Immunology/Microbiology: Curriculum

(Note that the program retains the right to change these requirements in order to keep current with research and education advancements.)

First Year to Completion of the Program
During the first year after matriculation, students will enroll in the Graduate College Core Curriculum classes and other courses required by this Division. The schedule for these classes is:

Year 1

   

Fall Quarter

 

Cr Hrs

GCC-501

Molecular Biology: Genome to Proteome

3

GCC-502

Cellular Biochemistry: Proteins, Transport and Signaling

3

GCC-511 Readings in Molecular Biology 1
GCC-512 Readings in Cellular Biochemistry 1
IMM-507 Basic Immunology I 1

IMM-520

Advanced Readings in Immunology and Microbiology

1

IMM-515

Research Seminar

1

IMM-615 Pre-Dissertation Research 1
     

Winter Quarter

   

GCC-503

Functional Cell Biology

2

GCC-504

Functional Tissue Biology

3

GCC-506

Biomedical Ethics

1

GCC-513 Readings in Functional Cell Biology 1
GCC-514 Readings in Functional Tissue Biology 1
IMM-508 Basic Immunology II 1

IMM-520

Advanced Readings in Immunology and Microbiology

1

IMM-515

Research Seminar

1

IMM-600 Laboratory Rotations 1
     

Spring Quarter

   

IMM-509

Basic Immunology III

1

IMM-520

Advanced Readings in Immunology and Microbiology

1

IMM-515

Research Seminar

1

IMM-600 Laboratory Rotations 9
     

Summer Quarter

   

IMM-615

Pre-Dissertation Research

A Pre-Candidacy Examination for doctoral candidates (described below)

12

  1. Students in the PhD track must complete the requirement for a Pre-Candidacy Examination (PCE) by the end of the Summer Quarter. The PCE consists of both a written and oral portion. The written portion is based on a research proposal submitted to an examination committee appointed by the Graduate Advisory Committee (GAC). The topic of research must be pre-approved by the GAC and must be different from the proposed research for PhD dissertation. The proposal should be based on the NIH grant application format and should be no more than 15 pages in length (single spaced) excluding bibliography. The oral portion of the PCE will consist of a presentation and defense of the grant proposal and may also include basic questions in their area of interest (immunology). Students who fail the PCE will be asked to take a comprehensive written examination in immunology. Failing this comprehensive written examination will result in recommendation for dismissal by the GAC to the Dean of The Graduate College.

Students are also expected to devote substantial time to research during the Summer Quarter. After all core courses are completed, a student will be evaluated by the GAC for her/his performance in courses, laboratory work, motivation, etc., to determine continuation of the student in the program. This evaluation will take place before the beginning of the Fall Quarter of the second year.

Second Year to Completion of the Program:
The classes required during the second year are:

Year 2

   

Fall Quarter

 

Cr Hrs

     

IMM-510

Advanced Immunology

4

IMM-515

Research Seminar

1

IMM-520

Advanced Readings in Immunology and Microbiology

1

IMM-615

Pre-Dissertation Research

6

     

Winter Quarter

   

IMM-610

Special Topics

2

IMM-515

Research Seminar

1

IMM-520

Advanced Readings in Immunology and Microbiology

1

IMM-615

Pre-Dissertation Research

8

     

Spring Quarter

   

IMM-520

Advanced Readings in Immunology and Microbiology

1

IMM-515

Research Seminar

1

IMM-615

Pre-Dissertation Research

10
     

Summer Quarter

   

IMM-615

Pre-Dissertation Research

12

  PhD students should defend a dissertation proposal to move to candidacy.  

Before the start of the Fall Quarter, the student will select a laboratory and advisor for their dissertation research. The student and advisor will submit a list of faculty for their Student Dissertation Advisory Committee (SDAC) for approval by the GAC. The members of the SDAC will be allowed to change with GAC approval if the project changes substantially or if the faculty is no longer appointed at Rush. The composition of the SDAC must be consistent with guidelines of the Graduate College Council. At this time, the SDAC must consist of at least five members:

  • The advisor
  • Two faculty members from the Division of Immunology/Microbiology. This may include a co-advisor.
  • One faculty member from another division in The Graduate College
  • An additional faculty member from within or from outside of Rush University.

The student will prepare a dissertation proposal describing her/his plan for dissertation research and submit the proposal to her/his SDAC during the Spring or Summer Quarter of the second year. The SDAC must approve both the written document and oral defense of the document before the end of the Summer Quarter. Preliminary data should be included, if available, but it is not necessary and the presentation/defense should not be deferred to collect such data. While it is mandatory that students complete this requirement by the end of the Summer Quarter, students are strongly urged to complete this requirement before this deadline so that they may begin their doctoral dissertation research in earnest as soon as possible. After successful defense of the research proposal and the dissertation proposal, the student will be admitted to candidacy. If the proposal defense is failed, the SDAC may require that the proposal be rewritten and defended prior to the end of the Fall Quarter of the third year. A failure at the second defense will result in a recommendation for dismissal from the program.

Three to Five Years to Completion of the Program
Students should continue to register for Special Topic courses from years 2 through 4 until they have completed two special topic courses prior to graduation. In special circumstances, students may substitute special topic courses with an elective, contingent upon permission of the Graduate Program Director. Doctoral students are expected to register for IMM-520 Advanced Readings in Immunology and Microbiology, IMM-515 Research Seminar, and IMM-620 Dissertation Research each Fall, Winter, and Spring quarter. At least two special topic courses (IMM-610) must be taken prior to graduation. Examples of previous special topics courses include: Current Topics in Cellular Immunology - From Bedside to Bench; HIV Gene Structure and Function; Viral Mimicry; Toll-like Receptors; Signal Transduction in Lymphocytes; Vaccines; and Th2, Parasites, and Allergy. Students must also devote maximum time to research during these years.

When the student and the advisor have determined that sufficient data have been obtained and that the project has reached an acceptable degree of completion, a data defense meeting with SDAC is held, in which the student summarizes the data that will be included in the dissertation. If the SDAC approves, the student will commence writing the dissertation.

Curriculum for Students in the Master’s Track
Students in the master's track are required to take the same first year of classes as the doctoral students. After the completion of first year, students in the master's track are required to submit a topic of research for approval by the GAC by the Summer Quarter of the first year. After approval, the student is expected to pursue full-time research in this area, while continuing to register for Research Seminar and Advanced Readings in Immunology and Microbiology. Students need to form a research committee made up of their advisor and two faculty members within The Graduate College. They are expected to summarize their findings in the format of a manuscript and defend it orally to their committee members in an open defense. It is expected that the M.S. degree will be completed within two years of matriculation.