Our program includes specific requirements for each year.
Biomedical Sciences I and II are a requirement in year 1. Concurrent with your coursework, you complete a minimum of two laboratory rotations. You choose a preceptor, preferably from the immunology faculty. We do give you the choice to select a preceptor outside of the Immunology faculty if you so desire and your advisory committee agrees. You must choose a preceptor by the beginning of the second-year fall semester.
Our program has a requirement of nine advanced credits starting the second year. These are acquired through advanced courses which include Fundamentals in Immunology, Advanced Topics in Immunology, and Advanced Electives. Electives can be selected appropriate to your research interests. You will also be attending a weekly Journal Club, a weekly Works-in-Progress Seminar, and a monthly Immunology Seminar. The Works-in-Progress Seminar and Immunology Seminar are part of the Seminars in Immunology 1 credit course.
Fundamentals in Immunology is a 3 credit advanced course that IMM students take in the second year. This course is intended to introduce students to the organization of the immune system and function of the immune response as it relates to health and disease. Different topics and sections will be presented and discussed by faculty members who have expertise in the subject matter. By the end of the course, students will have developed a solid understanding of immunological concepts, as well as the skills needed to conduct original research and undertake advanced studies in immunology.
Advanced Topics in Immunology
Advanced Topics in Immunology is a 3 credit modular course which covers diverse topics in Immunology, that differ each year on a rotating basis. Each module consists of a one-credit course and highlights a specific area of immunology for in depth study. By the end of the course, students will have mastered the selected topics and should be able to critically present the literature, identify important questions and formulate an experimental plan to address them. Mastering of critical reading and writing are main goals of this course. Discussion among the students and guidance by the faculty is emphasized.
We offer electives that match your interest. At least three additional credits of elective courses are a requirement during your second or third year.
Advanced Course in Immunology
Also a requirement is attendance of the Advanced Course in Immunology offered by the American Association of Immunologists. This is a one-week intense and rigorous course that you take the summer after Year 2. The course is held at a different location each year. In addition to learning from leaders in the field, the course offers you the opportunity to meet with these leading scientists and with other students from various institutions across the nation.
Seminars in Immunology
This is a 1 credit course. This course combines two seminar series hosted by the Immunology Institute. The first series features a monthly seminar given by an invited speaker who is a prominent scientist in immunology. As part of the course, students familiarize themselves with the speaker’s research areas. Students attend a luncheon with the speaker, which provides them with an opportunity to meet with the speaker and ask questions or engage in discussions. The second series is a weekly work-in-progress seminar presented by Immunology Institute students and postdocs and relating to their own research. Students are required to present in this seminar series starting in their 3rd year.
The Qualifying Exam consists of a written thesis proposal followed by an oral examination overseen by a committee of five faculty members. The Qualifying Exam must be completed by the end of Semester 4 or the end of your second year for PhD candidates, and semester 6 for MD/PhD candidates.
After completion of your project, you, your 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 your preparation of a dissertation and a thesis defense. If approval is granted, the preceptor will guide you regarding the dissertation preparation and the presentation of your work in an open seminar-format thesis defense.
Biomedical Sciences I and II courses are a requirement during your first two years of medical school or during the first year of your PhD studies. Courses in biostatistics, as well as other courses as outlined above are also a requirement. Another requirement is the completion of nine credits of advanced coursework. These include Fundamentals in Immunology, Advanced Topics in Immunology, and Advanced Electives. Once you enter the PhD phase of your training as an MD/PhD student in the immunology program, attendance at the weekly Journal Club, as well as the Immunology Institute Works-in-progress and Seminar Series (Seminars in Immunology) enable you to keep abreast of the newest and latest developments in Immunology.