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Interdepartmental Graduate Program

Contact the Immunobiology Interdepartmental Graduate Program Coordinator:


Phone: (515) 294-7252

Graduate Study

Work is offered for the master of science and doctor of philosophy degrees with a major in Immunobiology. Faculty are drawn from eight departments: Animal Science; Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Molecular Biology; Biomedical Sciences; Entomology; Kinesiology; Veterinary Diagnostic & Production Animal Medicine; Veterinary Microbiology & Preventative Medicine; and Veterinary Pathology. The diversity of faculty expertise ensures a broad education, while offering flexibility in choice of specialization. Ongoing research projects include areas such as: antibody and cell-mediated immunity, immunochemistry, immunogenetics, immunomodulation, mucosal immunity and nutritional immunology.

Students may enter the Immunobiology major in one of two ways; they may apply to and be directly accepted into the major, or they may be admitted to a participating department followed by formal admission to the major. Students directly admitted into the Interdepartmental Immunobiology major will take IMBIO 697 Graduate Research Rotation in their first two semesters, and by the end of the second semester, enter a department by choosing a major professor from the participating faculty. Students first admitted to a department will choose a major professor from the participating faculty in that department.

Students should have a strong background in the biological sciences, including work in immunology, genetics and biochemistry. Prior research experience is highly encouraged. Submission of scores of the GRE General Test is required.

Immunobiology students should include in their program of study a core of courses which will provide a broad coverage of the basic program in immunobiology. Formal courses should include immunology, biochemistry, and statistics. Additional coursework may be selected to satisfy individual interests or departmental requirements. The foreign language and teaching requirements are determined by the student’s department. All students will take a minimum of one seminar course per year.

Graduates have a broad understanding of the interdisciplinary field of immunobiology, and can effectively integrate the principles of immunology with related disciplines. They are able to effectively communicate with scientific colleagues and the general public in both formal and informal settings. Graduates are able to integrate theory and research to address complex problems facing scientific professionals studying animal and human health, taking into account related ethical, social, legal and environmental issues. They are skilled at carrying out research, communicating research results, and writing persuasive grant proposals.

Curriculum Requirements for Immunobiology Doctoral Students

All PhD students majoring in Immunobiology are required to complete the below core curriculum.

PhD students should take each of the following:

BBMB 405Biochemistry IIarr †
IMBIO 602Current Topics Workshop in Immunologyarr †
IMBIO 604Seminar in Immunobiologyarr †
IMBIO 699Researcharr †
STAT 401Statistical Methods for Research Workersarr †
V MPM 615Molecular Immunologyarr †
V PTH 554Ethics in Scientific Research and Writingarr †
† Arranged with instructor.


PhD students should take one of the following two:

V MPM 520Medical Immunology Iarr †
V MPM 575Immunologyarr †
† Arranged with instructor.


PhD students majoring in Immunobiology should take at least five credits from the following approved electives:

BBMB 645Molecular Signalingarr †
GDCB 528Advances in Molecular Cell Biologyarr †
V MPM 540Livestock Immunogeneticsarr †
V MPM 608Molecular Virologyarr †
V MPM 625Mechanisms of Bacterial Pathogenesisarr †
V MPM 629Advanced Topics in Cellular Immunologyarr †
V PTH 655Cellular and Molecular Pathology Iarr †
V PTH 656Cellular and Molecular Pathology IIarr †
† Arranged with instructor.


Curriculum Requirements for Immunobiology Master's Students

All MS students majoring in Immunobiology are required to complete a minimum of 30 graduate credits.  This 30 credits includes core course requirements and applicable research credits earned.  The requirements for MS students are the same as that for PhD students with the exception of the elective credits.  MS students are required to take at least two credits of electives as opposed to the five credit minimum for PhD students.

Curriculum Requirements for a Minor in Immunobiology at the PhD Level

Graduate students interested in completing an Immunobiology minor for their PhD studies are required to take a total of 12 credit hours of coursework including core courses and approved electives.

Students must be approved for the minor by the Immunobiology Program and must follow Graduate College guidelines for POS Committee membership.

Graduate students wishing to seek a minor in Immunobiology are encouraged to contact the Immunobiology Interdepartmental Graduate Program Coordinator for further information.


Courses for graduate students:

IMBIO 602. Current Topics Workshop in Immunology.

(1-0) Cr. 1. Repeatable.
Lectures provided by off-campus experts. Students are required to participate in discussion sessions with lecturers.

IMBIO 604. Seminar in Immunobiology.

(1-0) Cr. 1. Repeatable.
Student and faculty presentation.

IMBIO 690. Special Topics.

Cr. arr. Repeatable.
Advanced study of specific topics in specialized field of immunobiology.

IMBIO 697. Graduate Research Rotation.

Cr. arr. Repeatable.
Graduate research projects performed under the supervision of selected faculty members in the Interdepartmental Immunobiology major.

IMBIO 699. Research.

Cr. arr. Repeatable.