Due to our program reorganization, the information below applies only to students who joined the Immunology Program prior to Fall 2017!
Dr. Jagan Sastry
Dr. Kimberly Schluns
In addition to the general GSBS course requirements, the Immunology Program has the following course requirements and electives
- Immunology I
- Immunology II [new name as of Fall 2017: Emerging Concepts in Immunology]
- Immunology III [no longer taught after Spring 2016 – it satisfied the GSBS Writing Requirement]
- Advanced Topics in Immunology
Electives (choose one):
- Application of Tumor Immunology in the Clinical Setting
- Molecular Principles of Virology
- Cancer Biology [no longer taught after Spring 2016]
- Basic and Translational Cancer Biology
- Molecular Basis of Cell Signaling
- Principles of Therapeutics
- Fundamental Mechanisms of Cancer Development
Candidacy Exam Information -- Format: Either On- or Off-Topic Exam
Students who joined the Immunology Program after 05/01/2015 may take either an on-topic or off-topic candidacy exam as described below:
- On-topic exam: General GSBS guidelines apply as well as the following Program-specific guidelines:
- Proposal: A written on-topic proposal will follow the NIH NRSA F award format per GSBS guidelines. Students are required to write one page of specific aims and 6 pages of research proposal, which includes Significance, Innovation and Approach; these page limits do not include the bibliography. The topic of the research proposal will be related to the students’ research project and the advisors should not supply the student with their own grant proposals. The proposal should contain original material developed by the student and written independently by the student.
- Depth of Knowledge: The Examining Committee is expected to question the student about the background knowledge, general concepts and methods related to the proposal. The student’s understanding of the proposed research strategy, approach and techniques will be assessed during the oral examination, along with the student’s ability to interpret the results and develop a hypothesis and alternative approaches.
- Breadth of Knowledge: The Examining Committee members will meet/communicate to identify three breadth areas that are not directly related to the student’s proposal within 10 days of committee formation. The committee chair will provide students with bullet-point subtopics and sample questions to help the student to prepare for the breadth questions. The student’s breadth of knowledge will be assessed during the last third of the candidacy examination based on the student’s response to questions in all three areas.
- Scientific Writing Course: The Immunology Program offers a writing course, Immunology III, to help students write proposals. Students must complete the course before taking the candidacy exam. The subject of the course proposal is expected to be different from the subject of the student’s candidacy examination. [Note, Immunology III was no longer offered after Spring 2016 – students are now required to take another GSBS-approved writing course.]
- Off-topic exam: General GSBS guidelines apply as well as the following Program-specific guidelines:
- Approval for Advancement: At the last Advisory Committee meeting, the student should request permission to proceed to the candidacy examination. If granted permission, the student then needs to provide each member of the Advisory Committee with two off-topic abstracts within two weeks of their meeting; this can be done via e-mail after the meeting. Each abstract should be no more than one page and provide the background, significance and hypothesis of the proposal. Once the Advisory Committee agrees that both topics are appropriate, the student needs to obtain the signatures of the Advisory Committee members indicating that the student has approval to petition for candidacy with the chosen topics. If the Advisory Committee does not feel that either proposal topic will generate a good proposal or the subject matter is truly off-topic, the Advisory Committee can request the student to provide two more alternative or revised abstracts.
- Selection of Exam topic: The Advisory Committee members will recommend which topic they believe will provide a stronger proposal; however, the student will ultimately choose the proposal topic. The student should use the Advisory Committee to receive feedback on the perceived strengths and weaknesses of each proposal topic. These suggestions can then be used to formulate a better proposal. Once the recommendations are received by the student, the student will choose the proposal topic.