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New Graduate Student Information

General | Degrees Offered | Admission | The Degree Plan | The Research Proposal | Schedules, Deadlines and Other Problems | Financial Assistance and Facilities | Other Information | Where to Write


Over 70 graduate students are currently enrolled in graduate programs in the Department of Pathobiology at Texas A&M University is one of the largest and most active in the country. The department offers programs of graduate instruction and research leading to the degrees of Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy in several fields.

General information about admissions, the degree plan, the research proposal and other aspects of the graduate program is described below.

Degrees Offered

Master of Science degree programs:

  • Genetics (area program)
  • Toxicology (area program)
  • Microbiology
  • Pathology
  • Parasitology

Doctor of Philosophy degree programs:

  • Genetics (area program)
  • Nutrition (area program)
  • Toxicology (area program)
  • Microbiology
  • Pathology


The department expects each applicant to the graduate program to have a strong background in biology or veterinary medicine. Entrance requirements include a grade point average of 3.0 or better (4.0 = A); a Graduate Record Examination (GRE) taken within the last 5 years and the score reported by Educational Testing Service to the Texas A&M Office of Admissions and Records; and 3 excellent letters of recommendation. Finally, the department also requires that a faculty member indicate to you in writing that she/he is willing to act as your major advisor and indicating how your research program will be financially supported during your graduate studies. The key to the latter requirement is in knowing what your goals are and corresponding early and often during the application process with faculty members who share your interests.

These criteria exceed those of the Office of Admissions and Records but are somewhat flexible and your application is judged on its own merits.

Completed applications should be sent to the Office of Admissions and Records by March 1 for admission to the graduate program beginning in the Fall semester.

International students must meet the same requirements as domestic students. You should not depart for College Station until you have received letters of acceptance from the university, the department and a faculty member. Each entering international student must take an exam in English (regardless of his/her TOEFL score) shortly after arrival on campus. Depending on the result, the student may be required to take courses to improve their English skills.

The Degree Plan

All students accepted into the program are expected to select a graduate committee and file a degree plan with the Office of Graduate Studies before the end of the first year. The degree plan shows the Office of Graduate Studies how you intend to fulfill the semester hours required for your degree and establishes your committee. The department does not have a required curriculum, but suggests a series of graduate level core courses in genetics, microbiology, virology, parasitology and immunology, as well as advanced courses that reflect the research interests of the faculty. Students are also expected to take courses in supporting fields, e.g. statistics or biochemistry, as determined or required by their research interests. Discussions with your major advisor, other faculty and graduate students, and the Department Graduate Advisors will help you select good courses and identify faculty members with similar interests as candidates for your committee. Final decisions about committee members and course work are reached by mutual agreement and with the concurrence of the Department Head.

The Research Proposal

All graduate students are required to submit a research proposal before the beginning of the second (for the M.S. degree) or third (for the Ph.D. degree) year. The proposal describes the research which you intend to undertake and on which you will report in a much more detailed and comprehensive fashion in the completed thesis or dissertation. Here is the opportunity to convince your major advisor, your committee and the Department Head of your ability to pursue a research topic to a successful conclusion. The nature of the problem, the status of current research on the topic, the research method, and the importance of the intended work are included in the proposal. Like the degree plan, final decisions about research projects and the proposal are reached by mutual agreement with your committee and the Department Head before being submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies for final approval.

Schedules, Deadlines and Other Problems

As a general guideline, an M.S. program can be completed in two to three years and a Ph.D. program in three to five years. We can usually keep up with your progress, but you are responsible for ensuring that course schedules comply with degree plan requirements and that deadlines are met. Academic advising is always available in the Department as well as several other offices on campus. Both the Office of Graduate Studies and the Department provide checklists to aid you in keeping up with deadlines, particularly those associated with completion of your degree. Other things easily forgotten are the deadlines for changing your class schedule, that a course you signed up for but never met becomes an X on your transcript unless you formally drop it, and that a grade of incomplete (I) becomes an F on your transcript in six months. The X's and F's become very difficult to explain to the Department Head.The Department Graduate Advisor is usually the one to talk to first if you have problems with courses, course schedules, or have decided to change major advisors. Remember: in biology nothing is absolute and no two graduate students are alike.

Financial Assistance

The research programs in the Department are funded by a variety of intramural and extramural sources. Every student is eligible to compete for any financial support from the research programs, including teaching and research assistantships, technical assistantships, and fellowships. Scholarships may also be available depending on your credentials.

Typical tuition and required fees for each semester for Texas residents are about $800 for nine hours. Tuition and fees for non-resident and international students are about $2,200 for nine hours.


The Department of Pathobiology operates research laboratories suitable for all aspects of pathobiology, including molecular and cell biology, biochemical pathology, parasitology, electron microscopy, histomorphometry, biochemical genetics, tissue culture, immunology, immunogenetics, and immunopathology.

Other Information

Texas A&M University was founded in 1876 as a land-grant college. In 1971 Texas A&M was designated as a sea-grant university as well, and in 1989 as a space-grant university. Texas A&M is part of a University System that includes agricultural and engineering experiment stations and extension services, the state forest service, a marine resources center with extensive meteorological and oceanographic research facilities, a cyclotron, a remote sensing center, and a transportation institute. Degrees are offered through the Colleges of Agriculture, Architecture and Environmental Design, Business Administration, Education, Engineering, Geosciences, Liberal Arts, Medicine, Science, and Veterinary Medicine. The present enrollment is approximately 40,000 including about 7,000 graduate students.

The College of Veterinary Medicine, part of the Texas Veterinary Medical Center, is located in a complex comprised of the Veterinary Medical Administration, Veterinary Science, Clinical Science, Veterinary Research and Large Animal Clinic Buildings, the Veterinary Medical Park, Laboratory Animal Research and Resources Building, Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory, the USDA Veterinary Toxicology and Entomology Research Laboratory, the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service training facility, the Schubot Center for Exotic Bird Health, and the Center for Tropical Animal Health. The Colleges of Veterinary Medicine and Medicine are physically joined by the Medical Sciences Library which contains more than 90,000 volumes and 1,600 annual subscriptions. Approximately 200 students are currently enrolled in graduate study in the College, and over 70 graduate students are in the Veterinary Pathobiology Department.

The Community of Bryan-College Station is located in south-central Texas, approximately 90 miles northwest of Houston and 175 miles south of Dallas. The combined population is about 130,000, including the Texas A&M University student body. The community has excellent public and private schools, churches representing twenty denominations, hospitals, theaters, shopping centers, and recreational facilities.

Where to Write

To find out more about a particular program, prospective students should write:

Graduate Advisor
Department of Veterinary Pathobiology
Texas A&M University
4467 TAMU
College Station, Texas 77843-4467
Information may also be obtained from:
Ms. Katie Cosby,
Graduate Program Coordinator
Ph: 979-845-2851

Admission to Texas A&M University and any of its sponsored programs is open to qualified individuals regardless of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, or educationally unrelated handicaps.