The Committee on Immunology

The Committee on Immunology offers a graduate program of study leading to a Ph.D. in Immunology. The committee is dedicated to the open exchange of ideas among scholars of all fields, a commitment enhanced by an organizational structure that completely integrates the basic biological sciences with the clinical sciences. This multidisciplinary and integrated approach corresponds well with the reality of the new biology, where molecular and structural techniques are applied widely and with great success to clinical problems. 

Students have extensive opportunities for interaction with the rest of the Biomedical Sciences Cluster, along with the three other clusters within the Biological Sciences Division: the Molecular Biosciences Cluster, the Darwinian Sciences Cluster, and the Neuroscience Cluster. These clusters offer courses and sponsor seminars and symposia open to Immunology students. 

Click here for description of Immunology Coursework

In addition to completing coursework, all Immunology students will complete at least 2, and up to 4, quarterly rotations. These research rotations are done in the lab of a PI of their choosing. 

Additional information regarding the curriculum for graduate students in the Committee on Immunology can be found in the Committee on Immunology Student Handbook. 

First Year

All first-year students attend the American Association of Immunology's Advanced Immunology course at the end of their first year. Immediately upon returning, they will sit for the preliminary exam.

The prelim is an oral examination. Each student is given one recent scholarly Immunology article. They will then present the article to a committee of four Immunology faculty and are responsible for answering any questions the faculty may have about the experimental design or background of the article. 

Second Year

After completing the preliminary exam, the second year of the Immunology PhD program is spent in the lab where students will complete their thesis research. 

Students are also required to complete two TAships, preferably by the end of their third year. One of these TAships may be the TA training course taught by the division in each Autumn quarter.

Third Year+

In the third year, all students are required to complete the Qualifying Exam, or thesis proposal, by the end of the Autumn quarter. This exam is completed in the format of a standard NIH grant submission. The student and their PI will have compiled the students' thesis committee, and the committee must approve of the thesis approval. Once this is done, the student is admitted to PhD candidacy by the Dean of Graduate Studies in the Biological Sciences Division.

The fourth and fifth years of candidacy are spent completing experiments, compiling data, attending conferences and working on papers to further the students' thesis work. 


After completing all experiments and papers as directed by the thesis committee, a student will be given permission to write their dissertation. This culminates with a public defense, in which a student will present their work to the Immunology community and their committee. After they have successfully defended, students have completed all requirements for their PhD. 

Our Immunology alumni have gone on to a multitude of careers in a wide range of areas. Please see our alumni directory for more information.



Timeline to Degree