Program Information

The Graduate Program of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology revolves around two major fields of scientific endeavor: i) The molecular and cellular biology of microorganisms, and ii) The molecular and cellular biology of the immune system. These fields involve studies on bacteria, virus, parasites, cancer cells, and immune cells with an emphasis on molecular biology, biochemistry, and pathogenesis.

PhD and MSc degrees are offered through the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and thus their calendar should be consulted for general and specific information pertaining to residency requirements, deadlines, thesis requirements, and other pertinent information. 

Students are not required to have a supervisor identified to apply to the MSc/PhD programs. If a student is admitted into the program, the student is required to find a supervisor before starting the program. We strongly encourage students to get in touch with faculty members as potential supervisors to learn more about their research and identify a potential fit.

Doctoral (PhD) program

The PhD program is designed to provide a level of training that will provide the candidate with the ability to function as an independent research scientist as well as the ability to teach in the area of his/her specialty. The program requires successful completion of courses as well as a demonstrated ability to publish original research in peer-reviewed journals. To qualify for this degree, the candidate must submit and successfully defend a thesis in a University examination. The normal duration of the PhD degree program is 4 years.

Conventional 2-year Masters (MSc) program

The purpose of the conventional MSc degree is to provide advanced training in the area of Microbiology & Immunology, with an emphasis on learning strategies and experimental methods of scientific research. The program requires successful completion of courses as well as submission and successful defense of a thesis in a Departmental examination. This program is intended for students who are interested in a research career or who are interested in acquiring research skills.

Students enrolled in the MSc program who have demonstrated outstanding academic qualities may be permitted to transfer into the PhD program prior to completion of the MSc degree, provided they successfully pass the PhD Candidacy Evaluation. This PhD Candidacy Evaluation must take place prior to the end of the 5th term of graduate enrollment. The normal duration of transferring PhD degree is 5 years which include both time periods in MSc and PhD programs.

1-Year Project and Course-Based Masters (MSc) program

The 1-year project and course-based MSc program is aimed at highly motivated undergraduate students who intend to pursue a professional degree, and want to prepare by learning critical thinking skills using hands-on training in state-of-the-art biomedical research methods. Students enrolled in this program will work with faculty mentors in a hands-on laboratory setting. This one-year program is available only to students currently enrolled in a Western BMSc program with an honours research thesis component. Since students applying for this program intend to work with the same supervisor as their current honours thesis project. The honours project supervisor or co-supervisor should be a member of our department. 

For this program, students are responsible for their own tuition and living costs. This program will begin on May 1 and end April 30 of the following calendar year. Courses will include components only available to one-year project and course-based MSc degree students including professional interview skills and lab management skills.

This program has a firm application deadline of: March 15, 2020

Collaborative Programs

Collaborative Specialization is an intra-university graduate field of study that provides an additional multidisciplinary experience for students enrolled in and completing the degree requirements for one of a number of approved Master’s and/or PhD programs. The Microbiology and Immunology Graduate program participates in multiple Collaborative Programs.

Developmental Biology

The purpose of the collaborative program in Developmental Biology is to create a community of graduate students with an interest in Developmental Biology and to provide specific courses to support and teach that community.

DEV 9000 (Developmental Biology) is a required two-term course for all MSc students enrolled in the Developmental Biology program. This is in addition to the courses required for MSc and PhD programs in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology but will replace the requirement for writing and defending a grant proposal in MICROIMM 9000A. DEV 9100 is a half course to be taken in the second year for PhD students. Schedule conflicts with Microbiology & Immunology courses will be assessed on an ad hoc basis by the Graduate Studies Committee.

Molecular Imaging

This program is designed for students that are interested in the disciplines of Molecular Imaging as well as Microbiology and Immunology. The combination of solid disciplinary training provides students with the tools necessary to better understand and conduct research in the area of Molecular Imaging.
Required courses/substitute courses:

Medical Biophysics 9518B (Molecular Imaging) is a required one-term course for all students in the Molecular Imaging program. This is in addition to the courses required for MSc and PhD programs in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. Schedule conflicts with Microbiology and Immunology courses will be assessed on an ad hoc basis by the Graduate Studies Committee. Students are required to attend a monthly Molecular Imaging journal club as a substitute for the M&I journal club.

Global Health

This Collaborative Specialization will augment the training received in the student’s home department by providing specialized training in scholarship related to Global Health Systems in Africa. The objective is to provide students with a transdisciplinary, knowledge-to-action, systems approach learning experience (in both research-based and professional programs) in order to become global leaders with an understanding of one of the most challenging, complex areas of the world. Students will explore thematic areas inspired by the 2015-2030 United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals where Western University has established strengths such as in poverty reduction; maternal and newborn child health; HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases; environment and sustainability; and food and nutrition.

Musculoskeletal Health Research

The Collaborative Specialization in Musculoskeletal Health Research will develop scientists with the research and leadership skills necessary to build transdisciplinary research teams focusing on integrated therapeutic, surgical and rehabilitative approaches for the management of bone and joint diseases.

Specifically, the program's purpose is to:

Enhance the number of trainees involved in transdisciplinary musculoskeletal health research

Support the career advancement of trainees Foster the development of future leaders in Canadian health care, science and technology

Double PhD program between Sichuan University, West China School of Medicine and the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University.

Sichuan University and Western University entered into a memorandum of understanding in 2009 relating to clinical education, faculty exchanges, and research between the West China School of Medicine and the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. They established a program whereby eligible students have the opportunity to pursue coordinated doctoral studies at both institutions and obtain a doctoral title from each institution. The admission to each doctoral program is by two separate and independent selection processes, in accordance with the respective regulations of each institution. The expected duration of this program is four years with research and activities carried out at the two institutions during alternated periods.

To participate in this program, students must be accepted to the graduate program in Microbiology & Immunology at Western University as well as by an appropriate graduate program at Sichuan University.

Visiting Graduate Students

The program accepts visiting international and domestic graduate students to conduct research. Visiting Graduate Students can conduct research under the supervision of the faculty member for a given time period. Interested students must complete a Visiting Graduate Student (Research Only) Form. Further information on the process and application forms are available through the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies: Visiting Students