model of molecular structure


Program Expectations & Forms

For a detailed description of all program requirements, please refer to the current Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences (MSBS) webpage.

Year 1 


Students enroll in the comprehensive core curriculum offered by the College of Graduate Studies. Students also complete two 6-week laboratory rotations before selecting a Mentor who will oversee their thesis research. Prior to appointment, students should discuss the Student-Advisor Compact with their prospective Mentor.

By the end of the Fall term, students should meet with their Mentors to develop a personalized program of study based on their research project, scientific interests, and career goals. As part of the program, students are required to attend the Department Research and Methods Seminar Series.


Students complete the Principles, Practices, & Professionalism course (CGS-770) and additional elective requirements while working in the laboratory to develop their research project. By the end of the Spring term, students should select a Thesis Advisory Committee, comprising their Mentor and three additional faculty members (with two members from the Department and one member whose primary appointment is outside the Department). Students are required to meet with their Committee before the end of the Spring term to review and approve their Specific Aims. Changes to the Thesis Advisory Committee must be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies for approval.


During the Summer term, students take the Writing for the MS course (CGS-762) where they prepare a draft research proposal based on their thesis project. After completing the draft proposal, students should prepare for the Qualifying Examination, which is to be completed by October 1 of the second year.

Admission to Candidacy 

To qualify for admission to Candidacy, MS students must pass both the written and oral components of a Qualifying Examination. For the written exam, students submit a final version of their thesis proposal (Specific Aims – 1 page, Research Strategy – 6 pages, single-spaced text, excluding references) to the Thesis Advisory Committee at least one week before the oral exam. Students will present their thesis proposal during a closed-door oral defense administered by their Dissertation Advisory Committee and attended by the Director of Graduate Training. After passing all components of the Qualifying Examination, a student is certified as a Candidate for the MS degree.

Year 2 

After admission to Candidacy, a student’s primary effort is devoted to the completion of their research thesis. Students should complete any additional course or program requirements, including a public presentation of their work (oral seminar or poster presentation), and continue to meet annually with their Committee to ensure adequate progress toward their degree. Students should defend their thesis by the end of the academic year.

Dissertation Defense 

Students should consult with their Mentor and Committee to establish an appropriate timeline for completing all program requirements and scheduling the Defense. A signed Notification of Defense Form must be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies at least three weeks in advance of the proposed Defense date. The Candidate presents their thesis research at a public seminar, followed by a closed-door Defense administered by the Thesis Advisory Committee. All requirements must be complete and submitted by the last day of class for the degree to be conferred that term. Please refer to the College of Graduate Studies Graduation page for more information about the Defense and Commencement.