Certificate Overview

The Concurrent Certificate in Immunology, Microbiology, & Virology (IMV Certificate) is designed to provide students from health sciences, biotechnology, biology, life sciences, or any other disciplines with an interest in immunology, host defense, microbiology, and virology with an opportunity to develop an academic focus in this area, with the IMV Certificate serving to recognize that they have gained core knowledge in this area through their coursework.

The IMV Certificate will require students to complete a total of 15 units (5 half-year courses) of course work, with at least 3 units from immunology courses, and 3 units from virology and microbiology courses. Existing courses in immunology, virology, and microbiology are currently offered through the Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours) Program, the School of Nursing, the Biotechnology Program, the Department of Biology, and the Department of Biochemistry & Biomedical Sciences, providing an opportunity for cross-faculty and cross-program collaboration, and interdisciplinary learning amongst students in these programs.

Learning Outcomes: By completing the courses required for the IMV Certificate, all students will be able to:

  • Explain how the immune system works to protect the host from pathogens, including the function of the innate and adaptive immune systems;
  • Describe the major components of mammalian immune systems and their functions;
  • Explain how microbes are classified, and describe the life cycles of bacteria and viruses in general terms;
  • Demonstrate a depth of knowledge in various areas of immunology, virology, and/or microbiology (depending on which elective courses they choose).

Refer to your Advisement Report in mosaic for your personal degree requirements.

Certificate Requirements: Any student in an undergraduate program at McMaster may declare the IMV Certificate at the time of graduation provided that they satisfy the following requirements:

  • Completion of 15 units from Course Lists A, B, and C, with at least 3 units from Course List A and at least 3 units from Course List B.

Course List A – Foundational Immunology

Structure and function of antibodies, antibody diversity and interactions, immune system and immunity, immunological responses to disease, antibodies production and applications, structure of viruses, methods to study viruses, virus transcriptions and interactions.
Three lectures, one lab (three hours); first term

Prerequisite(s): BIOTECH 2MB3 and registration in level III or above of the Biotechnology Co-op (B.Tech.) program

An introduction to humoral and cellular immunity. The molecular and cellular basis of immunity, and an introduction to immunological techniques.
Two lectures, one tutorial; one term

Prerequisite(s): One of BIOLOGY 1A03, HTHSCI 1I06, or ISCI 1A24 A/B, and registration in Level II or above

Course List B – Foundational Microbiology & Virology

Course List B – Foundational Microbiology & Virology

Microbial structure, genetics, metabolism, and evolution. Overview of agricultural, medical, environmental, and industrial microbiology. Covers key concepts, fundamental principles, and common research tools in microbiology.
Three lectures, one lab (three hours); one term

Prerequisite(s): ISCI 1A24 A/B; or BIOLOGY 1A03, 1M03, CHEM 1A03, 1AA3; or registration in Level III Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering. If not already completed, BIOSAFE 1BS0 (or HTHSCI 1BS0) must be done prior to the first lab.

An introduction to microbiological analysis with emphasis on use of microscopic techniques, staining, cultivation and control of microbial growth, enumeration, identification, potable water analysis, with environmental and industrial applications.
Three lectures, one lab (three hours); second term

Prerequisite(s): BIOTECH 2CB3, 2M03, and registration in level II or above of the Biotechnology Co-op (B.Tech.) program

An introduction to the basics of virology. Topics include the structure and composition of viruses, virus replication strategies, virus-host interactions and uses of viruses for medical research.
Two lectures, one tutorial; one term

Prerequisite(s): One of BIOLOGY 2B03 , HTHSCI 2K03 , or ISCI 2A18 A/B ; and registration in Level III or above

Course List C – Specialized Courses in Immunology, Virology, & Microbiology

Course List C – Specialized Courses in Immunology, Virology & Microbiology

This advanced course applies problem-based learning to immunological problems. Topics concern development of immunoassays, resistance to infection and immunity in health and disease.
One session (three hours), one tutorial; one term

Prerequisite(s): HTHSCI 3I03, HTHSCI 4II3; or permission of the Instructor
Antirequisite(s): MOLBIOL 4J03
Cross-list(s): HTHSCI 4J03
This course is administered by the Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours) Program.

Study of interaction of microorganisms with their environment with emphasis on topics of ecological significance including plant-microbe interactions, nutrient cycling and waste treatment.
Two lectures, one tutorial (three hours); one term

Prerequisite(s): BIOLOGY 2EE3; and registration in Level III or above of any Honours program

An introduction to the microbiology of raw materials used in the manufacturing of food products. The course will review microbial growth and examine the types of microorganisms found in foods, the fermentation process in foods and food borne illness.
Three lectures, one lab (three hours every other week); first term

Prerequisite(s): BIOTECH 2CB3, 2MB3, and registration in level IV of the Biotechnology Co-op (B.Tech.) program

This course is intended to inspire curiosity in questions generated by concepts in immunology that drive current research directions. Students will explore a spectrum of topics in immunology with research faculty.
Two hours; one term

Prerequisite(s): Registration in Level 1 B.H.Sc. (Honours) or Level 1 Science or Level 1 Arts & Science

This course will examine the biochemistry of antibiotic resistance in bacteria. Prominent ‘superbugs’ plaguing patients will be covered, as well as potential novel interventions to move antimicrobial chemotherapy forward.
Three hours; one term

Prerequisite(s): HTHSCI 2K03

This course will examine immune-brain communication, immune molecules and their signalling pathways, and the role of the immune system in normal brain function and CNS disease. It is recommended that students have an understanding of Immunology.
Two lectures, one tutorial; one term

Prerequisite(s): One of BIOLOGY 2B03, HTHSCI 2K03, ISCI 2A18 A/B or MOLBIOL 2B03

This course will build on knowledge of the immune system and focus on the immune system in disease: allergy, inflammation, autoimmunity, immune deficiency, malignancy and cancer immunotherapy.
Two lectures, one tutorial; one term

Prerequisite(s): HTHSCI 3I03

This advanced course applies problem-based learning to immunological problems. Topics concern development of immunoassays, resistance to infection and immunity in health and disease.
One session (three hours), one tutorial; one term

Prerequisite(s): HTHSCI 3I03; or permission of the instructor
Cross-list(s): BIOCHEM 4J03

This course is designed to provide an in depth look at the clinical, medical and pathophysiological aspects of infectious diseases. These fundamentals include taxonomy, diagnostic methodology, epidemiology and virulence factors of pathogens and pathophysiological events and responses in different body systems in human host as a result of infections.
One lecture, one tutorial, one lab; one term

Prerequisite(s): HTHSCI 2FF3

Current theories and knowledge on mechanisms that relate to virus pathogenesis and evasion of host cell responses.
Two lectures, one tutorial; one term

Prerequisite(s): HTHSCI 3I03, 3K03 and registration in Level III or above

Molecular genetics of bacteria and bacteriophage. Special emphasis will be placed on relationships between microbial genetics and general problems in genetics and gene regulation.
Three lectures, one tutorial; one term

Prerequisite(s): BIOLOGY 2C03 or MOLBIOL 2C03; and credit or registration in BIOLOGY 2EE3

Infectious diseases: identification, epidemiology and treatment.
One lecture (two hours), one tutorial (three hours); one term

Prerequisite(s): BIOLOGY 2EE3 and registration in Level III or above of any Honours program. Credit or registration in MOLBIOL 3O03 is strongly recommended.

  • Transfer credits may be considered for credit toward the IMV Certificate by submitting a request to the Assistant Dean – BHSc (Hons) Program.