Master of Science (M.S.)

The M.S. Degree Program in the Department of Cellular and Structural Biology (hereinafter referred to as the Program) offers training in areas of anatomical sciences and biotechnology. The curriculum prepares students seeking a Master of Science degree for a fulfilling biomedical career, in academic, industrial or clinical settings. The overall mission of the Program is to prepare the next generation of life-long learners and critical thinkers, prepared to design and execute innovative basic and translational research, and to address the most important and challenging knowledge gaps in basic biology, human health and disease. There are two parallel tracks in the Program: Anatomical Sciences and Biotechnology Tracks with some overlapping requirements but distinct curricula. The program of graduate study (i.e. the track elected) leading to the Master's Degree will depend upon the student and the professional career for which the student is preparing. A Committee on Graduate Studies (COGS) oversees all aspects of the Program.

Cell Systems and Anatomy Admission Requirements

Students beginning graduate study ordinarily matriculate during the fall semester, which starts mid-August. Spring semester admission (January start date) will not be considered except in very unusual circumstances.

The following are the basic admission criteria to the Program. On a case-by-case basis and at the discretion of the M.S. Admissions Committee and with approval of COGS and the Graduate Faculty Council (GFC), one or more admission requirement(s) may be waived.

Applicants are required to have a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in a Life Science or Biomedical Engineering from an accredited institution and a minimum GPA of 3.0/4.0.  Applicants should have received credit for courses taken in:

    Biology 1- A minimum of 2 years of general biology with labs for science majors.
    Chemistry 1- A minimum of 1 year general chemistry and organic chemistry
    Physics- A minimum of 1 year of general physics
    Mathematics- minimum of 1 semester of calculus

1 course should include laboratory experience

All applicants must take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). The GRE must be taken within the last 5 years and the TOEFL, if required, within the last 2 years. A personal statement is required.

In addition to the GRE, international applicants are also required to take one of two English proficiency tests: Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS: Academic module only). The minimum required scores for the TOEFL are 550 for the paper test and 68 for the internet test.  The minimum score on the academic International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is 6.5.

Three letters of recommendation are required.

The admission committee uses a holistic approach in making its decision.  Consideration is given to a candidate’s research experience, grade point average, personal statement, GRE score, interviews, letters of recommendations, and to how they match up against other interested applicants.

Cell Systems and Anatomy Degree Requirements

All students require a minimum of 30 semester credit hours (SCH) and a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 to graduate with a M.S. degree. See Academic Plans of Study - Anatomical Sciences and Biotechnology for details of required and elective coursework. In addition, all master’s candidates must register for Thesis for at least one semester in order to graduate.  Students in the Anatomical Sciences track register for "Anatomical Sciences Thesis/CSBL 6060" and students in the Biotechnology track register for "Thesis" CSBL 6098. All students must successfully defend their thesis and be recommended by the program COGS for approval of their degree to the Dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

A student must maintain an overall cumulative grade point average (GPA) of ≥ 3.0 (“B” average) each semester to continue in good academic standing. Student should receive a “B” or better in their core courses. If a student receives a grade that is worse than a “B” in core courses, or a grade that is worse than a “C” in one of the courses, or a final grade of a “C” in more than one course in the curriculum, he/she shall be dismissed from the program unless an appeal from the student is approved by COGS. If the cumulative GPA drops below 3.0, the student shall be placed on academic probation. While on probation, a student must maintain a “B” average in all courses in which he/she is enrolled. If the GPA drops below 3.0 in any semester during the probationary period or remains below 3.0 for one calendar year, the student shall be dismissed from the program unless an appeal from the student is approved by COGS. If remediation of a course is agreed upon by a course director and COGS, the director(s) of a required course will determine the mechanism for remediation. However, course directors are not required to remediate students. Situations that involve potential remediation will be resolved on a case by case basis. A student who is not required to remediate a required course may not engage in the remediation process with the intent of improving his/her original grade. This policy will be reviewed annually.

Anatomical Sciences Track

First Year
FallCredit Hours
TSCI 5070Responsible Conduct Of Patient-Oriented Clinical Research 2
CSBL 6060Anatomical Sciences Thesis 0.5
CSBL 5074Introduction to Research 0.5
INTD 5047Neuroanatomy 2
CSBL 5030Basic Histology 1
CSBL 5060Advanced Histology 2
 Total Credit Hours: 8.0
First Year
SpringCredit Hours
CSBL 5022Inter-professional Human Gross Anatomy 5.5
CSBL 6059Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine 1
CSBL 6060Anatomical Sciences Thesis 0.5
CSBL 5023Development 1
 Total Credit Hours: 8.0
Second Year
FallCredit Hours
CSBL 6071Supervised Teaching**Supervised Teaching (Medical or Dental Gross Anatomy) *must be done in the 2nd year either semester 3
CSBL 6072Presentation Skills 0.5
CSBL 6060Anatomical Sciences Thesis 3.5,7.5
 Total Credit Hours: 7.0-11.0
Second Year
SpringCredit Hours
CSBL 6060Anatomical Sciences Thesis 5.5,2.5
CSBL 6072Presentation Skills 0.5
CSBL 6071Supervised Teaching*Supervised Teaching (Medical or Dental Gross Anatomy) *must be done in the 2nd year either semester 1-12
 Total Credit Hours: 7.0-15.0

Biotechnology Track

First Year
FallCredit Hours
IBMS 5000Fundamentals Of Biomedical Sciences 8
CSBL 5074Introduction to Research 0.5
TSCI 5070Responsible Conduct Of Patient-Oriented Clinical Research 2
 Total Credit Hours: 10.5
First Year
SpringCredit Hours
CSBL 6097Research 5
CSBL 5095Experimental Design And Data Analysis 3
 Total Credit Hours: 8.0
Second Year
FallCredit Hours
CSBL 6097Research 7.5
CSBL 6072Presentation Skills 0.5
 Total Credit Hours: 8.0
Second Year
SpringCredit Hours
CSBL 6098Thesis 3
CSBL 6072Presentation Skills 0.5
 Total Credit Hours: 3.5

Cell Systems and Anatomy 
Objectives/Program Outcomes

Anatomical Science Track

    Students will have the ability to review, interpret and critically evaluate scientific literature related to areas of biomedical science relevant to the anatomical sciences in general and specifically to their project. Students will be trained to review and interpret original scientific literature through coursework and in their examination of the literature.

    Students will have the ability to communicate effectively in written and verbal presentations. Students will learn to effectively communicate ideas in written format via coursework, examinations and their research and to communicate ideas/concepts in verbal presentations during progress report seminars, research advisory committee meetings, oral examinations/thesis defenses, and participation in scientific meetings.

    Students will demonstrate foundational knowledge and expertise in a select area appropriate to the project. Students will be able to define, explain, and apply key concepts and fundamental principles related to the areas of anatomical science.

    Students will demonstrate fundamental knowledge of ethics in biomedical research. Students will be able to recognize ethical dilemmas and behave in accordance with ethical standards of conduct in the design, implementation, analysis, and dissemination of scientific research.
    Students will have the ability to teach human anatomy in the health professions environment. Students will be able to teach human gross anatomy, histology and/or neuroanatomy at graduate level.

Biotechnology Track

    Students will have the ability to review, interpret and critically evaluate scientific literature related to areas of biomedical science relevant to cellular and molecular biology in general and specifically to their project. Students will be trained to review and interpret original scientific literature through coursework and in their research.
     
    Students will have the ability to conduct original biomedical research. Students in the program will be able to analyze, plan, organize, and conduct high quality biomedical research under the direction of supervising professors and guidance of research advisory (thesis) committees as appropriate.
     
    Students will have the ability to communicate effectively in written and verbal presentations. Students will learn to effectively communicate ideas in written format via coursework, examinations and their research and to communicate ideas/concepts in verbal presentations during progress report seminars, research advisory committee meetings, oral examinations/thesis defenses, and participation in scientific meetings.
     
    Students will demonstrate foundational knowledge and expertise in a select area appropriate to the research project. Students will be able to define, explain, and apply key concepts and fundamental principles related to the areas of biomedical science relevant to their track and to their specific research projects.
     
    Students will demonstrate fundamental knowledge of ethics in biomedical research. Students will be able to recognize ethical dilemmas and behave in accordance with ethical standards of conduct in the design, implementation, analysis, and dissemination of scientific research.

CSBL 5022. Inter-professional Human Gross Anatomy. 5.5 Credit Hours.

This courses will teach structural and functional anatomy of the normal human body. Lectures will serve as introductory information for the laboratory dissections to follow and to clarify the interactions of the various anatomical components to accomplish the function of the body. The course will cover the central and peripheral nervous systems, vertebral column and back, the upper and lower limbs, head and neck, body wall, thorax, abdomen, pelvis, and perineum. Special emphasis will be placed on the laboratory experience in which the learner will perform a detailed dissection of the entire human body in order to achieve an understanding of the three-dimensional relationships and thus the interactive function of the body. The dissections will allow the student to understand the anatomical basis for disease and dysfunction in organ systems and their applications to clinical practice. They will be supplemented by the study of prosected specimens where possible, models skeletons, and other demonstration materials.

CSBL 5023. Development. 1 Credit Hour.

The course provides a survey of concepts in developmental biology (induction, cell-cell interactions, morphogen gradients, morphogenetic movements, transcription regulation, organogenesis) using experimental examples from both invertebrate and vertebrate embryos. The first set of lectures will focus on gametogenesis, fertilization, and early developmental events, such as cleavage, midblastula transition, gastrulation, and axis formation. The second set of lectures will explore the fates of germ layers in the contexts of cell type-specific differentiation and cell-cell interactions during organogenesis.

CSBL 5030. Basic Histology. 1 Credit Hour.

This course is designed to provide students in the Anatomical Sciences track of the M.S. degree program an introduction to microscopic cell structures and relevant functions followed by study of the four basic human tissues (epithelial, connective, muscle and nervous tissues). In addition, a few specialized tissues (blood cells, bone, cartilage and lymphoid tissues) will be examined in depth to develop skill in understanding function in relation to viewing microscopic anatomical features. Overall, this course is meant to provide a foundation for the understanding of the microscopic architecture of the organ systems of the body and the role these play in normal activity and disease processes. Lectures, independent study (self-directed learning), and laboratory experiences will be used in teaching the fundamentals of human histology.

CSBL 5060. Advanced Histology. 2 Credit Hours.

This course, designed for students enrolled in the Anatomical Sciences track of the MS degree program in Cell Systems & Anatomy, will examine the microscopic architecture of organs and their higher level organization into systems performing specific functions. Topics covered will include the integumentary, cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, endocrine, urinary and male and female reproductive systems. The goal of this course is to enable students acquire knowledge of normal histological structure of organs and organ systems using light and electron microscopy, thereby providing a strong basis for the sound understanding of cell and tissue morphology in health and disease. The course will include lecture, laboratory and self-directed student learning. A prerequisite for this course is Basic Histology.

CSBL 5074. Introduction to Research. 0.5 Credit Hours.

This course is required of all MS students in the Anatomy Track in Cellular & Structural Biology and is available to the Biotechnology Track students. Students will have the opportunity to learn about the research interests of faculty in the program. This course will introduce students to the research strategies and help them identify a mentor and committee members.

CSBL 5095. Experimental Design And Data Analysis. 3 Credit Hours.

The purpose of the course is to provide an introduction to experimental design and statistical analysis. The emphasis of the course will be on the selection and application of proper tests of statistical significance. Practical experience will be provided in the use of both parametric and nonparametric methods of statistical evaluation. Among the topics to be covered are: data reduction, types of distributions, hypothesis testing, scales of measurement, chi square analysis, the special case of the comparison of two groups; analysis of variance; a posteriori multiple comparisons tests, tests of the assumptions of parametric analyses, advanced forms of the analysis of variance, linear regression, and correlation analysis. This course involves the use of statistical software; therefore, access to a laptop or a computer with web access for classes and examinations is required.

CSBL 6059. Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine. 1 Credit Hour.

The fields of stem cells and regenerative medicine are rapidly evolving and have great potential to change the way medicine is practiced. This course will encompass topics from basics of tissue specific stem cell biology to pre-clinical animal models, strategies and progress in regenerative medicine. We will discuss some of the most current research being done in regenerative medicine from stem cell transplantation to biomaterials. Prerequisite: INTD 5000.

CSBL 6060. Anatomical Sciences Thesis. 1-8 Credit Hours.

Designed as an alternative to a "bench research"- based thesis, this longitudinal course for the Anatomical Sciences track in the Masters Program will culminate in the production of a thesis ideally suitable for adaption as a scholarly publication in a peer-reviewed journal. The thesis should focus on assessment of an unanswered and important question on a relevant and approved subject, involve in-depth research and demonstrate critical thinking on the part of the student. A student in the Anatomical Sciences Track will meet with the Course Director during the spring semester of his/her first year in the program to begin to identify a research area and specific topic(s) for his/her thesis proposal. Areas of focus include (but are not limited to) the following: 1) Clinical Anatomy - anatomy related to medical procedures and/or training of health professionals; 2) Anatomical Variations - comparative research utilizing human cadavers in the gross anatomy laboratories or comparative research in animal models; 3) Anatomical Sciences Education - education research on anatomy teaching methods and approaches to teaching anatomy to health professions students;4) History of Anatomy - research on the development of human anatomical studies, comparative anatomy concepts, anatomy education, or involving other applications of the humanities to anatomical sciences (e.g. medical illustration, literature, music); 5) Human and rodent micro-anatomy /histology; or 6) Anatomical aspects of a biomedical research endeavor.

CSBL 6071. Supervised Teaching. 1-12 Credit Hours.

This course consists of participation in the teaching program of the first-year medical, dental, or health professions curriculum. Semester hours vary depending on the time spent in teaching.

CSBL 6072. Presentation Skills. 0.5 Credit Hours.

This course is designed to provide graduate students in the CSB masters program the opportunity to develop their skills in oral presentation. The course will focus on critical thinking, clear and concise presentation of research endeavors, and communicating science to the public, to students, and to other scientists. The course will meet for 1 hour every other week and is intended for MS students in their second year of study. Part I (Fall Semester) will focus on general scientific presentation skills.

CSBL 6097. Research. 1-12 Credit Hours.

This course consists of independent, original research under the direction of a faculty advisor.

CSBL 6098. Thesis. 1-12 Credit Hours.

This course consists of instruction in the preparation of the thesis. Registration for at least one term is required of M.S. candidates. Admission to candidacy for Master of Science degree is required.

IBMS 5000. Fundamentals Of Biomedical Sciences. 8 Credit Hours.

This core course covers the fundamentals of biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, organismal and systems biology, and microbiology and immunology. The course is designed for first-year graduate students matriculating into the Integrated Biomedical Sciences Program (IBMS).

INTD 5047. Neuroanatomy. 2 Credit Hours.

The purpose of this course is to provide students with a practical working knowledge of the structure of both the peripheral and central nervous system. The emphasis will be on the organization of the human brain, although the brains of other species may also be included if appropriate for a specific brain region. The course will look at each of the individual components of the central nervous system in some depth but will also emphasize the complex integration of these various components into a functional brain. The topics covered in the course are specifically designed to mesh in time with those covered in Fundamentals of Neuroscience 2 describing the function of these areas. For this reason, it would be best if these two courses were taken concomitantly. The course will be didactic with digital images, models, and wet specimens included in the course.

TSCI 5070. Responsible Conduct Of Patient-Oriented Clinical Research. 2 Credit Hours.

This interdisciplinary course is designed to train participants in the responsible conduct of patient-oriented clinical research. Students will have the opportunity to learn to and, by the end of the course, be required to: (1) delineate a history of hallmark abuses of humans enrolled in clinical research; (2) describe the evolution of national and international codes and regulations guiding inclusion of human subjects in clinical investigations; (3) list the elements of informed consent and describe procedures and precautions for enrolling special populations into clinical investigation; (4) write a consent form in understandable language; (5) recognize different forms of scientific misconduct; (6) describe the role and processes of a peer review board to judge violations in research ethics; (7) develop strategies for self-assessment and validation of scientific objectivity in one's own research; and (8) recognize the ethical responsibilities and consequences of whistle blowing.