Immunology Program Requirements

All incoming students are designated as "flexible entry" and assigned an advisory committee. This committee is composed of two faculty members, at least one of whom is a member of the Immunology training faculty. The principal task of the advisory committee is to help students choose appropriate course work and rotation preceptors. Once students have chosen a preceptor to conduct their thesis research, the advisory committee will be reformulated to include the preceptor plus three other faculty members.

Year 1

Students take Biomedical Sciences I and II. Concurrent with their course work, students complete a minimum of two laboratory rotations. The student chooses a preceptor, preferably from the immunology faculty, although the student may choose from outside of the Immunology faculty if the student so desires and the advisory committee agrees. Students must choose a preceptor by the beginning of the second-year fall semester.

Year 2

Second-year students take Advanced Topics in Immunology, which covers diverse topics in Immunology, on a rotating basis. Students take additional electives appropriate to their research interests. All students are also required to attend a weekly Journal Club, a Works-in-Progress Seminar Series, and a monthly Immunology Seminar Series.

Qualifying exams

The Qualifying Exam consists of two parts. Part I (general knowledge) is administered by four committee members and is taken at the beginning of Year 2. Part II of the Qualifying Exam consists of a written thesis proposal followed by an oral examination overseen by a committee of five faculty members. Part II of the Qualifying Exam must be completed by the end of the fall semester of Year 3.

Thesis defense

After completion of the project, the student, preceptor, and at least two members of the steering or senior advisory committee will meet and decide whether suitable work has been completed to proceed with the preparation of a dissertation and a thesis defense. If approval is granted, the preceptor will guide the student regarding the dissertation preparation and the presentation of his or her work in an open seminar-format thesis defense.

MD/PhD students

The curriculum and requirements for MD/PhD students in the Immunology program follow the general guidelines described in the student-faculty handbook. Students must take the Core I and Core II courses during their first two years of medical school or during the first year of their PhD studies. They also must take biostatistics, as well as Fundamentals in Immunology (serving as the Core III course). Six credits of advanced course work also are required. Once they enter the PhD phase of their training, MD/PhD students in the immunology program should attend the weekly Journal Club, as well as the Seminar Series.