The Master's Degree Program

How to apply to a Microbiology Graduate Program

The program leading to a Master of Science degree in microbiology is designed to provide you with basic knowledge of this field, to permit you to acquire technical competence in the fundamentals of research and to foster creative and independent thinking. Two calendar years or more are generally needed for the completion of an original thesis, Plan A. Plan B generally take 2 years and does not require a thesis but requires students to pass a series of comprehensive examinations. Plan B is available only to students admitted for the spring of 2007 or earlier. Students admitted for the fall of 2007 and later are required to complete Plan A.

MS Student learning outcomes

Program Purpose

The MS degree program in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Hawaii is designed to give students advanced coursework in microbiology and an in-depth introduction to microbiology research. Students are expected to design and execute original research projects using traditional and advanced research technologies. We strive to provide each Master's student with broad knowledge microbiology and in depth knowledge in their area of specialization such that they can enter the workforce as professional microbiologists or continue their academic training in advanced graduate or professional programs.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate the ability to design experiments with appropriate controls, and to conduct original research.
  • Demonstrate proficiency with a variety of classical and modern microbiology techniques.
  • Read, understand and evaluate current literature in their discipline.
  • Research results and interpretations of those results should be clearly presented both orally and in written works.
  • Develop awareness and perspective as a member of a local, national and global scientific community.
  • Compete successfully for productive employment or enter advanced degree programs in microbiology or health-related fields.

Admission to the Graduate Division and the Department

How to apply

First semester: student should meet with his/her interim advisor to plan initial course work. The M.S. diagnostic examination will be taken at scheduled times in August and January, during the first week of the semester. The purpose of the exam is to evaluate your background in the field and provide a basis for prescribing a program of course work of maximum benefit.

Plan A (Thesis) Degree Requirements:

  • Appointment of Thesis Committee, consisting of at least three members of the Graduate Faculty. This committee will include at least two members of the Department. The Committee Chairman must be a member of the Department. Appointment of an outside member is left to the discretion of the Committee Chairman.
  • Approval of the thesis proposal prior to the middle of the semester preceding the one in which the candidate expects to complete requirements: consult the University Calendar for exact deadlines.
  • Completion of 30 credit hours as follows:
    • 12 cr. of classes 600 level and up, excluding MICR 699. It is expected that the majority of these classes will be in Microbiology. Classes from outside the department may be included, upon approval of student's committee chair.  Up to 3 credits of MICR695 may be applied toward the degree.
    • 2 cr. of Directed Research, MICR 699.
    • 1 cr. Seminar, MICR 690.
    • 6 cr. Thesis, MICR 700.
    • (e) 9 cr. of classes, which can include 400 level and graduate-level Microbiology classes. Directed Research (MICR 699) may not be included. Graduate-level classes from outside the department may be included, upon approval of student's committee chair.
  • Completion of the Thesis and passing the Thesis Defense given by the Thesis Committee.
  • Provision of two bound copies of Thesis to Department secretary before Graduation, one of which goes to the chairman of the thesis committee.

Plan B (Examination) Degree Requirements:
There is no Plan B available to Microbiology MS students

Grade Point Requirements

Grade point requirements for continued eligibility: Plan A and B. In addition to the minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or B required for continued eligibility in the Graduate Division, the Department allows no more than two C-grades to be earned in all courses other than Micro 699, 700, 795. The student may be dropped from the Department program for poor scholarship. Superior performance is to be demonstrated in research-oriented courses. The department does not count directed research courses in evaluating the GPA.

NOTES

  • Much of the thesis writing and review is done under the supervision of the major professor (mentor). Thus, a sufficient period must be allowed for the first and second draft revisions. This period is not dictated in any way by the University or Department and will depend on the scientific and editorial qualities of the drafts.

    The University dictates a minimum of 2 weeks to permit members of the committee to review the Masters thesis. If the thesis has not been properly reviewed and drafted by the student and his/her mentor, the other committee members are not obligated to read or judge the document until it is in satisfactory form.
  • The minimum University residence requirement is two semesters or four summer sessions of full-time work or equivalent in credits.
  • Transfer of Credits: Up to one-half of the total course credits required in a given field of study may be transferred no later than admission to candidacy; at least one-half the credits required in graduate courses (numbered 600 and above) are to be completed at the University of Hawaii (residence requirements having been satisfied). Up to six credits of work completed at another accredited institution following admission to candidacy may be transferred to this University, provided such transfer does not exceed the maximum allowable. Grades must be B or better. Any transfer of credit must be submitted to the Graduate Division for approval.
  • The Comprehensive Examination is a department requirement only for plan B.
  • It is the personal responsibility of each student to see that all requirements are fulfilled and all deadlines met in a timely manner. See the university general catalog for the official calendars.

The Master's Comprehensive Examination

The purpose of this examination is to test the student's comprehension of the broad field of microbiology as represented by the Faculty of this Department. The primary purpose of the degree is to provide a broad base of advanced training beyond the baccalaureate.

The areas covered by the examination are essentially as follows:
  • General Microbiology (including a basic knowledge of different kinds of microorganisms) (Required to pass)
  • Microbial Physiology
  • Bacterial Genetics
  • Ultrastructure and Cell Biology
  • Virology
  • Immunology
  • Marine Microbiology
  • Medical Microbiology (Bacteriology)
  • Microbial Ecology
The necessary knowledge to pass any one area may be acquired by:
  • Taking the relevant courses for credit
  • Auditing courses
  • Reading a) recommended texts, b) recent lecture notes. Consult with appropriate faculty for recommended reading and clarification.

It is not necessary to take all courses in the various fields. Much knowledge can be gained by other means. Those who do not take the full courses by credit or audit may be at some disadvantage but they should be able to pass by proper reading and study.

Format of Examination

Each professor will inform the students of the text(s), references, lecture material, and the like, which should be used for preparing for the exam.

Dates of the Examination

The Master's Comprehensive Examinations will be held three times a year (Spring, Summer, Fall) three weeks before the designated deadline of the Graduate Division for Final Examinations.

Criteria for Passing

Nine fields as currently offered are taken and no less than six must be passed. If only five fields are passed, then any one failed field will be re-examined. If on the re-examination the field is failed, the student will meet with the entire faculty to discuss his/her future.

If less than five fields are passed, the student will meet with the entire faculty to determine his/her future. The faculty may recommend that the student repeat the ENTIRE exam the next time it is offered, at which time the student MUST pass the required number of fields. Alternatively, the faculty may recommend that the failure stand.