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Immunology programs focus on the immune system and how the body responds to pathogens.

Immunology programs focus on the scientific study of the ways that people get sick or get well. Students learn how the human immune system works. They study ways to regulate and support the immune system to promote good health.

Immunology programs include topics such as:


Many universities offer graduate degrees in immunology. A master’s degree typically requires two years of study beyond a bachelor’s degree. Doctoral (PhD) degree programs usually require two or more years of study beyond the master’s degree.

See schools that offer this program.

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Program Admission

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

Graduate Admissions

Admission to graduate programs is competitive. You need a bachelor's degree, good grades, and good test scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) - both the General and the Biology subject test. Your bachelor's degree should preferably be in biology or a closely related field.

Whether or not you major in biology, you should complete courses in the following areas:

You also need letters of recommendation.

In addition, immunology graduate programs are research-centered. Because of this, they prefer that you have undergraduate research experience before applying. Also, many schools want to know what particular immunology topic or topics interest you. This helps them decide whether you are right for their programs and vice versa.

Some schools require a personal interview as well.

Typical Course Work

Program Courses

This undergraduate program typically includes courses in the following subjects:

As an undergraduate pursuing immunology, you're likely to take a set of "core" courses similar to the list above. Once you've completed those courses, you can take advanced courses that focus on specific areas of immunology.

Graduate Program Courses

As a graduate student in this program, you rarely study just immunology. Instead, you specialize in a small area of the field. Typical courses vary by specialty. A list of common graduate requirements is below:

In addition, most schools require your participation in their "journal clubs." This is a regularly scheduled time to meet with your colleagues and faculty members. Each session, you or one of your colleagues presents and analyzes the research summarized in a recently published article. Whoever does this also leads a discussion on the research methods and findings.

Things to Know

It may be helpful to submit your application to one or more specific faculty members whose research corresponds to your own research interests. Most college and university websites list their faculty and their current research topics.

As a graduate student, you may have the opportunity to focus on a particular topic in immunology.

Many schools offer combined MD/PhD programs. This means you become a medical doctor as well as a research scientist.


King-Snohomish Area

University of Washington - Seattle

Spokane Area

Eastern Washington University