Applying to the NC State Microbiology Graduate Program

The NC State University Microbiology Graduate Program welcomes all applicants to our program. We seek to provide an inclusive environment and invite applications from individuals of diverse backgrounds. Admission is a competitive process and ideally the candidates we are seeking will have met the preferred criteria listed below.

Applications to the program are made through the university Graduate School ( where all content is compiled and distributed to the program.  The application fee is set by the Graduate School.  While an early start on applications is encouraged, the deadline is January 15 for the following fall term.  Decisions are made later in the winter / early spring.   Acquaint yourself with our different programs by following links on the Programs menu.

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There are many more applications than students who can be admitted, as our goal is to provide RA, TA or Fellowship support to those accepted into the research degree programs (Ph.D. and M.S.).  Priority for stipend support is given to Ph.D. applicants.  As an example, five Ph.D. and one M.S. student were recently admitted with support.  Applicants can be admitted without support, but we appreciate the time and burden this places on students who are trying to accomplish meaningful research, demonstrate good academic success, and achieve financial independence.  Because the university Graduate Student Support Plan has added tuition expense for international students, who usually can not become residents of North Carolina during the degree program, our ability to admit non-resident international students is limited.  International students are invited to apply and have made valuable contributions to the program.

Here are a few comments about the application to consider:

Personal statement

Microbiology is a diverse discipline.  In your personal statement please indicate the areas of research that most interest you (environmental, infectious disease, etc.).  Indicating the research programs of two to four specific faculty trainers is encouraged.  You may contact faculty directly through their email address.  Clearly state your past or current research experience and how it has prepared you for pursuing graduate level research and training.  Your personal statement should be no more than 1,000 words.


The Microbiology Graduate Program no longer requires scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE).  We appreciate that standardized tests do not tell everything about an individual's preparedness for graduate school, so your personal statement, prior research experience and letters of recommendation are very important.  Cumulative GPAs at the undergraduate or M.S. level are used in our evaluation and are often 3.5 and higher for successful applicants.  For non-English speaking international applicants, TOEFL scores totaling greater than 100 are needed.

Recommendation Letters

The most relevant and helpful letters are requested from former supervisors of laboratory research experiences, REUs, internships or other experiential learning opportunities.  People who can attest to your commitment, motivation, work ethic, creativity and ability to work with others will help you the most.  You should confirm they can provide the recommendation in a timely manner.

Thank you for your interest in the NC State University Microbiology Graduate Program and good luck with your application!