Why Major in Immunology and Infectious Disease?

This academic program explores how the body copes with bacterial, viral, or parasitic infections, cancer, and other diseases. It builds expertise from the level of molecules and cells all the way up to populations and ecosystems.

The Immunology and Infectious Disease major can provide excellent preparation for a wide variety of careers; or preparation for medical school, veterinary school, or graduate programs in any area of the biomedical sciences.

Students in the Immunology and Infectious Disease major at Penn State first obtain a solid foundation in mathematics, physical sciences, chemistry, biochemistry, and molecular biology. They then enjoy the opportunity to specialize with required courses in immunology, microbiology, epidemiology, bacterial and viral pathogenesis. Finally, each student's curriculum is unique based on their choices of senior-level "supporting courses."

Program Goals

  1. Students will exhibit specialized competencies in immunology and epidemiology based upon a solid grounding in the physical and biological sciences.
  2. Students will have access to meaningful research experience and the professional development that accompanies such training. Students will have access to international academic and professional experiences.
  3. Graduates will demonstrate collaborative learning, critical thinking, and research skills, as well as skills to communicate effectively to professional and lay audiences.
  4. Graduates will be prepared to succeed in industry, government, academic research, and in graduate and professional study.
  5. Students will relate and apply their expertise to a broader health and societal context.

Compare our Major to Others Across the Country

One of only five undergraduate programs in immunology in the country, Immunology and Infectious Disease is truly unique: it is the only such program in a natural resources and environmental sciences college, and the only one with required coursework in epidemiology including laboratory.

Penn State's major is the only one that:

Five Immunology Majors Across the Country

  1. Penn State
    Immunology and Infectious Disease major in the College of Agricultural Sciences
  2. University of California, Berkeley
    Immunology and Pathogenesis
    option of the Molecular and Cell Biology major in the College of Letters and Science
  3. University of Wisconsin, Madison
    Medical Microbiology and Immunology
    major in the College of Letters and Science
  4. University of Miami
    Microbiology and Immunology major in the College of Arts and Sciences
  5. University of California, Irvine
    Microbiology and Immunology major in the School of Biological Sciences


 View Immunology majors in a larger map