College of Natural Sciences
*P. Q. Patek, PhD (Chair)—cellular immunology
Cooperating Graduate Faculty
S. N. Bennett, PhD—molecular evolution and epidemiology of infectious
Degrees Offered: BA (including minor) in microbiology, BS in microbiology, MS in microbiology, PhD in microbiology
The Academic Program
Microbiology (MICR) deals with microscopic forms of life and their activities. Bacteria, algae, fungi, protozoa, and viruses are included in this discipline. The field is diverse and concerns the nature of microorganisms, as well as their interactions—both advantageous and adverse—with other organisms and with the environment. Entire academic disciplines and commercial enterprises are based on what microorganisms do. For example, the very forms that may cause infectious diseases and epidemics may also support industries that produce vaccines or antimicrobial agents. Microorganisms play an essential role in the cycling of the limited supply of nutrients available on Earth’s surface by decomposing plant residues and animal remains and by being primary producers of food in the oceans. Many microorganisms or their products may be eaten, drunk, used as fuel, or carefully disposed of as undesirable. They may be used to clean up the environment or controlled only with great effort to prevent corrosive, obnoxious, or destructive activities that they may bring about. Microbiology also deals with the physiology, biochemistry, genetics, and molecular biology of microorganisms. Many of the advances in DNA technology are mediated through bacteria, yeasts, and viruses; much of what we know about metabolism in general comes from their study.
Students can contact the department’s main office at (808) 956-8553 for information regarding advising services.
Undergraduate StudyStudents must earn a grade of C (not C-) or higher in each course applied to the major, including required courses in CHEM, BIOL, PHYS, and MATH.
RequirementsStudents must complete the following:
Students must complete the following:
Major electives should be chosen with the assistance and approval of a department advisor to provide a well integrated and coherent program. Prospective majors should consult the microbiology advisors promptly, so as to design a curriculum that satisfies the major requirements.
Students must complete 15 credits of 300- and 400-level MICR courses,
of which five credits must be MICR 351/351.
The department offers programs leading to the MS and PhD in microbiology with areas of specialization in microbial ecology, biochemistry, physiology, genetics, and ultrastructure; metabolic regulation and the regulation of gene expression; marine microbiology; medical microbiology; animal and environmental virology and viral pathobiology; and immunology, immunogenetics, and immunochemistry. In addition, an option is offered in cell biology that leads to the MS and PhD in microbiology. Research programs in interdisciplinary fields are possible. Graduate students in microbiology may join two interdisciplinary graduate specializations: the Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology (EECB) Program, and the Marine Biology (MB) Program.
Applicants for advanced degree programs in the department must supplement the forms and transcripts required by the Graduate Division with three letters of recommendation and the official scores from the GRE General Test. These supplementary items should be sent directly to the department.
Complete details on the graduate program in microbiology and the availability of financial aid to prospective students are outlined in a departmental brochure available on request from the department, Snyder 207, 2538 McCarthy Mall.
Courses for the graduate programs are to be selected from the list below and from other graduate offerings in related disciplines as directed by the student’s advisor or advising committee. The following courses may be repeated: MICR 625, 632, 652, 655, 671, 680, 681, 690, 699, 700, 795, and 800. However, repeated courses other than MICR 699, 700, 795, and 800 may only be used for credit once per degree. MICR 690 is a required course.Course deficiencies shall be made up before admission to candidacy.
Both the MS and the PhD are research degrees requiring a research project, a thesis or dissertation, and an oral defense. Prospective graduate students are encouraged to contact faculty or cooperating graduate faculty to determine whether there might be a laboratory that is conducting research of interest and to determine which laboratories are taking new students (see the department website at www.hawaii.edu/microbiology to find areas of research and faculty contact information).
Intended candidates for the MS degree should present a minimum undergraduate preparation in biological and physical sciences including biology, genetics, microbiology, organic chemistry, physics, and calculus. Deficiencies in some of these areas do not preclude admission. Qualified students with undergraduate majors in fields other than microbiology are welcome.
Plan A Minimum Requirements - 30 credit hours
The doctoral degree (PhD) is offered in microbiology in the various areas of interest represented by research programs of the department’s graduate faculty.
Coursework requirements for a PhD are the same as those for the MS degree (with MICR 800 replacing MICR 700). However, consideration will be given to those who already possess an MS in Microbiology or closely related field.
The PhD candidate must demonstrate the ability to do original experimental research and to produce an acceptable dissertation. A comprehensive examination, written and oral, is required, and the dissertation must be successfully defended before the faculty. Experience in teaching in a laboratory course is considered a desirable part of the training of the PhD candidate. The specific requirements for each of the joint degree programs are modified somewhat from those given above.
Please note: This Catalog was prepared to provide information and does not constitute a contract. The University reserves the right to change or delete, supplement or otherwise amend at any time and without prior notice the information, requirements and policies contained in this Catalog.
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