MICaB Course and Curriculum Information

MICaB students prepare for careers in biomedical research and teaching by completing broad training in molecular biology or biological sciences, and focused specialization in one of three concentrations (microbiology, immunology, or cancer biology). The program offers exceptional research opportunities for graduate training in autoimmunity, biotechnology, cancer biology and therapy, environmental microbiology, genetic engineering of microorganisms, lymphocyte activation and development, microbial pathogenesis, molecular genetics of disease, tumor immunology, vaccine development, and vascular biology and inflammation.  See below for information on course and curriculum requirements.

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Major Course Requirements

A student must earn between 48 and 72 credits to obtain a doctoral degree at the University of Minnesota. At least 24 must be course credits and at least 24 must be thesis credits. Full coursework information can be found in the University Course Catalog.

Course Credits

The course credits consist of required and elective credits. Of the minimal 24 course credits, 8 are from required courses.

1. Students must take one of the following 4-credit core courses (MICA 8002, 8003 or 8004)

  • MICA 8002: Structure, Function and Genetics of Bacteria and Viruses
  • MICA 8003: Immunity and Immunopathobiology 
  • MICA 8004: Cellular and Cancer Biology

2. Year 2 Ph.D. and Year 1 MD.Ph.D. students must take the 2-credit MICA 8012 course.

  • MICA 8012: Writing and Reviewing a Research Proposal

3. Year 1 Ph.D. students must take the 1 credit MICA 8094 rotation course in both the fall and spring.

  • MICA 8094: Research in Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology

4. Students are allowed to take the remaining 16 course credits, in consultation with their advisor, from this approved elective coursework coursework list.  No more than two 5000 OR one 5000 and one 4000 level course may be applied toward the elective courses.  3000 level courses CANNOT be applied toward the 24 course credit requirement. 

Thesis Credits

The Graduate School requires students earn at least 24 doctoral thesis (MICA 8888) credits.  

Other Required Curriculum

  • Seminars: Students in years 1 and 2 must attend and register for the weekly MICaB Thursday Student Seminar Series (MICA 8920) and at least one of the following weekley seminars: MICaB Invited Speaker Seminar Series (MICA 8910) or the Cancer Center Seminar Series. Students in years 3 and beyond are strongly encouraged to continue attending these seminar series.
  • Rotations: Students are expected to complete three 8-week laboratory rotations during their first year in the program.
  • TA: Students are required to be teaching assistants for one semester, typically in their third year.
  • Journal Clubs: Students are required to join and make a minimum of one presentation per year of a peer-reviewed publication in a journal club focused on research relevant to the student's research. 
  • RCR: During the summers of Yr. 1 and 2, students are required to complete 8 Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Workshop Trainings.  
  • Coursework: All coursework must be taken A-F.  Students are expected to receive a grade of B or better in each of these courses. Students must maintain a grade point average of 3.0 in the major course requirements.