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The Program builds upon two major science-oriented courses taken during the first two years:

  • HSF-ANA 526 – Human Structure and Function (16.0 credits)
  • MBB-ANA 525 – Mind, Brain, Behavior (8.0 credits)

Additional requirements will be acquired during a fifth year of training beginning typically in July of Y2 or Y3 of the medical curriculum. Research during the summer after Y1 is strongly encouraged, though not necessarily in direct relation to the thesis project. Options for summer support are available through the Office of Medical Education. One of them is directly related to neuroscience, and operates within the Schmitt Program on Integrative Brain Research.

Requirements for the MS degree total 32 credits. This includes 10 from prior MD classes (HSF/ANA 526 & MBB/ANA 525), 12 from research training, thesis project and defense (publishable paper and a presentation), 3 from teaching, 4 from other requirements (ethics, student seminar, journal club) and 3+ elective from NSC, ANA, and BCS listings.

  • A Thesis Advisor from the Department’s faculty must be identified by the student, given acceptance by the faculty member and the Program Directors. An Advisor from outside NSC can be acceptable, but requires a Co-Advisor from within the Department.
  • A Thesis Committee must be selected by the student and their Advisor, to include at least two primary faculty from NSC and one outside the Department.
  • It is possible, and encouraged, to extend the MS year into a PhD program for students sufficiently engaged as to desire the additional commitment. There have been many precedents—nearly half. Confer with the Program Directors as interest develops.

The MS requires the writing of a thesis-dissertation (effectively a publishable manuscript for submission to a recognized peer-reviewed journal relevant to the area of research) and the passing of an oral examination. The dissertation must show independent work, the ability to plan and execute a study as well as present the work in an orderly fashion, and acquaintance with the literature of a limited field. Preparing Your Theses: A Manual for Graduate Studies is used to prepare masters theses. The dissertation must be registered with the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, and copies given to the examining committee at least two weeks prior to the oral examination.

Sample Curriculum


  • IND 501 – Ethics & Prof Integrity in Research (1.0 credit)
  • Graduate Journal Club (1.0 credit)
  • ANA 495 – Master's Research (variable credits)
  • ANA 581 – Teaching Tutorial (3.0 credits)
  • Electives (0-4 Credits)


  • Graduate Journal Club (1.0 credit)
  • ANA 522 – Student Seminar (1.0 credit)
  • ANA 495 – Master's Research (variable credits)
  • Electives (0-4 Credits)

Timeline & Landmarks

  • June: begin summer research
  • September: identify thesis committee members
  • January 1st: identify thesis project
  • June-November: defend thesis and return to Med School (extension based on Medical School elective time)