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Biomedical Sciences: Microbiology and Immunology

Columbian College of Arts and Sciences

School of Medicine and Health Sciences

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Location(s): Foggy Bottom - Main Campus

Program Overview

The Microbiology and Immunology Ph.D. program provides a flexible, rigorous training program to prepare students to become independent research scientists in the areas of molecular virology, molecular parasitology, and immunology.

Doctoral Degree

The doctoral program takes an interdisciplinary approach. It incorporates faculty from not only The George Washington University, but from other renowned academic institutions such as Children’s National Medical Center, the Institute for Genomic Research and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Students have access to extensive research facilities at GW, the Children's Research Institute, and the NIH through the GW/NIH Graduate Partnership Program. GW’s Gelman Library and Himmelfarb Health Sciences Library are also available to students, along with numerous others in the Washington area, including the National Library of Medicine.

The program’s current research strengths and training opportunities include the study of host-pathogen relationships, inflammation and inflammatory disorders, vaccine development, cancer immunology, molecular parasitology, HIV and HIV immune response, and microbial genomics and proteomics.

The Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Tropical Medicine at GW is housed in newly renovated laboratory space within the Research Center for Neglected Diseases of Poverty. The department hosts the clinical immunology laboratory and clinical trials unit of the Sabin Vaccine Institute Product Development Partnership. In addition, several investigators maintain active international collaborations with research laboratories in Brazil, Thailand, China and other areas with endemic infectious diseases of poverty.

The Ph.D. program, part of the Institute of Biomedical Sciences, requires 72 credit hours, of which 12 to 24 hours are fulfilled by dissertation research. During the first year, students take core courses required of Institute for Biomedical Sciences students and rotate through three laboratories to gain exposure to experimental research and the research interests of the faculty.

Upon completion of core courses and laboratory rotations, each student selects a degree program as well as a research mentor. A research advisory committee, consisting of the research adviser and two additional faculty members, guides the student through the completion of the dissertation. Students who choose immunology as their field take the molecular and cellular immunology course and three semesters of advanced topics in immunology.

Admission Requirements

Admission deadlines:
Fall – December 1
Standardized test scores:
GRE general test (institutional code 5246). 
The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the academic International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the PTE Academic is required of all applicants except those who hold a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from a college or university in the United States or from an institution located in a country in which English is the official language, provided English was the language of instruction. 
Minimum scores for the PhD program are:
Academic IELTS: an overall band score of 7.0 with no individual score below 6.0; or 
TOEFL: 600 on paper-based or 100 on Internet-based;  or
PTE Academic: 68;
Recommendations required:
Two (2) recommendations
Prerequisite requirements:
Bachelor's degree in biological sciences, chemistry, or related field.
Prior academic records:
Transcripts are required from all colleges and universities attended, whether or not credit was earned, the program was completed, or the credit appears as transfer credit on another transcript. Unofficial transcripts from all colleges and universities attended must be uploaded to your online application. Official transcripts are required only of applicants who are offered admission.
If transcripts are in a language other than English, English language translations must be provided. The English translation alone should be uploaded into your application.
Statement of purpose:
In an essay of 250 – 500 words, state your purpose in undertaking graduate study in your chosen field. Include your academic objectives, research interests, and career plans. Also discuss your related qualifications, including collegiate, professional, and community activities, and any other substantial accomplishments not already mentioned on the application.
An interview is required.
International applicants only:
Please review International Applicant Information carefully for details on required documents and English language requirements.
For more information on the admission process, please visit the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Frequently Asked Questions page.

Supporting documents not submitted online should be mailed to:
Columbian College of Arts and Sciences – Graduate Admissions Office 
The George Washington University 
801 22nd Street NW, Phillips Hall 107 
Washington DC 20052 
Contact for questions: ~ 202.994.6210 (phone) ~ 202.994.6213 (fax) 8:30 am – 5:30 pm, Monday through Friday