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Graduate Program

Teaching Mission

The faculty members of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics (MMG) are committed to providing innovative teaching and mentoring for faculty, research fellows, graduate and medical students. To foster independent learning, critical thinking, communication skills, the creative synthesis of new ideas based on experimental and practical knowledge and mastery of the experimental method and techniques is also part of our faculty members' teaching mission.

Our faculty members play an integral role in the training and mentoring of these graduate students and our department has over thirty faculty members actively involved in one or more graduate programs including all programs offered through the School of Medicine's Interdisciplinary Biomedical Graduate Program as well as the Program in Integrated Molecular Biology, the Graduate School of Public Health’s Human Genetics and Infectious Diseases & Microbiology programs and Structural Biology.

MMG Graduate Programs

Two MMG department graduate programs are administered through the University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine’s Interdisciplinary Biomedical Graduate Program.

Molecular Genetics and Developmental Biology (MGDB)

Dr. Kyle Orwig is director of the Molecular Genetics and Developmental Biology Graduate Program. This program is designed to provide a stimulating environment of highly motivated and qualified students to prepare for a rewarding career in biomedical research, teaching, science policy and other areas. Learn more about MGDB.

Molecular Virology and Microbiology (MVM) 

Dr. Carolyn Coyne is director of Molecular Virology and Microbiology. MVM's faculty address a diverse array of contemporary issues relating to the molecular mechanisms governing pathogen-host interactions. Learn more about MVM.

Interdisciplinary Biomedical Graduate Program (IBGP)

The Interdisciplinary Biomedical Graduate Program is the largest graduate program for PhD students at the School of Medicine. MMG is one of many departments in the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine which participates in the Interdisciplinary Biomedical Graduate Program (IBGP).

The IBGP offers graduate students an interdisciplinary core program and the opportunity to choose from six different doctoral degree granting programs for advanced research including:

Cell Biology & Molecular Physiology

Cellular & Molecular Pathology


Molecular Genetics & Developmental Biology

Molecular Pharmacology

Molecular Virology & Microbiology

For additional information about IBGP, contact the program, or simply request information online.

IBGP Curriculum

Students enter the IBGP for their first year of study and then they select a dissertation advisor and transfer to one of 6 specialized programs at the beginning of their second year. At the start of their second year, students will complete program specific core courses and prepare themselves for their comprehensive exam. Upon completion of the comprehensive examination, the student will form a dissertation advisory committee, present a dissertation proposal and complete the dissertation.

PhD Completion Cycle

1st Year Curriculum
  • Foundations of Biomedical Science
  • Three Laboratory Rotations
  • Introduction to Statistics
  • Scientific Ethics
  • Program Specific Core Courses
  • Preliminary Evaluation
  • Elective Courses
  • Choose Mentor
Transfer to a Specialized Degree Granting Program
Comprehensive Examination, Thesis Proposal, Admission to Candidacy 
Dissertation & Defense