Interdisciplinary Major

The UAB Undergraduate Immunology Program was established in 2016 as a joint program between the Department of Microbiology in the School of Medicine and the Department of Biology in the College of Arts and Sciences. The goal of the Immunology Major is to insure that undergraduates acquire knowledge in the fundamental aspects of Immunology, including the cells, organs and tissues that comprise the immune system and how the system functions as a whole to protect humans against infectious diseases. The science of Immunology is multidisciplinary and encompasses the study of both normal processes that confer protection and pathophysiological processes that cause disease. Normal processes include the response to microbial pathogens, vaccines and cancer, which confer "immunity". Abnormal functions of the immune system contribute to significant disease processes that include; asthma/allergy, autoimmunity, inflammatory syndromes (cancer, diabetes, heart disease, chronic neurological diseases), immunodeficiencies (both congenital and acquired), and transplant rejection.

The Undergraduate Immunology Program will provide students with a solid foundation in the core sciences, including chemistry, physics and biology. Students will be required to take inorganic, organic and biochemistry, as well as introductory biology, molecular genetics, cell biology, genomics and systems biology and physiology. Because the Undergraduate Immunology Program has a strong focus on these core sciences, majors will have the necessary foundation upon which to learn the principles of the immune system with respect to its normal and pathophysiological function. Moreover, because the Undergraduate Immunology Program requires students to take the core sciences as part of their curriculum, they will meet the prerequisites for entry into graduate and professional schools.

The Undergraduate Immunology Program and its Faculty will accomplish the goals of the program through four interrelated mechanisms. First, students will be provided an outstanding academic and intellectual foundation through their coursework in biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics and immunology. Second, students will be immersed in a laboratory research setting where they will learn state-of-the-art research techniques and methodologies that will enable them to address important questions in Immunology through one-on-one interactions with faculty mentors and research laboratory personnel. Third, students will be able to gain skills and knowledge related to the scientific method, critical thinking, problem solving, data analysis and scientific communication (both oral and written) that will allow them to become an integral member of a research team and to present their work at poster sessions at local, regional and national meetings. Fourth, students will be able to access academic and career counseling to determine the career path that is ideally suited to their interests, as well as to identify professional or graduate programs and how best to prepare to be highly competitive for entrance into such programs.

The Undergraduate Immunology Program is designed to prepare graduates to pursue careers in research or health-related professions. Successful graduates will be competitive for acceptance into highly competitive graduate or professional degree programs that will enable them to become accomplished scientists, clinicians and health-care professionals who will contribute to efforts to elucidate the function of the immune system as it relates to health and disease. Graduates will be at the forefront of efforts to fight emerging infectious diseases, to address global health problems, to develop new vaccines, or to find treatments for chronic diseases, including cancer, autoimmunity or asthma.


The Undergraduate Immunology Program is designed for graduating high school seniors and college freshmen and sophomores with an outstanding academic record and the desire to pursue a career in biomedical research, medicine or the health professions. Successful applicants to the Program should meet the admissions criteria below.

High school students with a GPA of 3.5 or better and an ACT score of 28 or better will be considered for immediate acceptance into the Immunology Program. Current UAB students and transfer students from other institutions who are freshmen or sophomores (non-direct admits) may apply to the Program at any time, but must have an overall GPA ≥3.5 and must have demonstrated excellent academic performance in science/mathematics courses earning a grade of B or better. Students must maintain an overall GPA ≥3.0 in order to remain in good academic standing in the Program. Those who wish to apply to the Program should contact the Program Directors ( for additional information. The Director, Dr. Justement and the Co-Director of the Program, Dr. Vithal Ghanta, are available to meet with high school students and their parents, or with current UAB students to discuss the program.

Advising and Information

Dr. Louis B. Justement

Program Director, Undergraduate Immunology

Professor of Microbiology

(205) 934-1429

Dr. Vithal K. Ghanta

Program Co-Director, Undergraduate Immunology

Professor of Biology

(205) 934-4482

 Bachelor of Science in Immunology

Major in Immunology

Required courses: 1
BY 123Introductory Biology I4
BY 124Introductory Biology II4
BY 210Genetics3
BY 271Biology of Microorganisms4
BY 311Molecular Genetics3
BY 330Cell Biology3
BY 409Principles of Human Physiology4
BY 434Functional Genomics and Systems Biology3
BY 440Immunology3
BY 492Biology Capstone - Undergraduate Research4
or BY 493 Biology Capstone - Honors Research
CH 115
CH 116
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry I Laboratory
CH 117
CH 118
General Chemistry II
and General Chemistry II Laboratory
CH 235
CH 236
Organic Chemistry I
and Organic Chemistry I Laboratory
CH 237
CH 238
Organic Chemistry II
and Organic Chemistry II Laboratory
CH 460Fundamentals of Biochemistry3
MA 125Calculus I4
MA 180Introduction to Statistics3
MIC 401Foundations in Immunology I: The Innate Immune System3
MIC 402Foundations in Immunology II: The Adaptive Immune System3
MIC 403Foundations in Immunology III: Microbial Pathogen-Immune System Interaction3
MIC 404Foundations in Immunology IV: Immunologically-Mediated Diseases3
MIC 450Current Topics in Immunology1
MIC 451Seminar in Immunology Research (Fall semester)1
MIC 451Seminar in Immunology Research (Spring semester)1
Physics 28
College Physics I
and College Physics II
General Physics I
and General Physics II
Undergraduate Research9
Undergraduate Research
Honors Research
Total Hours93

 Students must satisfactorily complete a minimum of 123 semester hours (including Core Curriculum) with no grades lower than a C in the major.


 Complete either trig-based or calculus-based physics series.

Immunology 4-Year Plan 

This schedule does not account for University or Science and Technology Honors Programs.

First TermHoursSecond TermHours
MA 1254BY 1234
CH 115
CH 116
4CH 117
CH 118
CAS 1121EH 1023
EH 10113Core Area II or IV3
Core Area II or IV3MIC 4501
 15 15
First TermHoursSecond TermHours
CH 235
CH 236
4CH 237
CH 238
BY 12424BY 2103
Core Area II or IV3Core Area Ii or IV 
Core Area II or IV Core Area II or IV 
MIC 4511MIC 4511
 12 8
First TermHoursSecond TermHours
BY 2714BY 4343
BY 3113BY 4403
PH 201 or 2214PH 202 or 2224
Core Area II or IV3MIC 4013
BY 3981-3BY 4981-6
 15-17 14-19
First TermHoursSecond TermHours
BY 4094CH 4603
MA 1803MIC 4033
MIC 4023MIC 4043
BY 4981-6BY 4934
Core Area II or IV3Core Area II or IV 
 14-19 13
Total credit hours: 106-118

 Often use AP credit for EH 101, can take EH 102 instead


 Sometimes taken summer after freshman year


MIC 401. Foundations in Immunology I: The Innate Immune System. 3 Hours.

This course will introduce the cells, receptors, signaling pathways and soluble mediators associated with the innate immune response. The basic components of the innate immune system will then be discussed in the context of their role in the physical, physiological, phagocytic and inflammatory barriers that comprise the innate immune system. Importantly, emphasis will be placed on the molecular and cellular mechanisms that are used by the innate immune system to detect and respond to microbial pathogens to provide the first line of defense.
Prerequisites: BY 271 [Min Grade: C] and BY 311 [Min Grade: C] and BY 330 [Min Grade: C] and BY 440 [Min Grade: C]

MIC 402. Foundations in Immunology II: The Adaptive Immune System. 3 Hours.

This course will provide an in-depth analysis of the cells (T, B and antigen presenting cells), tissues (primary and secondary) and soluble factors (cytokines and chemokines) that comprise the adaptive humoral immune response. The course will examine how cells of the adaptive immune system discriminate self from non-self, including the nature of antigen receptors, the types of antigens recognized and the signals involved in the generation of effector cells that mediate the response.
Prerequisites: BY 440 [Min Grade: C] and MIC 401 [Min Grade: C]

MIC 403. Foundations in Immunology III: Microbial Pathogen-Immune System Interaction. 3 Hours.

This course will provide an overview of major concepts related to virulence mechanisms utilized by microbial pathogens and their effect on the host immune response. Emphasis will be placed on important virulence factors/mechanisms associated with bacterial, viral and fungal pathogens and how these alter various components of the innate and adaptive immune responses to allow escape of the pathogen and its survival. This course will introduce the concept of emerging infectious diseases and how their spread is related to their ability to escape detection by the immune system.
Prerequisites: MIC 401 [Min Grade: C] and MIC 402 [Min Grade: C]

MIC 404. Foundations in Immunology IV: Immunologically-Mediated Diseases. 3 Hours.

This course will focus on the role of the immune system, including the molecular and cellular processes, that contribute to morbidity and mortality associated with immunodeficiency (congenital and acquired), asthma/allergy, autoimmunity (systemic and organ-specific), transplantation and inflammatory syndromes associated with heart disease, cancer, chronic neurological disease and diabetes.
Prerequisites: MIC 401 [Min Grade: C] and MIC 402 [Min Grade: C] and MIC 403 [Min Grade: C]

MIC 450. Current Topics in Immunology. 1 Hour.

This course is being developed as a seminar course by the Department of Microbiology. The goal of this seminar course is to present basic concepts in immunology as they relate to important current issues. The importance of the immune system in health and disease will be highlighted.

MIC 451. Seminar in Immunology Research. 1 Hour.

This course is being developed as a seminar course by the Department of Microbiology. This new seminar will feature a 30 minute introduction of a new basic concept in immunology followed by a 15 minute presentation from an individual faculty member who does research on basic concept and a 15 minute discussion session once a week for the Fall and Spring Semesters.