Graduate School Application Information

The application process here goes through our Graduate Committee who meet a handful of times each semester to review all completed applications for consideration. The deadlines by which all materials must be received for Fall semester acceptance are February 1st for early decision and March 15th for their final decision. Generally very few students are accepted into the Spring semester but our deadline for Spring is September 15th.

In the past students have been accepted if we have a research lab with funding to support that student financially while they pursue their studies. With the economy and poor economic outlook, we strongly encourage potential students to identify a lab of interest and contact the major professor within that lab to see if there is room or funding for a student.  You can find a link to our faculty page and their interests in the list of helpful links below. If you are unsuccessful in finding a lab with funding for graduate students, you should still apply and your application will be reviewed for possible acceptance. 

If our committee members decide they are unable to admit you but still feel you are a well-qualified candidate for graduate school, they may decide to forward your application materials to another program or department on campus who can meet your needs.  We strive to accommodate as many students as we can, as we truly want you to succeed in your vocation. Because it is often a lack of funding that prevents us from taking on qualified graduate students, we would strongly encourage you to look into the prestigious IGERT and / or Molecular Biosciences programs as they help fund a handful of new and promising graduate students each year. Links to these programs can be found below under “Other Helpful Links That May Be Useful to You”.

You may apply online at . 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
  • A financial certificate if you are an international student
  • TOEFL Scores if you are an international student. Again, the institution code for MSU is 4488 and 0212 for the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. TOEFL minimums are 237 (computer test) or 80 (internet test).

**Please do not staple any of your documents!  Staples will be removed in order to make it easier to process all of your application materials.  If you want to include any type of fasteners (not necessary), feel free to use paperclips, bull dog clips, folders, and any other that can be easily removed for processing.  Thank you for your consideration.

Once all of these materials are received your completed application file can then be reviewed. Please mail all of your application materials to the following address:

Montana State University
Department of Microbiology and Immunology
109 Lewis Hall
Bozeman, MT 59717-3520 USA 

Other Helpful Links That May Be Useful to You:


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

Best wishes,

The Faculty and Staff of the Department of Microbiology