Immunology & Infection
The Master of Science in Immunology & Infection (MSI&I) degree program allows training in a health science campus environment with direct access and constant exposure to the biomedical community. The program ensures that our graduates will experience, first hand, and in ways unavailable to students at non-health campuses, how their training is relevant and applicable to the health care, biotech and educational professions.
All graduate students are trained by world-class scientists and educators in a cutting-edge 21st century environment. The program offers classroom and laboratory training concerned with fundamental scientific principles that link immunology and microbial infection. The curriculum achieves two main objectives: provides in the classroom an extensive knowledge base of fundamental scientific principles and provides in the laboratory opportunities to develop skills of problem solving and clinical application.
Thus, the curriculum and two-year progression through the MSI&I degree program are designed to integrate the fields of immunology and infectious disease (i.e., microbiology) so as to provide a big-picture multidimensional view of host-pathogen relationships. This will produce graduates who are also multidimensional, and prepared to contribute solutions to countless challenges that face our biotechnology research and development industries, health care infrastructure, and teaching needs. The MSI&I program is not designed simply to become just another line in a student’s resume, but to offer a rigorous and full-immersion experience that will produce thinkers and problem solvers.
Master of Science in Immunology & Infection Admissions Requirements
All of the required application information, including official transcripts from all institutions attended, must be submitted in order for an applicant to be considered by the MSI&I program Admissions Committee. In general, students should have some educational background in the biological or biochemical sciences prior to admission to the program.
Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in the U.S. or proof of an equivalent degree/training at a foreign institution, a grade point average (GPA) no lower than B (3.0 in a 4.0 system) in the last 60 hours of coursework for a BS/BA degree, a graduate Record Examination score (GRE) for the combined verbal and quantitative portions, and three letters of recommendation attesting to the applicant’s readiness for graduate level studies.
International applicants from countries where English is not the native language must earn a satisfactory score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) (usual minimum of 68 is typical). A 6.5 on International English Language Testing System (IELTS) may also apply.
Each applicant should submit online applications through the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences application website. After receipt of an online application, together with all of the required admission materials, the MSI&I degree program Admissions Committee will review the application by considering the minimal admission requirements listed above. The MSI&I program Admissions Committee will make a recommendation to accept or decline the application. Recommendations will be forwarded to the Dean of the GSBS for final approval. Applicants will be formally notified of the outcome by the Graduate Dean of the GSBS. Recommendation for admission to the MSI&I program will be made for the most highly qualified applicants regardless of ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, nation of origin, or disability.
Commitment to Underrepresented Minorities
The Health Science Center is designated as an Hispanic-Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education. Thus, the Health Science Center and the Department of Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics have a long history of recruiting and retaining underrepresented racial/ethnic minority students into our programs.
Master of Science in Immunology & Infection Degree Requirements
Over a 2-year (4-semester) period, students are expected to fulfill all requirements of the M.S. in Immunology & Infection Program. Each semester will include a minimum of 8.0 credit hours, approximately 32 credit hours for the entire program.
Year 1: Students must enroll in all required courses and maintain a grade point average at or above 3.0 for all class work. In addition, in order to maintain satisfactory research/academic progress, students are required, prior to the end of the Year 1 Fall semester, to identify and engage a faculty member in the program who will serve as the student’s Research Advisor.
Year 2: Students must perform original research in the laboratory of their Research Advisors. Guidance and evaluation of research progress will be aided by a Research Supervising Committee. This committee, together with the Research Advisor will determine if the thesis research is adequate for granting the M.S. degree. This decision is confirmed by a public presentation of the thesis research and a closed-door oral defense of the thesis for the benefit of the Research Supervising Committee.
Master of Science in Immunology & Infection Sample Plan of Study
|MICR 5031||Pathogenic Microbiology||3.0|
|MICR 5051||Intro To Immunology||2.0|
|MICR 5091||Current Topics In Microbiology And Immunology||1.0|
|TSCI 5070||Responsible Conduct of Research||2|
|Total Credit Hours:||8.0|
Research: Meet with faculty to identify research opportunities and seek approval for appointment of Research Advisor.
|MICR 5025||Eukaryotic Pathogens||1|
|MICR 5026||Bacterial Pathogenesis||1|
|MICR 5091||Current Topics In Microbiology And Immunology||1|
|CSAT 5095||Experimental Design And Data Analysis||3|
|Total Credit Hours:||8.0|
Preparation for Research Year: Seek approval for Research Supervising Committee membership and meet with Research Supervising Committee to discuss Special Topic research from MICR 5091 course.
|MICR 6097||Research (*)||6|
|Total Credit Hours:||8.0|
Research: Meet with Research Supervising Committee, seek approval of Research Proposal, and advance to Candidacy.
|MICR 6097||Research (*)||6|
|Total Credit Hours:||8.0|
Research: Complete Research, meet with Research Supervising Committee, and write and defend thesis.
The elective taken will determine how many hours of research would be required for each semester.
Each MSI&I student is required to take one elective course during each of the final two semesters. Courses that will satisfy this requirement may be selected from courses provided from the MSI&I program or from elective courses provided on a regular basis for PhD or MS students in Graduate School programs other than MSI&I. Regardless of who gives the course, it is expected that students will select elective courses in consultation with their Research Advisors and based on predicted enhancement of their studies and their research projects.
|Advanced Elective Courses from MS I&I and IBMS Programs|
These courses are available to all MS students.
|MICR 5029||Building Scientific Thinking Skills (Fall semester only)||2|
|MICR 5035||Emerging Trends in Immunology and Infection (Fall semester only)||2|
|IBMS 7010||Student Journal Club & Research Presentation||1-2|
|MICR 5095||Current Topics in Immunobiology and Host-microbe Interactions (Not available during all semesters)||1|
|Note: Some courses are associated with a letter grade that can impact your grade point average (GPA), while some are graded S/U and do not impact your GPA.|
|Elective Courses from Other Department Suggestions|
|BIOC 6010||Gene Expression and Omics||2|
|BIOC 6033||Cell Signaling Mechanisms||2|
|BIOC 6036||Macromolecular Structure & Mechanism||2|
|BIOC 6037||Integration Of Metabolic Pathways||2|
|BIOC 6043||Structure & Function Of Membrane Proteins||2|
|CSAT 5007||Methods In Cell Biology||1|
|CSAT 5023||Development (Spring semester only)||1|
|CSAT 5024||RNA Biology and Genomics (Spring semester only)||1|
|CSAT 5025||Genetics (Spring semester only)||1|
|CSAT 5083||Practical Optical Microscopy||1|
|CSAT 6021||Animal Models||3|
|CSAT 6048||Biology of Aging||4|
|CSAT 6049||Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Aging (Spring semester only)||2|
|CSAT 6050||Aging and Longevity Mechanisms (Spring semester only)||2|
|CSAT 6059||Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine (Spring semester only)||1|
|CSAT 6064||Genes & Development||4|
|CSAT 6068||Cancer Biology Core 1: An Introductory Course (Fall semester only)||1|
|CSAT 6069||Cancer Biology Core 2; Advanced Cancer Biology (Fall semester only)||2.5|
|CSAT 6074||Molecular Aspects Of Epigenetics||2|
|CSAT 6095||Analysis and Visualization of Genomic Data (Spring semester only)||2|
|INTD 6007||Advanced Cell Biology||2|
|INTD 6008||Mitochondria & Apoptosis||1|
|INTD 6009||Advanced Molecular Biology||2|
Master of Science in Immunology & Infection Objectives/Program Outcomes
As reported by Sean Gallagher in the April 4, 2014 edition of Forbes Magazine, as well as according to many in the profession of providing doctoral education in the biomedical sciences, we are on the verge of a major transformation (B. Alberts et al, “Rescuing US biomedical research from its systemic flaws”; Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. early edition). Programs are in high demand that offer alternatives for individuals who wish to pursue careers in the biomedical sciences without needing to graduate from Ph.D. programs. The Master of Science in Immunology & Infection (MSI&I) degree program offers such an option.
Graduates of the MSI&I degree program will compete effectively for:
- Entry-level, mid-level, and leadership positions in research and clinical laboratories, as well as in the teaching workforce.
- Positions that expect a broad deep knowledge base.
- Positions that require real-world problem-solving (research) skills.
- Positions that require employees who are prepared to become immediately productive.
- Positions in 2-year community colleges that more and more are requiring instructors in the biological sciences to have master’s degrees.
- Highly competitive positions in M.D., D.D.S. and Ph.D. training programs.
MICR 5025. Eukaryotic Pathogens. 1 Credit Hour.
The course will provide students with the opportunity to gain a basic comprehensive understanding of parasitology and mycology. The first part of this course will focus on virulence mechanisms and the host immune response with respect to a variety of parasites that cause major human diseases. The second part of this course will cover several important areas of medical mycology including molecular biology, diagnostic/epidemiology, mating/phenotypic switching, morphology, pathogenesis, and antifungal therapies.
MICR 5026. Bacterial Pathogenesis. 1 Credit Hour.
This is an introductory course in microbial pathogenesis focusing on bacterial pathogens that are important in human disease. Students will receive a foundation in the basic concepts and experimental approaches that are crucial for understanding the discipline through directed readings and didactic instruction. Specific concepts, strategies, and mechanisms used by human bacterial pathogens to cause disease will be illustrated.
MICR 5027. Immunology. 1 Credit Hour.
MICR 5027 is designed to build on the immunological concepts covered in MICR 5051 given in the Fall semester and to put those concepts to use as we focus on understanding the world of the mammalian host response to infection and on applying fundamental immunological concepts to the understanding of current immunological research questions in a student-presentation and in-class discussion format. Prerequisite: MICR 5051.
MICR 5028. Virology. 1 Credit Hour.
This course focuses on the molecular and cellular biology of animal viruses, and their interactions with host cells. Many of the viruses to be covered in this course are medically significant or have provided critical information that has expanded our understanding of cell biology, immunology, development, and differentiation.
MICR 5031. Pathogenic Microbiology. 3 Credit Hours.
This lecture-only course integrates different disciplines (immunology, cell biology, genetics, biochemistry, molecular biology, physiology, and medical microbiology) with a central theme focused on molecular mechanisms of microbial pathogenesis in humans. Recommended prerequisites for this course are Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
MICR 5051. Intro To Immunology. 2 Credit Hours.
This course is a study of immune responses with emphasis on experimental strategies for elucidating cellular and molecular mechanisms. Three phases of study: (1) immunochemistry and molecular biology of antibodies, lymphocyte receptors, and products of the major histocompatibility complex; (2) cellular interactions and immuno-regulation; and (3) immunopathologies (hypersensitivity, autoimmunity, immunodeficiency, transplantation rejection, and tumor immunology).
Prerequisites: consent of instructor, courses in General Biology and Genetics recommended.
MICR 5091. Current Topics In Microbiology And Immunology. 0.5-3 Credit Hours.
Students will be given an opportunity to gain in-depth understanding of selected topics in microbiology and immunology through a combination of library research and discussion with faculty.
Prerequisites: consent of instructor.
MICR 6097. Research. 1-12 Credit Hours.
This course consists of independent, original research under the direction of faculty advisor. May be conducted in bacteriology, virology, mycology, parasitology, and immunology.
MICR 6098. Thesis. 1-12 Credit Hours.
Registration for at least one term is required of M.S. candidates. Admission to candidacy for the Master of Science degree is required.
TSCI 5070. Responsible Conduct of Research. 2 Credit Hours.
This interdisciplinary course is designed to train participants in the responsible conduct of patient-oriented clinical research. Students will have the opportunity to learn to and, by the end of the course, be required to: (1) delineate a history of hallmark abuses of humans enrolled in clinical research; (2) describe the evolution of national and international codes and regulations guiding inclusion of human subjects in clinical investigations; (3) list the elements of informed consent and describe procedures and precautions for enrolling special populations into clinical investigation; (4) write a consent form in understandable language; (5) recognize different forms of scientific misconduct; (6) describe the role and processes of a peer review board to judge violations in research ethics; (7) develop strategies for self-assessment and validation of scientific objectivity in one's own research; and (8) recognize the ethical responsibilities and consequences of whistle blowing.
CSAT 5095. Experimental Design And Data Analysis. 3 Credit Hours.
The purpose of the course is to provide an introduction to experimental design and statistical analysis. The emphasis of the course will be on the selection and application of proper tests of statistical significance. Practical experience will be provided in the use of both parametric and nonparametric methods of statistical evaluation. Among the topics to be covered are: data reduction, types of distributions, hypothesis testing, scales of measurement, chi square analysis, the special case of the comparison of two groups; analysis of variance; a posteriori multiple comparisons tests, tests of the assumptions of parametric analyses, advanced forms of the analysis of variance, linear regression, and correlation analysis. This course involves the use of statistical software; therefore, access to a laptop or a computer with web access for classes and examinations is required.