Masters in Medical Science
Specializing in genetics, microbiology, and biochemistry

Program Overview

The foundation of the M.S. program is a basic understanding of molecular and cell biology and the performance of a high-quality research project under the direction of a skilled mentor, with supervision by a committee composed of members of the University’s Graduate Research Faculty. Specialization may be in any of the fields of research being pursued in the College of Medicine and includes molecular genetics, gene therapy, bacterial or viral pathogenesis, protein structure, toxicology, mammalian genetics, wound healing, or congenital eye diseases. The research is presented in the form of a thesis which is defended in a public forum.

Each student must present one seminar during their tenure. The content of the lecture courses is intended to address a critical need for a strong foundation in molecular and cell biology, and to provide an advanced level curriculum in the specialty disciplines represented in the College. Both the seminars and the lecture courses provide preparation for Master’s research which should be well underway by the end of the second semester. Ideally, students will continue their research during the summer.

The spring semester of the second year for those working to complete the M.S. degree requirements in 1.5 years would be devoted primarily to finishing the research and writing the thesis. An appropriate Master’s thesis project should involve learning a technique, using the technique independently in a research project, and analyzing and reporting the results. Examples of appropriate projects would include sequencing and analyzing a gene, making and using a monoclonal antibody, creating and testing ribozymes, purifying and partially characterizing a protein, or expressing a recombinant protein. There are many others that would be appropriate. The College of Medicine’s web site,, under Master’s degree programs, has descriptions of the work of some of the faculty interested in training Master’s students. It has been decided that, in some cases, negative results would be satisfactory as long as they were adequately explained. Upon completion of the laboratory research, the student writes and defends a thesis based on the research. The student should plan to have the thesis finished and defended at least four weeks before the anticipated graduation date.

Deadline for applications is March 31 of the current year fall admission.

Degree Requirements

To be considered full time, you are required to take 9 credits each fall and spring  and 6 credits in the summer. Completion of the 1.5-year (fall, spring, summer, fall)  Master’s degree requires a total of 33 credits; 24 credits of this  must be formal coursework. Of the 24 hours of graded course work, 12 hours of it  must consist of BCH and GMS graded courses. GMS 6003 and 3 credits of GMS 7194 are  required. With special permission, some students may take an Interdisciplinary course of study designed primarily for Ph.D. students. There is a limit of ten hours of Research in Medical Sciences (GMS 6905 and 6910). The student must register for a minimum of 3 hours of Master’s Research (GMS 6971) and may  register for up to 6 hours of Master’s research. Three hours of this must be  taken during the semester the student plans to graduate.