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Coursework


All students are required to enroll in a comprehensive cell and molecular biology core course taken in the fall semester of the first year. Other required courses that are program-specific include a graduate level general immunology course taken in the first year and a series of special topics courses completed in the second year that explore in depth a range of specific areas including tumor immunology, clinical immunology, signal transduction and host response to infection. Additionally, students are required to complete a professional training course, which presents important ethical, social and practical aspects of science as a career, including presentation preparation, scientific writing, ethics, and interview skills. The required courses are outlined below:

Course#

Title

Semester

Year

Credits

 

 

 

 

FIRST YEAR:

 

 

 

IDPT 7811

Biomedical Sciences Core Course I 

Fall 

1st 

2

IDPT 7812

Biomedical Sciences Core Course II 

Fall 

1st 

2.5

IDPT 7813

Biomedical Sciences Core Course III 

Fall 

1st 

2.5

IDPT 7814

Biomedical Sciences Core Course IV 

Fall

1st 

1.5

IDPT 7815

Biomedical Sciences Core Course V

Fall

1st 

1.5

IMMU 7650 

Research in Immunology

Fall

1st 

1

IMMU 7650 

Research in Immunology

Fall

1st 

1

IMMU 7662 

Immunology 

Spring 

1st 

6

IMMU 7650 

Research in Immunology

Spring 

1st 

1

IMMU 7650 

Research in Immunology

Summer 

1st 

3

 

 

 

 

SECOND YEAR:

 

 

 

IMMU 7607 

Science as a Profession

Fall

2nd 

1

IMMU 7650 

Research in Immunology

Fall

2nd 

4

IMMU 7602 

Special Topics in Tumor Immunology 

Spring 

2nd 

1

IMMU 7603 

Special Topics in Immunological Basis of Human Disease

Spring 

2nd 

1

IMMU 7604 

Spec Top in Signal Transduction in the Immune System  

Spring 

2nd

1

MICRO 7704 

Host Response to Infectious Disease 

Spring 

2nd

2

*IMMU 8990 

Doctoral Thesis 

Summer

2nd

1

*Only required if the comprehensive exam is completed before the end of Spring semester.

 

 

 

 

THIRD-FIFTH YEARS:

 

 

 

IMMU 8990 

Doctoral Thesis 

Fall/Spring 

3rd-5th

5

IMMU 8990

Doctoral Thesis

Summer

3rd-5th

1
(5 if defending)


Preliminary Exams

At the end of the first year, graduate students take a written preliminary exam meant to test the academic progress they have made in their first year, based on graduate core curriculum and required Immunology coursework.

Comprehensive Exam
Immunology students are required to take an oral qualifying exam (comprehensive exam) in order to advance to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree. Each student is required to submit an abstract on a project unrelated to their thesis research by Fall of their second year. After abstract submittal, each student is paired with a faculty member who guides them in preparing a written proposal formulated closely to an NIH R01 grant. When the proposal is complete, the student presents their proposal before a committee comprised of five faculty selected by the student, and chaired by their comprehensive exam advisor.

Journal Club

Immunology students participate in a weekly journal club, guided and moderated by graduate students in the Immunology Program. Each week, one student will present a brief summary of a student-selected journal article, present data, and offer interpretation of figures. The attending Immunology students participate in a guided discussion on the journal article.

Lab Rotations
Laboratory skills are necessary for successful completion of any of the participating Ph.D. programs. A minimum of three laboratory rotations are required of first-year Immunology students, running concurrent with their enrollment in the graduate core curriculum and immunology course. First-year students may choose to perform laboratory rotations with any faculty in the Department of Immunology. After acceptance into the Graduate Program, rotations may begin during the summer semester prior to the start of the academic year. Most students, however, begin their first rotation during fall semester.

Thesis Research
Thesis labs and projects are selected by mutual consent of the student and the faculty member at the end of the first year. These research projects give graduate students the opportunity to learn scientific techniques, experimental design, scientific writing and presentation skills over a 3-5 year period. In the winter of their second year, students choose a thesis committee, consisting of four immunology faculty members and one non-immunology member. Immunology graduate students schedule meetings with their thesis committees every six months, where they discuss their thesis project and the progress they’ve made. Immunology graduate students are expected to publish their thesis work in a peer-reviewed journal before graduation. Upon approval by their thesis committee, students write their thesis and present the work to the immunology department in an oral defense.


Specific learning outcomes evaluated for each Immunology Graduate Program student.