First Year


The first year of the Immunology Graduate Training Program consists of laboratory rotations, foundational coursework, and seminars. Selection of a thesis advisor and joining a research group are normally made by the end of the first year.

Medical Student Training Program (MSTP) students will be given credit for basic science courses taken prior to enrolling. MSTP students have the option of forming an advisory committee and taking the preliminary examinations during the first year.

Laboratory Rotations

Students are required to rotate in three or more laboratories for periods of 8-10 weeks.  Students typically do four rotations with a fifth lab rotation in the summer if necessary with permission from the DGS. The DGS will work with incoming students to arrange their first lab rotation prior to the start of the academic year. Incoming students will provide their top three choices to the Director of Graduate Studies. The first lab rotation begins in the first week of the fall semester. Students can arrange the remaining lab rotations but they must be approved by the DGS and registered in Duke T3, the online platform used to track progress toward completion of the PhD. We strongly encourage students to do lab rotations with members of the PhD Program in Immunology

Lab rotations constitute graded courses. Students should register for IMM 791A in the fall semester and IMM 791B in the spring semester. The DGS assigns one grade for the whole year at the end of the spring semester based on the overall rotation evaluations. First-year students give oral reports on their lab progress during WIP (IMM 731S) at the end of each rotation period.

Affiliation with a Lab for Dissertation Research

Students select a dissertation supervisor during the late spring/early summer of the first academic year, but no later than August 1. Students must notify the DGS and DGSA of their choice of laboratory affiliation and complete the Laboratory Affiliation Form. Departmental approval of any student affiliation with a research group requires that the mentor has the resources to fund the student and their research at least through Year 3. Affiliation with research groups whose faculty supervisor does not have a primary appointment in Integrative Immunobiology requires a Financial Backstop Agreement signed by the Chair or Division Chief of the faculty mentor. Please contact the DGSA to initiate this process.    

Mentoring is one of the pillars of Integrative Immunobiology’s academic mission. Our faculty take seriously their roles as mentors and their responsibilities in training independent scientists who are equipped with the tools needed for success during and after their PhD training. To assist with this goal we developed a Mentor Trainee Compact that students and faculty should use as a starting point to discuss expectations and goals for the mentoring relationship.

Wavy Lines


Fall Semester

  • BIOTRAIN 750: Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) | Orientation – incoming students are required to attend the program specified by OBGE
  • BIOTRAIN 701: Foundations of Professionalism course required for first year SoM PhD students
  • IMM 544: Principles of Immunology
  • IMM 701D: Pillars of Immunology
  • IMM 731S: Immunology Seminars - This course number is used only for first and second-year students. This course consists of two components:
    • Attendance at the work-in-progress seminar for students and postdoctoral fellows
    • Attendance at Tuesday Integrative Immunobiology Seminars
    • Students are evaluated based on their attendance and a required presentation at the end of each rotation.
  • IMM 791A:  Research in Immunology. Graded laboratory rotations

Spring Semester

  • IMM 800: Comprehensive Immunology
  • IMM 731S: Immunology Seminar
  • IMM 736: Current Topics in Immunology – Departmental Journal Club
  • IMM 791B - Research in Immunology. Graded laboratory rotations

Summer Semester

  • No courses are required, but students must be enrolled for the summer semester