Microbiology (Ph.D.) | Graduate

Recent advancements in genomics and diagnostics have revolutionized infectious disease research. Our doctoral students research the root causes of diseases, mechanisms of microbial and parasitic pathogenicity, immunological phenomena associated with infection, and the development of new therapies for patients.

The Ph.D. in Microbiology at Howard’s Graduate School prepares students for microbiology and infectious disease research careers. The interdisciplinary program will equip you, like many of our graduates, with the skills to address local and global microbiological research problems. Students interested in studying the root causes of diseases, mechanisms of microbial and parasitic pathogenicity, immunological phenomena associated with infection, and developing new therapies and interventions for the patients that most need them, will find a dynamic research environment at Howard.  Our graduates have landed postdoctoral fellowships and faculty positions in the health sciences at top research institutions and universities. Others work as senior-level researchers in industry and government. As a Ph.D. in Microbiology student, you may choose from four distinct fields of specialization in cellular and molecular biology, immunology, pathogenic microbiology, and virology.  You will join a highly collegial atmosphere and collaborate with faculty on grant-funded research in research facilities like Howard University’s Cancer Center. You will enjoy the close mentorship of the Microbiology faculty, who are researching immunogenetics and genetic epidemiology of breast cancer, prostate cancer, and diabetes; immunopathogenesis of malaria, sickle cell disease, and schistosomiasis; viral pathogenesis caused by CMV, HIV, and Ebola virus; cytotoxicity and cytokine receptor signaling, and host-pathogen relationships. Ph.D. students interested in HIV research will find several opportunities to learn from experts in this area. Howard is a proud partner in the D.C. Center for AIDS Research (DC CFAR). Students may pursue a dual M.D./Ph.D. degree.

Program Snapshot

      ❱  72 credit hours 

      ❱  Full-time

      ❱  On-campus format

      ❱  Degree: Ph.D.

      ❱  Dual degree: M.D./Ph.D.

Application Deadlines

Spring 2024 entry: 

      ❱  No spring entry

Fall 2024 entry: 

      ❱  Dec. 1, 2023 (early deadline)

      ❱  Feb. 15, 2024 (priority deadline)

      ❱  Apr. 15, 2024 (final deadline)

Applicants should submit their applications as early as possible for earlier consideration of departmental funding opportunities. Applicants have until the final deadline to apply. However, applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis throughout the admissions cycle.

Transfer credits accepted (reviewed by program director)


Dr. Karl Thompson

Director of Graduate Studies

Dr. Kunle Kassim

Department Chair

Derrika Durant

Program Coordinator

Program Details

  • Degree Classification: Graduate
  • Related Degrees: M.D. / Ph.D., Ph.D.

Admission Requirements

Application for Admission

  • Online GradCAS application
  • Statement of purpose/ Statement of academic interest (500-1,000 words)
  • GRE scores not required
  • Official transcripts sent to GradCAS
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university or the international equivalent
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  • Autobiographical statement (500-750 words)

GRE Required?

  • No

GRE Preferred Minimums

  • GRE Verbal Reasoning: N/A
  • GRE Quantitative Reasoning: N/A
  • GRE Analytical Writing: N/A

GPA Required Minimums

  • Overall GPA minimum: 3.0
  • Undergrad GPA minimum: 3.0

Prerequisite Courses 

No expiration date for course prerequisites 

  • General Biology (college-level lectures, 6 semester credit hrs)
  • General Chemistry (college-level lectures and labs, 8 semester credit hrs)
  • Organic Chemistry (college-level lectures and labs, 8 semester credit hrs)
  • General Physics (college-level lectures and labs, 8 semester credit hrs)
  • College Algebra or Mathematics (college-level lectures, 6 semester credit hrs)
  • English (college-level lectures, 6 semester credit hrs)

Reference Requirements

Evaluator type accepted:

  • Professor (Required)

Evaluator type not accepted:

  • Supervisor/Manager
  • Coworker
  • Friend
  • Family Member
  • Clergy
  • Other