PhD in Fundamental Immunology

The PhD degree is an advanced research degree intended to reflect a level of training consistent with the ability of the candidate to function as an independent research scientist. This involves successful completion of course work reflecting a knowledge of modern immunology, as well as a demonstrated ability to carry out research of publishable quality. To qualify for the degree each candidate must successfully achieve candidacy, submit a satisfactory thesis based on his/her original research, and successfully defend it in a Final Oral Examination. The PhD thesis should contain a body of original research roughly corresponding in quantity to that which would be appropriate for two or three publications in a recognized refereed journal. Normally, at least one of these manuscripts should have been accepted for publication at the time of the exam. 

There are 3 routes to entering the PhD program. 

  1. Direct entry from the BSc
    Students with outstanding undergraduate records are encouraged to enter the PhD program directly. Students entering via this route undergo a qualifying exam within 18-24 months of initiating their program. Additionally, the Admissions Committee may choose to offer direct entry into the PhD program to highly-qualified applicants who have applied to the MSc program. Students admitted to the direct entry PhD may choose to graduate with an MSc after two years of study, rather than continuing in the PhD program. 
  2. Transfer from the MSc program
    Students may transfer to the PhD program from the MSc program by undergoing a reclassification exam. Following a second committee meeting to take place no later than December of the second year, all students who wish to reclassify into the PhD program must due so in May or June of their second year.
  3. Entry after completion of an M.Sc. degree
    Students accepted into our program with an MSc degree from another department/University enter into the PhD program directly. Students who complete an MSc degree within the Department of Immunology and who wish to continue in the PhD program are evaluated at the MSc exam as to their admissibility for the PhD program. Only students approved during the examination process will be admissible to reenter as a PhD student. All students entering the PhD program with an MSc degree must undergo a qualifying exam, normally within 2 years of entry into the PhD program. This exam is similar in format to the reclassification exam, described above.

Students doing a thesis-based PhD in Fundamental Immunology will receive a guaranteed stipend.

In our Department, students typically spend about 5 years in the PhD degree program.

Course Requirements

The Department requires students to complete

  • IMM1000Y (Recent Advances in Immunology)
  • IMM1025/2025H (Student Seminar Series I / II)*
  • IMM1050/2050H (Easton Seminar Series I / II)*
  • IMM1075/2075H (Special Topics in Immunology I / II)*
  • IMM1200H (Scientific Skills for Immunologists) 
  • 1.0 FCE electives, approved by the Associate Chair, Graduate Studies

*Continuous courses taken throughout the student's PhD program until completed.

More information on required and elective courses