MSMS Curriculum

Students entering the MS in Medical Sciences program can choose either a thesis option (Plan A) requiring 24 hours of graduate level coursework and at least six hours of masters research, or a non-thesis option (Plan B) requiring 30 hours of graduate level coursework. For both Plan A and Plan B, 50% of the graduate level coursework must be at the 600 level or above and two-thirds must be in formally organized graduate level courses. Students who choose either Plan A or Plan B have the opportunity to conduct cutting edge research in the laboratory of numerous investigators in the basic science disciplines.

Plan A requires a defense of the master’s thesis while Plan B requires a final master’s exam. Most students enrolling in the MS in Medical Sciences as a stand-alone degree utilize the Plan B platform. 

All students are encouraged to have at least a one semester of biomedical research experience with a faculty member in one of the disciplines cited above. On average the program takes two years to complete.

Plan of Study for students in the MS in Medical Sciences Degree Program

The plan of study for the MSMS program consists of an eight (8) credit hour core curriculum and a recommended course of study based on career tracks. The eight credit hour core curriculum consists of the following courses:

IBS 602: Molecular Biology & Genetics (3 Credit hours-Fall) 
An introductory graduate-level course on mechanisms associated with DNA structure, replication, recombination and repair, chromatin, transcriptional control, mRNA processing, and protein synthesis. Aspects of contemporary genetics, genomics and bioinformatics will also be included. Techniques in genetic engineering and recombinant DNA that are critical to molecular biology research will be covered. Prerequisites: CHE 105 and 107, CHE 230 and 232, BIO 150 and 152, or equivalents.

IBS 606: Physiological Communications (3 credit hours-Spring) 
An introductory graduate level course that considers the function of the mammalian organism from a perspective ranging from cells to organs, with an emphasis on physiological communication between organ systems. The course is organized into 3 sections that include: (a) overview of basic physiological mechanisms maintaining homeostasis and mechanisms of endocrine communication via the bloodstream, (b) mechanisms of cell to cell communication by the immune system, and (c) mechanisms of neural communication. Prerequisites: BCH 401G and IBS 602

TOX 600: Ethics in Scientific Research (1 credit hour-Spring) 
Overview of good laboratory practices as the basis of good scientific research, and overview of quality assurance and appropriate practices in data analysis and data interpretation. Ethics of human and animal experimentation; the concepts of data and intellectual property, their ownership and access to them. Prerequisites: Research experience and consent of instructor.

MI 772: Seminar in Microbiology (1 credit hour)
Review of current literature in microbiology; presentation of papers on work in progress in the department or on assigned topics; reports on meetings of national and international scientific and professional societies and symposia.

Other Course Requirements

Additional coursework to fulfill the MSMS degree requirement is selected from courses offered in the basic and biomedical science programs in the College of Medicine and other colleges. Students will work with their mentor to design a career-focused curriculum along discipline-specific tracks that target the needs, training, and career goals of each student (e.g., medical school, dental school, doctoral, pharmaceutical industry, laboratory technician, etc.).

Examples of recommended courses that provide advanced scientific training can be found HERE and are based on prerequisites that are consistent with different professional degree programs and areas of specialization. For example, students planning to pursue an advanced degree in biomedical research, such as the IBS program at UK, would benefit from taking IBS 601/BCH 607 Biomolecules and Metabolism.

The Fundamentals of Biochemistry course (BCH 401G) would provide sufficient exposure and background material for students wishing to pursue a non-research based health-related professional degree program.

Many, if not all, dental schools are now requiring microbiology as a prerequisite and students wishing to pursue this career path should take MI 598 Clinical Microbiology.

A student pursuing a career in the pharmaceutical industry would want to consider taking Principles of Drug Action (PHA 621) and Molecular Targets and Therapeutics (PHA 622).