Immunology and Infection

The Immunology and Infection 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 experience that will produce thinkers and problem solvers.

Master of Science in Immunology and 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 550 is typical). A 6.5 on International English Language Testing System (IELTS) may also apply.

Application Process

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 have a long history of recruiting and retaining underrepresented racial/ethnic minority students into our programs.

Master of Science in Immunology and 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, students are expected 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 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 defense of the thesis for the benefit of the Research Committee.

Master of Science in Immunology and Infection Sample Plan of Study

First Year
FallCredit Hours
INTD 5082Responsible Conduct of Research 1.5
MICR 5031Pathogenic Microbiology 4
MICR 5051Intro To Immunology 2
MICR 5091Current Topics In Microbiology And Immunology 0.5
 Total Credit Hours: 8.0

Research: Meet with faculty to identify research opportunities and seek approval for appointment of Research Advisor.

First Year
SpringCredit Hours
MICR 5025Eukaryotic Pathogens 1
MICR 5026Bacterial Pathogenesis 1
MICR 5027Immunology 1
MICR 5028Virology 1
MICR 5091Current Topics In Microbiology And Immunology 1
CSBL 5095Experimental 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.

Second Year
FallCredit Hours
MICR 6097Research (*) 6
Elective *  2
 Total Credit Hours: 8.0

Research: Meet with Research Supervising Committee, seek approval of Research Proposal, and advance to Candidacy.

Second Year
SpringCredit Hours
MICR 6097Research (*) 6
MICR 6098Thesis 1
Elective *  1
 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.

Objectives/Program Outcomes

As reported recently 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.