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Admissions Philosophy

The Graduate Program in Microbiology seeks students with the intellectual aptitude, independence, and motivation to pursue scientific research. Students are considered and selected on the basis of past academic performance, previous laboratory research experience, recommendations, and individual interviews. While previous experience in Microbiology coursework and research is helpful, the Graduate Program in Microbiology welcomes applicants with varied backgrounds. Students most likely to succeed have traditionally been those with intellectual achievement and creativity, first-hand understanding of laboratory research, and a strong personal desire and motivation to progress in their scientific training.

Admission to any of the three following programs allows for an opportunity to train in the Microbiology Program:

• Microbiology Graduate Program

• Biomedical Sciences Program

• Medical Scientist Training Program (MD/PhD)

The Graduate Program in Microbiology also works closely with the Immunology & Molecular Biology graduate programs, and several labs have joint appointments which can allow for a student to rotate and/or complete thesis work in a Microbiology lab.

Entrance Requirements

Undergraduate Studies

- The Graduate Program in Microbiology requires a baccalaureate degree (BS or BA) with a 3.0 (out of 4.0) Grade Point Average (GPA), although exceptions can be considered.

- The Microbiology Program Admissions Committee reviews completed coursework to determine if each applicant has sufficient background to pursue our doctoral degree. Specific courses are not required, but coursework in the following subjects is recommended and can enhance an application: Microbiology, Immunology, Virology, Organic Chemistry, Biology, Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Genetics, Molecular Biology, Molecular Genetics, and Physiology.

Research Experience

Research experience, particularly experimental, hypothesis-driven research experience, is highly recommended. This type of experience is extremely valuable in providing insight to both the Admissions Committee and the candidate as to their commitment to the rigors and rewards of scientific endeavor.

Letters of Recommendation

Three letters of recommendation are required for an application to be considered complete, and thus be reviewed by the Microbiology Admissions Committee. Applicants may request to have the letters completed on-line by following the instructions in the on-line application. However, paper recommendation letters sent can be used by downloading the Request for Recommendation form in the on-line application. Either way, these letters are important, and are a critical element for the Admissions Committee’s evaluation of applications. Thus, when possible, applicants should select faculty research mentors that can discuss academic performance, research experience, and the likelihood of the applicant’s future success as a scientist.

How to Apply


Applications will open September 1, and all application and supplemental materials are due no later than December 1. Applications received after December 1 may not be considered.

To apply for admission applicants must submit the following:

1. Online Graduate School application.

2. A $50.00 domestic and $75.00 international non-refundable application fee (credit card [online only], check, or money order). No application will be processed unless this fee is paid.

3. One (1) official transcript of all academic work completed to date.

To be considered "official", the transcripts must come from the issuing institution directly to the University of Colorado Denver Anschutz Medical Campus graduate program. Use the following address:

Graduate Admissions

Campus Box 163

PO Box 173364

1380 Lawrence Street Suite 1250

Denver, CO 80205-3364

Electronic Transcripts should be sent to:

4. Three (3) letters of recommendation.

5. GRE scores are NOT REQUIRED for admission.

6. TOEFL or IELTS scores and financial support verification (international students only), school code 4875.

7. State of Colorado residency form (part of the on-line application).

We want to make the application process as easy as possible, so please click HERE to find our online application. You will be asked to register as a New User to begin your application.

Once you’re registered with a username and password, to find out application choose GRADUATE as your career, ANSCHUTZ MEDICAL CAMPUS for campus, and SCHOOL OF MEDICINE for program. These three steps will lead you to selecting a Field of Study (Microbiology – PhD).

A majority of the fields on the application are required, so please fill out the application to the best of your knowledge. This does include the Tuition Classification Form. Although, you may not be a current Colorado Resident this document is required for the application.

If you have any questions, please contact our Graduate Program Administrator, Michele Parsons at or 303-724-0107.

International Applicants - Important Information

International students must meet ALL of the requirements above and also must provide:

1. Original transcripts and documentation in English (or a certified English translation) of the completion of a Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree or the equivalent as evaluated by the CU Denver Office of International Affairs;

2. Documents as required by the International Student Scholar Services Office to process immigration;

3. A certified English translation of all academic records and references not in English, and

4. Evidence of proficiency in English as defined in the University policy Official Measures of English Language Proficiency for Admission of International Students (effective July 1, 2012) by satisfying one of the following criteria:

I. The applicant is a citizen of a country whose official language is English, which includes Australia, Belize, Botswana, Canada (except Quebec), Commonwealth Caribbean, Ghana, Great Britain, India, Ireland, Kenya, New Zealand, Nigeria, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, and Zimbabwe; or

II. The applicant obtains a composite score of 75 or above on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL, iBT) (minimum subscores of 15 in Reading, 14 in Listening, 19 in Speaking, and 20 in Writing) or a composite score of 6.5 or above on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) (minimum subscores of 5.5 in each area). Schools or Colleges, or individual graduate programs may require higher standards on these tests; or

III. The applicant has graduated from the CU Denver’s ESL Academy; or

IV. The applicant has graduated with a bachelor’s degree or higher from a foreign institution where the language of instruction was English. (The applicant must provide a letter from the home institution verifying this information if the language of instruction is not clearly indicated on the official academic transcript.); or

V. The applicant has graduated with a bachelor’s degree or higher from a US accredited school abroad where the language of instruction was English. (The applicant must provide a letter from the home institution verifying this information if the language of instruction is not clearly indicated on the official academic transcript.); or

VI. The applicant has earned a bachelor’s degree in the US or has successfully completed a minimum of 2 semesters (a minimum of 12 credits) of full-time study in a graduate-level master’s program at an accredited institution in the US and obtained a “B” (3.00) cumulative GPA or higher.

Click here to visit the International Admissions website.

Recruitment Weekend

If your application is accepted and you are invited for an interview, the Microbiology Program Administrator will contact you about your travel and help make arrangements convenient for you. The Microbiology Program covers all expenses during your visit, including transportation, lodging, and meals.


What is the application deadline each year?

December 1

Is the GRE required?

No. Effective Fall 2019, we no longer require the GRE.

What does my completed application need?

• Completed application form (Online Application)

• Include application fee information

• Upload Statement of Purpose, CV, academic and non-academic experience

• Submit ONE official copy of your transcripts from each college or university attended. Official copies must be sent directly from the college or university attended. Those submitted by the student will not be accepted.

• THREE letters of recommendation by those who know you well and are able to comment on your scientific knowledge, achievements and potential.

Where can I send my official transcripts?

Please have one official copy of your transcript sent to the following address:

Graduate Admissions

Campus Box 163

PO Box 173364

1380 Lawrence Street Suite 1250

Denver, CO 80205-3364

Electronic Transcripts for all basic science graduate programs should be sent to:

Does the program award master's degrees?

No, we are a Ph.D.-granting program. However, a new Immunology and Microbiology track has been added to the Biomedical Science and Biotechnology Master’s program. Learn more.

I submitted my application, now what?

The Admissions Committee will review your application file and decide whether to offer you an interview at our interview weekends normally held in January or early February. If you do not receive an invitation or a letter of decline, your application is put on a waitlist. The Committee has until April 15 to notify you of their decision. Usually, 12 to 15 applicants are invited for interviews.

I received an invitation for an interview. What do I need to do next?

The Microbiology Program Administrator will contact you about your travel and make arrangements convenient for you. The Microbiology Program will cover expenses for transportation, lodging, and meals during your travel and visit, and may reimburse you for some out-of-pocket travel expenses; guidelines for reimbursement will be included in your interview packet.

What happens during the interview weekend?

The first evening typically is spent with current students who will host applicants for an informal dinner. The next day begins with continental breakfast with the Student President, Department Chair, Program Director and Program Administrator to welcome you and give you an overview of the department and the program. Applicants then will have individual visits with faculty and admissions committee members, lunch with current students, a tour of campus and scientific facilities and attend interactive lightning talks by current students. That evening, a faculty member hosts a dinner at their home, where you may meet and chat with additional students and faculty you did not get to meet during the day. On the final day, applicants will present brief talks of their research and participate in discussion groups on current topics in science. Finally, applicants will get to spend the remainder of the day touring interesting sites in and around Denver with current students.

What can I expect during the interviews?

The interviews are one-on-one 30 minute talks with the Microbiology faculty and Admissions Committee faculty. You may bring any additional information you would like to share, such as papers or research illustrations, if you wish. Current students will escort you to and from your interviews.

Are special dietary needs accommodated?

Yes, dietary needs are taken into consideration and alternatives are provided.

What should I wear to my interview?

Most candidates wear nice slacks or pants paired with a nice shirt or sweater. You may wear a suit if you would like, but it isn't required. Keep in mind comfort and fluctuating temperatures and weather.

Will I be able to talk with other graduate students about their experience in the University of Colorado Microbiology Program?

Yes, our graduate students play an important and integral part in coordinating our interview weekends. You will be contacted by a current student host/buddy in advance of your visit, and student hosts can give you the student perspective on their experience here. Candidates will have the opportunity to attend dinners, social events, and see highlights of Denver, all arranged by our current students.

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