The Graduate Program in Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID) is designed for applicants who wish to pursue a program of study leading to the Ph.D. degree in one of the academic tracks within the interdisciplinary field of Emerging Infectious Diseases. This Program has been created for students who are primarily interested in the pathogenesis, host response, and epidemiology of infectious diseases. Additionally, this program provides opportunities for physicians to complete the research components of their Fellowships in Infectious Diseases. This academic program will combine formal course work with research training that will be provided by an interdisciplinary EID faculty who hold primary appointments in the Departments of Microbiology and Immunology, Pathology, Preventive Medicine and Biostatistics, Pediatrics, and Medicine. Graduate study in the EID Program is regulated both by the University rules and by additional requirements of the Program.
The required curriculum consists of the core courses and electives, training rotations in research laboratories, and completion of a research dissertation. Every student will also be required to attend an EID Journal Club or Data Club and EID Seminar Series. The student must successfully complete a minimum number of 48 course credit hours and a total number of 148 credit hours (core course requirements, electives, and research credits). Students must maintain an average grade of 3.0 (B) or better throughout graduate training to remain in good academic standing in the program.
This interdisciplinary program has two academic tracks within the field of emerging infectious diseases: microbiology and immunology, and preventive medicine and biostatistics. The program offers training for students with primary interests in the pathogenesis, host response, pathology, and epidemiology of infectious diseases. This program’s research training emphasizes modern methods in molecular biology, cell biology, and interdisciplinary approaches. All students are required to complete a series of core courses during the first year of training, and then select one of two tracks on which to focus the remainder of his/her course work.
For program completion, the student must successfully complete a minimum number of 48 course credit hours and a total number of 148 credit hours (core course requirements, electives, and research credits).
REQUIRED COURSES (48 CREDIT HOURS)
BCO520 Biochemistry I - 4 credits
BCO522 Biochemistry II - 4 credits
EID501 Models of Emerging Infectious Diseases I - 2 credits
EID502 Models of Emerging Infectious Diseases II - 2 credits
EID503 Models of Emerging Infectious Diseases III - 2 credits
EID504 Models of Emerging Infectious Diseases IV - 2 credits
EID506 Bacterial Genetics and Physiology - 4 credits
EID601 EID Seminar - 1 credit/year
EID901 Research in EID - credits vary
IDO704 Ethics and Responsible Conduct of Research - 2 pass/fail
MCB531 Introduction to Immunology - 4 credits
MCO301 Introduction to Medical Microbiology - 4 credits
MCO503 Cellular and Molecular Immunology - 4 credits
PMO502 Experimental Statistics and Design - 3 credits
PMO511 Epidemiology - 4 credits
PMO1013 Molecular Parasitology - 3 credits
YEAR 3 AND BEYOND
In all subsequent quarters students will register for a minimum of 12 credit hours. Most will register for EID901 Research in EID, but this number may be reduced if the student chooses to take additional elective courses.
Suggested Course Schedule
During the first year of study, each student is required to take a minimum of three laboratory rotations of approximately 12-13 weeks duration and an average of 15 hours per week. The first rotation is taken in research laboratories on the USU campus and is selected based on the student's initial interests and in consultation with the program director. Subsequent rotations may take place at approved off-campus laboratories. During the summer after the first year, a fourth, optional laboratory rotation may be taken.
JOURNAL CLUBS AND DATA CLUBS
A free-ranging journal club is an essential component of the student's education, and is required for the entire period of training in the EID program. There is a virology journal/data club, an immunology journal club and a bacteriology data club. Data clubs allow participants to present progress on their own laboratory research projects. In Journal clubs, students present papers, selected in consultation with the Faculty Advisor, in areas of general interest. Students generally make two presentations each year.
Guest speakers or faculty members are invited to participate in a weekly seminar series sponsored by the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and the EID graduate program on selected topics in emerging infectious diseases, based on their own research. Attendance by students is mandatory. A ‘Meet-the-Speaker’ program is also in place where 3-4 EID students have the opportunity to have lunch with the visiting speaker following their presentation. In addition, senior EID graduate students participate in a more formal EID Senior Students Seminar Series that take place weekly in the spring on Friday afternoons, and affords students the opportunity to present a seminar on their dissertation research to the EID program; this event is also open to the whole university.
QUALIFYING EXAMINATIONS & ADVANCEMENT TO CANDIDACY
Upon satisfactory completion of the formal, required course work, and no later than the end of the second year of graduate study, a Qualifying Examination shall be taken by the student. The purpose of the exam is to evaluate and determine whether the student is capable of carrying out independent laboratory research at the Ph.D. level. The student must pass this examination for advancement to candidacy and dissertation status for the Ph.D. degree.
An Examining Committee will administer the Qualifying Examination and it will consist of two components: written and oral. For the written component, the student will propose and write a research plan (the Proposal) for his/her thesis project; alternatively any project or research problem related to the work being conducted in their thesis advisor's laboratory may be selected. The oral component of the exam will consist of both a presentation and a defense of the written Proposal by the student. The Examining Committee will pose questions during the oral phase of the examination. The first round of questions will focus on the subject matter of the written Proposal and the second round will be geared to assess the student's general knowledge of microbiology, immunology and emerging infectious diseases. The student will be expected to have considerable depth of knowledge in the Proposal’s overall topic area and should be prepared to defend not only the specific details of proposed experiments but also the importance and implications of the Proposal within the context of the field and in broad terms. After passing the candidacy examination and meeting other requirements as specified, the student can register for research credit hours.
ADMISSION TO CANDIDACY
The following are required to be admitted to candidacy and enroll in dissertation hours:
- Admission is no later than two years after initiation of program of study
- Completion of a minimum of 48 credit hours of formal coursework
- A cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above
- Completion of laboratory rotations
- Successful completion of the Qualifying Examination
- The dissertation advisory committee is formed, consisting of approved graduate faculty and graduate faculty scholars.
Original experimental work is an essential part of graduate training. After a student has advanced to candidacy, he/she will present a Departmental seminar annually based on his/her original research project. In addition, the student will meet with his/her Advisory Committee semi-annually to assess and ensure progress toward completion of the research project. Summaries of those meetings will become part of the student's academic file. A written dissertation, based on the student's original experimental work, shall be prepared by the student under supervision of the student's major faculty advisor and with the concurrence of the student's Advisory Committee.
A Dissertation Examination Committee that consists of the student's Advisory Committee will read the dissertation to certify the documents acceptability by the criteria of scope and quality. This Committee will also conduct the dissertation defense examination.
The defense of the dissertation will consist of a public seminar and will be followed by an oral examination that is closed to the public.
International Students will be considered if they have earned a baccalaureate degree from a United States College/University.
- A complete employment history.
Additional Application Requirements
Deadline for full consideration of applications for the Fall Quarter is December 1st. Receipt of applications by this deadline will allow prospective students to be considered for financial support.
TUITION AND FEES
Tuition and fees are waived for all students.
USU provides an attractive package of financial support to students, which will be administered as a part-time Federal salary for your position as a Research Associate. Total compensation is highly competitive with other local universities. As an Administratively Determined (AD) Federal employee, your salary is subject to standard taxes and withholdings.
As an AD employee, you will receive standard Federal benefits including contributions towards health insurance, retirement, and transit costs. Additionally, you have the option to decline certain benefits, which will increase your net income. Students are supported as Federal employees for the first 3 three years of their enrollment. After this period, students transition to employment as Research Associates by the Henry M. Jackson Foundation (HJF). These positions are supported by grants awarded to mentors or by fellowships awarded to students.
There are no tuition charges for graduate students at USU, nor is there any requirement in the form of government or military service. Most required textbooks are provided without charge.
The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine annually provides support for 1-3 graduate fellowships. The fellowships are competitively awarded annually to outstanding USU civilian graduate student doctoral candidates in the USU School of Medicine who meet the following criteria:
- The student's USU-supported funding has ended or will end in August of the year of the award
- The student has advanced to candidacy and is in good academic standing
Applicants must provide information on their research plan and progress, and have the support of their Program Director. Selections are made in June and announced prior to 1 August of each year.
Graduate student fellowship support is also competitively available from many other sources, such as the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Howard Hughes Medical Foundation, and various private foundations such as the American Heart Association, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, etc. Check with the USU Office of Research and/or the Graduate Education Office for various opportunities to compete for extramural funding.
DOCTORAL STUDENT RESEARCH FUNDS
USU maintains a special fund to finance doctoral student research. This resource is designed to provide funds to graduate students in addition to those provided by their major advisor. Funds are available to graduate students who have completed two years of graduate study at USU or who have been advanced to candidacy and are devoting a majority of their time to their dissertation research. Graduate research funds are currently available for two academic years. In recent years, the maximum amount of funds available each year to eligible graduate students has varied between $1,500 and $2,500.
Forms to apply for USU graduate research funding are available from the GEO and will be sent to those students eligible in July of each year. These applications are relatively short if the requested funding is part of an already accepted University protocol by a major professor. If the research funding represents an entirely new protocol, the normal USU research review procedures must be followed. Information on which course of action is appropriate is available in the GEO. These protocols are administered by the Office of Research Administration at USU. You, your advisor, and your Program Director will receive notification when the funding is approved.
Civilian students do not incur service obligation to the United States government after the completion of their graduate studies.
Active-duty Uniformed Services personnel may incur an obligation for additional service in accordance with the applicable regulations governing sponsored graduate education.