Apr 01, 2023  
2020-2021 University Catalog 
2020-2021 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Integrated Biomedical Sciences (MS)

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The MS in Integrated Biomedical Sciences (IBS) is a research master’s degree that will introduce students to the scientific approach and provide an opportunity for the student to pursue a directed research project. Graduates will be prepared to perform advanced biomedical research at colleges and universities, government agencies, hospitals, non-profit agencies and industry.  Our integrated program emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to biomedical education and research. Students in the program will work with faculty to generate new knowledge in biomedicine using sophisticated research methods and approaches.



Integrated Biomedical Sciences (MS): Research Opportunities

Students can choose research experiences and advisors from among the many qualified faculty from Rush University Medical Center’s academic and clinical departments.

Integrated Biomedical Sciences: MS Curriculum


The specific courses or hours of cognates will vary each semester depending upon the student’s research area of choice and specific course selections.

For graduation, students will need 2 credits of cognates. Cognate courses should be taken during fall term year 1.


Integrated Biomedical Sciences: Concentration Focused Cognates and Electives

Integrated Biomedical Sciences: MS Program Progression

Year 1: Classes

The goal of course work in the first year is to expose students to the biomedical sciences in a logical progression and to provide the students with tools for approaching their future research experience. The reading courses provide a critical understanding of the literature and existing base of knowledge. They will also show students how new knowledge in these areas can help us understand diseases and use this information to identify new therapeutics. This broad-based approach to disease is the core of the integrated biomedical sciences program.

Year 1: Research Experience, Advisor and Research Area Selection

During the first year, students will typically have one lab rotation. The laboratory rotations will expose students to diverse research environments and allow them to assess how they fit in to a particular laboratory or mentor situation. Students are expected to learn techniques and attend all scheduled experiments, lab meetings, mentor/student discussions, etc. Based on these rotations, students will submit the name of a potential advisor to the Academic Standards Committee for approval.  The Academic Standards Committee, in consultation with the potential advisor, will approve advisor-student matches. Specific research projects will be determined by the thesis advisor after advisor-student discussions. If a student cannot choose a thesis advisor based on the first two laboratory rotations, a second rotation may be taken in the spring or summer. 

Year 2: Classes and Research Experience

Year two will be determined by the research. The student’s assessment at this time is related to the following learning outcomes:

  • Acquisition of research skills, collection of data and data analysis, as well as interpretation of results related to research addressing an original research question.
  • Capable of independent critical thinking and writing, as well as proposing, performing and effectively presenting their research.
  • Working collaboratively with other scientists, physicians and health care professionals, to provide and obtain feedback concerning the approach to research problems, data analysis, and implications of research.

The student creates an individual development plan (IDP) to better define their areas of interests, skills, and values. Career guidance is available in the Graduate College office of career development and using the Rush career development IDP (https://rushedu-auvic.formstack.com/forms/idp). 


Minimal Credit Hours Required for the Integrated Biomedical Sciences MS Degree

The Program is designed to be completed in five consecutive terms and requires completion of at least 37 credits. These include 15 credits of core courses, two credits of track-specific cognates and twenty credits of Thesis Research.  

The core curriculum focuses on developing knowledge and skills in research theories and methodology, data analysis and statistics, laboratory applications and skills, and the molecular and cellular sciences basic to health and disease. Students will each have a research project, write a thesis and give a thesis presentation at project completion.  

The core curriculum, which is common to all students, builds knowledge and skills in research theories and methodology, data analysis and statistics, laboratory applications and skills, and the molecular and cellular sciences basic to health and disease. These courses will provide systematic exposure to the contemporary process of scientific discovery and will serve as the basis for the remainder of the curriculum. 

Students will be required, in conjunction with their advisor(s), to select seven credits of courses from concentration-focused cognates in their chosen area and a minimum of four elective credits from the Graduate College courses offered. Finally, students will be required to accrue a minimum of six credits of Thesis Research. 

Research Advisor Selection

During the first year, the student, in consultation with the Program Director and with the approval of the Academic Standards Committee, students will select and complete two laboratory rotations. Based on these rotations, the student will identify an area of interest and submit the name of a potential advisor to the Academic Standards Committee for approval.

Master’s Thesis Research Committee

After the student selects a research advisor and begins to collect preliminary data, the student and advisor will select a Thesis committee. This Committee will advise the student and evaluate their proposal and thesis documents. The Committee will consist of the advisor and two additional Graduate College faculty members. Committee members should be familiar with either the research area or crucial technical aspects of the student’s project. Committee members are intended to be a resource for the student and their advisor to enhance didactic and technical knowledge towards the completion of the student’s project. The Program Director (or designated representative) will serve as an ex-officio non-signing member of the Thesis Committee to oversee the procedural aspects of the committee meetings and student progression through the program. The Thesis Committee will strive for consensus in all its actions; however, a majority vote of the committee’s membership is sufficient for all activities except the final approval of the thesis, in which case only one member may disagree with the final decision.

Research Proposal

Each student will write a succinct research project proposal to be presented to the Thesis Committee for approval. The proposal serves to keep the student focused on achieving project aims and allows the Committee to track student progress based on the stated aims. Proposals should contain the following elements:

  • A background section with relevant literature citations in the specific research area
  • The specific aim or aims (appropriately limited in scope)
  • The experimental design and methods to be utilized
  • Any preliminary data collected

The target date for proposal presentations is within the first 45 days of the fall term of year two; it is also acceptable for the proposal presentation to be held in the summer term between years one and two. The Thesis Committee evaluates the feasibility and scope of the project and recommends alterations as needed to ensure adequate student progress through the program in a timely fashion. 


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