What Are the Top Microbiology Schools in the U.S.?

Learn what to look for when choosing a school with a strong microbiology program. Read about three top ranking programs and explore the degrees available to aspiring microbiologists. Schools offering Biology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What are Some Characteristics of Top Microbiology Schools?

Microbiology is an interdisciplinary field that involves the study of microorganisms in plants, animals, and humans. Look for programs that have well-known biological and medical science departments, ample undergraduate research opportunities, and exceptional laboratory facilities. Schools backed by major funding sources, like the National Institutes of Health (NIH), are also recommended. These schools often host specialized microbiology research institutes and international partnerships.

What are Three Top Microbiology Schools?

Johns Hopkins University (JHU) in Baltimore, MD

In 2015, JHU was ranked tenth in the U.S. News & World Report graduate microbiology program category. Johns Hopkins Hospital is ranked as the third best hospital in the country, and has been ranked first for 22 out of the last 24 years. The Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research reported that JHU's Division of Pathology was second among medical schools for NIH funding, with almost $43 million in 2014 grants (www.brimr.org).

You might prepare for graduate microbiology study by pursuing a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Molecular and Cellular Biology through the Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. You could also pursue a 5-year combined B.S./Master of Science (M.S.) program.

JHU's Bloomberg School for Public Health's (SPH) W. Harry Feinstone Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology offers master's and doctoral degrees. The master's program could prepare you for medical school or lead to a research position involving the study of infectious diseases. SPH hosts microbiology-related centers for autoimmune diseases, malaria and AIDS. Available degrees include:

  • BS in Molecular and Cellular Biology
  • ScM in Molecular Microbiology and Immunology
  • ScM in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Master of Health Science (MHS) in Molecular Microbiology and Immunology
  • MHS in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • PhD in Molecular Microbiology and Immunology
  • PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • PhD in Biochemistry, Biophysics, Cellular, Developmental, and Molecular Biology (CMDB)
  • PhD in Pathobiology

Stanford University (SU) in Palo Alto, CA

Stanford's graduate program for microbiology and immunology took second place in the U.S. News & World Report's 2014 rankings for best graduate microbiology programs. The following year, SU ranked third in the Academic Ranking of World Universities category for life and agricultural sciences (www.arwu.org). In fact, Stanford hosts a network of 14 interdisciplinary PhD programs dedicated to the biosciences. These programs are referred to as 'home programs.' Through its Proteomics Center, Stanford is one of seven universities partnering in an $83.5 million NIH autoimmune disease research project.

Admission into the Microbiology and Immunology (M&I) Graduate Home Program requires a bachelor's degree in biology or chemistry, with some course work in biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics, immunology, and microbiology. The school's M&I department does not offer a master's degree program except in special circumstances.

Once admitted into the M&I home program, students are encouraged to custom tailor a graduate program that best suits their needs and interests. The school allows students to pick and choose courses from among the other biosciences home programs. Although the M&I department only offers a doctoral degree, microbiology students can find related programs in other departments. Here's a sampling of what's available:

  • BS in Biology
  • MS/BS in Biology
  • PhD in Biology
  • PhD in Microbiology and Immunology
  • PhD in Molecular and Cellular Physiology
  • PhD in Immunology

University of Wisconsin (UW) in Madison

UW was ranked 4th for its graduate microbiology program by U.S. News & World Report in 2015. The school was ranked as the 18th best agricultural and life science program in the world according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities in 2015.

You could pursue bachelor's- or master's-level studies through either the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences' (CALS) Department of Bacteriology or the School of Medicine and Public Health's (SMPH) Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology. A summer research program is offered to bachelor's-level students in the Department of Bacteriology; a separate undergraduate research opportunity in Thailand is available for five students.

Students who earn a bachelor's degree in medical microbiology and immunology through the SMPH might be prepared for work in pharmaceutical laboratories or research institutes. UW's Center for Biology Education, as well as the Food Research Institute, could offer potential research project options. The following degrees are available:

  • BS in Microbiology
  • MS in Bacteriology
  • PhD in Microbiology

Ten Top Microbiology Schools

College/UniversityInstitution TypeLocation
Harvard University4-year, PrivateCambridge, MA
University of Washington4-year, PublicSeattle, WA
Massachusetts Institute of Technology4-year, PrivateCambridge, MA
Rockefeller University4-year, PrivateNew York, NY
University of California--San Francisco4-year, PublicSan Francisco, CA
Duke University4-year, PrivateDurham, NC
Washington University in St. Louis4-year, PrivateSt. Louis, MO
University of Pennsylvania4-year, PrivatePhiladelphia, PA
University of California--Berkeley4-year, PublicBerkeley, CA
University of California--San Diego4-year, PublicSan Diego, CA

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • The George Washington University

    The George Washington University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at The George Washington University:

    • Master
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Kaplan University

    Kaplan University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Kaplan University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Johns Hopkins University

    Johns Hopkins University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Johns Hopkins University:

    • Master
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • South University

    South University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at South University:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster Career School

    Penn Foster Career School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster Career School:

    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado Technical University

    Colorado Technical University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado Technical University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Indiana Wesleyan University

    Indiana Wesleyan University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Indiana Wesleyan University:

    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • American InterContinental University

    American InterContinental University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at American InterContinental University:

    Online Programs Available

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. Next »