Immunology and Infectious Disease Major

Destroy disease, build a career.

The Immunology and Infectious Disease Major is hard science applied to understanding the immune system and combating infectious diseases. Graduates get right to work with careers in places like government and the pharmaceutical industry or continue on to medical, pharmacy, and veterinary school.

A small corner of the medical world that opens big doors everywhere.

Immunology and Infectious Disease (IID) starts with biology, chemistry, and physics—the cornerstone sciences of any medical study. Then we take you on an intense, deep dive into the complex network designed to fight invading pathogens. We employ all the tools science has to offer to understand the immune system, when and why it fails, the role of drugs and vaccines, and the epidemiology of infectious disease.

Our grads are uniquely poised to transition directly into the workforce as medical scientists. And our focus on the immune system helps prepare students for the broader challenges of medical school.

IID is the right major if you’re:

  • Interested in med school, vet school, and advanced degrees in other biomedical fields
  • seeking to make a difference researching cancer, allergies, and other threats
  • someone who thrives in an encouraging, collaborative environment
This major can pave your way to medical school, veterinary school, or other biomedical sciences grad programs.

A premier academic experience.

Career-driven curriculum

Our students don’t just get into medical and veterinary school, they excel there. That’s because your course work mirrors the rigor and depth of medical training at the highest level.

Course examples

  • Biology of Cancer
  • The Immune System and Disease
  • Introductory Microbiology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Principles of Epidemiology
  • Viral and Bacterial Pathogenesis

Ag Journeys

“I like my program because it focuses on humans.”

–Marissa Moran

A student utilized the library for research.

Get out of the classroom and into the fight.

Our faculty are the best in the business, and they’ll be the first to tell you that classroom learning should just be a starting point.

If you’re interested in studying immunology because you want to make a difference, you’ve come to the right place. Our faculty are conducting important, life-changing research and they want to get you into the lab, learning firsthand. How do you get involved? Just ask. And regardless of your interest, there are student-led, faculty-guided clubs, internships, externships, and international opportunities to put your education in a real-world, professional context.

Craft your experience.

Related clubs and teams

Recent internships  

  • Biotech industry
  • Government health agency
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Universities

Popular study abroad  

  • Anatomy and Art, Italy
  • Global Health, Africa
Extra specializations deliver plentiful employment opportunities, such as research positions in biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies, or health agencies.
Concern over bioweapons and emerging infectious diseases means high demand for specialists.

A practical, workforce-ready degree—and a college experience you’ll love.

Penn State Immunology and Infectious Disease grads walk off the stage at graduation and walk into medical schools and stellar careers all over the world. You can harness the awesome power of a truly unique education at one of the world’s most prestigious universities.

Our alumni out in the world

  • Academic research and education
  • Biotech and biomedical patent law
  • Biomedical industries
  • Epidemiology and public health
  • Graduate school in all biomedical fields
  • Government laboratories
  • Medical school
  • Pharmaceutical industry
  • Private research organizations

Immunology and Infectious Disease Career Options

A Penn State Immunology and Infectious Disease degree paves the way to a career you want in agriculture, business, and more. Here's food for thought—a few jobs our alumni work in now:

Biosecurity professional

A biosecurity engineer creates and implements systems to protect against disease or harmful biological agents.

What will I do?

  • Conduct biosecurity risk assessments
  • Extract and culture bacteria from environmental or clinical samples
  • Publish findings and make recommendations

Biomedical researcher

A biomedical scientist works to gain knowledge on how the human body works and to find new ways to cure or treat diseases.

What will I do?

  • Conduct lab research
  • Develop and test new therapies
  • Publish findings in medical journals


An immunologist is a medical specialist who diagnoses and treats allergies, asthma, and other diseases of the immune system.

What will I do?

  • Conduct laboratory research
  • Care for patients
  • Stay current on work being done by other scientists

Medical doctor

A doctor is someone who maintains or restores human health through the practice of medicine.

What will I do?

  • Pursue and practice specialties like surgery and pediatrics
  • Diagnose and treat patients for all sorts of ailments and injuries
  • Refer patients to specialists when needed for specific medical opinions and advice