Courses offered by the Immunology Program

Course #Course NameSemester OfferedSemester hours
IMMU:6201Graduate ImmunologySpring3 hrs.
IMMU:6211Immunology SeminarFall/Spring1 hrs. each semester
IMMU:6221Rigor and Reproducibility in ImmunologyFall1 hrs.
IMMU:6231Research in ImmunologyFall/SpringVaries each semester
IMMU:6241Writing a Scientific ProposalFall1 hrs.
IMMU:7221Advanced Topics in ImmunologyFall3 hrs.
Assignments will be posted in ICON.

Immunology Program Curriculum

Immunology graduate courses are offered not only to teach students the current concepts and paradigms within the field, but to emphasize the scientific approaches and methods used to attain this understanding.

NOTE: It is expected that the great majority of graduate students will follow the prescribed curriculum. However, it is recognized that circumstances may arise that require a student's course of study to be altered. Therefore, a student may ask the Graduate Studies Committee for permission to amend the curriculum requirements.

Core Course

IMMU:6201 Graduate Immunology
IMMU:6211 Immunology Graduate Student Seminar
IMMU:6221 Rigor and Reproducibility in Immunology
IMMU:6231 Research in Immunology
IMMU:6241 Writing a Scientific Proposal
IMMU:6247 Graduate Immunology and Human Disease
IMMU:7221 Advanced Topics in Immunology

Required Courses
Fall & Spring each year

Immunology Graduate Student Seminar IMMU:6211 (1 sh) During both the Fall and Spring semesters, all graduate students will attend, and will present their research data under the supervision of the Immunology Program faculty. This exercise is designed to foster oral communication skills and collaboration among graduate students. Faculty evaluators will provide student presenters with useful written and oral feedback on their presentations.

Research in Immunology IMMU:6231 During both the Fall and Spring semesters, all graduate students will register for IMMU:6231 Research in Immunology. The number of semester hours registered for will vary depending on course load and progress toward degree.

Fall Year 1

Graduate Immunology and Human Disease IMMU:6247 (4 sh). This course provides an overview of the important principles and key concepts in immunology including the induction of the innate and adaptive immune systems, the molecular events that control immune cell activation and the function of the immune system in infection and pathophysiological events. Offered fall semester only. Required of all first year students.

Basic Biostatics and Experimental Design PCOL:5204 (1 sh). This course is designed to provide a brief overview of the theory of experimental design and data analysis in the biological sciences for graduate-level students. At the completion of this module, students will feel comfortable identifying the types of analyses that are available for common types of data generated in the biomedical sciences, and will be empowered to critically review the statistical methods used in published studies.

Principles of Molecular and Cellular Biology BMED:5207 (3 sh). The goals of this course are to familiarize new graduate students with important principles and key concepts in contemporary molecular and cellular biology; to help students develop the skills required to critically evaluate current research publications; and to familiarize students with the experimental techniques utilized to test specific hypotheses. These goals will be achieved through formal lectures on specific topics and discussions focus on evaluation of published research papers (recent or classical). Students are encouraged to ask questions for clarification and to seek out individual faculty members for additional assistance when needed.

Spring Year 1

Graduate Immunology IMMU:6201 (3 sh). This course emphasizes the purpose and design of experiments, and how their interpretation has led to current concepts in immunology. Sessions take the form of background presentation by the lecturer followed by analysis of primary research papers. Participation by students in the form of discussion and responding to questions is a key goal. Required of all first year students.

Fall Year 2

Rigor and Reproducibility in Immunology IMMU:6221 (1 sh). Graduate Immunology is a Prerequisite for this course. Principles and concepts in rigor and reproducibility including rigorous experimental practices in immunology and study design including concepts in redundancy (replication, validation, generalization, perturbation, and consistency), controls, authentication of key reagents and resources, biological variables, recognition of error, avoidance of logical traps, and intellectual honesty.

Advanced Topics in Immunology IMMU:7221 (3sh). Graduate Immunology is a prerequisite for this course, although MSTP students, who have taken MS1 Immunology, may elect to take Advanced Topics for credit in either year 1 or year 2. This course is split into three sections with each section proctored by a different faculty member. The goal is for each instructor is to present the seminal papers in one area of immunologic expertise. This is done through the use of primary research papers and student presentations. Second year students are required to take this course for credit. Subsequently, students are required to attend an additional two sections as exemplars for younger students, and to enhance their knowledge of a wider variety of immunologic topics. These two sections need not be taken during the same semester, but can be spread out during the ensuing years. This will enable students to choose two areas which are of particular interest to them. While participating in these additional modules, advanced students will be asked to lead discussions, and demonstrate proper presentation and critique of papers.

Writing a Scientific Proposal IMMU:6241 (2 sh). The goal of this course is to teach the skills of scientific writing, using the highly relevant vehicle of scientific proposal preparation. This skill is crucial in many future scientific careers, not restricted to academic research. Students will practice skills of hypothesis and rationale formulation, experimental design, and the ability to present ideas clearly 8 8/1/2021 and convincingly in a concise format. During the course, each student will prepare a proposal that can subsequently be submitted to external funding agencies.

Scholarly Integrity/Responsible Conduct of Research 1 BMED:7270 (Commonly taken Fall year 2)
Scholarly Integrity/Responsible Conduct of Research 2 BMED:7271 (Commonly taken Spring year 2)
Courses entitled Scholarly Integrity/Responsible Conduct of Research 1 and 2 are required for all graduate students in Immunology. These courses are designed to expand on and advance training in the principles of scholarly integrity and responsible conduct of research (SI/RCR). As a prerequisite, all individuals taking these courses will have completed basic SI/RCR training through completion of CITI online, web-based training in the first year. Following verification of successful completion of all required CITI modules, graduate students must complete the 2-semester sequence (BMED:7270, BMED:7271) for meeting full SI/RCR training requirements per the CCOM Office of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies and their respective departments and programs. Individuals typically start the series in the Fall semester of the 2nd year, however in some cases may start the series in the Spring of year 2. Once started students must complete the series in the following semester (e.g., Fall > Spring; or Spring > Fall series). The workshops emphasize small group discussions and foster ongoing conversations that explore important aspects of the ethical and responsible conduct of scholarly research. Case studies are assigned that cover all core competency areas emphasized by NIH – data acquisition, management, sharing and ownership; conflict of interest and commitment; human subjects; animal welfare; research misconduct; publication practices and responsible authorship; mentor/trainee responsibilities; peer review; collaborative science; financial management; research safety; responsibility to society.


Students will take 3 sh of elective credits. The following courses are suggested; others may be substituted with prior approval of the Graduate Studies Committee. These are either a 3 sh course or a 5-week 1-credit module on various areas of 4 cellular and molecular biology, taught for graduate-level students.

MSTP students are exempt from this requirement, but may elect to take any modules they wish.  The MSTP students are not exempt from taking the 1 module of Biostatistics.

Course #Course NameSemester Hours
ACB:5218Microscopy for Biomedical Research 3 sh
BIOC:7251Introduction to Protein Structures 1 sh
BIOC:7252Enzymes, Carbohydrates, Nucleic Acids, and Bioenergetics 1 sh
BIOC:7253Metabolism 1 1 sh
BIOC:7254Cellular Biochemistry1 sh
BIOC:7255Metabolism II1 sh
BIOC:7256Molecular Biology 1 sh
BIOS:4120Introduction to Biostatistics 3 sh
EPID 6550Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases3 sh
MICR:6259Graduate Bacteria and Human Disease3 sh
MICR:6260Graduate Molecular Microbiology3 sh
MICR:6267Graduate Viruses and Human Diseases3 sh
MICR:6268Biology & Pathogenesis of Viruses 2 sh
MICR:6270Graduate Microbial Genetics 3 sh
MMED:3310Practical Data Science & Bioinformatics3 sh
MMED:6220Mechanism of Cellular Organization 3 sh
MMED:6225Growth Factor Receptor Signaling 1 sh
MMED:6226Cell Cycle Control 1 sh
MMED:6227Cell Fate Decisions 1 sh
MMED:6240Inflammatory Cell Signaling and Targeted Cancer Therapy 1 sh
PATH:5260Translational Histopathology 3 sh
PATH:5270Pathogenesis of Major Human Diseases 3 sh
PCOL:6207Ion Channel Pharmacology 1 sh
PCOL:6208G-proteins and G-protein Coupled Receptors 1 sh
PCOL:6209Steroid Receptor Signaling 1 sh

Any student would have the option to take additional approved electives, on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with the student’s advisor and the Curriculum  Committee. Course of study will be approved and supervised by the Graduate Studies Committee until a dissertation advisor and dissertation committee has been chosen.

After successful completion of the comprehensive examination, usually at the end of the second year of graduate study, students advance to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree, devoting full time to thesis research and writing the dissertation. Upon successful completion of all requirements, including the dissertation and its oral defense, students are awarded the Ph.D. degree in Immunology.

Teaching Requirements

All incoming students will have a one-semester teaching requirement. A variety of courses are available in several departments, and the program leadership will place students in courses based on interest, expertise, and scheduling.