Department of
Cellular and Structural Biology

Master's Program


The program of graduate study leading to the Master's Degree is quite flexible. Students may select to pursue the M.S. through either the Anatomical Sciences or Biotechnology track. Specific coursework will depend on the student, the area of specialization, and the professional career for which the student is preparing. A minimum of 36 semester hours of graduate credit is required for the Master's degree. The Anatomical Sciences track is a non-thesis track and does not require laboratory research.


Laboratory experiences (applies ONLY to the Biotechnology track):
Laboratory rotations are recommended, but not required. Once an advisor is selected and sufficient preliminary data have been generated, a Thesis Committee is formulated consisting of the Supervising Professor (research advisor), at least two members of the Graduate Faculty in Cellular and Structural Biology, and a member of the faculty from another graduate program within the Health Science Center. The Thesis Committee shall then guide the student in selection of any additional coursework and in his/her research activities. In addition, the Thesis Committee will meet regularly with the student to ensure continued satisfactory progress towards the degree.


Thesis proposal and admission to candidacy (applies ONLY to the Biotechnology track):
The student should prepare a Thesis proposal early in the second year. After the Supervising Professor and members of the Supervising Committee have approved it, the student will present the proposal to the COGS. Following approval of the proposal and Thesis Committee, COGS recommends to the Dean of the Graduate School that the student be admitted to candidacy.


The Final Oral Examination (applies ONLY to the Biotechnology track):
When the Thesis Committee is satisfied that the research is near completion, it shall permit the writing of the thesis. The thesis will then be defended in a seminar-type presentation followed by an oral examination. The Thesis Committee will ensure that all degree requirements have been met and then recommend to COGS awarding of the M.S. by the Dean of the Graduate School.


Anatomical Sciences Track:
This is a non-thesis track. Each Master's degree candidate is required to complete a library research paper on a topic of his/her choosing that is approved by a Research Investigative Paper Committee. Three members of the Cellular and Structural Biology faculty will serve on the Research Investigative Paper Committee and will work with the candidate on this endeavor. The candidate will present a summary of the paper to COGS. Following approval, COGS will ensure that all degree requirements have been met and then recommend awarding of the M.S. by the Dean of the Graduate School.


Teaching requirement:
Master's degree candidates in the Anatomical Sciences track are required to spend, at least, one semester teaching in a medical, dental or health professions gross anatomy or microanatomy (histology) course. There is no teaching requirement for M.S. students in the Biotechnology track, although they may choose to assist in one of the departmental courses. Students considering a career in academia may find it helpful to have this valuable teaching experience.