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Microbiology & Immunology Masters Program

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One-Year Masters Program in Microbiology and Immunology

Strengthen your application to graduate or professional school!

Program overview

This one-year post baccalaureate program leading to the degree of Master of Biomedical Science in Microbiology and Immunology has been designed to prepare students for careers in biomedical sciences and to provide an in-depth educational experience to improve the probability of gaining admission to a postgraduate professional school such as medical, dental, veterinary schools or Ph.D. programs. Class size is limited to 20 students. All courses are taught within the Tulane School of Medicine by full time faculty.

Application deadline for Fall 2019
August 10, 2019 
(or until the Program is filled)
 

Program Calendar

The M.S. in Microbiology and Immunology curriculum is designed for completion within one year. Classes will start late August and end in May of the following year.

Program Objectives

Upon graduation, students

  • Should have developed core knowledge in Microbiology and Immunology, and the ability to apply their knowledge to problems in these and other disciplines. (Disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge)
  • Should have developed the ability to perform basic work in a Microbiology or other research laboratory. (Professional competencies)
  • Should have developed skills that transcend disciplines and are applicable in any context, such as communications, leadership, and working in teams. (Foundational and transferrable skills)
  • Should have developed the ability to apply the scientific method, understand the application of statistical analysis, gain experience in conducting research and other field studies,learn about and understand the importance of research responsibility and integrity, and engage in work-based learning and research in a systematic manner. (Research)
Program Results

Approximately 80% of our graduates have gained admission to the professional program of their choice (MD, DO, Dental, PA or PhD) and all others have assumed positions in research, industry or teaching.

Our graduates have been accepted into the following programs:

American University of the Caribbean, St. Maarten
Arizona School of Dental & Oral Health
Creighton University School of Medicine
George Washington University School of Medicine
Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
Louisiana State University School of Medicine
Louisiana State University Physician Assistant Program
Nova Southeastern University Dental School, Florida
Oregon Health & Science University Medical School
South Alabama College of Medicine
Texas A&M School of Medicine
Texas Tech University (PA Program)
Tufts University School of Dental Medicine
Tulane University School of Medicine (MD, BMS/PhD, BioInnovations programs)
University of Alabama School of Medicine
University of Florida College of Medicine, PhD program
University of Illinois College of Medicine
University of Kentucky College of Medicine
University of Maryland, Baltimore PhD program
University of Missouri School of Medicine
University of Texas School of Dentistry, Houston
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
University of Queensland/Ochsner School of Medicine
Wake Forest School of Medicine
West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine

Admission Requirements

Applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Successful completion of the requirements for a baccalaureate degree including basic work in biology and chemistry.
  • GPA of ≥3.0 (on a 4.0 scale)
  • MCAT cumulative score of ≥27 (old MCAT), or ≥504 (new MCAT) - please, send a screenshot or pdf of your scores to the email listed below.
  • DAT average score of ≥18 (please, send a screenshot or pdf of your scores to the email listed below)
  • GRE score of ≥300 (ETS code: 6178)
  • PLEASE NOTE: ONLY ONE OF THE ABOVE IS NEEDED FOR APPLICATION (MCAT or DAT or GRE)
  • All application materials must be in English
  • Applicants whose highest degree is from a foreign university must have their credentials evaluated. The university will accept evaluations done by any credentialing agency listed on the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services web site (http://www.naces.org).
English Requirements

English Proficiency

If your first language is not English, you must certify proficiency in English when you apply to the program.

Please submit your scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS-Academic) as part of your application.
The TOEFL is administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS).  IELTS-Academic is administered by local IELTS test centers throughout the world.  Consult IELTS for the test center nearest your home or university. Your test results can help you determine whether you are prepared to undertake graduate study conducted in English before making extensive plans for graduate study in the U.S.

Special note:  If you studied at a satellite campus located in a country where English is not the primary spoken language of daily life, be sure to submit recent TOEFL or IELTS-Academic scores.
Citizenship, U.S. residence and/or work experience are not substitutes for meeting the requirements. 
If you hold a bachelor's degree or higher from a university located in the United States or in another country in which English is both the primary spoken language of daily life (e.g. Australia, Barbados, Canada, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, United Kingdom) and the medium of instruction, and you have completed at least two years of full-time study at such an institution, you are exempted from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement.  Please be sure to include such information in your application.

Minimum TOEFL & IELTS Scores

Your IELTS-Academic overall band score should be at least 7.0.  7.0 is the minimum required.
Your TOEFL score on the paper and pencil test must be at least 560 or at least 87 on the internet-based test.  For the internet-based TOEFL (TOEFL iBT), the following are the minimum expected scores for each section:

  • Writing      25
  • Speaking    24
  • Reading    21
  • Listening  17

Please note that these expected section scores help judge your English language ability in different areas.

Your application is not complete without these scores.

TOEFL scores should be sent to our Biomedical sciences (BMS) office.  Be sure to list the ETS code: 6178
Ask IESTS to send your scores to our department (address below).

Foreign language ability can fade quickly, sp please note that TOEFL and IELTS scores are considered valid for only two years.  The scores must be valid at the time you submit your application.
If you took the examination multiple times, only the most recent score is considered.
 

Application Process

The application for admission to the Master of Science degree program in Microbiology and Immunology should be submitted online through the Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences. Applications will be accepted until the application deadline (August 10, 2019) or until all positions are filled. Applicants will be admitted on a competitive basis. 

To apply, please use the online application forms:  Apply Now

In addition to the online application form, you will need three letters of recommendation, copies of your official transcripts and a personal statement.  Official transcripts (undergraduate institutions, GRE, MCAT/DAT (pdf of score page for the latter) and TOEFL/ETS) may be submitted electronically through the application site, sent e.g. via Interfolio, or directly through the institution, or mailed directly to the following address:

Dr. Kerstin Höner zu Bentrup
Attn: Masters Program
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Box 8638
Tulane University School of Medicine
1430 Tulane Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70112  
Email:MIIM_MS@tulane.edu

Tuition

Full-time tuition for the 2019-20 academic year is $24,900 per year plus fees, to be paid on a two semester basis. The Tulane University Office of Financial Aid provides guidance with financing options (https://tulane.edu/financialaid/).

Students will also be charged the following estimated fees on a per semester basis: Academic Support Services ($400 max.), Student Activities ($120), Reily Recreation Center ($180), and Student Health Services ($320).

For further information, please, visit our website at https://medicine.tulane.edu/education/biomedical-sciences-graduate-program/financial-aid

Degree Requirements (two tracks available)

Thesis Track

  • 26 credit hours of course work during Fall and Spring semesters plus 4 credits for thesis-relevant courses.
  • Complete requirements for a thesis, based on library research (generate a review paper).
  • At least a "B" average (3.0 GPA) has to be achieved in order to graduate.

Non-thesis track

  • 30 credit hours of course work during Fall and Spring semesters.
  • At least a "B" average (3.0 GPA) has to be achieved in order to graduate.

Program Curriculum

Students must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours from the courses listed below.
Students can take as many credits as desired.

Required Courses

Fall semester:

MIIM-7500 Graduate Medical Microbiology (4 credits). This course is designed to introduce graduate students to bacterial, fungal and viral pathogens that are the etiological agents of the most significant infectious diseases worldwide. The course will focus on the basic mechanisms of microbial pathogenesis with emphasis on the host-microbe interactions and the most recent advances on therapeutic and prophylactic treatments to combat these diseases. Important historical discoveries along with current scientific strategies to study the molecular basis of virulence will be discussed, and recent high impact publications will be assigned for reading and discussion. Course Director: Dr. Lucy Freytag.

MIIM-7600 Medical Immunology (3 credits). This course is designed to provide a basis of terminology relevant to the basic concepts of immunology. It commences with the important components (cell, tissues; antibodies; immunoglobulins) involved in host defense against infectious agents. Introductory lectures serve to describe and differentiate between natural defense (innate) mechanisms and adaptive immunity mediated by functional B and T lymphocytes and their products. Subsequently, cellular interactions, especially the differentiation of helper T cells subsets and the production of relevant cytokines, will be described. This will include the mechanisms of T cell activation and regulation. Finally, clinical immunology will be discussed: autoimmunity and autoimmune diseases; hypersensitivity reactions, including atopic disorders and asthma; mechanisms of transplant rejection; and immunodeficiency disorders. Course Director: Dr. James McLachlan.

MIIM-7550 Microbiology Lab (3 credits). This course is designed to teach students how to perform basic laboratory tests using simple diagnostic tests for infectious diseases techniques. The bulk of the course consists of hands-on laboratory experience conducting laboratory tests with simulated clinical specimens and analyzing prepared teaching specimens. Procedures for organism isolation and identification and rapid diagnostic kits will be covered. Course Director: Dr. Louise Lawson.

MIIM-7010 Seminar In Microbiology (1 credit). The main purpose of the Seminar is to provide students with the opportunity to develop the confidence and skills necessary to make successful scientific presentations, enhance their critical thinking, and engage in thoughtful and productive scientific discussions with their professors and peers. In this course, doctoral graduate students are scheduled to present either a research article or their own work in a 50 min seminar (allowing for 10 min discussion). Masters students are required to attend and participate in the seminars and to write a one-page summary describing the content and significance of each seminar. Course Director: Dr. Lucy Freytag.

MIIM -7020 Graduate Journal Club (1 credit). This course is a journal club format for discussion of current topics in Microbiology and Immunology. Students will present a seminar to the class on a selected research paper approved by the course instructor. Students will explain the topic background and specific hypothesis being tested, describe in detail the experimental design and results, and discuss the conclusions reached and whether or not they were justified. The student audience is expected to participate in class discussion following the presentation. In addition, each student is required to write a short summary explaining the hypothesis, content and significance of the findings for each presented paper. Course Director: Dr. Kerstin Honer zu Bentrup.

Spring semester

MIIM-7400 Responsible Conduct of Biomedical Research (2 credits). This course explores a variety of ethical and policy issues that arise during the conduct of basic, translational, and clinical biomedical scientific research, with special emphasis on research in infectious diseases. Topics addressed include: (1) research misconduct; (2) "every day" ethical issues faced by biomedical scientists; (3) the use of laboratory animals in scientific research; (4) human research participants and scientific research; (5) authorship practices in scientific publications; (6) conflicts of interest arising from scientists acting as policy consultants and experts; (7) data sharing and data secrecy; (8) mentoring; (9) research with stem cells; (10) the “dual-use” dilemma; (11) select agents and bioterrorism; and (12) scientists as citizens. Course sessions will include lectures, discussion periods, and analyses of case studies. Material will be provided to the students at the latest one week before the session. Course Director: Dr. Louise Lawson

MIIM-7020 Seminar in Microbiology (1 credit). The main purpose of the Seminar is to provide students with the opportunity to develop the confidence and skills necessary to make successful scientific presentations, enhance their critical thinking, and engage in thoughtful and productive scientific discussions with their professors and peers. In this course, doctoral graduate students are scheduled to present either a research article or their own work in a 50 min seminar (allowing for 10 min discussion). Masters students are required to attend and participate in the seminars and to write a one-page summary describing the content and significance of each seminar. Course Director: Dr. Lucy Freytag.

MIIM-7030 Topics in Microbiology (2 credits). This course is designed to introduce students to a number of current research fields through studying published research papers, general public resource, and other material. Students will pick a topic of their interest, specifically one that is current. Students will present a summary of their topic to the class and will generate questions for their classmates that will stimulate discussions. Topics can include basic, applied, and clinical research and reviews to canvass the latest developments in the field of Microbiology and/or Immunology. Course Director: Dr. Kerstin Honer zu Bentrup.

Elective Courses

Fall Semester

MIIM-7210 Research Methods (2 credits). This course provides students with an introduction and broad overview to the basic biochemical, molecular and immunological techniques that are commonly used in biomedical research. Topics covered include: cell culture techniques, basic microscopy, recombinant DNA technology and protein analysis methods, amongst others. The theory behind the various techniques, practical applications, and the general procedures for carrying them out will be described. Hands on sessions be included. After taking the course students will have a good fundamental background in molecular methods as they are applied to biomedical research and be familiar with the terminology of molecular biology, thus giving students a better access to the scientific literature. You will gain an understanding of the various methods and their applications and will be better able to evaluate the merits of scientific papers by knowing the strengths and weaknesses of the various techniques used in biomedical research. Students pursuing a career in bench research will be better able to decide which methods to use in which situations and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the techniques.

For most sessions, students will be responsible for preparing with assigned reading before coming to class. Reading material will be provided to the students at the latest one week before the session. Grading will be on notebook keeping, attendance and participation in class.  Course Director: Dr. Kerstin Honer zu Bentrup.

MIIM-7720 Medical Mycology (3 credits). This course consists of a basic introduction to medical mycology and a comprehensive study of the fungi (yeasts and molds) and mycoses (fungal diseases) likely to be encountered in clinical settings by a physician, medical mycologist, or medical technologist. Attention will be distributed as equally as possible between emphasis on the biology of the fungal pathogen and on its disease. Course Director: Dr. Cindy Morris.

MIIM-7050 Thesis Research Design (2 credits). This course is for students in the Masters Program in Microbiology who have chosen the thesis track for completion of their degree. The thesis track involves writing a review style paper on a topic of the student’s choice. It does not involve bench research.

This course will guide students through the writing process in relation to the field of biomedical science. Topics to be covered include:

  • Defining the scope of the thesis
  • Structuring an outline
  • Collecting, interpreting and critically analyzing literature
  • Scientific writing skills
  • Reference management
  • Document formatting

Throughout the semester, students will be required to develop their own thesis research topics, review relevant research and scholarship, and complete their thesis outline with guidance from departmental faculty. Course Director: Dr. Louise Lawson

MIIM-7320 Research 1-2 credits (listed as 1-10 cr). Students will work in a laboratory in agreement with the respective PI to learn how different methods are used to carry out research in Microbiology and Immunology. Students will need to do identify the Lab and PI on their own, using the online descriptions of the research performed in the individual labs (e.g. lab websites, descriptions provided through department websites etc). The program director will then advise on fit and feasibility. At the end of the semester, students will write a 2 to 3 –page summary describing what they learned and the methods they used. Grade will be Pass/Fail. Course Director: Dr. Lucy Freytag.

GBCH-7500 Human Medical Cellular Biochemistry (5 credits) The objectives and content of the Human Medical Cellular Biochemistry course are designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of cellular structure and function, and the manner by which cellular processes are normally integrated and regulated. The course stresses both the normal cellular function, and why disease states occur if normal cellular processes are disrupted. Course Director: Dr. David Franklin.

Spring Semester

MIIM-7750 Medical Parasitology (3 credits). The first part of this class will briefly introduce basic concepts and terminology to discuss parasites, vectors, and the (human) host and their relationship to each other. We will then explore a number of important diseases and the diverse set of helminths and protozoa causing them. We will highlight critical aspects of the biology of parasitism and parasitic disease as we go along. The lectures aim to span the entire field ranging from the molecular biology of the parasite to the implementation of control programs in the field. Course Director: Dr. Cindy Morris.

MIIM-7220 Advanced Research Methods/Data Mining (4 credits). This course addresses the process of experimental design and current experimental methodologies in biology. The goal of this course is to introduce graduate students to the principles of current research methods, both in theory and in practice. Additionally, it will introduce methods for data mining, analysis and presentation. The course will be a mixture of lectures, discussion of research papers and hands-on sessions using the techniques and instruments discussed during the respective sessions. Most sessions will also involve practical application of computer tools using experimental data sets. Course Directors: Drs. Kerstin Honer zu Bentrup and Deborah Sullivan

MIIM-7250 Vaccine Biology (3 credits). The worldwide eradication of smallpox is the best example of the success of vaccines as the best weapon to combat infectious diseases. This course will discuss vaccines from their historical development to state of the art strategies being currently employed to create new vaccines or improve the ones currently existing. We will focus on antigen discovery, immunological responses required for successful vaccination, and novel adjuvants and immunopotentiation strategies. Specific topics will include methods to link innate and adaptive responses, virulence factors and their role in immunity, strategies used by pathogens to escape the host response, and new delivery systems and biotechnology approaches for the development of vaccines. Course Directors: Drs. Lucy Freytag and Lisa Morici.

MIIM-7620-01 Advanced Immunology (3 credits). The class will be broken into 13 blocks consisting of two meetings per week. The first block will be a lecture based review session on key immune concepts. The rest of the course will be entirely discussion based. Prior to class, the instructor will email papers for the following week’s class. Students are expected to have read and be prepared to discuss any papers that have been sent. The first class of each week will consist of a historically important paper for that week’s topic. The second class will be a discussion of a more recent high impact paper from the field and how that works fits into the overall history and our understanding of immunity. Students should be prepared to be called on in class to discuss specific figures, results, discussion, etc. from each paper. Course Director: James McLachlan.

MIIM-7120 Advanced Virology (4 credits). The course includes lecture and discussion of fundamental and advanced topics in medically relevant virology. Topics will be taken from the current literature to allow incorporation of fundamental principles of virology into the current context of the field. Selected Tulane faculty with expertise in the field will lead the discussion. Course Directors: Drs. Cindy Morris and Debbie Sullivan.

MIIM-9970-01 Master's Thesis (2 credits). Continuation of Thesis Research Design (Fall), Sign up for this course if on thesis track. Course Director: Dr. Louise Lawson

MIIM-XXX Scientific Writing (2 credits). This course is for students in the Master of Science Program in Microbiology and Immunology who have chosen the thesis track for completion of their degree. This course will guide students through the scientific writing process, with a focus in the field of biomedical science. In doing so, students will be expected to critically analyze scientific literature in the fields of microbiology and immunology. Weekly sessions will focus on the scientific writing process, critical analysis of published literature, slide presentation preparation, and providing constructive feedback as a reviewer. Throughout the semester, students will be required to complete their thesis with guidance from departmental faculty. Course director: Dr. Louise Lawson.

MIIM-7320 Research (1-2 credits (listed as 1-10 cr). Students will work in a laboratory in agreement with the respective PI to learn how different methods are used to carry out research in Microbiology and Immunology. Students will need to do identify the Lab and PI on their own, using the online descriptions of the research performed in the individual labs (e.g. lab websites, descriptions provided through department websites etc). The program director will then advise on fit and feasibility. At the end of the semester, students will write a 2 to 3 –page summary describing what they learned and the methods they used. Grade will be Pass/Fail. Course Director: Dr. Lucy Freytag.

MIIM-7100 Clinical Cases and Their Underlying Mechanisms (2 credits) Clinical case reports are a means of disseminating new knowledge gained from medical practitioners. In this course, we will discuss clinical cases relevant to immunology or microbiology and then dissect the underlying disease mechanisms discussed within the case. Class discussion will include guest lectures by clinicians that present clinical cases within their specialties. Topics will include acute infections, chronic infections, inflammatory diseases, cancer, etc. By completion of the course, students will be familiar with presenting clinical cases will have acquired knowledge on the underlying immunologic and/or microbial mechanisms on cases discussed. In small groups, students will also select and present a relevant case study to fellow students and instructor(s). Rudimentary knowledge of immunology and microbiology is highly recommended. Course Director: Dr. Elizabeth Norton

GBCH-7520 Metabolic Biochemistry of Human Disease (5 credits). The objectives and content of the Metabolic Biochemistry of Human Disease course are designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the metabolic pathways involving the four major metabolic compounds: carbohydrates, lipids, amino acids and nucleotides; and the manner by which metabolism is normally integrated and regulated. This course stresses both the normal metabolic function, and why disease states occur if normal metabolic processes are disrupted. Course Director: David Franklin.

Download a current brochure of our program here:

Microbiology and Immunology Brochure

Please send correspondence and requests for information on the Masters Program to: 

Dr. Kerstin Höner zu Bentrup
Director of Master's Program in Microbiology and Immunolgy
Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Tulane University School of Medicine
1430 Tulane Avenue, 8638
New Orleans, Louisiana 70112-2699
Telephone: 504-988-4609
Email: MIIM_MS@tulane.edu