Jackson Lab - Microbial ecology

Openings for potential graduate students

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I am always interested in hearing from potential graduate students and positions are often available within my research group. If positions are available as research assistantships they will generally be posted here, along with the specific project information. Otherwise, graduate students are supported as teaching assistantships within the Department of Biology. Generally, either type of assistantship includes a stipend of at least $12,000 for the academic year, which I can usually supplement with an additional $2,000 or so for the summer, so your annual stipend should be around $15,000. In addition to the stipend, graduate assistantships also include a waiver of tuition. Oxford is a very affordable place to live, so you'll find that the stipend actually goes quite a long way. You can also find more information on our graduate program through the Department of Biology Graduate Webpage. A little of that information is out of date, so email me (cjackson@olemiss.edu) if you have any questions.

Graduate Student Guidelines

Some guidelines for what I expect from graduate students that are in addition to the policies listed on either the Graduate School or Departmental webpages:

All students - I expect that all incoming graduate students will have some interest in my research program, and some of their own ideas for research in microbial ecology. If that's not your interest, then stop right here, move along, nothing to see here. If you're still not sure, then go click on the Publications link and read a few of my papers. Graduate school is a lot of work - you'll have to find time for research, courses, reading, and probably teaching. I expect my students to publish and present research at meetings (I won't let you graduate without publishing and presenting). You have to be serious about wanting to do this. You should also really consider my research area - microbial ecology touches on microbiology, ecology, molecular biology, biochemistry, biodiversity, bioinformatics, and a whole bunch of other things. I don't expect incoming graduate students to have a solid background in all of those areas but you really should have some education or experience in one of them (and if you haven't had a course in either microbiology or ecology, you will probably struggle).

Masters (MS degree) - If you don't have significant research experience (which basically means at least one publication and/or presentation) then this option is for you. You'll definitely need to have a GRE score of 1000 or more and, hopefully, a GPA of 3.0 or more. I'm generally willing to slightly lower one of those requirements if you have really good research experience (which means publications or presentations). You'll generally work on a research project for about a year or so, plus take a required number of graduate-level courses (usually around 24 hours). Before I approve your thesis (which basically means before you can graduate) I require you to have presented your research at at least one national scientific meeting (I'll even pay for the trip!), and to have submitted your research for publication in a scientific journal (it does not have to be published when you graduate, but it does need to be submitted).

Ph.D. - I only take on Ph.D. students who have significant research experience, as evidenced by a publication in an acceptable scientific journal. I'm willing to conditionally accept you in my lab if you have a manuscript in review, but it had better be accepted by your first semester here. If you're not into publishing your research then don't plan on working on your Ph.D. in my lab. Generally, you'll probably already have a Master's degree, but if you have good undergraduate research experience that you've published, then that can work also. As with MS students, you'll need a GRE score of 1000 or more and a GPA of 3.0 or better. I expect Ph.D. students to show a lot more initiative than Master's students in designing and conducting their own research projects, and these can be new areas of research for my group, provided they fit within my overall research area. You'll work on a project (or multiple projects) for around 3-4 years, plus take additional graduate classes as required (expect around 20-30 hours of course work if you have a MS already, 40 or more hours if you don't). I require my Ph.D. students to have published a scientific paper from their research before I will approve their dissertation. This paper needs to be at least at the accepted stage, and should really be published. You also need to have given at least two presentations at national scientific meetings. These requirements are in addition to those listed on the Departmental webpage.


Website maintained by Colin Jackson. Last updated 4/7/08. Email questions and comments to cjackson@olemiss.edu