Immunology is the study of our immune system. The immune system has evolved to defend our body against agents of infection and tumours, but various outcomes of activation of the immune system can cause damage to us.

The incidence of diseases associated with the immune system, such as allergies and autoimmune diseases is increasing and treatment and prevention of many infectious diseases is difficult due to the absence of effective vaccines. Immunology is a rapidly evolving science and new knowledge can be applied to the development and clinical use of new immune based therapies for cancer and infectious diseases, prevention of transplantation responses as well as allergies and autoimmune diseases.

This major describes how Immunology is studied and applied to a range of areas in the biomedical sciences. Additionally, in this major you will develop the ability to acquire, analyse and apply information from multiple sources, both within and beyond the laboratory.

Claire Demeo

“Through doing first year biology and chemistry subjects, I have found that my passion lies in the area of immunology, as it has applications in a wide number of fields, which means that my career options are still very broad. I want to become a life-saving immunologist, and discover the cause and cure for allergies.”

Sample course plans

Sample course plans for the BSc [PDF]

  • Career Outcomes

    This major will open up career opportunities in areas including:

    • Diagnostics
    • Vaccine development
    • Molecular biology
    • Biotechnology
    • Biosafety and regulation

    You may also choose to undertake research in related areas such as:

    • Infectious diseases
    • Immunodeficiencies
    • Genetics and pathogenesis of the immune system
    • Biochemical and cellular aspects of immune recognition
    • The various outcomes of the immune system in a setting of infection, autoimmunity, cancer, transplantation and allergies

    Earnings for life scientists, which includes Human Structure and Function, are above average and employment for this occupation is expected to grow moderately to 2019.

  • Graduate Pathways

    Science graduate pathways that students with a Immunology major generally undertake apart from medicine and dentistry are: veterinary science, optometry, education and teaching.

    Students can also pursue Masters and Honours pathways to research higher degrees in the sciences and technology within the Faculty of Science, Melbourne School of Engineering, Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, and the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences.