All students enrolled in the program, regardless of stream, will take two keystone multidisciplinary courses. These courses are:
- VACC 801.3 – A Multi-Disciplinary Introduction to Vaccinology and Immunotherapeutics – This required course provides an introduction to the scientific basis of vaccination, the pathobiology of infectious diseases, vaccine manufacturing, production and commercialization, as well as socio-ethical aspects of vaccines such as risk perception and public acceptance. Other topics will include legal issues such as intellectual property law, public health aspects of vaccines, national and international immunization programs and the use of vaccines in disease outbreaks. The course will be taught by recognized experts in the field with guest lectures given by experts from both industry and regulatory authorities.
- VACC 990.0 – Seminars in Vaccinology and Immunotherapeutics – This is a required, non-credit seminar-based course where the seminar topics will cover the broad range of vaccinology and immunotherapeutics topics. Invited speakers will present as well as graduate students. Graduate students will be required to present one seminar per year on their research and attend and participate in the Vaccinology and Immunotherapeutics Seminar Series throughout the year. Guest lecturers and special workshops designed to train students in good laboratory practices, good manufacturing practices, and intellectual property management, etc. will be a component of the seminar program. Yearly registration throughout the entire graduate program is required.
Both of these courses deal with all facets of Vaccinology and Immunotherapeutics.
Since the degrees arising from this program are research thesis-based, students must also enrol in the following non-credit courses:
- VACC 994.0 – Research. Students registered in a Master’s thesis program must register for this course annually throughout their entire MA and MSc graduate program.
- VACC 996.0 – Research. Students registered in PhD dissertation program must register for this course annually throughout their entire PhD research graduate program.
- GSR 960.0 - Introduction to Ethics and Integrity. This is a required course for all first year graduate students at the University of Saskatchewan. The purpose of this course is to discuss ethical issues that graduate students may face during their time at the University. All students will complete modules dealing with integrity and scholarship, graduate student-supervisor relationships, conflict of interest, conflict resolution and intellectual property and credit.
Students will also be required to attend regular scheduled journal clubs for at least 1 year in the case of a MA and MSc student, and 2 years as a PhD student. The journal club discussions will focus on:
- Sociology of immunization,
- Commercial aspects of vaccine production and distribution,
- Applied clinical and epidemiology,
- Public health,
- Molecular biology,
- Pathogenomics, and
- Vaccinology/immunotherapeutics, with each topic being covered consecutively.
However, each session will try to broadly incorporate all areas of vaccinology and immunotherapeutics as much as possible so as to ensure that students are continually thinking about the broader implications of their research.
As well as meeting with their immediate supervisors on a regular basis, students may be required to participate in regularly-scheduled team meetings of various programs in which experimental objectives and experimental design will be discussed. This experience will provide students with a stimulating environment of constructive criticism and more opportunities to collaborate on specific aspects of other projects where they have interest or expertise. Students gain an understanding of the importance of teamwork, as well as in helping understand experimental design for projects beyond their own single project. Furthermore, faculty and staff will provide input into presentation and communication skills.