Graduate Coordinator

Doctor of Philosophy degrees are awarded by the Department for significant and original research contributions to basic knowledge in the biological sciences. The objective of these programs is to give students interdisciplinary training in contemporary biological research. The course of study is flexible and takes into account the student’s goals in research, career objectives and undergraduate preparation. Thesis research is conducted in the laboratory of a member of the Graduate Faculty or that of a cooperating member.

Students ordinarily choose from among a wide number of research projects that are either underway or contemplated by individual faculty members. Some general areas of current research by the faculty include studies into: the molecular biology of gene expression and the regulation of development; plant defense mechanisms at the gene level; membrane function and structure; plant lipids; molecular biology of the development of cell surface antigens; structures and interactions of DNA; evolution of DNA sequences; viral epitope mapping using monoclonal antibodies; molecular mechanisms of virulence of marine pathogens; the role of microorganisms in biogeochemical cycles; and bioremediation. More detailed descriptions of these and other areas of interest can be found in the faculty pages.

The MS programs prepare students for further studies toward the Ph.D. or other professional degrees, as well as for careers in research or teaching. The non-thesis MPS programs offer students the opportunity to achieve a relatively advanced level of theoretical competency in new and emerging areas of biochemistry, molecular biology and microbiology. This program is primarily for active professionals in biological and health related sciences and for secondary school teachers.   Students pursue course work and attend seminars at a pace and level appropriate to their outside schedules and backgrounds.


Admission to these programs are generally achieved through meritorious completion of undergraduate work in the biochemical and microbiological sciences or related disciplines. Students with backgrounds in chemistry, mathematics, physics or biology are encouraged to apply, but should expect to undertake a program of study that includes subject matter and content that is substantially equivalent to that required of undergraduates majoring in Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, and Microbiology at this institution. In most programs a thesis is required, based on original research conducted under the supervision of a faculty member.

Prospective graduate students interested in advanced graduate studies in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology or Microbiology should apply to the graduate Coordinator for programs in Biochemistry, Microbiology and Molecular Biology. Financial aid is available on a competitive basis, primarily in the form of graduate teaching assistantships.  Research assistantships and University fellowships are also available.

Application forms can be downloaded from the University of Maine Graduate School website.