M.S. Fifth-Year Master’s Program

Degree Overview & Mission 

The Fifth-Year Master's Program is designed exclusively for our department’s undergraduate Microbiology majors. This program is appropriate for academically strong students who are interested in enhancing their academic and research background before entering the professional world.

UMass Amherst Microbiology majors who are interested in this program are strongly advised to meet with their academic advisor to discuss this option before the end of their junior year. This is necessary because, in most cases, an undergraduate research project will be expanded to provide the basis for the Master's Degree project.

Admission Requirements

UMass Amherst undergraduates in Microbiology with a minimum overall grade point average of 3.0 and a grade point average of 3.0 in all subjects required for the major in Microbiology are eligible for consideration.

  • Bachelor’s degree
    A Bachelor's degree from UMass Amherst. 
  • GREs: Not Required
  • Other Requirements
    • Online application
    • Personal Statement
    • Resume
    • 2 Letters of Recommendation
      • One of the letters must be from the research advisor with whom the student intends to work.
    • Transcripts

Application fee is waived for current University of Massachusetts Amherst undergraduate students.

Program Requirements

Credit Requirement: 30 credits

This program requires a minimum of 21 credits in microbiology, with a minimum of 12 credits in the 600-800 course series. Students usually take the non-thesis option. Students may transfer up to 12 credits of Microbiology coursework numbered 500 or higher which they completed as an undergraduate. Among them, up to 6 credits may be counted for both undergraduate and graduate degree requirements (i.e. double-counting allowed). 

Accepted students begin their graduate work during the summer following completion of their undergraduate degree. 

Project and Final Exam

A final oral exam is required and is conducted by the student's committee consisting of the research advisor and two other members of the Microbiology Graduate Faculty.


Students are expected to complete the Master’s degree in approximately 12-15 months, including one or two summers and an academic year.

Additional Resources

For more information about our Microbiology M.S. program, please contact Graduate Program Director Dr. Yasu Morita at ymorita@umass.edu