Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology and Immunology
University requirements for the Ph.D. are described in the "Graduate Degrees" section of this bulletin.
Application, Admission, and Financial AidProspective Ph.D. candidates should have completed a bachelor's degree in a discipline of biology or chemistry, including course work in biochemistry, chemistry, genetics, immunology, microbiology, and molecular biology. The deadline for receipt of applications with all supporting materials is December 1.
Applicants must file a report of scores on the general subject tests of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). It is strongly recommended that the GRE be taken before October so that scores are available when applications are evaluated.
In the absence of independent fellowship support, entering predoctoral students are fully supported with a stipend and tuition award. Highly qualified applicants may be honored by a nomination for a Stanford Graduate Fellowship. Successful applicants have been competitive for predoctoral fellowships such as those from the National Science Foundation.
Program for Graduate StudyThe Ph.D. degree requires course work and independent research demonstrating an individual's creative, scholastic, and intellectual abilities. On entering the department, students meet an advisory faculty member; together they design a timetable for completion of the degree requirements. Typically, this consists of first identifying gaps in the student's undergraduate education and determining courses that should be taken. Then, a tentative plan is made for two to four lab rotations (one rotation per quarter). During the first year of graduate study in the department, each student also takes six or seven upper-level (200-series) courses. Three of these courses are requirements of the department: MI 215, Principles of Biological Techniques; MI 204, Innate Immunology; and MI 210, Advanced Pathogenesis of Bacteria, Viruses, and Eukaryotic Parasites. Three courses are part of the core curriculum that is required of many graduate students in Stanford Biosciences: BIO 203 /DBIO 203 /GENE 203, Advanced Genetics; BIO 230, Molecular and Cellular Immunology; and BIO 214/BIOC 224, Advanced Cell Biology.
In Autumn Quarter of the second year, a research proposal based on the student's own thesis topic is defended to the thesis committee. In Spring Quarter of the second year, each student defends orally a formal research proposal on a topic outside the intended thesis project. This qualifying examination proposal is due to the graduate program steering committee by May 1. Based on successful performance on this proposal, the student is admitted to candidacy. Teaching experience and training are also part of the graduate curriculum. Graduate students are required to act as teaching assistants for two courses. In addition, first- and second-year graduate students are required to participate in a bi-weekly journal club.