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Pathobiology Policies and Procedures

Pathobiology Graduate Program

Admission To Graduate Study

  • A satisfactory Graduate Records Examination score is required for all graduate programs. GRE scores will be evaluated in conjunction with your academic record.

  • Minimum requirement on TOEFL Exam for foreign applicants is a score of 550.

  • Applications are accepted year-round.  


Application Material
  • GRE scores
  • TOEFL scores (if applicable)
  • official transcripts
  • Send these documents to:        
    The Graduate School        
    Hargis Hall        
    Auburn University, AL 36849  
  • Resume
  • statement of goals and research interests
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • Send these documents to:        
    Dr. Frederik van Ginkel
    Department of Pathobiology        
    College of Veterinary Medicine        
    Auburn University, AL 36849-5519


Areas For Thesis or Dissertation Research

  • Molecular genetics of cell cycle and growth regulation

  • Molecular virology

  • Basis for virulence in bacterial pathogens

  • Molecular probes and monoclonal antibodies for diagnosis of pathogens of domestic animals, poultry, fish

  • Cellular immunology

  • Cancer biology and immunology

  • Platelet pathophysiology, biochemistry, antigen-specific activation

  • Experimental pathology

  • Epidemiology: e.g., vector-borne diseases

  • Biology, immunology and treatment of parasitic protozoa: e.g.,

    • Cryptosporidium, Toxoplasma

    • Reproductive biology: embryo-pathogen interactions, in vitro fertilization

    • Molecular genetics of inherited metabolic diseases


Curriculum For New Graduate Students

All MS and PhD students in Biomedical Sciences and MS students in Pathobiology must satisfy the respective core curricula. The PhD requirements for core coursework in Biomedical Sciences are 12 hours of biochemistry, statistics, biophysics, or molecular biology, counting no more than 9 hours from any one of these disciplines. The core courses for MS students are 6 hours in at least two of the core categories. Please contact Dr. Frederik van Ginkel, the Graduate Program Officer for the Department of Pathobiology, with questions regarding core coursework.


Financial Aid

  • Financial aid is provided in the form of graduate research assistantships.

  • Stipends (twelve months) vary from $15,000 to $20,000 depending on the degree program, qualifications, and funding source.

  • Graduate research assistants are eligible for Alabama resident fees.

  • Support is on a continuing basis, provided the student's progress is satisfactory.

  • Students with outstanding records are assisted in competing for university as well as national fellowships and awards.


Information and Inquiries

Department of Pathobiology        
Auburn University, AL 36849-5519        
Telephone: (334) 844-4539        
Fax: (334) 844-2652  

General Inquiries:        
Dr. Calvin M. Johnson, Department Head        
Frederik van Ginkel, Graduate Program Officer  

  • Additional Information For application instructions and more information about the graduate program in Pathobiology, you may complete an on-line Information Request Form.  


Interdepartmental Program In Cell and Molecular Biosciences

The Department of Pathobiology participates in the interdepartmental Cell and Molecular Biosciences Program (CMB -  Students may qualify for this program by fulfilling departmental requirements as well as additional CMB requirements.  The major professor must be a member of the CMB faculty.


Suggested Elective Courses

  • STAT 7010 EXPERIMENTAL STATISTICS II (3). LEC. 3. Pr., STAT 7000. Advanced topics in experimental design: writing linear models for experiment-expected mean squares, variance components, nested designs, Latin Square Designs, split plot designs, ANOVA and multiple regression.

  • BCHE

  • BCHE 7230 BIOCHEMISTRY OF MACROMOLECULES (3). LEG. 3. Pr., BCHE 7200 or departmental approval.  Advanced study of the structure of protein and nucleic acids: DNA replication, RNA transcription and protein synthesis.

  • VBMS 7450 SELECTED TOPICS IN GRADUATE EDUCATION RESEARCH (1). LEC. 1. Pr., departmental approval. Overview of research funding strategies, grant preparation, transfer of research technology and patents, research ethics, etc. Fall.

  • VBMS 7460 BACTERIAL PATHOGENESIS (3). LEG. 3. Pr., VBMS 7510 or BIOL 4520, and departmental approval. Molecular and cellular basis of virulence of bacterial pathogens of animals. Spring.

  • VBMS 7470 ADVANCED EPIDEMIOLOGY (3). LEC. 3. Pr., Introductory statistics course or departmental approval. Advanced epidemiological techniques and their application to disease research, clinical retrospective and prospective studies, and disease outbreak investigation. Spring.

  • VBMS 7480 METHODS IN IMMUNOLOGY (5). LEC. 1, LAB. 8. Pr., departmental approval. Theoretical concepts underlying immunological methods combined with practical hands-on immunological experimentation focused on application to research in the biological sciences. Fall.

  • VBMS 7490 DIAGNOSTIC TECHNIQUES IN VETERINARY MICROBIOLOGY (4).LEC. 1,LAB. 9. Pr., departmental approval. Techniques used in modern diagnostic microbiology laboratories.

  • VBMS 7530 EXPERIMENTAL TECHNIQUES IN MOLECULAR AND CELL BIOLOGY (3). LEC. 2, LAB. 6. Nucleic acid detection/amplification/sequencing, protein/antibodychemistry, flow cytometry, photo/electron microscopy, fluorochromes, radioisotopes, centrifugation, cell/embryo culture. Fall odd years, Summer even years.

  • VBMS 7540 CURRENT TOPICS IN MOLECULAR VIROLOGY (3). LEC. 3. Pr., VBMS 7510, VBMS 7520, or departmental approval. Viral gene expression and evasion of host defense mechanisms. Fall.

  • VBMS 7640 MECHANISMS OF DISEASE (3). LEC. 3. Pr., VMED 5220 or equivalent, departmental approval. Disease lesions, processes, disorders; morphologic, molecularand genetic aspects of disease processes. Summer.

  • VBMS 7650 VETERINARY PROTOZOOLOGY AND ENTOMOLOGY (3). LEC.3. Pr., departmental approval. Current topics in immunology, physiology, molecular biology, pathogenicity, etc, of selected protozoa and arthropod parasites. Spring.

  • VBMS 7660 VETERINARY HELMINTHOLOGY (3). LEC. 3. Pr., departmental approval. Current topics in immunology, physiology, biochemistry, molecularbiology, epidemiology, and pathogenicity of selected helminth parasites. Summer.

  • VBMS 7670 PATHOLOGY PARASITIC DISEASES (3). LEC. 2,LAB. 2. Pr., VBMS 7560 and departmental approval. Gross and microscopic pathology of parasitic diseases of veterinary importance. Spring.

  • VBMS 7970 RESEARCH PROBLEMS IN BIOMEDICAL SCIENCES(1-5). RES. Pr., Faculty approval. Research problems for graduate students, under supervision of faculty, in a variety of specialized disciplines related to the biomedical sciences.


  • VBMS 8950 BIOMEDICAL SCIENCES SEMINAR (1). SEM. 1. Recent advances in biochemistry, cell biology and molecular biology will be critically presented anddiscussed by graduate faculty and students.

  • VBMS 8990 RESEARCH AND DISSERTATION (1-10). DSR. Course may be repeated for a maximum of 10 credit hours.

  • 7220 PRINCIPLES OF CELLULAR AND MOLECULAR ENZYMOLOGY (3). LEG. 3. Pr., BCHE 6190, or CHEM 7210 or departmental approval. The principles of enzyme chemistry including the physical, chemical and catalytic properties of enzymes.


The Pathobiology Department

  • One of three academic departments in the College of Veterinary Medicine.

  • Participates in College-wide, interdepartmental M.S. and Ph.D. programs in Biomedical Sciences.

  • Participates in University-wide M.S. degree program in Environmental Studies and in M.S. and Ph.D. programs in Cellular and Molecular Biosciences.

  • Options for programmatic emphasis:

    • Microbiology

    • Molecular Biology

    • Immunology

    • Parasitology

    • Epidemiology

    • Pathology

  • Over 30 full-time faculty contribute to the training programs

  • A variety of opportunities for students to learn modern techniques and research methodology.

  • Diverse research programs dealing with animal health and disease, reproductive biology, and animal models/biomedical research offer a broad array of project areas as a basis for thesis or dissertation topics.

  • Well equipped research and computer laboratories.

  • Special research facilities include monoclonal antibody, electron microscopy, flow cytometry, and cell culture laboratories.

  • Graduate student enrollment is normally about 25.


Training Program Features

  • Programs of graduate study and research experience are tailored to each student's career goals and research interests.

  • Regular contact with the major professor and participatory graduate advisory committees serve to facilitate steady progress.

  • Emphasis on research training.

  • Students rotate in different research laboratories within the Department during the first graduate year.

  • Students usually begin research in the laboratory of their major professor during the first year and devote an increasing time commitment to independent research as their programs progress.

  • Graduate level courses are intended primarily to provide a foundation for advanced research training.

  • Requirement for original research and a scholarly thesis or dissertation.

  • Special enrichments include seminars and journal clubs, training in grant writing, participation in scientific meetings, and opportunities to gain teaching experience.


Auburn University | College of Veterinary Medicine | Auburn, Alabama 36849 | (334) 844-4546
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