Back to Results
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Department of Microbiology

Amherst, MA


Interested in Department of Microbiology? Admissions officers are waiting to hear from you!

Contact School
University of Massachusetts Amherst


Dynamic Faculty and Outstanding Specialties Lead to Student Success

The Department of Microbiology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, is driven by young and dynamic faculty, who listen to students' needs and want to give them the best education possible. When joining the program, students study side by side with faculty whose cutting-edge research has gained this University international recognition for their applied science and theoretical accomplishments. Outstanding specialties are environmental microbiology, medical microbiology, molecular microbiology, microbial genetics, and biotechnology. Research areas span themes from cancer-related regulation of DNA duplication to renewable energy production, from parasitic strategies to the microbial ecology of Amazonian rainforests, from life forms thriving in boiling water to microbial communication and genetic networks. High-ranking research and education standards enable UMass Amherst to place its graduates into uniquely successful leading positions in academia, industry, and regulatory agencies.

Distinguished Ph.D. Program and Requirements Clearly Outlined for Students

Formal course work in the Ph.D. program is generally completed during the first two years. After the first year, an increasing proportion of students' time is dedicated to research. Students select a dissertation problem from a wide spectrum of research areas pursued by the faculty. During the first year students will actively participate in current research projects during two laboratory rotations that last one semester each. A listing of currently offered rotation projects is provided to all students prior to the semester. In the second year, Ph.D. candidates must pass a comprehensive preliminary examination. Final degree requirements are completed by submission and defense of a dissertation. There is no foreign language requirement. Completion of the Ph.D. program generally takes four to five years beyond the bachelor's degree.

UMass Amherst's State-of-the-Art Facilities and Equipment Foster Excellence in Research Projects

Students' research projects flourish supported by the state-of-the-art research apparatus necessary for investigation into all aspects of microbiology available within departmental space. Various instrument rooms containing shared high-tech preparative and analytical tools such as ultracentrifuges support further large equipment needs. In addition, the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, offers students centralized facilities which provide modern equipment and expertise to support their research projects, such as the Genomics and Bioinformatics Facility, Central Microscopy Facility, and Mass Spectrometry Facility, to name a few.

Well-Structured Graduate Program Provides Extensive Options at Five Colleges

Graduate students at UMass Amherst enjoy a catalog of high-quality graduate-level courses within a well-structured graduate program. The UMass and Five College Interchange allows students to take all available courses for free not only from the extensive offerings at the large UMass campus, but also at four prestigious colleges in the area: Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, and Smith College. A free bus system conveniently connects all surrounding schools with every part of the UMass Amherst campus.

Graduate Student Development Is a Vital Aspect of the Graduate Program at UMass Amherst

Graduate student development is actively supported in UMass' Department of Microbiology. Each incoming graduate student is assigned an experienced graduate student mentor from the department who is able to provide support, encouragement, and information pertaining to graduate life and the program. The Microbiology Graduate Student Group (MGSG) in the Department of Microbiology, a strong self-organized group, fosters and encourages student involvement and communication within the department, at scientific conferences, and in local, state, and national activities of the American Society of Microbiology. Graduate students organize their own American Society of Microbiology Student Chapter and invite seminar speakers.

Financial Support and Assistance Available for Students and Research

All PhD level graduate students in microbiology at UMass Amherst are supported by a competitive salary all year, are covered by excellent benefits, a waiver of tuition, and supported by a very active graduate student union (health, dental, and vision). To get involved in the real-life situation of fund-raising for research, additional funding opportunities are provided by the campus-wide Graduate School that has its own Graduate Student Grant Service (GSGS). Currently, the service offers its very popular FindFunding and proposal writing workshops, as well as databases on fellowships.

Students Receive Many Benefits from the Beauty of the Campus and the Location of the School

Amherst, an island of education and intellectual stimulation, is nestled in the green rolling hills of the Connecticut River valley. Active culture meets history here, and multiple festivals throughout the year parallel fifty museums in a twenty-mile radius. Students live in one of New England's most picturesque areas, offering renowned restaurants and exciting cultural events, and they are within easy driving distance to metropolitan Boston (two hours) and New York City (three hours). International airports are only fifty miles (Bradley Airport in Hartford, Connecticut) or two hours away (Logan International in Boston).

Degrees & Awards

Degrees Offered

Degree Concentration Sub-concentration
Master of Science (MS)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degrees Awarded

Degree Number Awarded
Master's Degrees 11
Doctoral Degrees 4

Earning Your Degree

Part-time study available? Yes
Evening/weekend programs available? No
Distance learning programs available? No
Terminal master's degree available? Yes

Degree Requirements

Degree Requirement
Master's Degrees Entrance Exam GRE General Test
Thesis Alternate accepted
Doctoral Degrees Entrance Exam GRE General Test
Comp Exam Required
Thesis Required


Acceptance Rate



Application Fee - Domestic
applications accepted?
Applications processed
on a rolling basis?

Application Deadlines

Type Domestic International Priority date
Fall deadline December 20th December 20th No
Spring deadline October 1st October 1st No

Entrance Requirements

Exam Details
Master's Degree Exam GRE General Test
Doctoral Degree Exam GRE General Test

International Students

Exam Details
TOEFL: Required TOEFL Paper score: 550
TOEFL IBT score: 80
IELTS: Required IELTS Paper score: 7

Tuition & Fees

Calculator icon

Financial Support

Application deadlines for financial awards December 20
Types of financial support available Fellowships
Research Assistantships
Teaching Assistantships
Health Care Benefits
Scholarship and/or loans
Graduate Assistantships

Student Body

Total Graduate Students
International Breakout (representing other countries)
Out-of-state students


Hispanic/Latino 14.29%
Black or African American Not Reported
White or Caucasian 42%
American Indian or Alaska Native Not Reported
Asian 14.29%
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander Not Reported
Two or more races Not Reported
Unknown 2.86%


Male (37%)
Female (62%)


Total faculty
Full-time - 14
Part-time - 0
Male (13)
Female (1)


Focus of faculty research: Microbial physiology, genetics, immunology, parasitology, pathogenic bacteriology
Externally sponsored research expenditures last year: 0

Location & Contact

Address Amherst, MA  01003
United States
Contact Dr. Michele Klingbeil
Graduate Program Director
Phone: 413-545-6675
Fax: 413-545-1578