Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences

Program Description The Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences (MSBMS) Program at Mercer University School of Medicine is a two-year, research-based graduate program. Students will work closely with research mentors in either the Division of Biomedical Sciences on the Macon Campus or in the Department of Biomedical Sciences on the Savannah Campus. 75 credit hours in biomedical sciences, including both classroom instruction and research comprise the MSBMS Program.

The MSBMS Program will prepare graduates for further postgraduate and professional studies in the biomedical sciences, employment in academic research and/or teaching, and research in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Following successful completion of a research thesis, students will be awarded the degree of Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences with a concentration  in one of the disciplines represented by the Basic Sciences faculty on the Macon and Savannah campuses.

Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences Admissions Process

Apply online at www.applyweb.com/apply/mercerms. Applications must be submitted by midnight on May 22nd for domestic applicants and midnight on May 1st for international applicants. The MSPCS Program only admits once each year for fall enrollment.

A non-refundable fee of $50 for domestic applicants and $150 for international applicants is due when application is submitted.

Minimum Admissions Requirements

  • One year coursework with the corresponding laboratories for the following subjects:
    • General Biology
    • General or Inorganic Chemistry
    • Organic Chemistry
    • Physics
      Undergraduate degree and required coursework by be complete by August 15th, before fall enrollment
  • A B.S. or B.A. degree from a regionally- accredited college or university with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a four point scale
  • A Professional School or Graduate School Entrance Exam within the previous two calendar years. Official scores must be submitted by June 5th.
    • Scores at or above the following values are preferred: GRE- 300, with 148 or above on components; MCAT- 494; and, DAT- 17, academic average.
    • International students must also submit scores from the TOEFL examination. The University’s minimum proficiency level is a score of 20 on each section of the test. The minimum composite score is

Applicants already holding a Master’s degree or high are exempt from submitting test scores; however, a graduate degree transcript must be submitted as a part of the required application materials.

  • Two letters of reference from college professors or other individuals who have taught or have supervised the work of the applicant.
  • An essay of approximately 750 words discussing your educational goals related to the Master’s program, your career goals utilizing the Master’s degree, and a summary of your experience related to your career goals (e.g. - shadowing health professionals, employment in a healthcare setting, and volunteering related to the profession.)

Admissions Process

All required materials above must be received for an application file to be considered complete and eligible for review by the MSCPS Admissions Committee. Applications must be complete by June 5th. Each applicant will be notified by email when his/her application file is complete. Only complete application files will be reviewed.

The MSBMS Admissions Committee will evaluate each applicant holistically based on their academic record, test scores, personal qualities, and personal goals. During the application review, applicants may be contacted for a phone interview with a member of the MSPCS Program Admissions Committee.

Applicants will be notified of admissions decisions by email. Complete applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. A decision may take up to four weeks after an applicant receives the notice that their application is complete. Accepted applicants are required to submit a $50 non-refundable deposit to hold their spot in the program. The fee will be applied to their tuition upon enrollment. If an applicant submits a deposit, then decides not to enroll in the fall, the deposit will be forfeited to MUSM. All deposits must be submitted according to the deadline stated in the applicant’s acceptance email.

Curriculum

Year 1

Fall Semester (15 credit hours)

BMS 610 Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics

BMS 622 Microbial Pathogenesis

BMS 612 Molecular Cell Biology

Spring Semester (16 credit hours)

BMS 620* Human Physiology

BMS 621* Human Development

BMS 611* Human Immunity

BMS 626* Biomolecular Engineering (Savannah only)

BMS 624 Research Methods

BMS 625 Introduction to Research I

Summer Semester (12 credit hours)

BMS 630 Introduction to Research II

BMS 631 Scientific Analysis

*Students will choose one of these courses based on their particular research interests; MSBMS Program students completing their thesis research on the MUSM Savannah campus will take BMS 626.

Year 2

Fall Semester (16 credit hours)

BMS 710 Independent Research I

BMS 711 Research Seminar I

Spring Semester (16 credit hours)

BMS 720 Independent Research II

BMS 721 Thesis Preparation

 

Course Descriptions

 BMS 610. Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics (5 credit hours)

 The goal for the instruction in biochemistry and molecular genetics is for students to understand the chemical and biomolecular composition of the human body, the importance of buffering and solute concentrations in physiological function, the metabolic processes that provide energy to sustain tissue viability, the structure and dynamics of genetic material, the regulation of gene expression, and the principles of genetic inheritance. The learning goal will be achieved by students through problem solving in the classroom, discussion of medical cases and research literature, and laboratory experiments that illustrate principles in biochemistry and genetics.

BMS 611. Human Immunity (5 credit hours)

 The goal for the instruction in the human immune system is for students to understand the development and organization of the human immune system, the genetic and molecular mechanisms of immunity, the role of inflammation in immunity, the initiation and detection of immune responses, and the use of vaccines to support human immunity. The learning goal will be achieved by students through problem solving in the classroom, discussion of medical cases and research literature, and laboratory experiments that illustrate principles in immunology.

 BMS 612. Molecular Cell Biology (5 credit hours)

 The goal for the instruction in molecular cellular biology is for students to understand the fundamental structure of human cells, the function of intracellular organelles, the dynamics of organelles in different cell types, the cellular interactions within tissues to support tissue function, and the biomolecular interactions required for cellular function. This learning goal will be achieved by students through problem solving in the classroom, discussion of medical cases and research literature, and laboratory experiments that illustrate principles in cellular and molecular biology.

BMS 620. Human Physiology (5 credit hours)

The goal for the instruction in human physiology is for students to develop an understanding of the function of the human body, building upon their prior knowledge of human biology, physics, chemistry and mathematics. This course deals with body fluid compartments 86 and body systems organization and function, including the nervous, muscular, cardiovascular, respiratory, urinary, digestive, and endocrine systems. Students will examine the concepts of homeostasis and regulatory mechanisms as they are applied in the various body functions. The learning goal will be achieved through a combination of interactive lectures, group discussions, problem-solving exercises, and medical case-based activities. (Prerequisites – BMS 610, 611, and 612)

BMS 621. Human Development (5 credit hours)

The goal for the instruction in human development is for students to understand the process of human development, the determinants of embryonic development, the differentiation and organization of cells into functional tissues and organs, the maternal contribution to embryonic and fetal development, the environmental and physiological risks to human development, and the basic functional anatomy of the human body. This learning goal will be achieved by students through classroom discussion, interaction with animated programs depicting developmental processes, histological analysis of human tissues, and interaction with animated programs and with plastinated models of human anatomy. (Prerequisites – BMS 610 and 612)

BMS 622. Microbial Pathogenesis (5 credit hours)

 The goal for the instruction in microbial pathogenesis is for students to understand the structural and genetic differences between human cells, bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses, the variations in structure among members of pathogenic species, the metabolic and genetic properties of microbes that facilitate their adaptation to different environments, the commensal relationship between humans and microbes, the mechanisms of microbial and viral pathogenesis, and the basic laboratory culture conditions and tests for human microbial pathogens. This learning goal will be achieved by students through problem solving in the classroom and discussion of medical cases and research literature that illustrate clinical application of microbiology principles. (Prerequisites – BMS 610, 611 and 612)

BMS 626. Biomolecular Engineering (5 credit hours)

The goal for the instruction in bimolecular engineering is for students to understand the principles and techniques resulting in directed biological alteration at the molecular and cellular scale. This course introduces students to bioengineering methodology spanning advanced recombinant DNA technology and delivery methodology, protein engineering leading to altered structure and function (proteomics), genetic and genomic editing (genomics), bioimaging, biosensing, chip technology, and cell-based assay systems. Students will examine bimolecular engineering concepts as they relate to medical and commercial applications in health care, biomedical, pharmaceutical, biomaterials, and other biotechnology related industries. This learning will be achieved by students through classroom and group discussion of relevant research literature and student presentations that illustrate concepts in biomolecular engineering. This course is offered only on the MUSM-Savannah Campus. Prerequisites: BMS 610 (Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics) and BMS612 (Molecular Cell Biology).

BMS 624. Research Methods (1 credit hour)

This one-hour course will be taught by participating faculty and will be the primary method by which students are introduced to the research techniques used in the scientific disciplines represented by the faculty in the DBMS. Students will be evaluated on the basis of their acquired knowledge of these research techniques. Participation in this course will be essential for students to develop these core competencies as a scientist.

BMS 625. Introduction to Research I (10 credit hours)

Students will be introduced to their thesis research in this class, which will consist primarily of directed study by their individual research mentors as they begin to develop the individual competencies required for their discipline. The course will also include general introductions to topics such as bioinformatics and genomics.

BMS 630. Introduction to Research II (11 credit hours)

Prerequisite: BMS 625) Continuation of BMS 625. BMS 631. Scientific Analysis (1 credit hour) Students will be introduced to the scientific literature, data-handling and analysis (e.g., statistical evaluation of research data), and the responsible conduct of scientific research, including responsible authorship.

BMS 710. Independent Research I (15 credit hours) Thesis research.

BMS 711. Research Seminar (1 credit hour) One of the most important skills for a scientist is public speaking. In this course, students will participate in research seminar, during which they will present papers from the classical and current primary literature to an audience consisting of MSBMS faculty and their fellow students. The objective of this course is to prepare students to be competent scientific communicators.

BMS 720. Independent Research II (15 credit hours) Thesis Research.

BMS 721. Thesis Preparation (1 credit hour)

MSBMS Program students in good standing are eligible for an MSBMS Tuition Scholarship for 55 of the 75 credit hours required for completion of the Program.

This begins in the second semester (Spring) of the MSBMS Program and covers all credit hours other than the four formal courses taken in the first and second semesters of the Program (Fall Semester: BMS 610, 612, 622; and one course in Spring Semester chosen from among BMS 611, 620, 621, and 626; see Curriculum outline).

MSBMS Students will also be eligible for a Graduate Research Fellowship beginning Spring Semester (January) of the first academic year of the program. This Fellowship comes with a stipend of $18,000 per year, payable at $1,500 per month, and continues through May of the second and final academic year of the MSBMS Program.

How do I apply?

The application process opens on March 1st of each year. The online application form is located at: https://www.applyweb.com/mercerms/

How will I know that my file is complete?

Applicants are notified by email when all application materials have been received (online application, transcripts, test scores and two letters of recommendation). All application materials must be received before an applicant's file is complete and ready for review for admission. Application files must be complete by June 5th for consideration for fall admission. 

Applicants should contact the School of Medicine Admissions Office via email at musmadmissions@mercer.edu if they have not received an email and want to know which materials are missing from their file.

Should I send transcripts for coursework completed at schools other than my degree-granting institution?

Yes, if the coursework counted as part of your degree. You also must submit transcripts for post baccalaureate coursework taken to meet the requirements for admission and for all graduate degrees that you have received.

What test scores are accepted?

All applicants are required to submit either GRE, MCAT or DAT scores taken within the last two years. You are required to send official score reports to the School of Medicine Admissions Office via email at: musmadmissions@mercer.edu or by postal mail to: Mercer University School of Medicine – Attn: Graduate Program Enrollment Specialist – 1501 Mercer University Dr. – Macon, GA 31207. Also, include your test date and scores in your online application form.

Test scores are not required for graduate degree holders, but these applicants must provide an official transcript showing their graduate course work and degree award.

Do not take your professional school entrance exam (MCAT, DAT, etc) until you have fully prepared!! 

What institutional code do I use to order GRE score reports?

For GRE score report transmission from ETS, use institutional code 5409 and department code 0000.

Can I send MCAT scores electronically from the testing service?

No. You will need to download your score report as a pdf and send it by email to the School of Medicine Admissions Office at musmadmissions@mercer.edu. The score report should include a verification code and your AMCAS ID. Please include 'MSBMS' in the subject line of the email.

If I applied to the Mercer University School of Medicine MD Program, can letters of recommendation, MCAT scores and transcripts be copied into my MSBMS application file?

Yes. However, you must contact the School of Medicine Admissions Office at 478-301-2524 or musmadmissions@mercer.edu to request that items be copied from your MD application to your MSBMS application.  While a copy of your transcript will be transferred to your MSBMS file, you must send a new official transcript from your degree granting institution.

I have taken the DAT (or other professional program entry exam). The testing service will not allow me to transmit score reports electronically to other admissions offices. How do I submit my score report for my MSBMS application?

First, try to download your official score report from the testing service website. If that is not an option, then you must scan the official paper report that you received from the testing service. Please send your score report as a pdf file by email to the School of Medicine Admissions Office at musmadmissions@mercer.edu. Please include 'MSBMS' in the subject line of the email.

How recent do my test scores need to be?

All tests must have been taken after January 1, 2016. For the MCAT, only MCAT2015 scores will be accepted.

What are the preferred minimum test scores for the admissions tests?

MCAT: 494 DAT: 17 (academic average) GRE: 300 (verbal and quantitative component scores of 148 or above)

My test scores and GPA meet the preferred minimum requirements. What other parts of my application could influence my admission?

Letters: Two letters are required. Make sure these letters are submitted on time and are written by people who have supervised your work and know you well. Letters from employment supervisors are acceptable. At least one letter from an academic professor is preferred.

Essay: Clearly explain your reasons for seeking admission, your career goals, and your experiences related to your career goals. Include reasons for any academic deficiencies on your transcript or for time away from academic studies. Please proofread your essay to correct typographical errors and to make sure that your statements are clear and logical. The essay is part of the online application.