Ph.D. Molecular Pathogenesis

“We empower our students to discover, develop, and communicate microbiological and immunological solutions to local and global challenges.”

The Ph.D. in Molecular Pathogenesis encompasses the study of molecular pathogenesis of infectious diseases. This program provides students with the skills and knowledge to address key gaps in our understanding of how microorganisms interact with their hosts to cause disease. The program has seven clearly-defined training objectives to prepare our future colleagues as scientists and empower them to influence government policy, the technology industry, and academic scholarship with their expert opinions and findings.

Degree requirements

These are in agreement with NDSU Graduate School requirements. The Graduate School requires at least 90-semester graduate credits to complete the degree. The student and major advisor will prepare a plan of study by the end of the first year in residence. In this way, the specific training needs of each student are used to determine coursework requirements. At the program level, there are only 18 required course credits. These include a foundation of knowledge in microbiology (MICR 801 & 802), doctoral student portfolio (MICR 893; one per year), and graduate seminar (MICR 790; one per year). An overall GPA of 3.0 or better must be maintained.


Two preliminary examinations must be completed successfully before advancement to candidacy for the doctoral degree. The first, which is mainly taken in the second or third semester in residence, examines fundamental areas of knowledge that will be essential for success as a doctoral candidate. The second, which is taken in the fourth or fifth semester in residence, requires the student to write a research proposal and defend the proposal in an oral examination. After successful completion of the comprehensive written and oral preliminary examinations, the student will be formally admitted to candidacy for the Doctor of Philosophy degree.

Dissertation Research

Students conduct dissertation research throughout their residence at NDSU. To complete the degree, students confirm their contribution to microbiological sciences by presenting and defending their research in their final oral examination.