PhD in Pathobiology Area Program

Interdisciplinary Area of Pathobiology

The Department of Veterinary Pathobiology in the College of Veterinary Medicine, along with the Department of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences in the School of Medicine and faculty from many other departments throughout the University, offer a PhD degree through the Pathobiology Area Program.

Prospective students must have a solid background in the life sciences, with advanced level experience in microbiology, immunology, genomics, molecular biology, cell biology, pathology, and/or biology. Research experience at the undergraduate and/or master’s level is also desirable.The Pathobiology Area Program is designed to prepare students for advanced professional careers in universities and colleges, research institutes, public health, hospital laboratories and industrial research. The broad scope of the program and its organization across departments creates an atmosphere for meaningful interdisciplinary dialogue between graduate students and faculty. A PhD candidate may choose a plan of research to take advantage of a wide range of interests and specialties in pathology and microbiology. Facilities are available that are suitable for advanced research in pathology, microbiology, and molecular biology. A wide range of equipment for advanced molecular biological procedures is available. Various stipends are available, including teaching and research assistantships and postdoctoral fellowships.

Degree Requirements

Research is the foundation of graduate and postdoctoral study and students within the Pathobiology Area Program can expect to spend 75 percent of their time engaged in research activities. The PhD degree requires 72 credit hours of work including a minimum of 15 credits of upper-level graduate course work exclusive of research credits. The student must pass a written and/or oral comprehensive examination in the area of study and write, present and defend a dissertation that embodies the results of original and significant investigation by the candidate. Up to 30 hours of post-baccalaureate credit from an accredited institution may be transferred toward the doctoral degree. Three focus areas are available, each with specific degree requirements.

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Plan of Study

Most of the student’s program and examining committees shall be from the Area Program faculty. Under the guidance of a program committee, a course of study is individually designed to fit each student’s academic background, experience and objectives. Courses may be chosen from one or more departments, as decided by the student in conjunction with the student's mentor/committee, but shall constitute a definite plan of education for research or scholarly investigation in some particular aspect of microbiology, pathology, or comparative medicine. The final examination covers mainly the dissertation.

Faculty members of the Program guide the selection of coursework and the development of a dissertation project. A list of doctoral faculty eligible to supervise PhD students is available here.

For additional information regarding mentorship in the Department of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences program, please contact:

Dr. Casey M. Holliday, Ph.D.
Medical Sciences Building
MU School of Medicine

Admission Criteria

  • Fall deadline: no deadline
  • Spring deadline: no deadline
  • Summer deadline: no deadline
  • Undergraduate GPA of last 60 credit hours: 3.0
  • Designated faculty mentor

International applicants:
Minimum TOEFL scores:

Internet-based test (iBT) Paper-based test (PBT)
80 550

Required Application Materials

Graduate School:

Pathobiology Area Program:

Contact Information for Pathobiology Area Program:

Director of Graduate Studies:

Dr. Jerod Skyberg, Ph.D.
Connaway Hall
College of Veterinary Medicine

Departmental Contact:

Marie Schlup
Connaway Hall
College of Veterinary Medicine

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