Mission Statement

Goals and Outcomes for Student Learning in Microbiology & Immunology

Below is a statement of the Department’s Mission, Program Goals and expected Outcomes for our students’ learning:


Mission Statement of Microbiology & Immunology

- To provide our students (graduate, medical, dental) with a high-quality learning experience with training in Microbiology & Immunology

- To contribute to the advancement of knowledge in Microbiology & Immunology through extramurally funded research

- To create new knowledge that can be applied toward the advancement of human health

- To become recognized locally and globally as a place for research and training of the highest quality


General Program Goals

The graduate programs of the Department of Microbiology & Immunology in the School of Medicine include degrees offered at the master’s and doctoral levels. These educational programs have as their mission the preparation of individuals for a variety of career objectives in microbiology and immunology. The programs incorporate formal instructional activities and, as appropriate, research training, mentored by the members of the faculty. The M.S. program is distinguished by inclusion of the preparation of the individual to function as a laboratory director or scientific investigator.

The Ph.D. program is designed to provide students with the skills required to advance to positions as bioscience researchers and trainers in abroad spectrum of positions. The structure of the program provides a framework for the progressive development of a mastery of the current state of the subject matter of bioscience, an ability to synthesize this information and apply this foundation to the identification of key areas of investigation and experimentation in bioscience. The program relates this framework to the development of the ability to design, implement and interpret experimental approaches that address the questions identified.

The Ph.D. program is also designed to develop skills in the various means of communicating, both the core of bioscience knowledge and the expression of experimental design to a variety of potential audiences


Faculty Goals and Student Learning Outcomes

Program Goal 1: The PhD program in Microbiology & Immunology prepares students to be effective communicators.

  • Learning Outcome: 1. Oral communication. The candidate will demonstrate the achievement of an appropriate level of oral communication skills with respect to the content, organization, logical flow, presentation and appropriate use of language incorporating the use of visual aids.
  • Learning Outcome 2: Written communication skills. The candidate will demonstrate the achievement of an appropriate level of written communication skill with respect to grammar, syntax, spelling and use of vocabulary to effectively present information including the use of figures, tables and citations.


Program Goal 2: The PhD program in M&I provides rigorous learning experiences leading to strong research competencies.

  • Learning Outcome: 3. Experimental design. The candidate will demonstrate the achievement of an appropriate level of competence in the ability to appraise, modify and/or create and implement experimental protocols and to design and develop experiments.
  • Learning Outcome: 4. Problem-solving skills. The candidate will demonstrate an appropriate level of skill in the identification and selection of meaningful problems to be addressed in bioscience research, including the ability to defend said identifications and to design and develop appropriate methods to solve said problems.
  • Learning Outcome: 5. General knowledge of science. The candidate should demonstrate a general knowledge of the elements of the sciences as related to molecular/cellular bioscience and a detailed knowledge of his or her area of research, including an appropriate familiarity with the research literature.


Planning:  The graduate programs in Microbiology & Immunology are under continuous review by the Departmental Graduate Program Committee (appointed by the Chair), and the curriculum is updated accordingly. The VCU Bulletin for M&I is updated annually in accordance with such improvements.


Curriculum Map for Microbiology & Immunology

The curriculum is aligned with the learning outcomes (above), and assessment processes are integrated into the culture of the department:

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Outcome: 1. Oral communication. 

Outcome  2. Written communication skills. 

Outcome: 3. Experimental design. 

Outcome: 4. Problem-solving skills. 

Outcome: 5. General knowledge of science. 

Department of Microbiology and ImmunologyVirginia Commonwealth UniversityVCU Medical Center
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