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 While the microbiology residency training program is designed to provide broad coverage of all aspects of diagnostic microbiology, the program is custom-tailored to accommodate individual trainee's interest in virology, bacteriology, or immunology.

Microbiology Residency


 Contact Us


Kristy Pabilonia
Microbiology Residency Program Coordinator & Associate Department Head for DVM and Clinical Sciences, Department of Microbiology, Immunology & Pathology
Phone: (970) 297-4109

Heidi Runge
Academic Support Coordinator for Graduate Studies
Phone: (970) 491-1630


 Helpful Links


The purpose of this combined training program is to provide post-DVM training leading to board certification in veterinary microbiology by the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists, and original research in infectious disease leading to the PhD degree. The program emphasizes a multidisciplinary approach to diagnostic and research problems, and encourages the development of proficiency in experimental design and interpretation of results, independent thought, and written and oral communication skills. It is anticipated that a total of five years will be required to complete the combined program. Trainees having completed the program will have skills necessary to supervise a diagnostic microbiology laboratory and to conduct contemporary biomedical investigations of infectious disease.

Residency Training

The early phase of training emphasizes diagnostic microbiology, during which time trainees are expected to master a core of tests in diagnostic bacteriology, virology and immunology. This is most concentrated in year one of the program and with continued, albeit reduced, responsibility for diagnostic service during subsequent years of the program. For example, trainees should expect to devote approximately 36 weeks to diagnostic microbiology during the first year of the program; this progressively decreases to approximately 18 and 9 weeks during years two and three, respectively.

While residency training is designed to provide broad coverage of all aspects of diagnostic microbiology, the program is custom-tailored to accommodate individual trainee's interest in virology, bacteriology, or immunology. This is accomplished by rotational assignments in each of these applied microbiology sections, with more concentrated exposure in section(s) of the trainee's choice. This experience includes close interaction and communication with the faculty microbiologists, technicians and clients. Trainees are expected to become competent in a wide variety of microbiological techniques, interpretation of results, and formulating recommendations for follow-up investigations of cases of special interest.

Limited, informal teaching responsibilities are included as part of the residency experience. These consist of case discussions with students in the professional veterinary medical curriculum or undergraduate microbiology students in a laboratory setting.

Initial stipendiary and tuition support for trainees is derived from user fees generated from the Colorado State University Diagnostic Laboratory, with the direct intent the resulting training will enhance the laboratory's infectious disease diagnostic capabilities. It is expected that trainees will enhance outreach activities through client communication and investigation of naturally occurring infectious disease problems. As trainees advance to the research training phase of the program, they are encouraged to submit competitive research applications to other sources for support.

While acquiring diagnostic microbiology experience during year one of the program, trainees are also introduced to the variety of infectious disease research programs directed by faculty in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology. Through these broad introductions and more in-depth interactions with specific faculty mentors and rotations through research laboratories, trainees become aware of opportunities for research in infectious disease. By the end of year one, trainees select a major professor, research laboratory, and general area of infectious disease for their dissertation research. As the time commitment to diagnostic microbiology residency training progressively decreases with subsequent years in the program, the time commitment to dissertation research training increases.​

Research training emphasizes contemporary investigations of infectious disease and utilizes the foundation of residency training in applied microbiology to enhance diagnostic capabilities in infectious disease. Research opportunities in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology include internationally recognized programs in arthropod-borne diseases and vector molecular biology, and mycobacterial, retroviral, and parasitic diseases. The quality of the infectious disease research program is evidenced by its designation as a Program of Research and Scholarly Excellence; this designation is part of a university strategic planning process to nurture and support research excellence through recognition and investment in programs that have attained national and international stature.

Course Work

The trainee and their graduate committee share responsibility for outlining those courses necessary and appropriate for the trainee's program of study. Course work is based on the trainee's academic background, area of dissertation research, and recommendations of the graduate committee. As part of the PhD) degree in microbiology, trainees will complete formal course work in three of the four core subdisciplines: bacteriology, virology, immunology, and molecular genetics. A minimum of 72 semester credits in courses (numbered 300 or above) and research is required.  An appropriate master's degree or DVM/VMD or equivalent from an accredited college or university may be recommended by the GEC for approval for a maximum of 30 credits.  At least 21 credits beyond the M.S. degree are to be earned in courses numbered 500 and above and 16 credits should be in regular courses (excludes MIP798 research, MIP799 dissertation, MIP700 topics and MIP792 seminars).  The department requires that 13 of the 16 credits be earned in Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology courses.​

Preparation for Board Exam

The combined program will qualify trainees to take the certifying examination offered by the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists. To be eligible for this examination, candidates must hold the DVM and PhD degrees. The residency phase of the program provides excellent diagnostic microbiology training, and the PhD provides original research training required for successful completion of this rigorous examination.

Facilities and Resources

Residency training is based in the Colorado State University Diagnostic Laboratory and utilizes clinical material accessioned from private practitioners and the adjacent Veterinary Teaching Hospital. This includes a wide variety of tissues from domestic and nondomestic species for microbiological analyses, including bacteriology, mycology, virology and serology. These facilities are equipped with an array of modern equipment for the diagnosis and treatment of infectious as well as other diseases of animals.

Research training will be under the auspices of the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology. This department is housed in modern, adjacent, multistory buildings with a total of more than 120,000 square feet of teaching research laboratories, office and classroom space on the main campus of Colorado State University. A broad range of instrumentation is available for teaching and research in the laboratory setting. In addition, the department operates or shares space in several facilities on other parts of the campus. These include the Painter Center for Laboratory Animals, Arthropod Borne Infectious Disease Laboratory, University Electron Microscopy Laboratory, Macromolecular Resources Laboratory, Colorado Bioprocessing Center, Necropsy and Clinical Pathology Laboratories, Histotechnology Laboratory, the Center for Environmental Technology and Toxicology, and a branch of the federal Centers for Disease Control.

The Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology is composed of a total of 54 faculty members who generate in excess of $10 million/year extramurally funded research support. The research program in infectious disease is recognized as a University Program of Research and Scholarly Excellence, part of a university strategic plan to support and nurture research excellence through recognition and investment in programs that have attained national and international stature.

Application Procedures

Application to the Combined Veterinary Residency/PhD program involves submitting:

  1. The online application - All of your application material will be uploaded to the online application. Select Pathology (Ph.D.) as the program and list the Residency program you are applying to (Anatomic Pathology, Clinical Pathology, Microbiology) as the Area of Study. You do not need to wait until all materials are received to submit the online application. In fact, it is recommended to submit the application as early on as possible, as this helps Admissions process and upload transcripts and other materials. The application fee does not need to be paid at time of submission, but will be required if selected for a position. 

  2. Official transcripts from each college or university attended, including undergraduate work and transfer credits. Official transcripts from CSU are not required. Official electronic transcripts are accepted and preferred, when available. Please use gradadmissions@​ when requesting those.

  3. Three letters of reference from individuals able to evaluate your abilities (your references will upload letters directly to the online application).

  4. GRE scores are recommended (a copy of your original scores is sufficient and can be uploaded to the online application).

  5. Letter of Intent/statement of interest in the program that outlines: your motivation for applying to this program, your relevant clinical experiences, and any research experience you have had. It should include information regarding your specific area of interest in Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology as well as potential areas of research in which you would like to work. On the online application this is referred to as a 'statement of purpose'.

  6. Biographical sketch or resume/Curriculum Vitae.

  7. A TOEFL or IELTS score (international applicants only).​

International or Non-U.S. Citizens

We do have international students pursuing graduate degrees in our department; however, these positions are limited since their availability depends on:

  1. The capacity of the student's government to provide a living stipend, tuition, and fees;


  2. The availability of departmental faculty and research projects. Therefore, we are unable to accept applicants for graduate education without a specific faculty sponsor pre-identified.

For any documents that cannot be uploaded electronically to the online application, submit paper copies to the Office of Admissions at this address:

Graduate Admissions 
Colorado State University
Office of Admissions
1062 Campus Delivery
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1062

For questions regarding applications, please email​​.​

Thank you for your interest in the graduate programs of the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology. See our graduate program in microbiology webpages for general information the program, guidelines and course descriptions for our departmental program, and a list of our faculty and their research.

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1682 Campus Delivery
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(970) 491-6144

(970) 491-0603