The microbiology (BS) major, offered by the Department of Bacteriology, is a rigorous path of study, providing a curriculum packed with deep knowledge on broad aspects of microbiology and emphasizing modern laboratory skills. The core courses focus on the diversity, genetics, biochemistry, and physiology of microorganisms. A variety of elective courses provide the opportunity to study environmental microbiology, food microbiology, microbial pathogenesis, immunology, virology, microbiomes and microbial biotechnology, as well as advanced topics in microbial genetics and physiology. In the instructional laboratory courses, students learn beginning through advanced laboratory techniques—gaining the type of hands-on experiences with modern equipment that employers and graduate schools seek. Additionally, students can conduct mentored and independent research projects in faculty laboratories.
The primary goal of the master of science (M.S.) degree program is to give students a solid understanding of the scientific process and to provide the opportunity to obtain advanced training in microbiology. The master's degree is the terminal degree in this program, and completion of this degree does not allow automatic admission to a Ph.D. program.
The Microbiology Doctoral Training Program (MDTP) was established in 1998 to provide outstanding research training for Microbiology PhDs and to prepare its graduates to become leaders in the field. The MDTP is based in the state-of-the-art UW–Madison Microbial Sciences Building with labs for ~40 research groups, and includes over 90 trainers across campus from more than a dozen departments in five schools or colleges. MDTP trainers are selected based on research relevance and strong potential for student mentorship, or, if tenured, a strong mentoring track-record.
The MDTP enjoys a strong national and international reputation with a highly competitive applicant pool from around the world. Approximately 80 students are currently enrolled in the program. Admission is competitive with over 300 applicants per year and around 30-40 applicants invited to Madison for interviews. MDTP selects interviewees based on their potential for success as researchers, intellectual maturity, academic track record, enthusiasm for studying microbiology, and contribution to diversifying the program. MDTP consistently ranks in the top three of US microbiology graduate programs nationally and currently is the #1 ranked microbiology graduate program by US News & World Report.