Master of Science in Preclinical Sciences (Macon Campus)

Program Description

The Master of Science in Preclinical Sciences (MSPCS) Program is a 32-week curriculum composed of 31 credit hours of biomedical sciences that are foundational to the practice of clinical medicine and the development of biomedical research. The MSPCS prepares its graduates for careers in science teaching, academic laboratory research, publishing or policymaking and for the pursuit of advanced research degrees in biomedical sciences or professional degrees in healthcare.

The MSPCS competencies for its graduates are their ability to demonstrate an understanding of fundamental scientific knowledge that is the basis for medicine and research and to display critical thinking skills in the application of that knowledge. These outcomes will be achieved through studies in 7 courses covering topics in anatomy, biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology, embryology, genetics, histology, immunology, microbiology, physiology, and virology.

The Program culminates for each student with a ‘capstone’ experience that exercises the student’s critical thinking about and communication of biomedical sciences, which are skills necessary in advanced graduate-level studies and in scientific research, writing, or education careers.

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

The undergraduate degree and required coursework must be completed 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 2.8 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 MSPCS 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.

The Master of Science in Preclinical Sciences (MSPCS) Program is a 32-week curriculum composed of 31 credit hours of biomedical sciences that are foundational to the practice of clinical medicine and the development of biomedical research. The MSPCS prepares its graduates for careers in science teaching, academic laboratory research, publishing or policy-making and for the pursuit of advanced research degrees in biomedical sciences or professional degrees in healthcare. The MSPCS competencies for its graduates are their ability to demonstrate an understanding of fundamental scientific knowledge that is the basis for medicine and research and to display critical thinking skills in the application of that knowledge.

Required Courses - 31 credit hours

Fall Semester (15 credit hours)

  • BMS 610 - Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics
  • BMS 612 - Molecular Cell Biology
  • BMS 622 - Microbial Pathogenesis

Spring Semester (16 credit hours)

  • BMS 611 - Human Immunity
  • BMS 620 - Human Physiology
  • BMS 621 - Human Development
  • BMS 623 - Preclinical Sciences Capstone

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. This learning goal will be achieved by students through problem-solving in the classroom, discussion of medical cases and research literature, and analysis of the biochemistry and genetics research literature.

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. This learning goal will be achieved by students through problem-solving in the classroom, discussion of medical cases and research literature, and analysis of the immunology research literature.

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 analysis of the cellular and molecular biology research literature.

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 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 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.

BMS 623: Preclinical Sciences Capstone (1 credit hour)

The goal for the capstone course is for students to apply their scientific knowledge in critical thinking through composition and oral presentation.Students will select a topic in biotechnology or scientific research, review current literature, and author a dissertation that surveys the current knowledge of the topic and expounds on questions that could lead to scientific advancement and medical application of the research. The instructional time will provide students with information on how to format their composition, how to search the scientific literature and databases, how to analyze scientific papers, and how to properly cite resources in their compositions. Independent work is expected. Students in the course will be expected to prepare an oral presentation to be delivered during the latter half of the course. Oral presentations and compositions will be evaluated by a panel of faculty and peers who will utilize a rubric to determine student achievement of the course objective and the program competencies. (prerequisites – BMS 610, 612 and 622)

What are the average GPAs and test scores for applicants who are accepted into the MSPCS Program?

For the 2016-2017 admissions cycle, the data for the accepted applicants were as follows:

  • Average of the Final Undergraduate GPAs: 3.23

  • Average of the Highest GRE Scores: 310 (155 Verbal, 155 Quantitative, 4 Writing) note that the average considers only the verbal and quantitative scores.

  • Average of the Highest MCAT Scores: 501 (56th percentile)

  • Average of the Highest DAT Academic Average Scores: 18 (50th percentile)

What percentage of graduates is accepted into professional healthcare degree programs?

The MSPCS Program admits students interested in a number of professional paths in healthcare (MD, DO, DMD and PA). For graduating classes through 2014, 2015 and 2016, 72% of graduates have matriculated into prefessional healthcare degree programs.  Of the Georgia residents in the classes of 2015 and 2016, 43% were accepted into the Mercer MD Program. Other professional programs to which graduates have been admitted include:

Medical 
Medical College of Georgia
Morehouse University
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine
Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine
Howard University
Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
Louisiana State University
Medical University of South Carolina
Ross University
St. George's University
University of Tennessee 
Dental
Dental College of Georgia
University of Alabama at Birmingham
University of Louisville
Tufts University
Physician Assistant
Emory University
Mercer University
NOVA Southeastern University
 

What percentage of each MSPCS class is from Georgia?

The MSPCS program accepts out-of-state applicants, unlike the Mercer MD Program, which admits only Georgia residents. Greater than 80% of MSPCS students are Georgia residents.

 

APPLICATION FAQs

How do I apply?

The application process opens on March 1st of each year. Detailed admissions requirements can be downloaded from the MSPCS Admissions webpage. 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 MSPCS 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!! If you need a test score for MSPCS admissions, please take the general GRE exam, scheduling the test so that scores are available before June 5th and making your best attempt to do well on this exam.

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 'MSPCS' 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 MSPCS 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 MSPCS application.  While a copy of your transcript will be transferred to your MSPCS 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 MSPCS 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 'MSPCS' 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)

What is a competitive GPA for MSPCS admission?

The minimum GPA for admission is 2.8. The average undergraduate GPA for the current class is 3.24. The Admissions Committee places more weight on academic performance during the junior and senior years. Use the application essay to explain academic difficulty or gaps in your academic transcript (such as leaves of absence).

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.

Does the MSPCS Program have a linkage agreement with the Mercer MD Program?

No. However, of the Georgia residents in the classes of 2015 and 2016, 43% were accepted into the Mercer MD Program.