M.S. Microbiology

Professor Brian G. Palestis, Chair, Department of Biological Sciences
Assistant Professor Christopher P. Corbo, Director, M.S. Program in Microbiology

The Department of Biological Sciences of Wagner College offers a program of study leading to the degree of Master of Science in Microbiology.

Housed in a multi-million-dollar science complex, the Department of Biological Sciences includes the Electron Microscopy Center, microtomy laboratory, darkroom, tissue culture facilities, laboratories, seminar rooms, lecture halls, and ample space for individual and group research efforts.  An ultracentrifuge, research gas chromatograph, and similar complex instrumentation help comprise a modern training and research facility.

Mission and Student Learning Goals

The mission of the graduate program in microbiology at Wagner College is to prepare students for careers as microbiologists, molecular biologists, immunologists, virologists, mycologists, parasitologists, and epidemiologists in clinical, industrial, governmental or academic research laboratories.  This is accomplished by providing a strong grounding and hands-on experience in the biochemical and physiological principles that govern all aspects of microbial life and by offering a variety of opportunities that stimulate intellectual curiosity, as well as analytical and deductive reasoning skills in our students.

By graduation, students with a M.S. degree in microbiology should possess or have demonstrated

  • a clear conceptual knowledge of microbial physiology.
  • a general knowledge of medical and public health microbiology.

Admission Requirements

Applicants for admission as matriculated students for the degree of Master of Science in microbiology must have:

  • the bachelor’s degree from an institution of recognized standing with a major in one of the biological sciences or in chemistry;
  • successfully completed an undergraduate course in microbiology and 16 credits of chemistry including one course in organic chemistry with laboratory;
  • an undergraduate course or demonstrated proficiency in statistics.

Each applicant must be advised by the director of the microbiology graduate program prior to the first registration.

Plans of Study

There are two plans of study in the program, one of which is selected at the time of application.

  • Plan A is a thesis program in which the student engages in research and completes a thesis on the study as a part of the program.
  • Plan B is a non-thesis program requiring additional course work and acceptable performance on a comprehensive examination at the completion of the program.

Degree Requirements

For all students, a minimum of 18 credits must be earned in courses numbered above 600.  Microbiology 525, 611, and 626 are to be included in the course work for the Master of Science degree.  Microbiology 512 is required of all students who have not successfully completed a previous course in an applied area of microbiology.

Plan A (Thesis) - Microbiology Plan A Checklist

Credit Requirements
A minimum of 30 graduate credits is required, which includes six credits of thesis research.

Thesis Requirement

  • When a thesis problem has been identified, the candidate registers for MI 797 (two credits) and a thesis committee comprised of three members of the faculty is appointed.  The chairperson of the thesis committee is primarily responsible for directing and guiding the candidate's research and writing activities.  The candidate must prepare and successfully defend a thesis research proposal, which must be approved by the thesis committee.
  • Once the proposal has been approved, the candidate may register for MI 798 (two credits).  This course culminates with a research progress report that must be presented to and approved by the thesis committee.  The candidate then registers for MI 799 (two credits), the goal of which is to prepare and defend a written thesis based on their research.

Oral Examination
A final oral examination covering the thesis and related areas is required and is generally held at least four weeks before the end of the semester during which the degree is conferred.

Plan B (Non-thesis) - Microbiology Plan B Checklist

Credit Requirements
A minimum of 34 graduate credits acceptable to the department is required.

Comprehensive Examination
A final comprehensive examination is required of Plan B candidates for the master’s degree.  The examination is designed to determine the candidate’s achievement in the field and may not be taken prior to the term in which the student completes the course work for the Master of Science degree.