Application and Funding

The deadline for receipt of applications for our graduate programs is February 15. Applications are completed online through the Graduate School at NDSU. Our department will not receive your application until it is complete, so please make sure that there is nothing missing. For specific questions about our graduate programs, please contact Peter Bergholz.

Graduate program admission requirements

  • A relevant Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and a strong academic record in the sciences.
  • A minimum grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • The Graduate Record Examination General Test
  • One year of general biology with laboratory and one course in genetics are required. At least one course is required in cellular biology, cellular physiology, animal physiology, or bacterial physiology
  • Microbiology and Immunology are recommended.
  • One year of general chemistry with laboratory and two sequential terms of organic chemistry with a laboratory course are required.
  • Biochemistry is required.
  • Two sequential terms of physics with a laboratory course are required.

A completed application will have the following

  • Official transcripts (transcripts having an appropriate seal or stamp) of all previous undergraduate and graduate records must be received by the Graduate School before the application is complete. When a transcript is submitted in advance of completion of undergraduate or graduate studies, an updated transcript showing all course credits and grades must be provided prior to initial registration at North Dakota State University.
  • Three letters of recommendation are generally required before action is taken on any application. Personal reference report forms are available from the Graduate School.
  • The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) scores for the General Test are required prior to evaluation of applications by the Department of Microbiological Sciences.
  • The TOEFL examination is required for international students from countries where English is not the primary language. A minimum score of 525 (paper-based) or 213 (internet-based) must be achieved.

Students who do not meet all requirements for admission or have deficiencies in prerequisite course work but show potential for successful graduate study may be admitted under a conditional status. However, evidence must be provided showing that the applicant’s potential is not adequately reflected by his/her record. After meeting the specified standards of performance by the department, the student, in consultation with the major advisor, may request a change to full graduate standing. The student may not earn more than 12 semester credits of graduate credit in the conditional status. The request for change must be submitted to the Dean of the Graduate School by the major advisor and approved by the department chair.


This year: we expect to have assistantships available in evolutionary and ecological genomics, molecular pathogenesis in food safety, physiology and control of biofilms, immunology, and disciplinary research on microbiology education.

We have a number of teaching and research assistantships available each year. You must apply to the Graduate School and be accepted in full or conditional status before being eligible for an assistantship. Assistantships are awarded on a competitive basis. Applicants are considered on the basis of scholarship, potential to undertake advanced study and research, and financial needs.