The Elizabeth Stuart Fund for Graduate Education

The Elizabeth Stuart Fund

With a generous donation from an anonymous donor, the fund was created in 2022 to support Microbiology graduate student education at University of Massachusetts Amherst. The mission of this fund is to promote inclusion, diversity, and equity in the Microbiology Graduate Program. We currently offer waiver of Ph.D. application fee through this fund. 

You can help us meet the mission of the fund. When donating, please designate “the Elizabeth Stuart Fund” in the additional instruction.

Professor Elizabeth Stuart

Elizabeth Sutton Stuart, Ph.D. April 15, 1940 to June 29, 2017Dr. Stuart worked at UMass Amherst for 37 years before retiring as an Associate Professor of Microbiology in 2012. She was born in Rochester, Minnesota, and spent her youth in Rockford, Illinois, before coming east to attend the former Mary Burnham School in Northampton. She graduated in 1962 from Wellesley College and received a Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Chicago in 1967.

She was a staff fellow at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences at North Carolina State University and joined UMass Amherst in 1974 as an NIH post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. She later became an adjunct professor in the Department of Microbiology, where she collaborated with Bruce McDonald. In 1996, she became the director of Molecular Microbial Laboratory Services (aka Teaching Services), and upon the death of Dr. McDonald, assumed the role of director of Chlamydia vaccine research laboratory. She was promoted to Associate Professor in 2000 and retired in 2012.

During her scientific career, Dr. Stuart published many peer-reviewed articles, scholarly abstracts and meeting proceedings and gave numerous invited scientific presentations. She was issued six US patents, most involving the development of a chlamydia vaccine and discovery of vaccine-related antigens. Her research was supported by grants from the NIH, as well as foundations and companies such as BioVeris and Wellstat Therapeutics. She mentored numerous undergraduate and graduate students in her lab, many of whom hold prominent industry and faculty research positions today. She taught several courses including Pathogenic Bacteriology. As a woman in science who often felt marginalized, Dr. Stuart valued inclusion, diversity and most importantly, equity in science.

Microbiology Ph.D. Application Fee Waiver Program

Fee waiver application due: December 1. 

As part of its initiative to increase the diversity of their graduate student body, the Department of Microbiology has a number of application fee waivers it can grant to prospective PhD students who 1) have faced adversity, such as societal, economic or academic disadvantages; or 2) are first generation students and students who have been traditionally underrepresented in graduate education in microbiology. 

Applicants in the following categories may qualify for a Graduate School application fee waiver:

  • Members of the McNair Scholars Program - submit documentation as a PDF attachment to
  • Applicants who qualify for a GRE fee reduction - submit a copy of your GRE fee reduction as a PDF attachment to
  • Current Five College undergraduate students applying to a master's only program, excluding MFA programs. The fee is automatically waived, no additional documentation is necessary.
  • Current UMass graduate students enrolled in a master's program and applying for a doctoral degree in the same program.
  • Eligible domestic students from underrepresented groups who are participants of these organizations and programs.

If you may be eligible for a Graduate School application fee waiver, you must apply for it first. Do NOT apply to our fee waiver program if you qualify for a Graduate School application fee waiver

Instructions on Applying for an Application Fee Waiver through the Elizabeth Stuart Fund for Graduate Education:

Students who are planning to apply for the Microbiology Ph.D. program and would like to be considered for a waiver are required to apply to the Microbiology Ph.D. program using the Graduate School’s secure online application system. Do not pay the application fee when you submit your application. To be considered for the fee waiver, the application must be received by December 1 and the application must include a 150-word statement of need as a separate pdf document, clearly labeled as "Statement of Need" submitted under the "Program Specific Material" section.

The application materials will be reviewed by the Microbiology Admissions Committee, and short-listed candidates will be interviewed by faculty and student members of the Microbiology Graduate Program.