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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Microbiology University of Wisconsin - Madison




Course info


The Department of Bacteriology in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology in the School of Medicine and Public Health (see separate course listings) administer the interdepartmental microbiology doctoral training program (MDTP). Incoming students have the opportunity to do laboratory rotations with any of the primary faculty, affiliate faculty, and trainers from multiple departments. This group includes more than 90 faculty members in numerous departments and programs involved in microbiology research and graduate training. In addition to this breadth of opportunities in microbiology research training, the program also encompasses graduate courses offered by both departments.

The Ph.D. program prepares graduates for research and teaching positions in universities and colleges, for industry or government, and for clinical microbiology.

Research emphasis includes, but is not limited to, prokaryotic (bacteria and archaea), viral and lower eukaryotic systems (fungi, oomycetes, and parasites); antibiotics and antibiotic resistance, bio film formation; bioinformatics and computational biology; biotechnology and industrial microbiology, including bio fuels; cell–cell signaling; cell motility and chemotaxis; DNA, including nucleic acid synthesis, DNA replication and recombination; food microbiology; fungal development, pathogenesis, and metabolism; gene expression and its regulation; immunology; microbial physiology and metabolism; macrophage activation and other cell immune systems; mechanisms of microbial persistence; mechanisms of pathogenesis; microbial cell division; microbial ecology; microbial microbiota and metagenomics; nitrogen fixation; quorum sensing; RNA, including molecular structure–function relationships of transfer RNA, small RNAs, RNA polymerase, and other components of transcription and translation; secondary metabolism; structural microbiology; symbioses, including host–microbe symbioses, plant–microbial interactions, animal–microbial interactions, microbe–microbe interactions; and virology, including host–virus interactions. Dissertation research emphasizes creative and innovative problem-solving using basic knowledge acquired through scientific interactions and collaborations in addition to a thorough understanding of the scientific literature.

In order to better train MDTP students for microbiology-related professions, students need a chance to gain knowledge and experience not just in academic research, but also in other fields where their microbiology education may be put to good use. The professional development options encompass many professional development opportunities for MDTP students beyond academic research and teaching. Opportunities for professional development can consist of course work, an internship, a summer workshop, outreach experiences, or a second teaching-practicum experience.

Learning outcomes

  • Gain a broad understanding of the microbiology principles that underlie all biological processes.
  • Articulate, discuss and define limits to the theory and knowledge in microbiology.
  • Think critically to address research challenges using a broad range of the theories, research methods, and approaches to scientific inquiry.
  • Communicates complex ideas in a clear and understandable matter
  • Collaborate with investigators within the program, university, and beyond to advance the science of microbiology.
  • Foster professional and ethical conduct in the sciences.
  • Ethical design of experimental protocols
  • Reproducibility of experimental results
  • Professional behavior in industrial, government and academic settings.

Course options

Here are the different ways in which you can study Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Microbiology.

Full Time (Minimum of 51 credit hours)

Tuition fees

$25,506.00 (18,69,574) per year


02 Sep


College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

1450 Linden Drive,



53706, United States

Entry requirement for international students

International applicants must have a degree comparable to a regionally accredited U.S. bachelor’s degree.

English Language Requirement

Minimum TOEFL requirement: 92 internet (iBT); 580 paper-based test (PBT)

Minimum IELTS requirement: 7.0

* Please check with your chosen school for the exact entry requirements for your programme.

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