MS and PhD Programs


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Graduate programs at the College of Veterinary Medicine are based on the One Health principle that advancing animal and human health stems from the same scientific foundation. We provide state-of-the-art PhD and MS training in at the intersections of animal, human, and ecosystem health. Emphasis areas include pathogenesis of infectious agents, cancer biology, inflammation and immunity, microbial genetics, epidemiology, mammalian genomics, and neurobiology. You can earn your MS and PhD degree in Veterinary Medicine or in Comparative and Molecular Biosciences. A combined DVM/PhD program is also offered.

We are committed to helping students graduate in a timely fashion through individualized mentoring, clear timelines, and annual reviews of student progress. You will work closely with advisers, program faculty, and peers in a supportive and collaborative environment to foster full development of scientific critical thinking skills and experimental methodologies. Our PhD programs exceed the national averages for life sciences graduate programs. Graduates go on to careers in academia, private sector biomedical and agricultural industries, and in governmental agencies.


Graduate Student News

CVM PhD Students Win 2017-2018 Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships

We are very pleased to announce that Comparative and Molecular Biosciences PhD candidate Haiguang Wang and Veterinary Medicine PhD candidate Junjie Shao have been awarded Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships for the 2017-2018 academic year. The Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship gives the University's most accomplished PhD candidates an opportunity to devote full-time effort to an outstanding research project by providing time to finalize and write a dissertation during the fellowship year.

Haiguang WangHaiguang Wang's research focuses on Natural Killer T (NKT) cells, which are a unique type of T cells that recognize lipids instead of peptides. These cells play diverse roles in immunity, and Haiguang's work seeks to understand how NKT cells differentiate into distinct effector subsets in order to better utilize these cells for therapeutic applications. He has identified a new multipotent progenitor that gives rise to three NKT subsets and he is defining the factors that determine the subsets' commitment.

Haiguang is advised by Dr. Kristin Hogquist.


Junjie Shao

Junjie Shao's research focuses on arenaviruses which cause zoonotic infections that result in lethal hemorrhagic fever diseases in humans. There is no current FDA-approved vaccine or specific antiviral therapy for arenaviruses. Junjie's work seeks to understand the molecular mechanisms by which the arenavirus enters cells and evades host immunity. The goal of his research is to develop novel antiviral therapeutics against these deadly arenavirus pathogens.

Junjie is advised by Dr. Yuying Liang and Dr. Hinh Ly.

This is truly an honor for the winners and for our graduate programs. Congratulations to Haiguang, Junjie, and their advisers for this outstanding recognition.


Saint Paul Campus Science in Seconds: May 23, 2017

Graduate Students doing science on Saint Paul Campus

Mark Rutherford and Irene Bueno Padilla

PhD Students Elaine Norton (CMB) and Irene Bueno Padilla (VMED) represented the CVM as competitors in the first annual Saint Paul Campus Science in Seconds competition on Tuesday, May 23 in Borlaug Hall. Elaine and Irene joined graduate students from the College of Biological Sciences and the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences as they each presented their thesis research in under three minutes using only one slide, with cash prizes awarded for the best presentations. Irene Bueno Padilla won both first place and the viewers' choice award in the competition for her presentation about the impacts that aquaculture, wastewater treatment plants, and other influences have on the spread of antimicrobial resistance.


Watch the full Science in Seconds event here


Three Graduate Students Named MnDRIVE Global Food Fellows

Veterinary Medicine PhD students Kruthikaben Patel, Shaoyuan Tan, and Robert Valeris have been named MnDRIVE Global Food Ventures Fellows. These one-year awards seek to support and broaden the training of graduate students conducting research in the areas of food systems, safety, and security.

Kruthikaben Patel

Kruthikaben Patel's research investigates the relationship between bedding bacterial counts and udder health in U.S. dairy farms and seeks to gain a better understanding of the many management-related factors that may influence bedding bacterial counts and mastitis risk. She is advised by Dr. Sandra Godden.


Shaoyuan Tan

Shaoyuan Tan's research goal is to develop a method for real-time field-based pathogen detection in swine populations. Using porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) as the test model, she will adapt and evaluate a portable, hand-held sequencing device, the MinION (Oxford Nanopore) for rapid disease diagnosis. Shaoyuan is advised by Dr. Michael Murtaugh.


Robert Valeris

Robert Valeris's research seeks to elucidate the ecoepidemiology of Campylobacter jejuni in poultry. One particular interest of his research is the building of a model that can inform on the best interventions to reduce the burden of this zoonotic disease in poultry flocks. He is advised by Dr. Randall Singer.


The Global Food Ventures program is a public-private partnership committed to answering the global imperative of safe, nutritious, and affordable food through the application of innovative discovery in agriculture, food, nutrition/health technologies, and next-generation workforce development. The program is funded by the state of Minnesota through Minnesota’s Discovery, Research, and InnoVation Economy program (MnDRIVE).


2017 Commencement

The CVM held commencement on Saturday, May 6th at Northrop Auditorium. Ten PhD and two MS graduates participated in the ceremony. Congratulations, graduates!

MS and PhD Graduates

Left to right: Jenny Brown, Sylvia Wanzala, Eugene Nwaokorie, Elizabeth Coppelman, Whitney Knauer, Fabian Chamba Pardo, Mike Rahe, Jing Du, Vachira Hunprasit, Hamada Aboubakr, Shengbin Li, Xi Guo 



Quick Links

For Current Students

For Current Students

Fellowship and Funding Opportunities

Fellowship and Funding Opportunities

All PhD students are fully supported by their graduate program, adviser, training grant, or fellowship. Some funding opportunities for students are listed below for both PhD and MS candidates.

Professional Development Resources

Professional Development Resources

Our graduates will have not only strong technical skills but also have the professional and transferable skills that employers seek. Whether your career objective is to apply your scientific training in academia, the private sector, or in nonprofit/governmental institutions, we provide the courses, support, and learning experiences to build critical thinking, communication, and team-working skills that will accelerate your career trajectory.

Multicultural Resources

Multicultural Resources

The College of Veterinary Medicine and the University of Minnesota emphasize a welcoming and inclusive environment in which multiple voices and experiences contribute to excellence in teaching, learning, and scientific discovery.

Twin Cities Living

Twin Cities Living

Lying on opposite sides of the Mississippi river, St. Paul and Minneapolis comprise a vibrant, green, and welcoming community. The cities maintain nearly 200 parks and lakes with over 1,200 miles of walking, running, and biking trails. Our urban setting provides easy access to arts and culture, professional and Big Ten sports, multicultural neighborhoods and events, and restaurants, including 20 different craft beer taprooms. And yet we are just minutes from open fields, boating, golf courses, skiing, and nature sanctuaries. These are just some of the reasons the Twin Cities consistently rank in the top 10 most livable US cities.

Graduate Student Seminar Series

The College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) Graduate Student Seminars are held in 215 Veterinary Science Building on Thursdays at 12:00 noon.

Spring seminar series schedule