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Department of Infectious Diseases

FAQ For Prospective Graduate Students

The Department of Infectious Diseases accepts applications through the University of Georgia’s Integrated Life Sciences (ILS) program. The ILS programs allows first year graduate students to explore the research areas of more than 150 faculty and 10 participating units, then choose a major professor and a departmental home at the end of the first semester. A hallmark of this competitive graduate program is its emphasis on existing and emerging interdisciplinary research areas. We currently accept students for the fall semester only.

There are two parts to the application process. Begin by applying to the UGA Graduate School, then complete your application to the ILS program. The current application deadline is December 1. 

You can download relevant admission forms from the Graduate School website and from the ILS program website.

Prospective masters students can download the supplemental application for the college wide masters in comparative biomedical sciences from the program website.

The most current information can be found in the online Graduate Bulletin, which is posted on the graduate school website.

Chances vary on factors outside your control such as the quality of the applicant pool and the amount of departmental funding for graduate assistantships. Admission is highly competitive, and in recent years we have had far more applicants than available positions.

GPA is important, but applicant competitiveness also depends on the degree obtained and the institution attended. Our faculty members must be confident that you will be able to maintain the minimum GPA of 3.0 required in graduate level courses.

This is your chance to “talk” to the Admissions Committee and say why you want to attend our graduate program and what you can bring to the program. This is your also your opportunity to highlight your research qualifications.

Please consult the list of core, affiliated, joint, and adjunct faculty under the “Our People” menu item.

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) is the Graduate Coordinator. The Graduate Assistant can be reached at or by telephone (706.542.0389). The assistant is the office person in charge of routine maintenance of the graduate program. She handles incoming applications, keeps records on current and past students, approves forms and makes copies prior to sending them to the Graduate School, and makes sure we all stay on track.

Dr. Peterson is the faculty member that manages the graduate program. As such, he chairs the graduate committee for the department. This committee evaluates applications and makes recommendations about the program, works on programmatic issues (makes decisions on applications, seeks assistantship funding for new students, evaluates and implements curriculum changes, etc.). If you need a form signed or a question answered, see the graduate assistant. If you are seeking a change to the program as a whole or need assistance trouble shooting some unusual circumstance, see the graduate coordinator.

All students applying to our graduate program through the Integrated Life Sciences program at UGA will participate in three different laboratory rotations prior to choosing a major professor. Research rotations provide an opportunity for students to explore the breadth and depth of life science research available at UGA through ILS before formally committing to a thesis project and advisor.


Rotations are scheduled for six weeks in each lab starting in September. After each rotation period, faculty will submit to the ILS graduate coordinator an evaluation form assessing the performance of the student during the rotation.  Students will be able to start in their new labs at the beginning of the spring semester.


Students on rotations are expected to spend as much time as possible in the mentoring lab and get immersed into the research culture of the environment. The principal investigator of the lab has the last word about admission of a student into his or her laboratory. In order to make that decision, the professor will assess the student’s performance during the rotation and will have access to the student’s application file.

Students accepted into the program are supported through fellowships or assistantships. Students funded on fellowships or assistantships are also granted a tuition waiver. More information about financial support is included on the ILS website.

There is no departmental teaching requirement for students who enter our graduate program through the Integrated Life Sciences Program, and whose subsequent stipend support is provided by a grant to their major professor. In the event that a student is supported for a time on a departmental assistantship the student will be required to TA in one of the IDIS courses for each semester they are supported by the department.

Students who are not required, but wish to have teaching experience, may find teaching opportunities in the Department of Infectious Diseases or in departments with large undergraduate teaching components, such as Microbiology or Cellular Biology.

Living expenses are relatively low in Athens. Graduate student housing can be found n the $450-$650/month range including some utilities. Our Office for Academic Affairs maintains a list of off-campus apartments and rental homes.

Athens is a thriving city of approximately 110,000 people. The downtown atmosphere is heavily influenced by the University of Georgia as evidenced by the multitude of musical, cultural, and culinary offerings. An abridged description of Athens, Georgia, in Wikipedia, offers a brief overview of the city’s history, musical heritage, culture, and other useful information. Additional information can be found at the Athens Welcome Center website.

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