The Predoctoral Training Program in Immunology at the University of Virginia offers a rich intellectual environment and a strong foundation for students seeking a productive and successful career in Immunology research.
The Immunology Training Program provides a comprehensive and focused exposure to the workings of the immune system, and the opportunity to engage in independent research activities with world-class investigators in the field of Immunology.
The research interests of the faculty encompass a broad range of both basic and disease-oriented issues.
The Program typically requires four to six years of study, culminating in the awarding of the Ph.D degree. The first year consists primarily of research rotations through 2-3 different laboratories, and coursework. An Advisory Committee of three faculty members helps first year students tailor a program of study that meets their individual needs and career goals. First year coursework offerings are flexible, as well as the requirements among the various Biomedical Sciences Graduate Programs. Students meet with their committees during the year to discuss course work, rotations, adjustment to graduate school, and any problems that arise. This gives students direct access to faculty members and helps the faculty learn about the student's interests and background.
Thesis labs and mentors are chosen at the end of the first year, and students then become members of the associated department. Students prepare and defend a detailed research proposal during the second year (usually completed by the end of Year 2): successful completion qualifies the student to formally advance to Ph.D. candidacy.
The remainder of each student's graduate experience is devoted to independent thesis research in the laboratory of a chosen mentor. This is supplemented with ongoing activities that enrich each student's education in Immunology and opportunities for participation in colloquia, journal clubs, research group meetings, and mini-courses to help develop oral presentation and writing skills. Work in seminar-like settings help students develop their skills in writing papers and oral presentation. This sets the stage for completion of the written thesis document and its defense before a faculty committee.