View of E. coli under a microscope

Microbiology Graduate Programs


Contact Us

For more information about the microbiology graduate programs, contact:

Dwayne Barnes
Graduate Coordinator

Mike Hyman

Director of Graduate Programs

Mailing Address

4545 Thomas Hall
112 Derieux Place
Campus Box 7615
NC State University
Raleigh, North Carolina 27695

We offer four graduate degree programs in microbiology: Doctorate (Ph.D.)Master of Science (M.S.), Master of Microbiology (M.M.), and Master of Microbial Biotechnology (MMB).

Whether you’re interested in microbial diversity, basic cellular processes, interactions between microbes or viruses and their hosts — or any number of interdisciplinary microbiology areas involving food safety, bioenergy, the environment, etc. — this is a dynamic and exciting period for research in microbiology.

There are numerous opportunities for careers in academic and industrial research, teaching, government service, and many other areas in which microbiology has an impact. A strong undergraduate record in the life or physical sciences, supported by some exposure to a research experience, will prepare you for this program, giving you the professional training you need to launch your career.

List of Microbiology Graduate Faculty


The doctoral degree emphasizes research and training for professional careers in science and research leadership.

Master of Microbial Biotechnology

The Master of Microbial Biotechnology (MMB) is a two-year, cross-disciplinary, non-thesis program that provides students with dual training in microbiology and business.


The M.S. research degree is available for students interested in careers in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.

Application Details

The NC State University Microbiology Graduate Program welcomes all applicants to our program. We seek to provide an inclusive environment and invite applications from individuals of diverse backgrounds. Admission is a competitive process and ideally the candidates we are seeking will have met the preferred criteria listed below.

If you are applying for the M.M. , M.S. , or Ph.D. Microbiology programs the application deadline for Fall is December 1. These programs only offer Fall admissions. You can apply through the university Graduate School, using the Apply Now link below.

The Masters of Microbial Biotechnology (MMB) program has a different application timeline. For more information on deadlines to apply please visit their application page.

There are many more applications than students who can be admitted, as our goal is to provide RA, TA or Fellowship support to those accepted into the research degree programs (Ph.D. and M.S.).  Priority for stipend support is given to Ph.D. applicants.  As an example, five Ph.D. and one M.S. student were recently admitted with support.  Applicants can be admitted without support, but we appreciate the time and burden this places on students who are trying to accomplish meaningful research, demonstrate good academic success, and achieve financial independence.  Because the university Graduate Student Support Plan has added tuition expense for international students, who usually can not become residents of North Carolina during the degree program, our ability to admit non-resident international students is limited.  International students are invited to apply and have made valuable contributions to the program.

Here are a few comments about the application to consider:

Personal statement

Microbiology is a diverse discipline.  In your personal statement please indicate the areas of research that most interest you (environmental, infectious disease, etc.).  Indicating the research programs of two to four specific faculty trainers is encouraged.  You may contact faculty directly through their email address.  Clearly state your past or current research experience and how it has prepared you for pursuing graduate level research and training.  Your personal statement should be no more than 1,000 words.


The Microbiology Graduate Program no longer requires scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE).  We appreciate that standardized tests do not tell everything about an individual’s preparedness for graduate school, so your personal statement, prior research experience and letters of recommendation are very important.  Cumulative GPAs at the undergraduate or M.S. level are used in our evaluation and are often 3.5 and higher for successful applicants.  For non-English speaking international applicants, TOEFL scores totaling greater than 100 are needed.

Recommendation Letters

The most relevant and helpful letters are requested from former supervisors of laboratory research experiences, REUs, internships or other experiential learning opportunities.  People who can attest to your commitment, motivation, work ethic, creativity and ability to work with others will help you the most.  You should confirm they can provide the recommendation in a timely manner.

Thank you for your interest in the NC State University Microbiology Graduate Program and good luck with your application!

Interested in pursuing a graduate degree in microbiology? Want to explore the possibilities at NC State? 

Apply Now

Research Areas of Microbiology

Microbiology is an interdisciplinary science that crosses the traditional definitions of basic and applied. Microbes are the most abundant life forms in our biosphere and create the chemistry of every environment on the planet; they also interact favorably and sometimes in disease states with essentially every other life form on Earth.

NC State faculty from departments across campus, in the colleges of Agriculture and Life SciencesEngineeringSciencesVeterinary Medicine and others are addressing the grand challenges of disease, sustainable food production, energy production, and protecting our environment.

Our programs engage faculty, students and researchers in collaborative, interdisciplinary projects, many of which fall under five major focus areas.

  • Energy –  Harnessing microbial processes through molecular, cellular and engineering technologies, to develop novel and improved fuels
  • Environment –  Sustaining high-quality habitats and remediating impacted soils, water, and indoor environments through applied microbial processes and new technologies
  • Food production and safety –  Ensuring high quality and safe food production through microbial fermentation, pre- and probiotics, pathogen minimization and safe practices
  • Human and animal health and disease –  Understanding host-pathogen interactions and unraveling fundamental microbial, cellular and viral processes that impact human and animal health
  • Microbial diversity and biotechnology –  Exploring the microbial world for new insights and opportunities for deriving new resources for biotechnology