The application process for both PhD- and MS-seeking students begins with applying to The Graduate School at Montana State University (there is a fee of $60).  Applications are then reviewed by the Department of Microbiology and Immunology Graduate Committee for consideration.

For PhD applicants, the deadline by which all materials must be received for acceptance into the program the following fall semester is December 15th.  Generally very few PhD students are accepted into the Spring semester, but the department's deadline for having all materials submitted for a spring semester acceptance is September 15th.  The most up-to-date information about the Microbiology and Immunology PhD graduate program is available in the Graduate Handbook.

MS candidates may apply at any time during the year to be considered for the next academic semester. An applicant is generally not accepted by the department until support is secured with a faculty member. Graduate teaching or research assistantships are awarded on the basis of the applicant's qualifications and a recommendation from faculty. The most up-to-date information about the Microbiology and Immunology MS graduate program is available in the Graduate Handbook.


In addition to your application we will need:

  • Your official GRE scores. The institution code for MSU is 4488 and for the Department of Microbiology and Immunology it is 0212. A minimum of 480 (152) verbal GRE is needed for students to serve as a Teaching Assistant (which is a requirement for PhD students). The overall GRE score should fall at or above 1150 (305).
  • A 1-2 page (450-900 words) personal statement that explains
    • your motivation for starting a graduate degree program,
    • in what ways you consider yourself especially qualified to complete a graduate degree,
    • why you have chosen to apply to Montana State University, and
    • your future career goals.
  • Official transcripts from all tertiary-level colleges or universities you attended
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • International Students:  please see International Application Process for additional information and requirements.

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What happens if I have the majority of my materials by the deadlines mentioned above, but I won't have my GRE and/or other piece of paperwork in by that time?  Will my application not be considered?

  • Please know that with the deadlines above, while adhered to in terms of Graduate Committee Meetings and the general decision making process, it is somewhat normal to have a few components trickle in after the deadline.  As long as the majority of your materials are in by the aforementioned deadlines, your application will still be considered, though a final decision cannot be made until all required materials are in.

The grades I received as a freshman and sophomore while pursuing my undergraduate degree were not stellar.  While my final two years were above average, my first few years really lowered my overall GPA to under a 3.0.  Do I still have a chance of being accepted into the MBI graduate program?

  • The Graduate Committee understands that certain components of your application are not reflective of you and your ability overall.  While the committee does take into consideration your transcripts and other components such as your GRE scores, they do not tend to focus on only one of these when making their final decision.  If you had a rough start in school, or even a really poor semester or two, there is still hope.  That being said, the rest of your application should make up for the materials that are not as representative of what you have to offer to ensure your abilities.  Feel free to include a note explaining this discrepancy justifying why you should still be considered.
  • If, however, you do not meet the minimum requirements for GRE or TOEFL scores, it would likely be in your best interest to retake these until you do meet the minimum requirements.

I would love to enroll in your graduate program, but I'm worried about having enough personal funding to make it work.  Do you offer any scholarships or financial assistance for students like me?

  • Yes, although the amount and terms are completely unique to each individual student.  Generally, all of our students are at least partially funded.  For example, all PhD students are required to complete two teaching assistantships, while Masters students may be asked to complete one.  If a student serves as a teaching assistant, they will qualify for a tuition waiver as well as a monthly salary stipend. When the student is not teaching, they will typically receive financial assistance from their advisor (in the form of tuition waivers and stipends). Students may be required to cover their own student fees and/or health insurance depending on the situation, but this is something that can be decided upon between the student and the advisor.  That being said, there are occasions where an advisor runs short on funding and cannot continue to assist the student.  During these times, the department head will work with the department's fiscal manager to brainstorm funding solutions.
  • The department is only able to accept and fund a small handful of students each year, so it is helpful when students come in with specialized funding (military, IGERT, MSU Molecular Biosciences, etc.).  Obviously the majority of our applicants do not come with this funding, so if you do not qualify for these, you are still encouraged to apply.

I have applied to your program once before, but was turned down.  Can I apply again, and if so, do I have to pay the application fee again?

  • Yes, you can apply again. Your initial application fee is $60. You will be assessed a $30 fee by The Graduate School for all new applications that are submitted within one year of the initial application.  At the one year mark, the process begins anew (meaning you would have to pay a $60 application fee if one year has passed since your initial application).   
  • Before re-applying please consider the reason you were initially rejected.  If you were rejected because of poor academic merit, you will need to revamp your application prior to submitting it again.  If your test scores did not meet the minimum requirement, you will need to retake these tests until you meet the minimum.


Please contact us if you need additional information