MSBS Program Requirements
1. Course Requirements –
A. Core Curriculum – All students must complete a core curriculum. Core curricula are typically 4-6 credits each semester. Students can select one of the following core curricula. Please note that these are the core courses as of the writing of this document, but they are subject to change on occasion.
i. Biomedical Sciences (BMS) Core:
Biomedical Sciences Core 1 (5 credits)
Introduction to Journal Club 1 (1 credit)
Spring I/Spring II Semesters
Biomedical Sciences Core 2 (5 credits)
Introduction to Journal Club II (1 credit)
ii. Systems Biomedicine Core:
Systems Biomedicine (6 credits)
Spring I Semester
Quantitative Graduate Physiology (3 credits)
Molecular to Systems Pharmacology (3 credits)
Spring II Semester:
Systems Biology: Biomedical Modeling (3 credits)
iii. Neuroscience Core:
Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology (3 credits)
Systems Neuroscience (4 credits)
Neural Basis of Behavioral Plasticity (3 credits)
B. Biostatistics (3 credits) (fall semester)
C. Responsible Conduct of Research (1 credit) (fall semester)
D. Research Credits – Students should register for Independent Biomedical Sciences Master’s Research. Students receive 8 credits for the research performed during their first year of study (4 credits for each semester). Credits appear on the spring semester transcript. These credits are graded on a scale of A through F. The grade is derived from a combination of an assessment from the thesis advisor (75%) and a year-end research progress report (25%). The year-end research progress report is in the form of a brief (10 minute) PowerPoint talk to be presented at an end of the year Laboratory Presentations mini-symposium. Prior to the presentation, students should fill out the Masters in Biomedical Sciences Laboratory Research Evaluation form with their thesis advisor and return it by July 1 to the Graduate School Office. This form determines the grade for research credits in the first year.
E. Electives – Students complete their credit requirements with electives. Typically during the first year, student do not take electives in the first semester and are limited to a small number of elective credits in the spring semester, depending on their individual schedules. The bulk of the elective credits are taken during the second year. Elective credits may be satisfied with:
- Courses from any of the PhD multi-disciplinary training areas, including seminars and journal clubs
- Selected courses from MD program, subject to space availability and by permission of the MSBS Program Director. All medical school courses are graded P/F.
- Course from the MPH or MS in Clinical Research programs. Requires permission of the relevant course directors.
A. Electives – See above.
B. Thesis credit – Three credits will be given for the MS Thesis in Biomedical Sciences in the final semester of the program. Thesis credits are assigned automatically when a student deposits his/her thesis.
C. Research credits – Students should sign up for Independent Biomedical Sciences Master’s Research. Each student will receive 8 credits for research conducted during the fall of the second year.
D. Three Semesters or Four? – While the MSBS Program is designed to be completed in 3 semesters, many students choose to spread their research and/or courses over 4 semesters. There are many advantages to utilizing the full 4 semesters to complete the degree and, as an added bonus, there are no additional tuition costs or student fees for this extra time. During the fourth semester, students will register for the course(s) they need and for research credits. If a student extends his/her matriculation beyond 4 semesters, there is a small yearly fee for maintaining the student’s status as a matriculated student.
2. Milestones –
- Select a laboratory – this must be completed by October 1st of the first year. See below for a description of the laboratory selection process.
- Form a thesis committee – this must be done by January 1st of the first year. See below for the composition of your thesis committee.
- First committee meeting – Master’s students must hold their first committee meeting by the end of the spring semester of the first year of study.
- Research Update Presentation – Master’s students are required to prepare a brief PowerPoint talk on their research to be presented at the Laboratory Presentations mini-symposium, which is typically held in early June.
- Masters in Biomedical Sciences Laboratory Research Evaluation form – Must be completed by the end of the spring semester. It is completed with the thesis advisor and must be returned by July 1 to the Graduate School Office. This form is used, in part, to determine the grade for research credits in the first year. 75% of the grade is determined by this form and 25% is from the evaluation of the Laboratory Presentation.
- Second committee meeting – By November 1st, the student should have a second committee meeting. At this meeting the student will present his/her research progress and discuss timing for the thesis defense
- Thesis document – Prior to graduating, each student must submit a thesis document that describes the student’s work in detail. See below for a full description of this document and its requirements.
- Oral defense of the thesis – as a final milestone, each MSBS student must defend his/her thesis orally. The presentation and defense, described below, is made to the thesis/advisory committee.
3. Graduation Requirements –
- Complete a minimum of 45 graduate credits
- Complete the Core Curriculum with an average grade of B (3.0) or higher
- Must achieve an average GPA of at least a 3.0.
- Complete a written thesis
- Successfully defend the thesis orally to the thesis committee
4. Advising –
There are several formal advising processes for MSBS students. These are:
- Academic Advisors – Upon matriculation, each student is assigned an academic advisor. The role of this advisor is to help students navigate the process of selecting a laboratory and Thesis Advisor. Once a lab is selected, the thesis advisor will become the student’s primary mentor. In many cases, students choose to continue a mentoring relationship with their Academic Advisor.
- Thesis Advisor – Students should select a thesis advisor for their research by October 1 of the first semester. Master’s degree students do not do laboratory rotations. The student should discuss with their thesis advisor the expectations and goals for the research project. The Masters in Biomedical Sciences Research Agreement form should be filled out, signed by both the faculty member and the student, and returned to the Graduate School Office.
If a student realizes that the selected laboratory is not a good match, a switch to another laboratory should be discussed with the Program Director.
- Thesis Committee – The Thesis Committee, as described below, will be an important part of a student’s advisory team. The student is required to have at least two meetings with his/her advisory committee prior to defending the thesis. It is to the student’s advantage to populate this committee with members who can help guide the research project technically and/or intellectually.
- Program Director and Program Coordinator– The MSBS Program Director and Program Coordinator are an important part of the advising team. The Program Director will schedule periodic meetings with the MSBS students. Additional one-on-one meetings are available as needed and can be scheduled by appointment
5. Selection of a Research Mentor –
Students should select a thesis advisor for their research by October 1 of the first semester. Master’s students do not do laboratory rotations. The student should discuss with their thesis advisor the expectations and goals for the research project. The Masters in Biomedical Sciences Research Agreement form should be filled out, signed by both the faculty member and the student, and returned to the Graduate School Office. If the student realizes that the selected laboratory is not a good match between the student and the thesis advisor, a switch to another laboratory should be discussed with the Program Director.