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Curriculum

student working in the lab

Overview

Students in the Immunology Program complete required and elective didactic courses and participate in seminars and journal clubs that are designed to provide a strong knowledge base for their research and a deep understanding of Immunology. They also complete four research rotations.  Students typically select their research mentor at the end of May of the first year and begin dissertation research after successfully passing the qualifying examination in June. Thereafter, emphasis is placed on dissertation research. When the aims of the research project have been achieved, students write and defend their dissertations.

Coursework

A series of required courses that are specifically designed to provide a broad, yet deep knowledge of immunology are offered.  These courses are sequenced to provide students with the knowledge needed to attack a problem in related to any aspect of our discipline. Students also receive strong grounding in biochemistry and scientific ethics. Electives are also available.

More information about the curriculum and specific courses can be found in the Sackler Catalog.

Students in the Immunology MERGE-INF track also receive a strong background in immunology in addition to exposure to questions of medical relevance.

More information about courses can be found in the Sackler Catalog

Seminar Courses

All Immunology students participate in seminars, journal clubs and research presentations. A special journal club is provided for first year students to help them acquire the skills needed to read and discuss the scientific literature.

Qualifying Exam

All Immunology Program students complete a qualifying examination by the end of June of the first year. PhD students must pass this examination to begin full-time thesis research.

The exam requires the preparation and defense of an original research proposal that is not related to future dissertation work or to prior research experiences. The exam is designed to measure originality and independence and requires that the student suggest a feasible research project on a biologically significant problem, outline a potential experimental approach to its solution, and discuss the likely data that could be obtained. An oral defense of this proposal is designed to probe the ability of the student to integrate and evaluate material learned in more abstract settings.

Preparation for the examination is directed by a Qualifier Advisor who mentors students in topic selection and assists students in shaping the focus of their topic.

Contact Information

Alexander Poltorak, PhD
Program Director

Administrative Offices
Stearns 514
Phone: 617-636-6836
Fax: 617-636-2990

Student working in the lab

Student Awards

Student awards recognize research achievement and celebrate the accomplishments of our students.

Floating Hospital for Children sign at Tufts Medical Center

Tufts Medical Center

Many Sackler faculty are based at Tufts Medical Center, enhancing translational research at Sackler.