MS Program

PIB also offers MS to meet the needs of students with particular interests. This Master Program offers an excellent foundation for future careers in biomedical professions, academic or pharmaceutical research, cell, molecular and system level coursework and research experience, and possibility to transfer to the PhD program in PIB upon approval of the PIB Academic Standing Committee. The MS program usually includes one year of advanced course work and hands-on laboratory experience, followed by a year of intensive laboratory investigation in a mentored environment with a final written thesis (see below).

Students can choose their research focus from a wide array of research areas represented within the PIB program. A minimum of 30 credits is required for the MS degree, consisting of both course and laboratory trainings. To accommodate students with different backgrounds, the program offers a flexible schedule, allowing up to 3 years for the completion of the requirements.

Students are encouraged to take the First Year of the Core Course requirements of the Molecular Bioscience Program.

Both the core and elective courses offered in PIB as described in Subsequent Years for the PhD curriculum are also available to the Master of Science students.

Currently, the following techniques and areas of research are available in the program: molecular biology, gene expression, DNA microarray screening, electrophysiology, ion transport, transgenic animal models, cardiovascular physiology, cell signaling, hormone/receptor biology, confocal microscopy, endocrinology, Drosophila, C. elegans and yeast biology, host-microbial interaction and sexually transmitted infections.

In addition to enrolled MS students, PhD students can leave the PhD program with an MS Degree provided the following requirements are met:

Course Requirements:

A minimum of 30 credits is required for an MS degree.  In general, graduate course credits cannot be used toward an MS degree, unless the undergraduate course is requested by the advisor and/or advisory committee.  Use of undergraduate course credits for graduate degrees needs approval by the Program Director and Senior Associate Dean. The Ethical Scientific Conduct course must be completed prior to graduation, preferably in the first year of the program. Click here for details on the course.


This may be either a paper describing research accomplished, or a critical review of a topic approved by the student's committee. The thesis committee consisting of three faculty members, two of whom are to be members of the PIB program, reviews the MS thesis. The unanimous approval of the thesis is required for award of the degree. A written thesis is required for each MS degree. The student may request a waiver of the oral thesis defense for good reason such as moving to another area. The student must request this waiver by letter to the Program Director and to the student’s advisor, both of whom must approve the waiver of the oral defense.

Thesis Defense:

The thesis defense will consist of an oral examination on the topic of the thesis. This examination will be conducted by a committee consisting of three faculty members, two of whom are to be members of the PIB program. The committee is to be chosen by the student and approved by the Program Director.


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