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MS in Biomedical Sciences Program Requirements
(for students entering Fall 2011 or later)
To complete the MS degree in Biomedical Sciences, a student must satisfy the following
1. Satisfactory completion of a core curriculum in the first year.
2. Satisfactory completion of 29 credits of approved graduate coursework and 16
credits of thesis research. A minimum 3.0 overall GPA is required.
3. Satisfactory completion of a research project, which forms the basis for the
4. Successful oral defense of the written thesis in front of a faculty committee.
This document will give you more information about the curriculum (Part I) and the Master’s thesis (Part
Required course work (10-12 credits)
All students must complete a core curriculum. The core courses that can be used to satisfy this core
curriculum are the following:
Fall Semester (4-6 credits) (one of the following courses):
Biomedical Sciences (5 credits) + Introduction to Journal Club I (1 credit)
Systems Biomedicine (6 credits)
Systems and Organizational Neurobiology (4 credits)
Spring Semester ( at least 6 credits):
Biomedical Sciences (5 credits) + Introduction to Journal Club II (1 credit)
Or, 1 course from the winter term and 1 course from the spring term chosen from
Quantitative Graduate Physiology (3 credits)
Systems Pharmacology (3 credits)
Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology) (3 credits)
Introduction to Microbiology (3 credits)
Neural Basis of Behavioral Plasticity and Cognitive Processes (3 credits)
Systems Biology: Biomedical Modeling (3 credits)
Other Required First-year Courses:
Biostatistics (3 credits) (fall semester)
Responsible Conduct of Research (1 credit) (fall semester)
Meet the Authors – full year (1 credit fall, 1 credit spring)
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Elective course work (8-10 credits)
Elective credits may be satisfied with:
courses from any of the PhD multi-disciplinary training areas, including seminars and journal
courses from MD program, subject to space availability and by permission of the MS in
Biomedical Sciences Program Director. All medical school courses are graded P/F.
up to 3 credits from the MPH or MS in Clinical Research by permission of the relevant course
directors. If a student wishes to take more than 3 credits from other Master’s program course
offerings, additional tuition will be billed to the student at that program’s tuition rate.
Thesis credit (3 credits)
Three credits will be given for the MS Thesis in Biomedical Sciences in the final semester of the program.
Students must register for thesis credit in the semester in which they wish to deposit their thesis.
Research credits (up to 16 credits)
Students should sign up for Independent Biomedical Sciences Master’s Research. The following number
of credits will be given:
first fall semester (August-December)– 4 credits
first spring semester (January-June) – 4 credits
second fall semester (July-December, includes summer) – 8 credits
Students should select a thesis advisor for their research by October 1 of the first semester. Master’s
students do not do laboratory rotations.
The student should discuss with their thesis advisor the expectations and goals for the research project.
The Masters in Biomedical Sciences Research Agreement form should be filled out, signed by both the
faculty member and the student, and returned to the Graduate School Office. If the student realizes
that the selected laboratory is not a good match between the student and the thesis advisor, a switch to
another laboratory should be discussed with the Program Director.
Master’s students should prepare a brief Powerpoint talk on their research to be presented at either the
March or June Laboratory Rotation Presentations minisymposium.
At the end of the first year, students should fill out the Masters in Biomedical Sciences Laboratory
Research Evaluation form with their thesis advisor and return it by July 1 to the Graduate School Office.
This form determines the grade for research credits in the first year.
The courses for transfer credit must be considered appropriate to the degree sought and have been
completed with a grade of B or better at an institution of established academic reputation. Courses
taken on a pass/fail basis may be used for transfer credit; provided the student provides proof (a letter
from the course director or previous Program Director) that a grade of B or better would have been
given. Courses for which a master’s degree has been awarded may not be transferred to a Mount Sinai
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The application for academic credit for work done elsewhere must be approved by the Program Director
and the Dean of the Graduate School. In order for credit to be granted, official transcripts showing the
courses for which credit is sought must be submitted with the Transfer of Credit Form to the Program
Director. The number of credits transferred shall be no more than the number of credits given by that
institution for the courses. All transfer credits will be assigned a grade of P. A maximum of 16 credits
may be transferred. Transfer credits do not show on the student’s transcript until the requirements for
the degree are completed.
Tuition is only charged for courses taken at Mount Sinai. Students who are granted transfer credit for
graduate courses taken at other institutions, may apply for tuition credit on a per credit basis.
Students seeking exemption from certain courses, based on prior course work, must meet with the
course director to discuss the content of the prior course. Exemption from certain courses may require
an exemption exam or other assessment. The course director will inform the Graduate School office
whether or not the student is exempt from the course in question. The course will appear on the
student’s transcript as “EX”. Students who are exempt from a course may count course credits
associated with the exempted course towards the credits for the degree.
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II. Guidelines for Preparation of the Master’s Thesis in Biomedical Sciences
The Master’s Thesis should be based on the student's own research and should, in addition to describing
new findings, provide a critical review of the literature. The description of the research should be
organized in sections similar to those in a journal article.
The Written Document
With these purposes in mind the following structure and guidelines are suggested.
Abstract: Should be 150 words or less
Introduction (5-10 pages): Provide a critical review (Evaluate! Don't just cite) of the most pertinent
work which raised the question you are answering, spawned the idea for your plans, made your
approach feasible, etc. Critically evaluate what has been done by others. How does your dissertation
relate to other problems or areas of biomedical sciences and/or contemporary biology? What question
will you be addressing?
Methods (5-10 pages): Describe the primary techniques you have used. Do not repeat details of
Results (5-10 pages): Describe what you have accomplished, accompanied by appropriate figures and
Discussion (5-10 pages): Examine your results, explain their significance and answer the question you
posed in the Introduction. The Discussion section may be combined with the Results.
Conclusion/Summary (2-5 pages): Summarize and state the significance of your results.
References: In the text, cite all references in the name-and-year system (e.g. Strong and Jones, 1991).
The reference list should be arranged alphabetically by the last name of the first author in a standard
format with titles. The student should consult standard reference publications for appropriate citation
1. The thesis should be written by the student, not the thesis advisor. It is the role of the thesis
advisor to guide the student in preparing a coherent, intelligible document to be distributed to
the members of the Committee. However, the thesis advisor should also ensure, to the best of
her/his ability, that the proposal is an original document and that the language of the proposal is
that of the student. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the student to provide an acceptable
2. The thesis should be in the best traditions of scholarship, e.g., identify sources, balance your
presentation by including conflicting data and counter arguments, etc. and practicable.
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3. A student should not present tables that are not entirely his/her own work, unless this is
unavoidable because the data are necessary to develop the story. In that case, the precise
contribution of the student must be made clear.
4. Detailed methods should not be presented for work not actually conducted by the student,
including work done by the Core Facilities or other colleagues; such presentations convey the
impression that the student actually carried out the procedures.
Students who wish to use published manuscripts as the backbone of their thesis text may do so under
the following circumstances:
a general introduction, literature review, and summary are written for the thesis
permission to use the published paper as part of the thesis is obtained from the relevant
the publication represents both the scientific work and writing of the student
the student must be the first author on papers used.
multi-author publications must be accompanied by a precise list of all work not actually
performed by the student. Even better, those experiments not conducted by the student should
be edited out of the dissertation chapter and just cited
the student must have had a major role in writing the manuscripts (this should be certified by
the thesis advisor). If the student did not do the earlier writing, the work should be rewritten by
the student for the thesis.
If a published paper is used in the thesis, copyright approval must be secured from the Journal. A note
should be made in the thesis indicating that copyright approval was granted. A paper that has been
submitted, but not yet accepted, can be used. But a note should be made on the paper that it was used
in a Master’s thesis as partial requirement for the fulfillment of the MS degree.
Because your thesis will be deposited and copyrighted through UMI Dissertation Publishing, please refer
to more detailed formatting instructions in MS Thesis Deposit Instructions.
The Oral Presentation/Defense
When the student is ready to defend their thesis, the MS Thesis Defense Registration form must be filled
out and returned to the Graduate School Office 4 weeks prior to the oral presentation/defense. The
student should bring the MS Thesis Approval form to the oral presentation/defense.
Since the Master’s Thesis Review Committee members will have read the written document before this
presentation, the student should use this opportunity to give a brief summary of the particulars of the
research and the proposal. This presentation should be limited to 10-15 minutes. Prior to the
presentation, the student should discuss, with the Chair of the Committee, whether s/he would prefer
uninterrupted presentation vs. one in which questions will be asked as they arise during the
presentation. Of course, if the latter is chosen, the 10-15 minute time limit does not apply. If the
former format is chosen, there will be a questioning period following the presentation.
The student should be able to defend the rationale for the particular approach(es) being used and
explain how this will answer the questions being asked. Potential problems should also be anticipated
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with alternative approaches that could be used. Students will not be expected to defend these
alternatives in great detail.
The Master’s Thesis Review Committee
The Master’s Thesis Review Committee is composed of at least 3 members. The student’s thesis advisor
will chair the committee. Other members of the Committee should include faculty knowledgeable in the
field of the thesis research. One member should have an appointment outside the thesis advisor’s
Department and the other member may be from the thesis advisor’s Department. The members of the
Master’s Thesis review committee should be listed on the MS Thesis Defense Registration form
The Master’s Thesis should be submitted to each member of the Committee at least ten days before the
scheduled oral presentation.
The Committee should evaluate the student’s ability to:
evaluate and synthesize relevant literature
defend the methods used
articulate and elaborate on the experiments described
discuss the significance of the work and potential future research directions
justify your conclusions
Revisions recommended by the Committee must be completed in a timely fashion. The student’s thesis
advisor should approve the revised thesis before it is deposited. The student should make note of the
deadlines described below for final deposit of the thesis and dates that the MS degree will be awarded.
The thesis must be deposited by the end of the semester in which the thesis defense takes place. The
student will maintain student status until the thesis is deposited.
The thesis may be deposited at any time during the year, but the following deposit deadlines determine
the date of the degree.
For the degree to be awarded: You must deposit by:
September 30 September 15
January 31 January 15
May (MSSM graduation date) April 15
The degree is awarded on September 30, January 31, or the date of Mount Sinai School of Medicine’s
annual Commencement in May. By March 1, students must notify the Registrar of their intent to
deposit their thesis on or before the April or September deposit deadlines in order to be included in the
Commencement exercises of that year. Students depositing by the January or April deadline will receive
their diploma at Commencement. Students depositing by the September deadline, may, at the
discretion of the Dean of the Graduate School, participate in the prior May Commencement exercise,
but will not receive their diploma until after September.
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Commencement information will be sent during the spring semester to the student’s last email address
recorded with the Graduate School Office.
The MS Student Checkout Form must be filled out and submitted to the Registrar before the thesis can
Instructions for preparing the MS thesis deposit can be found in MS Thesis Deposit Instructions on the
Graduate School Forms website. When the student is ready to deposit the Master’s Thesis, s/he should
deposit the thesis electronically according to the instructions in the Deposit Instructions document
within three calendar years of the date of initial matriculation in the Graduate School. After depositing
the thesis, the student can request an interim confirmation testifying to the completion of the degree