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Microbiology-Immunology

1-2
Years to Earn Your Masters
95%
CSU Online Grad Students have Plans Related to their Career
93%
Grad Students would choose CSU Online Again
$447M
Investment in research in FY21
Degree Overview Open Accordion

Gain the in-depth knowledge, critical professional skills, and academic credentials you need to take the next step in your career.

Earn your master’s degree in microbiology online

Designed to be completed in as little as one year, this fully online, non-thesis master’s degree program will strengthen your understanding of theoretical and applied aspects of microbiology, immunology, molecular biology and virology, preparing you to pursue career opportunities in a variety of industries.

Learn from leaders in the field of microbiological research

The Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology is a world-leader in infectious disease research and education, with robust biomedical research programs focused on understanding fundamental aspects of bacteriology, virology, and prion biology, improving diagnostics for infectious diseases, as well as developing effective treatments and vaccines for globally important infectious diseases, including the SARS-CoV02 coronavirus.

Career Opportunities

Students who have completed the Microbiology-Immunology Master’s program have successfully obtained positions in a wide range of industries and career paths, including biotechnology, governmental agencies, public health laboratories, academic research labs, as well as moving into terminal degree programs in veterinary and human health. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of microbiologists was projected to grow by three percent between 2019 and 2029. However, considering the massive economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, job opportunities will likely expand at a much faster pace as both governments and organizations seek to create better safeguards, diagnostic tools, vaccines, and treatments for future disease outbreaks.

Potential career opportunities for graduates of this program include:

  • Microbiologist
  • Biotechnology researcher
  • Government research associate
  • Clinical microbiology researcher
  • Biological scientist
  • Laboratory manager
  • Environmental infection control consultant

Study in a flexible, online format

This online program allows you to earn your master's degree from a respected, regionally accredited public research university in Colorado without traveling to a campus. Balance your academic studies with your career, family, and personal obligations.

Although this program is entirely online, you will still have opportunities to interact closely with both your instructors and peers. You will also have access to many of the same resources and services as CSU’s resident students.

Requirements and Curriculum Open Accordion

Requirements

  • A minimum of 30 credits are required to complete this program.
    • Students must take MIP 618 twice for 1 credit each time, Fall and Spring semesters, for a program total of 2 credits.
    • Students must take MIP 619 twice for 2 credits each time, Fall and Spring semesters, for a program total of 4 credits.
  • A scholarly paper is required for this degree.
  • A minimum of 24 credits must be earned at CSU.

Curriculum

Program Total Credits: 30

If you plan on completing the program in one year, we recommend the following course schedule:

  • Fall (17 credits): MIP540 / MIP611 / MIP 613 / MIP616 / MIP 618 / MIP619
  • Spring (13 credits): MIP612 / MIP 614 / MIP617 / MIP618 / MIP619/ MIP 654

If you plan on completing the program in two years, we recommend the following course schedule:

  • Year 1 - Fall (8 credits): MIP611 / MIP 613
  • Year 1 - Spring (7 credits): MIP612 / MIP 614 / MIP 654
  • Year 2 - Fall (9 credits): MIP540 / MIP616 / MIP 618 / MIP619
  • Year 2 - Spring (6 credits): MIP617 / MIP618 / MIP619
Frequently Asked Questions Open Accordion
Is there an application fee to apply?

Yes – the CSU Office of Admissions requires that all applicants pay a $60 non-refundable fee at the time they submit their application

Do I need to take the GRE to apply?

No, our program does not require the GRE, MCAT, DAT, or other graduate level entrance exam for admission.

What is the application deadline?

July 15

How many seats do you have in the program?

We anticipate enrolling up to 50 students each year. Our goal is to keep the program small enough to allow effective instructor interactions and quality learning experiences while also maintaining a critical mass of students for networking, support and overall programmatic impact on the field.

How long will it be until I hear if my application has been accepted?

Notifications of acceptance will be sent out by August 1 for the Fall semester.

How competitive will it be to gain admission to the program?

We do not have the ratio of applications to acceptances at this time. However, the program takes a holistic approach to our applications and evaluates each one to determine if a student will thrive in the program. We cannot admit more than 50 students per year.

Is financial aid available?

At this time, our program does not offer assistantships, fellowships, or tuition waivers. Please consult the CSU Student Financial Services website for more information of federal student loans and other options that may be available to you.

How long does it take to complete the program?

The program is designed to be completed in one or two academic years (fall and spring semesters).

If you plan on completing the program in one year, we recommend the following course schedule:

  • Fall (17 credits): MIP540 / MIP611 / MIP 613 / MIP616 / MIP 618 / MIP619
  • Spring (13 credits): MIP612 / MIP 614 / MIP617 / MIP618 / MIP619/ MIP 654

If you plan on completing the program in two years, we recommend the following course schedule:

  • Year 1 - Fall (8 credits): MIP611 / MIP 613
  • Year 1 - Spring (7 credits): MIP612 / MIP 614 / MIP 654
  • Year 2 - Fall (9 credits): MIP540 / MIP616 / MIP 618 / MIP619
  • Year 2 - Spring (6 credits): MIP617 / MIP618 / MIP619
Can I work full-time while studying for this degree?

Yes, the program allows students the flexibility to complete courses asynchronously or synchronously over the span of one or two years. Please see the suggested course schedule for the one- or two-year program to help you assess what level of effort will be required. Students are also expected to prepare a scholarly paper as a key requirement for graduation in the final semester of the program.

Is there a lab component to the program?

No. There is no required laboratory component to this online program. Students enrolling in this program are not required to have previous laboratory experience. Didactic coursework within this program will explore many different experimental techniques providing foundational knowledge of each technique that will allow you to be more effective in your career.

Do you hold admissions interviews?

No. Due to the anticipated volume of applications and the short turn-around time for making decisions, we do not hold interviews for the program.

Faculty Open Accordion
Brian Geiss

Brian Geiss, Ph.D.

Director, Microbiology-Immunology Master’s Program
Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology
Faculty, School of Biomedical Engineering

I have been with the Microbiology-Immunology Master’s Program since it began in 2013, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my interactions with the students both while they are in the program as well as after they’ve graduated and gone on to successful careers. I greatly enjoy discussing cutting-edge technologies and current issues in microbiology and health that affect our society with my students, mentoring students to help them obtain fulfilling careers, and challenging students to become effective advocates for science in the wider community.

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., Saint Louis University School of Medicine, 2002
  • B.S., University of Kansas, 1997

Research

My research group’s focus, as part of the CSU Center for Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases (CVID), is understanding how RNA viruses (such as dengue and SARS-CoV-2) replicate at the molecular and biochemical levels in order to develop novel strategies for the prevention and treatment of viral diseases. We are also interested in developing novel virus-based tools that can be used by the wider scientific community. We use a wide range of tools (classical virology, molecular biology, cell biology, biochemistry, engineering, computational biology, etc.) to understand how these important human pathogens replicate to help identify new strategies to treat and prevent infection and help improve human and animal health.

Areas of Interest

Virology, RNA Biology, Antiviral Drug Discovery, Viral Biochemistry, Diagnostics Development


Grace Borlee

Grace Borlee, Ph.D.

Research Scientist, Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology

I have been with the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology since 2011. Prior to coming to Colorado State University, I was a research scientist at the University of Washington and the toxicology group leader at a contract research organization. More recently, I have taught course-based undergraduate research experience (CURE) laboratory courses, an undergraduate early career preparation in microbiology course, and a graduate-level course for research team mentoring for the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology. As a research scientist, I have mentored numerous undergraduate and MS-B students in the laboratory. I enjoy teaching students new laboratory techniques and then watching them blossom into confident, independent researchers. My goal is to prepare students for a fulfilling career so that they can successfully embark on their scientific journey.

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2003
  • B.A., Monmouth College, 1998

Research

I am a research scientist located at the Infectious Disease Research Center at the Foothills campus at Colorado State University. I am interested in studying the regulatory role of the secondary messenger, cyclic di-GMP, in the regulation of pathogenesis and biofilm formation in the select agent Burkholderia pseudomallei. The secretion of uncharacterized polysaccharides and cryptic molecules is also of key interest to our laboratory group. More recently, we have isolated and characterized bacterial endosymbionts from Aedes aegypti mosquitoes and the biting midge (Culicoides sonorensis) with the goal of identifying suitable bacterial candidates for developing paratransgenesis approaches to reduce viral replication.

Areas of Interest

Biofilms, Bacterial Genetics, Cyclic Di-GMP, Polysaccharides, Bacterial Endosymbionts


Mercedes Gonzalez-Juarrero

Mercedes Gonzalez-Juarrero, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology

I’ve taught in the Microbiology-Immunology Master’s program since its inauguration in 2013. I enjoy opening the eyes of future professionals to the wonders of immunology and teaching students how to navigate complicated networks operating within the immune system. I feel highly rewarded seeing students moving on in their careers and their lives. This program has demonstrated to advance professional frontiers and opportunities of students, and for this reason I look forward getting to know you in my classes next year.

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., Centro de Biologia Molecular, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain, 1990
  • M.S., Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain, 1985
  • B.S. Biology, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain, 1982

Research

My laboratory, as part of the CSU Mycobacteria Research Laboratories (MRL), studies and tests efficacy of antimicrobial drugs and host directed therapies (HDT) for tuberculosis (TB) and non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM). We use animal models of TB and NTM to develop new therapeutics against the bacteria. Our approach also aims to test therapies delivery via aerosol in combination with current TB and NTM chemotherapy. As a teaching faculty in the MIP, I teach and coordinate the course MIP612 Applied Immunology and participate in several other courses in immunology. In addition, I train undergraduate, graduate students and postgraduate scientists in mycobacteria research.

Areas of Interest

Immunopathology, Therapies, Drug Development, Animal Models


Rebecca Moritz

Rebecca Moritz, M.S., S.M.(NRCM), CBSP

Biosafety Director and Responsible Official,
Vice President for Research, Colorado State University
Joint Academic & Administrative Associate, Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology

I have been with Colorado State University (CSU) since September 2020. Prior to my time at CSU, I was at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where I worked as a researcher, then a biosafety and biosecurity professional. My career in biosafety and biosecurity has spanned over a decade in which I have been a part of variety of unique circumstances including many reactive and proactive science communication outreach activities. I am enjoying the opportunity to teach and share my experiences and thoughts about biosafety and biosecurity with students. My hope is that the students take what they learn and apply it in their careers helping to create safer and more secure scientists. I thoroughly enjoy discussing science and learning about research projects and data.

Educational Background

  • M.S., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2006
  • B.S., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2002

Research

The Biosafety Office at CSU is interested in conducting basic biosafety research to better inform future risk assessments as well as gain a greater understanding of the risks of new technologies and organisms. We are also looking at ways of enhancing biosecurity practices in the scientific community both internally and externally to CSU.

Areas of Interest

Biosafety, Biosecurity, Dual Use Research of Concern, Science Communication


Joel Rovnak

Joel Rovnak, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology

My course, Modern Molecular Biology for Microbiologists, was designed as a core component of the Microbiology-Immunology Master’s Program in 2013. The purpose of the course is to ground students in the cell and molecular biology necessary for comprehension and performance of current investigations of infectious diseases. The course content is constantly updated to reflect current advances and this is reflected best in the literature reviewed in the recitation component of the course. The goal is to provide a comprehensive understanding of topics in molecular biology that will serve students as they move forward in their chosen career fields of basic research, science communication, biotechnology or medicine.

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., Molecular Virology, Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, 1999
  • M.S., Microbiology, Colorado State University, 1989
  • B.S., Microbiology, Colorado State University, 1982

Research

My research investigates virus control of host cell function, specifically control of host transcription. This work was initiated with studies of oncogenic retroviruses, Bovine Leukemia Virus, Human T-cell Leukemia Virus and Walleye Dermal Sarcoma Virus, to identify viral mechanisms involved in host cell transformation and tumor formation. Over time, it became clear that many non-oncogenic viruses also encode proteins that directly control host gene expression through similar molecular mechanisms, and current investigations are focused on virus control of host transcription by the alphaherpesviruses, Herpes Simplex and Varicella Zoster Virus, by the flaviviruses, dengue and Zika virus, and by coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2.

Areas of Interest

Molecular Virology, Cancer, Eukaryotic Gene Expression, Viral Diagnostics, Anti-viral Therapies


Jeffrey Wilusz

Jeffrey Wilusz, Ph.D.

Associate Department Head for Research and Professor, Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology

I have a strong commitment to graduate education and firmly believe in creating an inclusive environment that promotes individual growth in order to propel each and every student to achieve their professional goals. That is precisely the reason that I conceived and developed the department’s Microbiology-Immunology Master’s Program in 2013. I truly enjoy teaching in this program and seeing students actually achieve what they are capable of both academically and professionally. I believe in presenting and leading in depth discussions on microbiology topics to teach students not only what is known at the cutting edge of the discipline, but also what are the key knowledge gaps that need to be addressed for the future. In other words, I strive to not only deliver a body of knowledge in my sessions, but also to teach why that knowledge is useful and what can be done with it down the road.

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., Duke University, 1985
  • B.S., Rutgers University, 1981

Research

My laboratory focuses on RNA – by far the coolest aspect of molecular biology (in my humble opinion anyway…). Specifically, we focus on how the RNA genomes and transcripts of RNA viruses interface with the RNA biology of the infected cell. We are particularly interested in determining the underlying mechanisms for how viral RNAs – which should be recognized as foreign molecules in the cytoplasm and quickly degraded – have evolved to maintain their stability during infection. We also study how cellular RNA processes like splicing, polyadenylation and transcript stability are specifically impacted by viral RNAs and viral infection. Collectively these studies will not only provide insight into a novel area of host-viral interactions, but also may reveal novel avenues for the development of broad-spectrum antiviral therapeutics.

Areas of Interest

Virology, RNA Biology, Post-transcriptional Gene Regulation

How to Apply Open Accordion

Application Deadlines

Fall semester July 15

Start your application online and upload materials directly into the online system. You can save your progress and return any time.

Apply Now

1Review Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor of Science in microbiology, biology, or a related field from a regionally accredited institution
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 on all undergraduate coursework
  • GRE not required

Note: Meeting the minimum department standards does not ensure admission to the program.

2 Prepare Application Materials

Prepare the materials below and upload when you apply online:

Three letters of recommendation (required): Recommenders should accurately speak to your abilities and potential for graduate study. You will provide information about your recommenders in the online application. CSU will contact them with instructions and a link to a secure form they will submit on your behalf.

3 Complete Online Application

Complete the online graduate application and pay the nonrefundable application processing fee (payable online). As soon as you have completed the required information, please submit your application. Your application will not be reviewed until it is complete and all required materials have been received.

  • Select "Microbiology (M.S.) - Distance" when choosing major

Online applications must be submitted before 5 p.m. (Mountain Time) on the deadline date.

4Request Transcripts

Request one official transcript of all collegiate work completed from all institutions attended. Transcripts from Colorado State University are not required. Transcripts must be received directly from the originating institution to be considered official.

Electronic (preferred):
Digital Transcripts must be submitted by the originating institution using a secure service such as parchment, eScrip-Safe, the National Student Clearinghouse, or e-Quals. Transcripts received via emails are considered unofficial.

Use institution code 4075 for Colorado State University or gradadmissions@colostate.edu if the secure service requires an email address.

Mail (if necessary)
Graduate Admissions
Colorado State University – Office of Admissions
1062 Campus Delivery
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1062

5Check Your Application Status

View your application status at any time to ensure your application checklist is complete or to check on updates.

Once your complete application, including supporting materials, is received, the department admission committee will review your application and notify you of their decision.

Information for International Students

Official transcript translation

Ensure official copies include a certified translation into English (only one set of transcripts is required).

Official test scores

Colorado State University requires that proficiency in English language be demonstrated either by the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE academic tests prior to admission. Please submit one of the official scores from the list below. Tests must be taken within two years prior to admission and submitted directly from the Educational Testing Service (select institution code: 4075).

  • The minimum TOEFL score for admission without condition is 550 (paper-based), or 80 (internet-based).
  • The minimum IELTS score for admission without condition is 6.5.
  • The minimum PTE Academic score for admission without condition is 58.

All applicants who are citizens of countries in which English is not the official language, and who do not have an undergraduate degree from the U.S. must submit TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE scores.

Questions?

We love learning about your goals and answering any questions to help you on your journey.

Conor McLean
Microbiology-Immunology
Student Success Coach
Schedule Time to Talk

Program Details

Courses
Credits
30
Tuition
$990 per credit
Degree Awarded
Master of Science in Microbiology
Time Frame
Can be completed in one or two years

Application Deadlines

Fall semester
July 15

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