Programs by Campus


Microbiology and Immunology

School of Medicine

Departmental E-mail: sspinola [at] iu [dot] edu

Departmental URL:

(Please note that when conferring University Graduate School degrees, minors, certificates, and sub-plans, The University Graduate School’s staff use those requirements contained only in The University Graduate School Bulletin.)



Degrees Offered

Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy

Special Departmental Requirements

(See also general University Graduate School requirements.)

Admission Requirements

The Graduate Record Examination General Test is required. For the Ph.D.: see IBMG requirements. For the Master of Science degree: undergraduate courses in basic biology, including cell biology and genetics; general and organic chemistry; physics; mathematics, including calculus. Biochemistry is recommend­ed. Deficiencies should be removed during the first year of enrollment. Overall grade point average of at least 3.0 (B).

Master of Science Degree

Course Requirements:  At least 30 credit hours, including at least 16 credits of thesis research (J810) and at least 10 credits of non-thesis course work.  Non-thesis credits will include one rotation (J810, 1 cr.), G505 (1 cr.), and G855 (1 cr.); plus one of the following:  G715, G716, or G717 (2 cr. each); plus at least 4 credits from among the following:  G720 (2 cr.), G728 (1 cr.), G729 (1 cr.), G852 (2 cr.), J807 (2 cr.), J829 (2 cr.), and J842 (2 cr.).  Students will also attend the weekly departmental seminar series and attend and, starting in the second year, annually present research at the weekly departmental Research in Progress (RIP) series.  MS students are encouraged to participate in a journal club in their area of study.


An overall average of at least a B (3.0).  Only 3 credits of C (2.0) can be counted toward the required credits of didactic coursework.


Required (a minimum of 16 cr of J810).

Final Examination

Oral Defense of thesis.

Doctor of Philosophy Degree

Focus Areas

The major focus areas are cellular and molecular immunology and hematology, pathogenesis, and cancer. Students entering the program may design a course of study from one of these areas through a combination of selected course work and research activities.

Course Requirements

A total of 90 credit hours, of which a minimum of 26 credit hours must be in courses other than dissertation research. In addition to 3 rotations (G718 Research in Biomedical Science, 6 cr.), each student will take at least 20 credits of coursework, including the 6 courses (12 credits) required in the IBMG curriculum (G715 [2 cr.], G716 [2 cr.], G717 [2 cr.], G655 [1 cr.], G855 [1 cr.], and G505 [1 cr.]). An additional 8 credits of relevant course work is required, including the completion of 3 courses from an area of focus within the Department.  The following courses are suggested for fulfilling the requirement for training in the focus areas of Immunology, Pathogenesis, or Cancer: G729 (1 cr.), G728 (1 cr.), G852 (2 cr.), G720 (2 cr.), J807 (2 cr.), J829 (2 cr.), and J842 (2 cr.). At the discretion of the Departmental faculty, substitutions may be allowed.  Students and their advisory committees should decide together on additional relevant elective courses.  Students will also attend the weekly departmental seminar series, participate in a journal club in their area of study, and attend and, starting in their second year, annually present research at the weekly departmental Research in Progress (RIP) series. 


An overall average of at least a B (3.0). Only 3 credits of C (2.0) can be counted toward the required credits of didactic coursework.


A minimum of 12 credit hours in a related field, e.g., bioinformatics, biostatistics, business of biomedical science, cancer biology, cardiovascular sciences, clinical research, diabetes and obesity, health informatics, translational science, or in life science. These credits must be in lecture or laboratory courses other than research and must meet the requirements of the department in which the minor is taken.  For the life sciences minor, a minimum of 6 credit hours must be obtained in one department.

Ph.D. Minor in Cellular and Molecular Biology of Biomedical Systems

A minimum of 12 credit hours of course work outside the student’s major department, including G865 Fundamental Mo­lecular Biology and G817 Eukaryotic Cell Biology (unless these are required by the major department). Since the minor is intended to expose the student to both cellular and molecular biology, at least one course (and preferably two) from each area should be taken. Courses for the minor must be selected from the following list and approved by the advisory committee, the minor repre­sentative of which will be selected from outside the student’s major department. Courses: Anatomy D863, D866; Biochemis­try B807, B810, G817, G841; Medical and Molecular Genetics Q612, Q620, Q622; Pharmacology and Toxicology F835, Cellular and Integrative Physiology F710.

The Department is not currently admitting students to this program.

Ph.D. Minor in Cancer Biology

A minimum of 12 credit hours outside of the student’s major department, including two courses from the following list of five: Q622 Cytogenetics of Malignancies (2-3 cr.), F819 Chemical Carcinogenesis (3 cr.), J842 Neoplastic Determinants (2 cr.), G724 Molecular Cancer Genetics (1 cr.), and G852 Concepts of Cancer Biology (2 cr.).  G505 Responsible Conduct of Research must also be taken.

The remainder of the minor will be selected from the following courses: G715 Biochemical Basis of Biological Processes; G716 Molecular Biology and Genetics;  G717 Cellular Basis of Systems Biology; G720 Stem Cell Biology; G726 Developmental Genetics; G727 Animal Models of Human Disease; G729 Introduction to the Immune System; GRAD-G737/ANAT-D851 Introduction to Histology/Histology; G748 Principles of Toxicology 1; G749 Introduction to Structural Biology; G807 Structural and Chemical Biology; G817 Molecular Basis of Cell Structure and Function; G837 Mammalian DNA Repair and Disease; G848 Bioinformatics, Genomics, Proteomics, and Systems Biology; J807 Current Topics in Immunology; J829 Current Topics in Molecular Genetics of Microorganisms; J842 Neoplastic Determinants; F819 Chemical Carcinogenesis; F820 Cancer Chemoprevention; Q620 Human Cytogenetics; and Q622 Cytogenetics of Malignancies.  

The minor program must be approved by the student’s Advisory Committee, which will take into consideration the student’s total didactic experience. In the case of combined M.D./Ph.D. students, the Committee may approve substitution of appropriate medical school courses. The minor representative on this Committee will be selected from outside the student’s major department and must be a member of the Cancer Biology Training Program.

Qualifying Examination

Within the first 25 months of studies (18 months for combined M.D./Ph.D.), the student submits a written research proposal in the form of a grant application to the advisory committee. The student then has an oral examination administered by the advisory committee and based primarily on the written research proposal. With consent of the advisory committee, the student can request an extension of four months from the faculty to take the qualifying examination. Doctoral studies are continued if the qualifying examination and other work, including research, are deemed satisfactory by the majority of the advisory and research committees.

Final Examination

Oral defense of the dissertation.

Other Requirements

Submission of a manuscript based on the dissertation research for publication in a primary journal in the field is required.  

It is the policy of the Department that all requirements of the degree program must be completed and the final, approved thesis deposited with the University Graduate School within 5 years of the date of passing the Qualifying Examination.  Failure to complete the degree within 5 years of passing the Qualifying Exam will result in dismissal from the program.  

Academic Bulletins

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