Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology Graduate Programs Frequently Asked Questions

Program Eligibility

Who is eligible to apply to the graduate program?

The minimum requirement to apply is a bachelor’s degree (B.S. or B.A.) in a biomedical or related field. International students must have completed an international degree that is equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree from a college or university of recognized standing. A 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale in undergraduate or other graduate work is required.

I won't graduate until May. Can I apply?

Yes. If you are admitted, you will need to supply a final transcript showing completion of a degree program.

Do I need to contact faculty to secure a mentor before applying?

Applicants are encouraged to write about which faculty they are excited to work with, but there is no requirement to establish a relationship with a mentor before admission. All admitted students will complete laboratory rotations during their first year to identify a mentor and lab to join.

Is a graduate assistantship provided in this program?

Yes, all admitted students to the Ph.D. and thesis master’s programs are offered assistantships that are fully funded, including tuition and a stipend.

My degree is not from the U.S. How can I tell if it is equivalent to a U.S. 4-year bachelor’s degree, and convert my GPA to a 4.0 scale?

Degree equivalence differs depending on the country and program you graduated from. There are many different GPA scales used internationally. Please refer to the Graduate School’s comparable degree guide or email the Office of International Programs for a more detailed response.

Application Materials

What should I include in my Statement of Purpose?

There are no strict guidelines for writing your Statement of Purpose – that’s what makes it personal.

However, the Statement of Purpose is a very important part of the application and the following features are typically helpful for the Admissions Committee:

  • Should be your work and reflect you, although it’s fine to get input from others.
  • Should include some description of your research experience. Research experience is a critical component in the admissions decision. If your research experience is not mentioned in your Statement of Purpose and/or your recommendation letters, the Committee won’t know about it.
  • Should address the question: Why are you interested in attending graduate school, and why are you interested in graduate school at Colorado State University specifically.
  • May include your thinking about career plans, although it is early in your scientific training and nothing is set in stone.
  • The Statement of Purpose can be a place to address discrepancies, relative weaknesses, or anything potentially atypical that may arise in viewing your application, e.g., if you had low grades in one particular semester, took time during or after college for another endeavor, are making a change in career direction or scientific field, etc.
  • The Statement of Purpose should be 2-3 pages double spaced in a 12-point standard font such as Times New Roman, Arial, or similar.

How many letters of recommendation does this program require?

This program requires 3 letters of recommendation, which may be more than other programs at CSU require.

Who should I ask to write letters of recommendation?

You should request letters from people best qualified to address your potential for graduate work. Academic references representing your major field and persons who can comment on qualities that will be relevant to academic pursuits, particularly research, are preferred.

Why is there an application fee, and can it be waived?

The application fee is required by the Graduate School. The Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology does not control and is unable to waive the fee. The Graduate School offers application fee waivers to participants in specific, eligible programs. Beginning 2024, the Graduate School is also introducing Free Graduate Application Days. Please be advised that the application deadline for this program is December 1, and all materials, including the application fee, must be received by this date.

What is the deadline for all application materials to be received?

The application deadline for all graduate programs in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology is December 1. All required materials must be received by our deadline, including official transcripts and 3 letters of recommendation.

Which English proficiency tests and minimum scores are needed for admission?


Paper-based: 550
Computer-based: 213
Internet-based: 80







When can the English proficiency requirement be waived?

You may be exempted from the English proficiency requirement if the official language of your country is English or if you have recently earned a degree at an American university. Learn more about the English proficiency requirement.


Do I need to send official transcripts with my application?

The Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology requires official transcripts for admissions consideration as part of our review process. Please provide official transcripts from all post-secondary education, including transfer credits and study abroad experiences. Without official transcripts, your application is considered incomplete, and will not be reviewed.

Can I send unofficial transcripts instead?

No, you cannot substitute our requirement for official transcripts by providing unofficial copies.

Do I need to send transcripts from community colleges, transfer credit, and study abroad experiences?

Yes, please send official transcripts from all post-secondary education, including transfer credits and study abroad experiences. Even if a class shows up on another transcript, the Office of Admissions requires original transcripts.

Official transcripts are required from all schools from which college credit was awarded, including credits earned through study abroad programs. The only exception may be if you took concurrent credits during high school. If you earned college credits during high school please indicate those on your application on the “College Education” page; transcripts for those credits may not be required. If you do not indicate that those credits were taken concurrently during high school, a transcript may be required.

How do I send my transcripts?

Official transcripts and test scores can be mailed to:

Graduate Admissions
Colorado State University – Office of Admissions
1062 Campus Delivery
Fort Collins, CO  80523-1062

Alternatively, official electronic transcripts can be sent via a certified, secure document service, such as Parchment, eQuals or National Clearinghouse, to the Graduate Admissions office. Electronic transcripts sent via email are considered unofficial by the Graduate School. International applicants may not have access to these services and should send transcripts by mail to the address above. Learn more about sending official documents.

I’m worried my documents will not arrive on time. Can I email you my transcripts?

No, electronic transcripts sent via email are considered unofficial copies by the Graduate School. Email copies do not fulfill our requirement for official transcripts. Learn more about sending official documents.

What if my transcripts are not in English?

If the institution does not issue records in English, original language records must be submitted with official English translations.

Application Review

Who will review my application?

The Graduate Education Committee​ reviews all applications for the graduate program. The committee consists of the Associate Head for Graduate Education, four faculty members, and two current graduate students elected by their peers.

What criteria are used to evaluate students for admission?

  • Perceived ability to do well in a graduate program. From your academic record, we consider courses taken, letters of recommendation, and GPA.
  • Research experience. The program does not require but strongly prefers to see evidence of research activity as an undergraduate or post-baccalaureate. Many successful applicants have had some independent laboratory experience indicative of a commitment to a research career.
  • Strong letters of recommendation. Strong statements of support from persons in a position to evaluate an applicant’s potential for success as a graduate student carry significant weight in admission decisions.
  • Strong Statement of Purpose
  • Interests that match available research opportunities​ in the department.​

How many applications do you get each year?

This varies by year, but we anticipate receiving 175 or more complete applications that meet all our requirements. It is important for prospective students to meet all our application requirements for admissions review, given the number of completed applications we receive.

How many students do you admit each year?

No fixed or numerical criteria are used; holistic review of the applicants are completed from all of the documentation in the application file. The number of students admitted is also dependent on space and resource availability in the department and individual faculty laboratories. Approximately 10 students may be admitted each fall.

What if my application is not complete by the deadline?

Incomplete applications will not be reviewed by the Graduate Education Committee. Unfortunately, we are unable to extend the deadline for individual students, for any reason. Incomplete applications cannot be considered when we have so many complete applications to review, and it would be unfair for us to hold applicants to varying standards during the review process. We would be happy to consider you next year if you choose to defer your application and submit any outstanding materials.

When will I learn the status of my application?

Admissions decisions are a complex and holistic process with an application review, semifinalist interviews, and finalist interviews. Decisions are sent according to this general timeline:

  • December 1: Application deadline
  • Mid-January: First-round interviews (live video). Applicants not advancing will be informed at this time.
  • February: Second-round interviews (in person for U.S. residents, virtual for international applicants). Applicants not advancing will be informed at this time.
  • Mid-April: Offers are sent on a rolling basis, but we aim to release all decisions by mid-April.

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