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MS and MD/MS Program Guidelines
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Division of Anatomical Sciences program requirements are specified in the Rush University Catalog. See the information below for a summary of requirements.

Master's Program Guidelines

The master's degree program in anatomical sciences, authorized in the Graduate Division of Anatomy by the State Board of Higher Education in 1985 was originally created as both a freestanding degree and as an optional pathway for medical students.

With recent interests in research program development by current department chairman Rick Sumner, PhD, the master's degree program has been supported as a means of developing project initiatives and new methods or applications. Work on these projects is providing data that are now being published and that are being incorporated into grant proposals to the NIH. Each of the graduating students to date has been able to attend and present his or her work at a national meeting.

This is a two-year degree with 48 course and research hours. It is a laboratory-based research degree established primarily for students who may be at transitional stages of their education, not as a terminal master's degree for students leaving the doctoral program. The degree requires development and completion of a laboratory research project to include a formal proposal and a defense before a thesis committee. Production of an acceptable research thesis is the major final requirement for the degree and provides the principal measure of quality of a student's work.

The program provides exposure to research experience in structural biology that can help a student establish career goals by identifying a research mentor and advocate, by networking with investigators and their clinical counterparts in their area of interest, and by having the opportunity to present work at a national meeting.

The minimal MS program requirements are indicated below.

Courses Hours
Core Anatomy Courses - 3 18-20

Anatomy

[14]

Histology

[7]

Neurobiology

[9]

Embryology (required)

[4]
Elective Courses - 3 (2 at 500/graduate level ) 6+
Journal Club (all except last quarter) 7
Research (see description) 12-14
Total hours: 48

Program Plans: Program plans are recorded on a master spreadsheet which includes individual sheets for each student with their courses and grades. After the first quarter of study and when the student has selected an advisor, he or she should work with this advisor to fill out a program plan which will be entered into the spreadsheet

Description of Requirements: For the MS degree in anatomical sciences the requirements are: 1) 18-20 hours selected from the core anatomy courses; 2) three electives; 3) Journal Club and 4) thesis research.

  1. Core Courses: 18-20 hours
    • Any combination of graduate histology, gross anatomy or neurobiology is acceptable that provides a total of at least 14 hours
      • Graduate Histology (Ana 511; 7 hrs) (F)
      • Graduate Human Anatomy I (Ana 513; 7 hrs) (F)
      • Graduate Human Anatomy II (Ana 514; 7 hrs) (W)
      • Graduate Neurobiology (Ana 512; 9 hrs) (S)
      • Introduction to Neurobiology (Ana 462; 4 hrs) (W)
    • Embryology (Ana 505; 4 hrs; W) is required unless a student petitions the program director in writing for a special exemption. This course provides the balance of core course hours and will be delivered in winter quarter of alternate years. It is essentially an introduction to embryology and developmental biology held in two 2-hour sessions each week: the first deals with organ system morphogenesis; the second involves discussion of papers in developmental and molecular biology related to the unit. Developmental biology discussions during the embryology quarter will be coordinated with the journal club.
  2. Electives (3) - 6+ hours
    • These electives may be from anatomy or from extra-departmental courses. Recommendations include:
      • Research Methods in Anatomy (Ana 581; 4 hrs) (W or S)
      • Special Topics in Anatomy; (Ana 590; v 2 hrs) (S)
      • Cell Biology I/ II (BcH 53/,[532]; 3 hrs each) (F/W)
      • Biostatistics (PVM 541; 3 hrs) (S)
      • Interdisciplinary Studies (IDS 502) (F-W-S)
    • The special topics elective provides an opportunity for master's students to develop a background in literature related to their thesis topics and to formulate a discussion that might serve as an introduction to the thesis.
  3. Journal Club
    • Journal Club (Ana 595; 1 hr, every quarter). Attendance by all students is required each quarter for Journal Club except with special permission of the program director. The Journal Club is intended to develop skills in critical evaluation of scientific papers. Discussion stresses rationale and experimental design, statistics, controls, formats for data presentation and interpretation of results. Papers are principally targeted to faculty/student research projects and provide an opportunity to expand perspectives on an area of study.
    • In quarters where the embryology course is offered, the departmental Journal Club is held in conjunction with developmental biology discussions for the course.
  4. Teaching Assistantship Option
    • The teaching assistantship (Ana 591; 3 hrs) is optional for the MS student. A teaching assistantship might be considered at the discretion of the student's advisor where teaching experience might be instrumental to a particular student's development. Ordinarily a student would be expected to engage in teaching for an entire quarter; special permission would be required to receive credit for assisting for part of a quarter.
    • Other than gross anatomy assistantships, the opportunities for teaching experience in histology and neurobiology are more limited based on the format and/or number of the laboratories.
  5. Thesis Hours and Research
    • Production of a research proposal and a thesis acceptable to the student's thesis committee assures quality control and validates completion of the student thesis project. Grading of registered research hours do provide a reminder and means for faculty to monitor and discuss student progress. The actual quarter hours of research may be variable for project development and completion.
    • The thesis committee should be established prior to the presentation of a thesis proposal. The student should select the committee with assistance of his or her advisor. This committee requires only three members, two of which must hold primary appointments in the Department of Anatomy. The program director and/or chairman may serve as ex-officio members of any thesis committee.
    • The master's thesis proposal should be scheduled for presentation to the committee soon after the Special Topics (Ana 590) elective. The thesis proposal should be a short document (5 to 8 pages, maximum) outlining the project rational, methods, study endpoints and potential significance. It is recommended that this document be formatted as a mini-NIH grant. The proposal is to be presented before the student's thesis committee for review.
    • The thesis presentation should be a formal oral presentation. It should be scheduled after the advisor feels that the thesis document is in good order. It can be made to the committee only or can be announced for general attendance. This is not considered a defense in the same way as a doctoral dissertation defense. Committee members and the program director must sign the "Degree Approval Form" to indicate their final approval of the thesis document and that all requirements for the degree have been completed.
    • A student, by Rush University policy, must be registered during the quarter in which he or she graduates. To maintain registration status during completion of research or writing, the student can register for Thesis Supervision (ANA 600) which carries only a nominal registration fee.

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MD/MS Program Guidelines

For the medical student, this is an attractive option to explore interests in research and teaching. The student has an opportunity to play a primary role in a research project and to improve skills in presentation, proposal development, scientific writing, experimental design, and statistics. The concurrent MD/MS pathway can be completed by most medical students with one additional year for laboratory research. Some students who begin work during the summer after the M1 year may be able to complete both degrees within a four year time frame.

Didactic requirements for the basic science core of the Master's degree in Anatomical Sciences (see MS program description), in large part, are fulfilled by the courses of the M1-M2 medical curriculum. Extradepartmental courses of biochemistry, physiology, pathology, pathophysiology and pharmacology far exceed the supplemental components of our graduate anatomy courses for the Master?s degree so that the basic medical anatomy courses (400 level) can be substituted. Elective credit for one medical course permits the 500 level courses below to fulfil elective requirements.

Additional Requirements for the MD/MS Program

  • Journal Club (Ana 595; 1 hr, every quarter). Attendance by all students is required each quarter for Journal Club except with special permission of the program director. The Journal Club is intended to develop skills in critical evaluation of scientific papers. Discussion stresses rationale and experimental design, statistics, controls, formats for data presentation and interpretation of results. Papers are principally targeted to faculty/student research projects and provide an opportunity to expand perspectives on an area of study. During the ?Embryology? quarter, the departmental Journal Club will be held in conjunction with developmental biology discussions for the course.
  • Research Methods in Anatomy (Ana 581; 4 hrs; recommended elective). This course credit is based mainly on the student?s first experience with methods of his research advisor which are the basis for his or her project. Broader considerations of experimental design and the development of research questions and testable hypotheses may be entertained along with exposure to common or specialized methods in cell and structural biology.
  • Special Topics in Anatomy (Ana 590; 2 hrs; recommended elective). This elective provides an opportunity for master's students to develop a background in literature related to their thesis topics and to develop a paper that might serve as a basis for the thesis proposal and the Introduction to the Thesis.
  • Biostatistics (PVM 541; 3 hrs; recommended). Introductory statistics or a higher level course is recommended
  • Embryology (Ana 505; 4 hrs; required). Introduction to embryology with selected discussions of developmental cell and molecular biology. This course is required unless a student petitions the program director in writing for a special exemption.
  • Interdisciplinary Studies (IDS 502; 1 hr). This course meets several times during each quarter and features short presentations by graduate students on selected topicsIt is a modified Journal Club where students must write an abstract covering their paper(s) on the selected topic, present this information formally in a short (12 minutes) format to fellow students using PowerPoint, and field questions during a discussion period.
  • Teaching Assistantship (Ana 591; optional). Only at the discretion of the student?s advisor.
  • Thesis Research (Ana 699; 13 hours).
  • Production of a research proposal and a thesis acceptable to the student's thesis committee assures quality control and validates completion of the student thesis project. Grading of registered research hours do provide a reminder and means for faculty to monitor and discuss student progress. The actual quarter hours of research may be variable for project development and completion.
    • The thesis committee should be established prior to the presentation of a thesis proposal. The student should select the committee with assistance of his or her advisor. This committee requires only three members, two of which must hold primary appointments in the Department of Anatomy. The program director and/or chairman may serve as ex-officio members of any thesis committee.
    • The masters thesis proposal should be scheduled for presentation to the committee soon after the Special Topics (Ana 590) requirement. The thesis Proposal should be a short document (max 5-8 pages) outlining the project rational, methods, study endpoints, and potential significance. It is recommended that this document be formatted as a mini NIH grant. The proposal is to be presented before the student?s thesis committee for review.
    • The thesis presentation should be a formal oral presentation. It should be scheduled after advisor feels that the thesis document is in good order. It can be made to the committee only or can be announced for general attendance. This is not considered a defense in the same way as a doctoral dissertation defense. Committee members and the program director must sign the "Degree Approval Form" to indicate their final approval of the thesis document and that all requirements for the degree have been completed.

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