UNTHSC Logo Catalog 2011-2012

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Degree Programs

ResearchThe GSBS offers both MS and PhD degrees in biomedical sciences. Students acquire a broad base of knowledge in biomedical sciences and pursue specialized research in their chosen fields. The training students obtain equips them for professional careers in health science centers, universities, health care industry, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Students obtain a degree in biomedical sciences, although they may choose to specialize in biochemistry and molecular biology, cancer biology, cardiovascular science, cell biology, forensic genetics, integrative physiology, microbiology and immunology, neurobiology of aging, pharmacology and neuroscience, structural anatomy, visual sciences and integrative biomedical sciences. Specialized master's degrees are available in biotechnology, clinical research management, medical sciences, and forensic genetics. Dual degrees are available in clinical research and education (osteopathic manipulative medicine) and primary care clinical research.

A student may only be enrolled in one degree program within the GSBS at any given time. The only exception is to allow the MS student in the last semester of study who has already gained acceptance into the PhD degree program to enroll in course work to be applied to the PhD.

Core Curriculum Requirements

All graduate students, regardless of discipline, are expected to complete the core requirements described below. The integrative biomedical sciences curriculum is designed to provide a broad background in biochemistry, microbiology, molecular biology, cell biology, immunology, pharmacology, and physiology.

General MS Core Requirements

BMSC 5140

Seminar in Current Topics4

1 to 3

BMSC 5135

Introduction to Faculty Research

2

BMSC 5160

Biomedical Ethics

1

BMSC 6301

Integrative Biomedical Sciences I: Principles of Biochemistry1

4

BMSC 6302

Integrative Biomedical Sciences II: Molecular Cell Biology1

4

BMSC 5310

 Scientific Communications2

3

BMSC 6310

Grant Writing2

3

BMSC 6940

Individual Research

3 to 40

PLUS at least two of the following courses:

BMSC 6303

Integrative Biomedical Sciences III: Physiology

3

BMSC 6304

Integrative Biomedical Sciences IV: Pharmacology

2

BMSC 6305

Integrative Biomedical Sciences V: Immunology and Microbiology

3

AND Advanced Courses and Electives

 

  • 1 Students in Clinical Research Management and Medical Sciences programs substitute BMSC 5301, 5302, 5303, 5304 and 5305
  • 2 Students in Clinical Research Management and Medical Science programs may be exempt; consult specific discipline
  • 3 For Biotechnology, Clinical Research Management and Forensic Genetics specialized MS programs, Internship Practicum (BMSC 5697) is substituted
  • 4 May substitute seminar courses from other disciplines

General PhD Core Requirements

BMSC 5140

Seminar in Current Topics1

1 to 3

BMSC 5400

Biostatistics

4

BMSC 6301

Integrative Biomedical Sciences I: Principles of Biochemistry

4

BMSC 6302

Integrative Biomedical Sciences II: Molecular Cell Biology

4

BMSC 5135

Introduction to Faculty Research

2

BMSC 5160

Biomedical Ethics

1

BMSC 5310

Scientific Communications

 3

BMSC 6310

Grant Writing2

3

BMSC 6940

Individual Research

3 to 40

BMSC 6950

Doctoral Dissertation

3 to 12

PLUS at least two of the following courses:

BMSC 6303

Integrative Biomedical Sciences III: Physiology

3

BMSC 6304

Integrative Biomedical Sciences IV: Pharmacology

2

BMSC 6305

Integrative Biomedical Sciences V: Immunology and Microbiology

3

AND Advanced Courses and Electives

  • 1 May substitute seminar courses from other disciplines
  • 2 Students must pass a qualifying examination prior to registering for BMSC 6310.

Master of Science Degree

General Requirements

The candidate for a Master of Science degree must earn 30 or more semester credit hours (SCH), depending upon the specific degree requirements. These degree requirements are determined by the graduate catalog currently in force at the time the student's degree plan is approved by the graduate dean. For the traditional Master's degree, 17-20 SCH of the total 30 consist of core requirements and thesis. The use of special problems courses is limited to a maximum of 6 SCH.

Specialized MS degrees in the disciplines of biotechnology, medical science, and clinical research management are administered by the Department of Biomedical Sciences. The MS degree in forensic genetics is administered by the Department of Forensic and Investigative Genetics.

Consult subsequent sections of this publication for the specific course requirements for the traditional master of science degree and for the specialized master of science degrees.

Time Limitations

All requirements for the Master of Science degree must be completed within six years.

As individual courses exceed this time limit they lose all value for degree purposes. Credits that are more than six years old at the time of first registration for graduate work are not transferable from other institutions.

Students anticipating that they will exceed the time limit should apply for an extension before the normal time period to complete the degree expires. Holding a full-time job is not considered in itself sufficient grounds for granting an extension.

Time spent in active service in the U.S. armed forces will not be used in computing the time limit. However, career members of the armed forces should consult the graduate dean concerning the credit given to work completed before or during active military service.

Use of Transfer Credit

Depending on the student's previous preparation and degree plan, graduate work completed elsewhere may be transferred toward a Master of Science degree. Only those courses with a grade of B or higher will be transferred. Courses to be transferred must be taken within 5 years of transfer.

Extension and correspondence credit earned at other institutions will not be counted toward a graduate degree at the Health Science Center. The GSBS does not award credit for portfolio-based experiential learning.

It is the student's responsibility to insure that official transcripts of courses completed elsewhere are furnished to the office of the graduate dean, and that graduate credit has been assigned by the other institution or institutions to whatever courses are to be counted toward the GSBS degree. The student must provide the catalog description and/or syllabus from the semester the course was taken before transfer credit will be approved. Such courses, although listed on the degree plan, will not be counted toward the degree until official transcripts showing graduate credit have been received and the credit has been approved by the graduate dean. All transfer courses are subject to the time limitation described above. Exceptions are handled on a case-by-case basis.

In accordance with the rules of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the majority of the semester credit hours required for any degree must be completed in course work registered through UNTHSC.

Major Professor

Graduate training entails both formal education in a specific discipline and an apprenticeship in which the graduate student trains under the supervision of one or more investigators who are qualified to fulfill the responsibilities of a mentor (major professor). A positive mentoring relationship between the student and the major professor is a vital component of the student's preparation to become not only an independent and successful research scientist but also an effective mentor to future graduate students.

Individuals who pursue a biomedical graduate degree are expected to take responsibility for their own scientific and professional development. Faculty who advise students are expected to fulfill the responsibilities of a mentor, including the provision of scientific training, guidance, instruction in the responsible conduct of research and research ethics, and financial support. The major professor also performs a critical function as a scientific role model for the graduate student.

Prior to the completion of 24 SCH, the master's student must identify a major professor and file the Major Professor Designation/Compact Between Biomedical Graduate Students and Their Research Advisors. This form and the full AAMC Compact Between Biomedical Graduate Students and Their Research Advisors is available on the GSBS Forms and Guidelines website.  

Advisory Committee

Each student must select an advisory committee. The major professor and/or the graduate advisor assist the student in selecting members to serve on the advisory committee. The committee guides the student in selecting course work appropriate for the degree program,  defines research goals and approves the research proposal. The advisory committee administers the final examination for the degree.

The major professor serves as chair of the advisory committee. Advisory committees for Master of Science students must include at least two additional graduate faculty members. Furthermore, all students in programs requiring thesis will be assigned a university member (see details below) who ensures that the policies and procedures of the GSBS and UNTHSC  are upheld.

Each student is required to meet with his/her advisory committee at least once per academic year.

Students in MS programs that do not require internship practica or thesis projects are not required to designate advisory committees.

Degree Plan

Before the completion of 30 SCH, a degree plan listing all courses should be prepared by the student, approved by the student's advisory committee, graduate advisor, and dean. The major professor and advisory committee members are chosen on the advice of the department chair or graduate advisor in the major area. All subsequent requests for degree plan changes must be approved by the advisory committee and submitted in writing by the major professor to the dean.

Degree requirements listed in the graduate catalog currently in force at the time the student's degree plan is approved by the dean are those that must be completed by the student.

Students in MS programs with lock-step curricula are not required to file a degree plan.

University Member

When the advisory committee is formed for students in programs requiring thesis, the dean will appoint a university member.

The primary responsibility of the university member on both MS and PhD committees is to ensure that the policies, procedures and standards of the GSBS and UNTHSC have been upheld. The university member may choose to participate but must be present in any formal hearing (see below for list of such events); however, such participation is not mandated by the GSBS. The university member's signature on appropriate forms indicates that the integrity of the review process has been preserved. It is the responsibility of the university member to report to the dean any inappropriate due process.

The university member must be present at all formal hearings that require a vote which include the thesis proposal presentation and defense and the final thesis seminar and defense. 

Students in MS programs that require Internship Practicum (BMSC 5920) rather than Thesis (BMSC 5950) are not required to have a university member. Students in programs that require neither internship practica nor thesis projects will not be assigned a university member.

Research Proposal

All Master of Science students are required to submit an approved formal research proposal describing the thesis/practicum project. Clinical Research Management students are required to submit the research proposal by the end of the second month of the internship practicum. Biotechnology students are required to submit the research proposal before the end of the fall semester during the second year of study. Forensic Genetics students are required to submit the research proposal at the end of the first week of the internship.

All other Master of Science students are required to submit the research proposal before registering for thesis credits.

Research Proposal Guidelines and the Research Proposal approval forms are available on the GSBS Forms and Guidelines site.

Program Requirements

Each student is responsible for the completion of the Master of Science program according to the procedures that follow. Each item must be completed in the sequence and time period indicated. Forms are subject to revision at any time and should be obtained from the GSBS Forms and Guidelines site.

  1. A major professor should be selected by the student at the earliest possible time, but no later than the completion of 24 SCH after beginning the master's program. The student must file the Major Professor Designation/Compact Between Biomedical Graduate Students and Their Major Professors with the Office of Admissions and Services. The student should meet with the major professor for guidance in forming an advisory committee and degree plan.
  2. Before the completion of 30 SCH, the student must select an advisory committee and file a Designation of Advisory Committee form in the graduate school. Enrollment will be restricted to prevent the accumulation of more than 30 SCH without a designated advisory committee. Upon receipt of the Designation of Advisory Committee form, a University Member will be appointed to serve on the student's committee. The student must file a degree plan approved by the advisory committee with the graduate school before the completion of 30 SCH. Course work deficiencies will be stipulated at this time. Enrollment will be restricted to prevent the accumulation of more than 30 SCH without an approved degree plan. Procedures vary slightly for Clinical Research Management and Forensic Genetics students. Consult the discipline handbook for complete instructions.
  3. A thesis research proposal must be approved by the committee and filed with the graduate school prior to the semester in which the student first enrolls in thesis. Clinical Research Management students are required to submit the research proposal by the end of the second month of the internship practicum. Biotechnology students are required to submit the research proposal before the end of the fall semester during the second year of study. Forensic Genetics students are required to submit the research proposal at the end of the first week of the internship.
  4. Once a student has enrolled in internship practicum or thesis, he/she must maintain continuous enrollment in a minimum of 3 SCH of thesis during each long semester and the summer until the practicum report/thesis has been accepted by the GSBS. Failure to maintain continuous enrollment will either invalidate any previous thesis credit or will result in the student's dismissal from the degree program unless granted an official leave of absence by the graduate dean for medical or other exceptional reasons.
  5. At the time of registration in the final semester, the student must file an Intent to Graduate form with the GSBS Office of Admissions and Services. The form is available on the GSBS Graduation site.
  6. At least 30 days prior to the final defense, the student must file an Intent to Defend form with the GSBS Office of Admissions and Services. The Office of Admissions and Services will advertise the public seminar associated with the final defense. The form is available on the GSBS Graduation site.

  7. The completed practicum report/thesis should be submitted to the advisory committee at least two weeks prior to the defense.

  8. A formal public seminar pertaining to the practicum report/thesis will be presented in the student's last semester.

  9. A final oral defense of the practicum report/thesis and related work will be given by the committee immediately following the seminar. The defense is closed to all parties except the advisory committee and university member. The committee will determine if a student fails, passes or passes with distinction.

  10. The thesis must be prepared for digital submission according to the instructions in the Guidelines for Filing Theses, Internship Practicum Reports and Dissertations, available on the GSBS Graduation site.

Doctor of Philosophy Degree

General Requirements

The candidate for a Doctor of Philosophy degree must earn 60 SCH beyond the master's degree or 90 SCH beyond the bachelor's degree. Doctoral students who have earned a Master of Science degree in a relevant field from an accredited university will be awarded up to 30 SCH of advanced standing, requiring 60 SCH of course work to complete the PhD. The degree requirements are determined by the graduate catalog currently in force at the time the student's degree plan is approved by the GSBS Office of Admissions and Services.

The quantitative SCH requirements must be regarded as a minimum. The quantity of course work to be completed by each candidate is arranged individually by the advisory committee, subject to the approval of the graduate dean, and may be modified both as to quantity and as to type during the progress of the student's course work.

Consult subsequent sections of this publication for the specific course requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy degree.

Residency Requirement

Every candidate for the doctoral degree must complete the appropriate residency requirement at the Health Science Center. The minimum residency requirement consists of two consecutive long semesters in the graduate school (fall and the following spring, or spring and the following fall), or a fall or spring semester and one adjoining summer.

Time Limitations

All work to be credited toward the doctoral degree beyond the master's degree must be completed within a period of 10 years from the date doctoral credit is first earned. No course credit beyond the Master of Science degree that is more than 10 years old at the time the doctoral program is completed will be counted toward the doctorate.

Students anticipating that they will exceed the time limit should apply for an extension before their ninth year of study. Holding a full-time job is not considered in itself sufficient grounds for granting an extension.

Time spent in active service in the U.S. armed forces will not be used in computing the time limit. However, career members of the armed forces should consult the graduate dean concerning the credit given to work completed before or during active military service.

Use of Transfer Credit

Depending on the student's previous preparation and degree plan, graduate work completed elsewhere may be transferred toward a Doctor of Philosophy degree. Only those courses with a grade of B or higher will be transferred. Courses to be transferred must be taken within 5 years of transfer.

Extension and correspondence credit earned at other institutions will not be counted toward a graduate degree at the Health Science Center. The GSBS does not award credit for portfolio-based experiential learning.

It is the student's responsibility to insure that official transcripts of courses completed elsewhere are furnished to the office of the graduate dean, and that graduate credit has been assigned by the other institution or institutions to whatever courses are to be counted toward the GSBS degree. The student must provide the catalog description and/or syllabus from the semester the course was taken before transfer credit will be approved. Such courses, although listed on the degree plan, will not be counted toward the degree until official transcripts showing graduate credit have been received and the credit has been approved by the graduate dean. All transfer courses are subject to the time limitation described above. Exceptions are handled on a case-by-case basis.

In accordance with the rules of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the majority of the semester credit hours required for any degree must be completed in course work registered through UNTHSC.

Major Professor

Graduate training entails both formal education in a specific discipline and an apprenticeship in which the graduate student trains under the supervision of one or more investigators who are qualified to fulfill the responsibilities of a mentor (major professor). A positive mentoring relationship between the student and the major professor is a vital component of the student's preparation to become not only an independent and successful research scientist but also an effective mentor to future graduate students.

Individuals who pursue a biomedical graduate degree are expected to take responsibility for their own scientific and professional development. Faculty who advise students are expected to fulfill the responsibilities of a mentor, including the provision of scientific training, guidance, instruction in the responsible conduct of research and research ethics, and financial support. The major professor also performs a critical function as a scientific role model for the graduate student.

Prior to the completion of 30 SCH, the doctoral student must identify a major professor and file the Major Professor Designation/Compact Between Biomedical Graduate Students and Their Research Advisors. This form and the full AAMC Compact Between Biomedical Graduate Students and Their Research Advisors is available on the GSBS Forms and Guidelines website.  

Advisory Committee

Each student must select an advisory committee. The major professor and/or the graduate advisor assist the student in selecting members to serve on the advisory committee. The committee guides the student in selecting course work appropriate for the degree program,  defines research goals and approves the research proposal. The advisory committee administers the final examination for the degree.

The major professor serves as chair of the advisory committee. Advisory committees for Master of Science students must include at least two additional graduate faculty members. Furthermore, all students in programs requiring thesis will be assigned a university member (see details below) who ensures that the policies and procedures of the GSBS and UNTHSC  are upheld.

Each student is required to meet with his/her advisory committee at least once per academic year.

Degree Plan

Before the completion of 42 SCH, a degree plan listing all courses should be prepared by the student, approved by the student's advisory committee, graduate advisor, and dean. Entering students holding an appropriate master's degree must file a degree plan within the first year of study at the Health Science Center.

The major professor and advisory committee members are chosen on the advice of the department chair or graduate advisor in the major area. All subsequent requests for degree plan changes must be approved by the advisory committee and submitted in writing by the major professor to the dean.

Doctoral degree requirements listed in the graduate catalog currently in force at the time the student's degree plan is approved by the graduate dean are those that must be completed by the student.

University Member

When the advisory committee is formed, the dean will appoint a university member.

The primary responsibility of the university member on both MS and PhD committees is to ensure that the policies, procedures and standards of the GSBS and UNTHSC have been upheld. The university member may choose to participate but must be present in any formal hearing (see below for list of such events); however, such participation is not mandated by the GSBS. The university member's signature on appropriate forms indicates that the integrity of the review process has been preserved. It is the responsibility of the university member to report to the dean any inappropriate due process.

The university member must be present at all formal hearings that require a vote which include the oral qualifying examination; the public seminar and private defense associated with Grant Writing (BMSC 6310); the dissertational proposal presentation and defense;  and the final dissertation seminar and defense. 

Advancement to Candidacy

Doctoral students must complete the following two-part process to be advanced to candidacy. First, a discipline-based oral qualifying examination, designed and administered by the discipline's graduate faculty, must be successfully completed within 72 SCH of coursework inclusive of any advanced standing granted for the completion of a master's degree. Second, the student must complete Grant Writing (BMSC 6310). The student is advanced to candidacy and must enroll in Doctoral Dissertation (BMSC 6395) in the first long semester immediately following successful completion of Grant Writing (BMSC 6310). Disciplines may establish more stringent guidelines or establish earlier deadlines for completing the advancement to candidacy process. A doctoral student whose performance on either the oral qualifying examination or the defense for Grant Writing (BMSC 6310) is most exemplary may be deemed by his/her committee to “pass with distinction.”

A doctoral student who has been passed with distinction will receive the following:

  • Inclusion of the distinction on the transcript
  • Recognition at the annual Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences' Awards Banquet.

Research Proposal

All doctoral students must submit a dissertation research proposal. The research proposal is an outline of the dissertation project. It must include a summary of the proposed project, the hypothesis to be investigated, significance of the project, research design and methodology to be used, and a review of the salient literature that supports or opposes the hypothesis and potential limitations. To take advantage of the advisory committee's expertise and advice, and to clearly define the project and the committee's expectations, it is imperative that the student meet with his/her advisory committee before preparing the research proposal. The research proposal must be approved by the advisory committee and the dean prior to registering in Dissertation (BMSC 6395). Research Proposal Guidelines and the Research Proposal approval forms are available on the GSBS Forms and Guidelines site.

Dissertation Requirement

A dissertation is required of all candidates for the doctorate. In general, 12 SCH are allowed for the dissertation. The student is required to enroll for dissertation credit and must maintain continuous enrollment in Doctoral Dissertation (BMSC 6395) until the dissertation has been completed and submitted to the graduate dean. Grades of Satisfactory (S) or Unsatisfactory (U) will be recorded at the end of each semester until the dissertation is filed with the graduate school and approved by the graduate dean. A letter grade is recorded for the final semester of enrollment in dissertation and the dissertation credit hours for this semester are included in the GPA calculation. A minimum of three semester credit hours of dissertation enrollment is required during each long semester and one summer session to maintain continuous enrollment.

Doctoral Program Requirements

Each student is responsible for the completion of the doctoral program according to the procedures below. Each item must be completed in the sequence and time period indicated.

  1. A major professor should be selected by the student at the earliest possible time, but no later than the completion of 30 SCH after beginning the master's program. The student must file the Major Professor Designation/Compact Between Biomedical Graduate Students and Their Major Professors with the Office of Admissions and Services. The student should meet with the major professor for guidance in forming an advisory committee and degree plan.
  2. The major professor and the doctoral student should select at least three advisory committee members from the graduate faculty. The student has the responsibility for obtaining the agreement of the professors (using the Designation of Doctoral Advisory Committee form) and will file this in the graduate school before the completion of 42 SCH after beginning the doctoral program. Enrollment will be restricted to prevent the accumulation of more than 42 SCH after beginning the doctoral program without designation of an advisory committee. Upon receipt of the Designation of Advisory Committee form, a University Member will be appointed to serve on the student's committee.
  3. The advisory committee should meet and evaluate all credentials of the student pertinent to the development of the degree program. An approved degree plan will then be submitted to the Office of Admissions and Services. The committee should meet with the student as needed to discuss progress, but must meet at least once per academic year. The advisory committee has sole responsibility for quality control of the student's program and dissertation. Enrollment will be restricted to prevent the accumulation of more than 42 SCH without an approved degree plan.
  4. An oral qualifying examination intended to establish the student's candidacy for the PhD degree will be administered by the designated departmental committee upon fulfillment of the course requirements. The qualifying examination is not an open forum; only the student and the examination committee may be present. The qualifying examination must be undertaken prior to the completion of 72 SCH. Results of the qualifying examinations will be sent to the graduate school in writing. Disciplines may have additional qualifying examination requirements, which are indicated in their graduate program descriptions. Notations are added to the student's transcript to denote “Qualifying Examination Passed,” “Qualifying Examination Passed with Distinction” or “Qualifying Examination Failed.” A student that fails the qualifying examination twice may be allowed to complete the requirements for the Master of Science Program.
  5. By the end of the first long semester immediately following successful completion of the qualifying examination, the student completes Grant Writing (BMSC 6310). As a component of this course, the student must attend lectures in addition to writing, presenting and defending an NIH grant application (based on current NIH R01 guidelines) in fulfillment of the course requirements. The maximum page allowance for the grant is 13 pages. The grant must be prepared for electronic submission. The oral presentation of the grant application is a public seminar. The defense is closed to all parties except the advisory committee and university member. Incomplete grades are not assigned for Grant Writing (BMSC 6310). Valid grades are Pass (P) or Fail (F). A student that is assigned a failing grade at the end of the semester must repeat the course during the next semester. If a passing grade is earned on the second attempt, the student will be advanced to candidacy and the original F excluded from the grade point average on the transcript. A second failure will result in the student's transfer to the MS program.
  6. A student who has passed the qualifying examination and successfully completed Grant Writing (BMSC 6310) must maintain continuous enrollment each semester until the dissertation has been accepted by the graduate school. Failure to maintain continuous enrollment will either invalidate any previous dissertation credits or will result in the student being dropped from the degree program unless granted an official leave of absence by the graduate dean for medical or other exceptional reasons.
  7. Prior to registering for Dissertation (BMSC 6395), a student must submit a dissertation research proposal. The proposal must be approved by the advisory committee and the GSBS dean before the prerequisite is fulfilled.
  8. Upon completion of the research and after consultation with the major professor, the student should submit a Declaration of Intent to Graduate form. This form is filed during registration for the final semester. An Intent to Defend form must be filed with the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences 30 days prior to the dissertation defense. Both forms are available on the GSBS Graduation site.
  9. Upon completion of the research and after consultation with the major professor, the student should submit a rough draft of the dissertation to the advisory committee members at least one month before the receipt of the final draft. The final draft should be distributed to committee members at least two weeks prior to the defense. Committee members should return corrected drafts to the student as soon as possible. Working through committee members at all times, the student and major professor will resolve comments arising from the rough draft and incorporate them into a final draft.
  10. During the semester of graduation, the student will present a formal seminar on the research. This seminar should be scheduled immediately prior to the final defense and is open to the public.
  11. The final defense will be held immediately following the dissertation seminar. The defense is closed to all parties except the advisory committee and university member. The committee will determine if a student fails, passes or passes with distinction.
  12. The dissertation must be prepared for digital submission according to the instructions in the Guidelines for Filing Theses, Internship Practicum Reports and Dissertations available on the GSBS Graduation site.

This page last modified March 1, 2011

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