The application process here goes through our Graduate Committee who review all completed applications for consideration. For PhD applicants, the deadline by which all materials must be received for Fall semester acceptance is December 15th.  Generally very few students are accepted into the Spring semester but our deadline for Spring is September 15th.  The most up-to-date information about all graduate student program is available in the Graduate Handbook.

MS candidates may apply at any time during the year to be considered for the next academic semester. An applicant is generally not accepted by the department until support is secured with a faculty member. Graduate teaching or research assistantships are awarded on the basis of the applicant's qualifications and a recommendation from faculty. You should have been invited to submit this application for admission by a faculty member. If you have been requested to apply, please complete this online application process, and the required qualifications will be reviewed by the faculty member. If you choose to continue this application without first securing a faculty advisor, your application will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

Please view our online application. The online application fee is $60.

In addition to your application we will need:

  • Your official GRE scores sent to us. The institution code for MSU is 4488 and for the Department of Microbiology and Immunology it is 0212. A minimum of 480 (152) verbal GRE is needed for students to act as a Teaching Assistant which is a requirement of our program. The overall GRE score should fall at or above 1150 (305).
  • A personal statement that explains your motivation for starting a graduate degree program, in what ways you consider yourself especially qualified to complete a graduate degree, why you have chosen to apply to Montana State University, and your future career goals. This is generally about 1 – 2 pages in length (450-900 words)
  • Official transcripts from all tertiary-level colleges or universities you have attended
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • International Students:  please see International Application Process for additional information and requirements.

Other Helpful Links:


What happens if I have the majority of my materials by the deadlines mentioned above, but I won't have my GRE and/or other piece of paperwork in by that time?  Will my application not be considered?

  • Please know that with the deadlines above, while adhered to in terms of Graduate Committee Meetings and the general decision making process, it is somewhat normal to have a few components trickle in after the deadline.  As long as the majority of your materials are in by the aforementioned deadlines, your application will still be considered, though a final decision cannot be made until all required materials are in.

I started out pretty rough grade-wise in my undergraduate degree.  While my final two years were above average, my first few years really lowered my overall GPA to under a 3.0.  Do I still have a chance?

  • The Graduate Committee understands that certain components of your application are not reflective of you and your ability overall.  While the committee does take into consideration your transcripts and other components such as your GRE scores, they do not tend to focus on only one of these when making their final decision.  If you had a rough start in school, or even a really poor semester or two later on for whatever reason, there is still hope.  That being said, the rest of your application should make up for the materials that are not as representative of what you have to offer to ensure your abilities.  Feel free to include a note explaining this discrepancy justifying why you should still be considered.
  • If, however, you do not meet the minimum requirements for GRE or TOEFL scores, it would likely be in your best interest to retake these until you do meet the minimum requirements.

I would love to attend your graduate program but I'm worried about having enough personal funding to make it work.  Do you guys offer any sort of scholarships or financial assistance for students like me?

  • Yes, although the amount and terms are completely unique to each individual student.  Generally, all of our students are at least partially funded.  All students are required to help out as a teaching assistance for about two semester (give or take).  During that time, they will qualify for a tuition waiver as well as a monthly salary stipend.  When the student is not teaching, they will typically continue to receive assistance from their advisors.  Their advisors will, in most cases, cover their tuition and continue paying them each month.  Students may be required to cover their own student fees and/or health insurance depending on the situation, but this is something that can be decided upon between the student and their advisor.  That being said, there are occasions where an advisor runs short on funding and cannot continue to assist the student.  During these times, the department head will work with our fiscal manager among other entities around the university to try and come up with a solution so that the student will continue to receive funding.
  • With the economy and limited funding, we are only able to accept a small handful of students each year, so it definitely most beneficial when students come in with specialized funding (military, IGERT, Molecular Biosciences, etc.), so please look at the links provided on this page to see if you qualify for any of these specialized programs.  Obviously the majority of our applicants do not come with this funding, so if you do not qualify, you are still encouraged to apply.

I have applied to your program once before but was turned down.  Can I apply again and if so, do I have to pay the fee again?

  • The short answer is, "Yes".  Your application will be kept in the Grad School for a few years after your initial submission, so you will not need to include new materials unless you would like to, nor will you have to repay the fee.  Please contact the Graduate School and ask that your application be sent back to our department for review.  You also have the option to have it sent to another department or two for review as well.
  • That being said, please consider the reason you were initially rejected.  If you were rejected because of poor academic merit, you will need to revamp your application prior to submitting it again.  If your test scores did not meet the minimum requirement, you will need to retake these tests until you meet the minimum.


Please contact us if you need additional information