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Course Descriptions

Fall courses

Medical Pharmacology (5 credits)  –  Teaches students the basic principles of pharmacology essential to the future health professional. Students begin by learning the clinically important processes of drug absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion (ADME), and the principles underlying pharmacogenetics and drug interactions. Building on this foundation, students are exposed through lectures and problem-based learning sessions to many of the major drug classes used in clinical medicine today. While the emphasis is on understanding the basic science of drug action and use, clinical case studies are included throughout to give students insight into real-world medical applications.

Human Cell Physiology (4 credits) – Exposes students to the fundamental principles of modern cell and molecular physiology and the implications of these principles for the integrated physiological responses of intact organs and tissues, in both healthy and diseased states. Discussions revolve around basic concepts, principal research questions, and common methodologies – with an emphasis on quantitative approaches wherever possible.

Professional Development (1 credit) - Provides students in the Medical Pharmacology master’s degree program the tools needed to maximize their chance of gaining entry into and excelling in medical school or dental school.  Course content and objectives revolve around the core competencies expected of successful medical school applicants as defined by the American Association of Medical Colleges.

Pharmacology Seminar (1 credit) – Student presentations are interspersed with seminars by visiting faculty and other invited guests. Colloquia are meant to be informal, and provide students valuable experience speaking before a mixed audience, fielding questions, obtaining constructive feedback on scientific work and presentation skills, and asking questions.

Ethics and Professional Integrity in Research (1 credit) – Required of all graduate students in the School of Medicine and Dentistry. The course features presentations and small group case-based discussions on topics considered essential for the responsible conduct of research, including ethical issues underlying human and animal experimentation, conflicts of interest, the mentor-mentee relationship, scientific misconduct, collaborative and team science, and scientific publication and authorship.

Master’s Readings (3 credits) – Independent study course in which students carry out a comprehensive review of the primary literature related to a topic selected by the student. The literature review serves as the basis for writing the Master’s Essay.

Spring courses

Applied Human Anatomy (4 credits) – Analyzes the structural composition of the human body from cellular to organ levels, with the goal of providing a foundation in human anatomy appropriate for students interested in the bioscience and health care professions. Students achieve learning objectives through a combination of lecture, small group discussions of clinical case studies, and hands-on (laboratory) approaches.

Human Anatomy Practicum (3 credits) – Teaches students the core fundamentals of dissecting human cadavers along with identification of human anatomical structures. Weekly dissections are coordinated with course content delivered in Applied Human Anatomy.  Students will learn the functional significance of the dissected structures, their possible anatomical variations, and the associated clinical correlations. The course exposes students to the bioethical principles related to working with human bodies donated for the betterment of medical education. 

Effective Scientific Communication (2 credits) – Introduces core principles of effective scientific communication, whether written or oral.  Course objectives include developing the ability to understand and critically evaluate current literature, becoming more effective writers, and developing the ability to deliver coherent, engaging and focused oral presentations. Students engage the material through practical examples and exercises.

Advanced Topics in Pharmacology (1 credit) – Provides students experience with reading, evaluating, and critiquing the primary biomedical and clinical literature related to recent advances in new drug development therapeutics.  Students select specific readings and lead group discussions under the guidance of faculty.

Master’s Essay (3 credits) – Independent study course in which students write a potentially publishable scientific review article on the topic investigated in Master’s Readings.  The course concludes with an oral presentation and defense of the concepts and ideas discussed in the essay.