Courses offered by the Immunology Program
Course # Syllabus Semester Semester hours
IMMU:6201 Graduate Immunology Spring 3 hrs.
IMMU:6211 Immunology Seminar Fall/Spring 1 hrs. each semester
IMMU:6241 Writing a Scientific Proposal Fall 1 hrs.
IMMU:7221 Advanced Topics in Immunology Fall 3 hrs.

Assignments will be posted in ICON.

Immunology Program Curriculum

PDF iconStudent Manual 2018_19.pdf

Immunology graduate courses are offered not only to teach students the current concepts and paradigms within the field, but to emphasize the scientific approaches and methods used to attain this understanding.

NOTE: It is expected that the great majority of graduate students will follow the prescribed curriculum. However, it is recognized that circumstances may arise that require a student's course of study to be altered. Therefore, a student may ask the Graduate Studies Committee for permission to amend the curriculum requirements.

Required Courses

Graduate Immunology and Human Disease IMMU:6247 (4 sh – Fall year 1). This course provides an overview of the important principles and key concepts in immunology including the induction of the innate and adaptive immune systems, the molecular events that control immune cell activation and the function of the immune system in infection and pathophysiological events. Offered fall semester only. Required of all first year students.

Graduate Immunology IMMU:6201 (3 sh – Spring year 1). This course emphasizes the purpose and design of experiments, and how their interpretation has led to current concepts in immunology. Sessions take the form of background presentation by the lecturer followed by analysis of primary research papers. Participation by students in the form of discussion and responding to questions is a key goal. Required of all first year students.

Basic Biostatics and Experimental Design PCOL:5204 (1 sh – Fall year 1). This course is designed to provide a brief overview of the theory of experimental design and data analysis in the biological sciences for graduate-level students. At the completion of this module, students will feel comfortable identifying the types of analyses that are available for common types of data generated in the biomedical sciences, and will be empowered to critically review the statistical methods used inpublished studies.

Principles of Molecular and Cellular Biology BMED:5207 (3 sh – Fall year 1). The goals of this course are to familiarize new graduate students with important principles and key concepts in contemporary molecular and cellular biology; to help students develop the skills required to critically evaluate current research publications; and to familiarize students with the experimental techniques utilized to test specific hypotheses. These goals will be achieved through formal lectures on specific topics and discussions focus on evaluation of published research papers (recent or classical). Students are encouraged to ask questions for clarification and to seek out individual faculty members for additional assistance when needed.


Students will take 3 sh of elective credits. The following courses are suggested; others may be substituted with prior approval of the Graduate Studies Committee. These are either a 3 sh course or a 5-week 1-credit module on various areas of 4 cellular and molecular biology, taught for graduate-level students.

MSTP students are exempt from this requirement, but may elect to take any modules they wish.  The MSTP students are not exempt from taking the 1 module of Biostatistics.

  • Introduction to Protein Structures BIOC:7251 (1 sh)
  • Transcription, RNA MCB:6215 (1 sh)
  • Mouse Models of Cancer MCB:6217 (1 sh)
  • Inflammatory Cell Signaling and Targeted Cancer Therapy MCB:6240 (1 sh)
  • Growth Factor Receptor Signaling MCB:6225 (1 sh)
  • Cell Cycle Control MCB:6226 (1 sh)
  • Cell Fate Decisions MCB:6227 (1 sh)
  • Mechanism of Cellular Organization MCB:6220 (3 sh)
  • Enzymes, Carbohydrates, Nucleic Acids, and Bioenergetics BIOC:7252 (1 sh)
  • Metabolism 1 BIOC:7253 (1 sh)
  • Metabolism 2 BIOC:7254 (1 sh)
  • Metabolism 3 and Biosignaling BIOC:7255 (1 sh)
  • Molecular Biology BIOC:7256 (1sh)
  • General Histology for Graduate Students; ACB:5205 (4 sh)
  • Microscopy for Biomedical Research; ACB:5218 (3 sh)
  • Graduate Pathogenic Bacteriology; MICR:6259 (3 sh)
  • Graduate Microbial Physiology; MICR:6260 (3 sh)
  • Graduate Introduction to Animal Viruses, MICR:6267 (3 sh)
  • Biology & Pathogenesis of Viruses; MICR:6268 (2 sh)
  • Ion Channel Pharmacology; PCOL:6207 (1 sh)
  • G-proteins and G-protein Coupled Receptors; PCOL6208 (1 sh)
  • Steroid Receptor Signaling; PCOL6209 (1 sh)
  • Graduate Microbial Genetics; MICR:6270 (3 sh)
  • Redox Biology & Medicine; FRRB:7000 (4 sh)
  • Human Molecular Genetics; GENE:7191 (3 sh)
  • Pathogenesis of Major Human Diseases; PATH:5270 (3 sh)
  • Translational Histopathology; PATH:5260 (3 sh)
  • Integrated Topics in Infectious Disease MICR:7217 (1 sh)
  • Introduction to Biostatistics BIOS:5110 (3 sh)
  • Materials in Drug and Gene Delivery; PHAR:4740 (3 sh)

Advanced Topics in Immunology; IMMU:7221. (3 sh – Fall year 2). Graduate Immunology is a prerequisite, although MSTP students, who have taken MS1 Immunology, may elect to take Advanced Topics for credit in either year 1 or year 2. This course, taught during the Fall semester, is split into three sections with each section proctored by a different faculty member. The goal is for each instructor is to present the seminal papers in one area of immunologic expertise. This is done through the use of primary research papers and student presentations. Second year students are required to take this course for credit. Subsequently, students are required to attend an additional two sections as exemplars for younger students, and to enhance their knowledge of a wider variety of immunologic topics. These two sections need not be taken during the same semester, but can be spread out during the ensuing years. This will enable students to choose two areas which are of particular interest to them. While participating in these additional modules, advanced students will be asked to lead discussions, and demonstrate proper presentation and critique of papers.

Immunology Graduate Student Seminar; IMMU:6211 (1 sh awarded during the fall
semester and the spring semester each year). During both the Fall and Spring semesters, all graduate students will attend, and will present their research data under the supervision of the Immunology Program faculty. This exercise is designed to foster oral communication skills and collaboration among graduate students. Faculty evaluators will provide student presenters with useful written and oral feedback on their presentations.

Principles of Scholarly Integrity; BMED:7270/7271 (0 sh). This multi-disciplinary course will be jointly taught by members of the Immunology Graduate Program and other University of Iowa graduate programs. The course will cover ethical topics that may vary from year to year, including advisor-advisee relationships, plagiarism, authorship, and ethical treatment of human and nonhuman research subjects.

Writing a Scientific Proposal; IMMU:6241:0001 (1 sh – Fall year 2). The goal of this course is to teach the skills of scientific writing, using the highly relevant vehicle of scientific proposal preparation. This skill is crucial in many future scientific careers, not restricted to academic research. Students will practice skills of hypothesis and rationale formulation, experimental design, and the ability to present ideas clearly and convincingly in a concise format. During the course, each student will prepare a proposal that can subsequently be submitted to external funding agencies.

Any student would have the option to take additional approved electives, on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with the student’s advisor and the Curriculum  Committee. Course of study will be approved and supervised by the Graduate Studies Committee until a dissertation advisor and dissertation committee has been chosen.

After successful completion of the comprehensive examination, usually at the end of the second year of graduate study, students advance to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree, devoting full time to thesis research and writing the dissertation. Upon successful completion of all requirements, including the dissertation and its oral defense, students are awarded the Ph.D. degree in Immunology.

Teaching Requirements

All incoming students will have a one-semester teaching requirement. A variety of courses are available in several departments, and the program leadership will place students in courses based on interest, expertise, and scheduling.