Degree programs

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Immunology

The PhD in Immunology is awarded after completion of three phases of study: (i) course work; (ii) an oral qualifying examination, and (iii) the conduct of original and independent research of significance as is evident by the written dissertation. Course work requirements are dependent on whether a PhD or a dual (MD/PhD or DVM/PhD) degree is sought and are outlined in the respective Study Plans. Apart from core courses in immunology the student will select courses in outside areas such as to provide general background, preparation for the oral qualifying examination, and preparation for the research on which the dissertation is to be based. The selection of appropriate course work is made in consultation with the academic advisor and the faculty mentor (major professor). Following laboratory rotations during the first two quarters of residence the student will identify a faculty mentor and develop a research proposal.

The oral qualifying examination is administered by a committee composed of five members appointed by the dean of Graduate Studies on the recommendation of the executive committee of the group. The examination should be taken during the first two years of residence (usually in the summer of year 1 for dual degree students and no later than the summer of year 2 for PhD students). The student will be examined on the research proposal provided to the qualifying examination committee in writing at least two weeks prior to the examination date. The student will be examined also on general knowledge of immunology as well as in two specialized areas of immunology (e.g., innate immunity, immunochemistry, immunogenetics, cellular immunology, tumor and transplantation immunology, developmental immunology, molecular immunology). In addition, the student will be examined in one outside area usually related to the student's area of research (e.g. virology, microbiology, cell biology). The student should have preparation equivalent to an upper division course in the outside area.

After passing the Qualifying Examination the student advances to PhD candidacy. The student then works toward completion of the research and dissertation. The student, in consultation with the faculty mentor and graduate advisor, will identify a dissertation committee. The student's faculty mentor (major professor) acts as the chairperson of the dissertation committee. Two additional committee members are identified by the student, nominated by the graduate adviser and approved by the dean of Graduate Studies. The student is expected to meet at least once a year with the dissertation committee to report on progress and to receive feedback from the committee. Upon completion of the research component, the candidate will report the significant research findings in the context of the existing literature and with discussion on the implication of the findings in form of a written dissertation. Following approval of the dissertation by each member of the dissertation committee the student will submit the dissertation to Graduate Studies.

The Ph.D. student will present a formal research seminar upon completion of the written dissertation.

Master of Science (M.S.)

There are two plans under which a student may pursue a master's degree at UC Davis: Plan I (by thesis); and Plan II (by comprehensive examination). The graduate group in immunology currently only offers admission to the Master Plan I (by thesis). Masters by comprehensive examination (Plan II) is available only under exceptional circumstances. To receive the Master's degree, students are required to be in residence a minimum of three quarters. A MS Plan I degree is usually obtained within 2 years.

Plan I (Master's degree by thesis):

Students must identify a sponsoring faculty member for admission to the Master's degree program. Upon entering the program the student will conduct coursework and research under the guidance of the identified faculty mentor. The degree requires completion of course work as outlined in the Master's degree Study Plan and a written thesis. A minimum of 30 units of course work is required of which at least 15 must be in graduate level (200) courses with not less than 12 units in graduate research (courses numbered 299). As soon as possible but no later then Spring quarter of the first year the student, in consultation with the faculty mentor and the graduate advisor, will identify a thesis committee. The thesis committee consists of three faculty members, at least two from the Graduate Group in Immunology. The sponsoring faculty mentor acts as the Chair of the thesis committee. The Chair and the two additional members are appointed by the dean of Graduate Studies on recommendation by the student's Graduate Advisor.

Plan II (Master's degree by comprehensive examination)

Requires completion of 36 units of upper division and graduate course work; at least 28 of the 36 units must be earned in graduate courses in the major field; however, no more than 9 units may be in research courses. Under this plan passing of a comprehensive final examination is required of all students to obtain the M.S. degree.