford, Connecticut) or two hours away (Logan International in Boston).

Location & Contact

Department of Microbiology

College of Natural Sciences
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Amherst, MA 01003
United States

Dr. Michele Klingbeil

Graduate Program Director

Phone: 413-545-6675
Fax: 413-545-1578

Ms. Lindsay DeSantis

Supervisor of Admissions

Phone: 413-545-0722
Fax: 413-577-0010

Request More Info

Degrees & Award

  • Degrees Offered
    • Major Degree Levels Offered
    • Microbiology Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
      Master of Science (MS)
  • Degrees Awarded
    • Master's Degrees 11
    • Doctoral Degrees 4
    • First Professional Degrees Not reported
    • Other Advanced Degrees Not reported
    • * Shows the number of degrees awarded for the last academic year that data was reported.
  • Earning Your Degree
    • Part-time study available? Yes
    • Evening/weekend programs available? No
    • Distance learning programs available? No
    • Terminal master's degree available? Yes
  • Degree Requirements
    • Master's Degrees
    • Doctoral Degrees
    • First Professional Degrees Not reported
    • Other Advanced Degrees Not reported


26% of applicants are admitted.
  • Acceptance Rate
    • Applied 111
    • Accepted 29
    • Acceptance Rate 26
    • Enrolled 17
  • Applying
    • Application Fee - Domestic $75
    • Application Fee - International $75
    • Electronic applications accepted? Yes
    • Applications processed on a rolling basis? Yes
  • Application Deadlines
    • Type Domestic International Priority Date
    • Fall deadline December 20th December 20th Not Reported
    • Winter deadline Not Reported Not Reported Not Reported
    • Spring deadline October 1st October 1st Not Reported
  • Entrance Requirements
    • Master's DegreesGRE General Test
    • Doctoral's DegreesGRE General Test
    • First-Professional's DegreesNot Reported
    • Other Advanced DegreesNot Reported
    • International DegreesTOEFL required, 550 paper based, TOEFL iBT, IELTS required, IELTS paper based

Tuition & Fees

  • Tuition & Fees *
    • Tuition & Fees$13,335
    • *Average dollar amount (tuition & fees) required to complete the degree
  • Financial Support
    • Financial award applicants must submitNot Reported
    • Application deadlines for financial awardsDecember 20
    • Types of financial support availableTuition Waivers, Career or Field-Related Internships, Federal Work-Study, Financial Support for Part-time Students, Health Care Benefits, Scholarship and/or loans, Traineeships, Graduate Assistantships

Student Body

  • Gender
    • Total Graduate Students35
    • Female Percentage63%
    • Male Percentage37%
  • Participation
    • Total Graduate Students35
    • Part-time Percentage9%
    • Full-time Percentage91%
  • Ethnicity
    • Hispanic / Latino19%
    • Black / African American0%
    • White / Caucasian58%
    • American Indian / Alaskan Native0%
    • Asian19%
    • Native Hawaiian / Other Pacific Islander0%
    • Two or more races0%
    • Unknown4%


  • Faculty Breakout
    • Total Faculty14
    • Full-time Percentage100%
    • Part-time Percentage0%
    • Female Percentage7%
    • Male Percentage93%


  • Existing Research
    • Focus of faculty researchMicrobial physiology, genetics, immunology, parasitology, pathogenic bacteriology
    • Externally sponsored research expenditures last yearNot Reported