Accelerated Masters Program


Microbiology and Molecular Genetics (MMG) (MMG) offers an Accelerated Masters Program (AMP) in which outstanding students can earn a Master of Science (M.S.) degree with just one additional year of study beyond the Baccalaureate.  The AMP program compresses the normal six years required to earn the M.S. (four years to B.S. + 2 years to M.S.) into five years, allowing students to save a year’s tuition and reach the job market one year sooner than usual.


Any student, regardless of major, who meet the below eligibility requirements are eligible for participation in this program.  Students typically apply to the AMP Program in the Spring of their third year of undergraduate study, therefore having completed three years of study before entering the program.  Applicants must also have a GPA of at least 3.0 in their first three years of study to be eligible for the program.  Students must also have completed at least one year of Introductory Chemistry, one year of Organic Chemistry, one year of Calculus, MMG 101, MMG104, BCOR 101, and BCOR 103.  Finally, in accordance with Graduate College guidelines, applicants should arrange to take the GRE exam in the Spring of their third year; it is not, however, necessary to take any of the advanced subject tests.

 Students interested in, and qualified for, the AMP program must first locate a prospective mentor within the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics in whose lab the AMP research will be conducted.  The student must include with his/her application, a short letter from the prospective mentor agreeing to guide the student in his/her research as an AMP student.  Students who have an early interest in eventually entering the AMP, should plan to conduct undergraduate research as early as possible in their tenure.

Credit Requirements:

The total credit requirement for a B.S. degree in Microbiology or Molecular Genetics is 120 course credits.  The total credit requirement for a M.S. degree in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics is 24 course credits plus 6 research credits, for a total of 30 credits.  Therefore, a student who proceeds through the AMP program will ordinarily take 144 course credits (that is, 120 course credits for the B.S., 24 course credits for the M.S. plus the 6 credits of Masters’ level original research).  However, if an AMP student has taken General Biochemistry [BIOC 301, 302] during his/her undergraduate studies, he/she can apply the 6 course credits earned to both the undergraduate and the graduate degrees.  In other words, the six credits from BIOC 301 & 302 will satisfy 6 credits of the 120 toward the B.S. degree and 6 credits toward the 24 course for the M.S. degree. This will leave, then, 116 additional course credits for the B.S. degree, 18 course credits for the M.S. degree plus 6 research credits.


Up to and including the last semester of the third year, AMP students follow the curriculum as outlined in the MMG checklist.



The curriculum of the final two years of the AMP will be decided upon via discussions between the student and his/her mentor.  AMP students, however, must satisfy the MMG Core Curriculum for graduate students, which includes: six credits each of Biochemistry (BIOC 301/302), Genetics, and Microbiology, at least four credits in current topics in Molecular Genetics (MMG 310) and other approved courses such that at least 16 course credits are taken from courses offered by the Department.  AMP students must also successfully pass the qualifying examination and complete the thesis.


By the first semester of the fifth year, M.S. candidates will write either an extensive literature review or research proposal that pertains to their research interests.  Students can expect some guidance from their advisor and Studies Committee in the writing of the proposal, but must assume responsibility for the final version and must acquire sufficient mastery of their chosen subject area to defend the proposal.  Students will present their written proposal to their Studies Committee.  That Committee will determine if the written proposal is satisfactory and, if it is, schedule an oral defense.  During the oral defense, the Committee shall be free to explore the knowledge of the student on a range of subjects related to the proposal, much as occurs during a thesis defense.  If the written review/proposal is deemed unsatisfactory or if a student fails the oral defense, the candidate will be given one opportunity to rewrite or re-defend his/her proposal. If the student fails a second time, s/he will be dismissed from the M.S. program.


Decided between student and advisor.

  • What our students have to say...

    I initially came to UVM as a Biochemistry major and during my first year, I remembered seeing a course taught in the MMG department called, "Introduction to Recombinant DNA techniques" and was immediately curious. I contacted the professor, Stephanie Phelps, who encouraged me to challenge myself and take her class. I was amazed by all the hands on learning we did in the laboratory setting, and how supportive Stephanie and the rest of the MMG department was. I have learned a lot from my laboratory classes, especially from molecular cloning; much of this learning has helped me when I worked in the Huston lab. Outside of the laboratory setting, Vermont has been such a beautiful place for me, and I have been lucky and fortunate enough to play in mountains in my free time.

    Alan (Microbiology), graduated 2016
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