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Graduate Program

Graduate Program Coordinator
310C Harris Hydraulics, Box 357965
(206) 543-4338

The Pathobiology graduate program offers graduate training in the application of basic biomedical research to diseases of public health interest. The program of study involves core courses to develop a fundamental understanding of basic cellular and molecular processes and techniques important in the application of basic biomedical research to diseases; laboratory experience to learn how to collect, analyze, interpret, and use data for solving problems; and opportunities to develop skills in communicating research findings through oral and written presentations.

Master of Science

The master's program is designed for students to develop an understanding of the applications of molecular biology to public health, epidemiology, and cellular or antigenic analysis, and microbiology or immunology. The focus in this two-year program is developing basic research skills and understanding the scientific method. Students are expected to fulfill their course requirements during the first year. Under the guidance of a faculty research mentor, students propose and complete a thesis that includes an original research project.

Admission Requirements

Students are admitted directely into the PhD program. The department does not currently accept applications for the Master of Science.

Degree Requirements

A minimum of 60 credits as follows:
  1. 21.5 credits of required courses: PABIO 550 (3), PABIO 551 (4), PABIO 552 (4), PABIO 553 (2), EPI 511 (4), PABIO 580 (1), PABIO 581 (1), PABIO 582 (1.5), PABIO 590 (1)

  2. Research Credits: Sufficient credits of PABIO 600 and PABIO 700 to complete a research project.

  3. Electives: Additional courses in pathobiology or the biomedical sciences may be taken to fulfill the graded course requirement, to encompass the interests of the student, or to fulfill any additional requirements set forth by the student's committee.

MS Thesis Research Proposal: The M.S. thesis research proposal should be done by the end of the fourth quarter of the first year and should contain the following, in this order:

  1. A brief synopsis of background relevant to the project.
  2. A summary of preliminary experiments.
  3. A description of experiments planned for the next year.

MS Thesis: The thesis must be provided to the MS advisory committee two weeks prior to the oral presentation. Corrections should be made following their review before submission of the document to the Graduate School.

MS Oral Presentation and Defense: Students give a formal seminar prior to the completion of the master's program.

Doctor of Philosophy

The doctoral program lasts four to five years and is designed for students to become capable of conducting independent research leading to the expansion of knowledge by developing skills to approach unfamiliar experimental systems and identify and explore important questions concerning pathogenesis and infection. Students develop familiarity with the paradigms for control, prevention, and treatment; develop an understanding of epidemiology and disease processes; learn basic methodologies used in this research including relevant areas of molecular biology, bacteriology, cell biology, virology, epidemiology, and biostatistics; and develop familiarity with the major classes of pathogens.

Admission Requirements

  1. Personal Statement: The personal statement is a series of six short-answer questions. This statement plays an important role in admissions by providing the reviewers with a representation of the student's background and readiness for graduate studies in pathobiology.
  2. One official set of transcripts from all collegiate institutions attended.
  3. Three letters of recommendation.
  4. Curriculum vitae
  5. Official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores
  6. International applicants are in addition required to submit official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores. The Pathobiology program does not admit international applicants who have a TOEFL score of less than 600 on the paper-based test or 250 on the computerized test. The department must receive an official score report from the Educational Testing Service. TOEFL scores cannot be more than two years old.

Degree Requirements

90 credits minimum, as follows:
  1. Required Courses: PABIO 550 (3), PABIO 551 (4), PABIO 552 (4), PABIO 553 (2), EPI 511 (4), PABIO 580 (1), PABIO 581 (1), PABIO 582 (1.5), PABIO 590 (1), PABIO 598 (2), PABIO 500 (variable), PABIO 600 (variable), PABIO 800 (27); either IMMUN 441 (4) or IMMUN 532 (3).
  2. Students are required to attend Seminar (PABIO 580) and Journal Club (PABIO 581) every quarter of the academic year while enrolled, but may be excused for up to two quarters while writing the dissertation. Students give research presentations in the Graduate Research Symposium annually after the first year. 3 credits each of Seminar and Journal Club may be counted towards the degree.
  3. Electives: The following are recommended tracks for elective credits:
    1. Eukaryotic Pathogens: PABIO 536, PABIO 548, CONJ 531 through CONJ 544, EPI 532, MICROM 444
    2. Bacterial Pathogens: PABIO 540, PABIO 568, EPI 520, EPI 529, MICROM 552, MICROM 555. (Students without a background in bacteriology are required to take MICROM 442 or an equivalent course as a prerequisite for entry into the Bacterial Pathogens track.)
    3. Viral Pathogens: Two or more of the following are strongly recommended: CONJ 531-CONJ 544, EPI 520, EPI 524, EPI 530, IMMUN 532, MICROM 540

Research Facilities

Research facilities are geographically dispersed and located in the Health Science Center of the School of Medicine, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and Seattle Biomedical Research Institute. External support includes computer facilities and the Health Sciences Library with access to more than 345,000 volumes, 4,000 periodicals, and online bibliographic services for all national libraries of medicine and most commercial databases.

The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center is a world-renowned research institution. Its mission for more than 20 years has been to eliminate cancer. Shared facilities are available, including electron microscopy, flow cytometry, tissue culture, image analysis, biotechnology center for DNA and protein synthesis and sequencing, animal facilities, biological production facility focused on monoclonal antibody production, extensive libraries, and a biocomputing center.

The Seattle Biomedical Research Institute is an independent nonprofit organization studying causes of and interventions to infectious diseases of worldwide impact, including targeted research producing leading-edge findings and applied research creating diagnostic tests and treatments.

Financial Aid

The department offers a twelve-month competitive salary, as well as paying tuition and health insurance, which includes medical, dental, and vision benefits. Students with satisfactory academic progress can anticipate funding for the duration of their studies.