The purpose of the Immunology Program is to provide education leading to a Ph.D. in Immunology. This Program is under the responsibility of the Committee on Immunology at Harvard. The Committee includes over 135 faculty representing a broad area of research interests including transplantation, neuro-immunology, autoimmunity, stem cell biology, infection and immunity, human translational immunology, tumor immunology, immunobiology and mucosal immunity.

Our goal is to educate scientists in investigative and academic medicine, preparing them to contribute to immunological research with a full awareness of the potential impact of immunology. Our program combines an education in basic biology, a sophisticated training in immunology, and exposure to the immunological and non-immunological problems of disease.


  • Broad spectrum curriculum
  • Unique Immunology-exclusive student center
  • Breadth of IMM topics in faculty research
  • Mix of basic & human Immunology research

Student Tianli Xiao's sunrises as he completed his dissertation


The Ph.D. Program in Immunology at Harvard Medical School developed in 1974 when the Medical School decided to restructure its educational program in immunology. Immunology had acquired great strength in the various teaching hospitals and institutions affiliated with the Medical School, and there was a great need to create a structure that would integrate and coordinate the educational efforts. The Committee on Immunology was created with Dr. Albert Coons as its first chairman. In 1974, the Committee on Immunology was authorized by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of Harvard University to grant a Ph.D. degree in Immunology. The Committee then applied to the National Cancer Institute for a Training Grant which continues to support Immunology students today.

The strength of our Program is based on a multidisciplinary approach where students are exposed to all major areas in the expanding field of immunobiology. With the financial support of the National Institutes of Health, our Immunology Program has successfully developed with the creation of new courses and the organization of faculty efforts. The Immunology Program at Harvard Medical School became the model of an integrated educational program in a growing discipline that now spans several of the classical fields of medical biology (microbiology, genetics, pathology, clinical medicine, biochemistry, etc.). It is noteworthy that students are combining a strong training in immunobiology with an exposure to the basic aspects of biology.

The Graduate Program in Immunology now has a total of 70 students. Approximately 13 new students enter the program per year. Over the past four decades, over 350 students have graduated from our program.