Department of Microbiology & Immunology

Columbia University in the City of New York

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Graduate Admissions
The doctoral program in Microbiology, Immunology and Infection is based in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology and is one of the specialized research and training areas within the Integrated Program in Cellular, Molecular and Biomedical Studies of the Coordinated Doctoral Program in Biomedical Sciences at Columbia University Medical Center.

The Department of Microbiology & Immunology offers a program of study leading to the Ph.D. in Microbiology & Immunology. You will earn M.A. and M.Ph. degrees in the course of your studies. There is no program leading to a M.S. degree. If you are accepted to the Ph.D. program, you will be given full support for tuition, student health services, and medical insurance. You will also receive a stipend for your personal use, which continues throughout your graduate studies. There is no teaching requirement.

Applicants to the doctoral program in Microbiology, Immunology and Infection should have a bachelor's degree or equivalent, an advanced knowledge of biology, and a basic knowledge of chemistry, physics and mathematics. Research experience is regarded very favorably. Recent scores for the Graduate Record Examination (verbal, quantitative and analytical) are required for admission, and it is recommended, but not essential, that an advanced GRE test be taken in biology, biochemistry and molecular biology, or chemistry. Foreign applicants must demonstrate proficiency in English by taking the test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The department does not impose any cap on accepting foreign applicants. If accepted, they are fully funded by the program. Having their own fellowship is welcomed, but is not a criterion by which their application is evaluated.

The department is also home to a NIH/NAID T32 Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Institutional Research Training Grant for the predoctoral Columbia University Graduate Training Program in Microbiology, Immunology and Infection, which funds four graduate trainees a year for two year terms. Trainees are selected for this prestigous award through an application process from doctoral students in the department that have attained dissertator status, which typically takes place in the second year of study.

You should apply for admission online to the doctoral program in Microbiology, Immunology and Infection of the Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at the College of Physicians and Surgeons. When applying to a program of study, select the term you are applying for, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) as the degree, Integrated Program in Cellular, Molecular and Biomedical Studies as the program, and Microbiology, Immunology and Infection as the specialization. Further details on the application procedures are available on the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences application guidelines website, including application deadlines. If you have questions specific to the Microbiology, Immunology and Infection doctoral program, you may contact our Admissions Committee by email at Our Director of Graduate Studies is Dr. Lorraine Symington. If you have questions about your online application, contact the Office of Graduate Affairs at 212-305-8058 (phone), 212-305-1031 (fax) or by email at

GRE and TOEFL scores should be sent directly from the testing service.

Applications are screened by a joint admissions committee, and decisions are based on:

  • Undergraduate grades
  • Research experience
  • Graduate Record Examination scores
  • The personal statement
  • Letters of recommendation

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    Department of Microbiology & Immunology, Columbia University + 701 W. 168 St., HHSC 1208 New York, NY 10032 Tel. 212-305-3647