Prospective students should use this checklist to obtain specific admissions requirements on how to apply to Graduate School.

Degree Offered: Ph.D.
Director: Dr. Janet Yother
Phone: (205) 934-9531
E-mail: jyother@uab.edu
Website: www.uab.edu/micro

Theme Information


The Microbiology Graduate Program is a part of the UAB Graduate Biomedical Sciences Program. We are an interdisciplinary program emphasizing the study of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. Over 40 faculty members from the Departments of Microbiology, Cell Biology, Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, Genetics, Pathology, Medicine, Pediatrics, and Dentistry are involved in internationally renowned research and the training of Ph.D.-level graduate students. Currently, more than 70 students are in training in the laboratories of our faculty. Primary areas of research interest include the genetics, physiology, and molecular biology of microbes and how microbial pathogens cause disease. Basic cellular processes, host-pathogen interactions, and the design of innovative strategies for the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases are under study in the laboratories of our faculty. Students graduating from the Program are well-versed in modern microbiology and have the experience to pursue a diversity of career opportunities.

Admission Requirements

Acceptance is based on undergraduate record (curriculum and grade point average [GPA]), Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores, letters of recommendation, a personal statement of research and career interests, and past research activities. Domestic candidates who pass the first round of selection will be invited to visit UAB and meet the Immunology faculty and students.

The general requirements for acceptance into the Theme are:

  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • Combined verbal/quantitative GRE score ≥1100. New GRE scores should be at least 50% or more on each verbal/quantitative. 
  • A strong background in biology, chemistry, and/or mathematics. Undergraduate level courses in immunology, cell biology, biochemistry, physics, genetics, organic and analytical chemistry are strongly encouraged. Undergraduate mathematics through calculus is also recommended. International students must submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) earned within the last two years. Applicants with scores of 600 (paper-based), 250 (computer-based), or 100 (internet-based) or higher will be considered.

All students in the program receive a stipend (currently $29,000), tuition and fees.  Support is provided by the Theme, by the student's mentor, or through one of many fellowship programs.

Overview of the Program

The program emphasizes interdisciplinary training in all areas of modern microbiology. The first year of the program involves fundamental coursework and three research-based rotations in laboratories of the student's choosing. A qualifying examination is held in the second year.  Advanced coursework, journals clubs, and dissertation research occur in the second and subsequent years. It is expected that completion of the program will require five to six years.

To broaden their research experience, students are introduced to research at the national and international levels through seminars presented by outside speakers and by attendance at national and international scientific meetings.  Students take an active role in inviting and hosting speakers at UAB, and they are strongly encouraged to present their own results at outside meetings. An annual retreat held off-campus allows students to present their research and fosters collegiality between students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty.

Microbiology Theme Faculty

The faculty listing for the Microbiology theme is located at http://services.medicine.uab.edu/facultydirectory/FacultyListingType.asp?FacultyTypeID=MB  

Additional Information

Deadline for Entry Term(s): Consult Program Director for information
Deadline for All Application Materials to be in the Graduate School Office: Refer to theme website for deadline information: http://www.uab.edu/micro
Number of Evaluation Forms Required: Three
Entrance Tests GRE

For detailed information, contact Dr. Janet Yother, Program Director, UAB Microbiology Graduate Theme, University of Alabama at Birmingham, BBRB 661, Birmingham, Alabama 35294-2170.
Telephone (205)934-9531
Fax (205)996-6749
E-mail jyother@uab.edu
Web www.uab.edu/micro

Course Descriptions

Microbiology Theme

Graduate Biomedical Sciences Core Curriculum

Block 1 - Biochemistry/Metabolism

  • Amino acids and primary protein structure
  • Protein secondary and tertiary structure
  • Postranslational modifications and allosteric changes
  • Glycobiology
  • Lipid structure and metabolism
  • Thermodynamic principles of biochemical reactions
  • Enzyme kinetics
  • Enzyme mechanisms and regulation
  • Amino acid/nitrogen metabolism
  • Glycolysis, gluconeogenesis and citric acid cycle
  • Glycogenesis, glycogenolysis and pentose phosphate pathway
  • Electron transport/oxidative phosphorylation

Block 2 - Genetics/Molecular Biology

  • DNA recombination
  • Nucleic acids & DNA replication
  • Prokaryotic transcription
  • Prokaryotic translation
  • Prokaryotic gene regulation
  • Eukaryotic genome organization
  • Eukaryotic DNA replication
  • Eukaryotic transcription
  • Eukaryotic translation
  • Eukaryotic gene regulation I
  • Eukaryotic gene regulation II
  • Mendelian inheritance
  • Genetic variation and polymorphisms

Block 3 - Biological Organization

  • Integrated systems: From organelles to organs
  • Membrane structure/function
  • Cytoskeleton
  • Secretion
  • Endocytosis, lysosomal targeting, protein degradation
  • Biochemistry of signal transduction
  • Cell cycle
  • Cell-cell junctions and polarity
  • ECM and ECM-cell interactions
  • Cell motility
  • Apoptosis
  • Discipline of pharmacology
  • Pharmacokinetics