May 27, 2024  
2023-2024 University Catalog 
2023-2024 University Catalog

Integrated Biomedical Sciences (MS)

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Integrated Biomedical Sciences (MS): Philosophy

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

Integrated Biomedical Sciences: MS Curriculum


Students should register for two credits of Laboratory Rotation I. If a student cannot choose a thesis adviser based on the first laboratory rotation, a second flex-rotation must be approved by the Academic Standards Committee and may be taken in the spring.

For graduation, students will need two credits of research area specific coursework. Research area specific courses should be taken during fall term year one.

Research Specific Courses

Integrated Biomedical Sciences: Research Area Specific Courses

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. This broad-based approach to disease is the core of the Integrated Biomedical Sciences program.

Year 1: Adviser and Research Area Selection

During the first year, students will typically have one lab rotation. The laboratory rotation will expose students to a diverse research environment and allow them to assess how they fit in to a particular laboratory or mentor situation. The rotation should be undertaken with a mentor who holds a faculty appointment in the Graduate College. Students are expected to learn techniques and attend all scheduled experiments, lab meetings, mentor/student discussions, etc. Based on this rotation, students will submit the name of a potential adviser to the Academic Standards Committee for approval.

The Academic Standards Committee, in consultation with the program director, will approve adviser-student matches. Specific research projects will be determined by the thesis adviser after adviser-student discussions. If a student cannot choose a thesis adviser based on the first laboratory rotation, a second flex-rotation must be approved by the Academic Standards Committee and may be taken in the spring. 

Year 2: 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 ( 


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 a research area specific course 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. 

Research Adviser Selection

During the first year, the student, in consultation with the program director and with the approval of the Academic Standards Committee, will select and complete one laboratory rotation. Based on this rotation, the student will identify an area of interest and submit the name of a potential adviser to the Academic Standards Committee for approval.

Master’s Thesis Research Committee

After the student selects a research adviser and begins to collect preliminary data, the student and adviser will select a thesis committee. The research adviser must hold a faculty appointment in the Graduate College. This committee will advise the student and evaluate their proposal and thesis documents.

The committee will consist of the adviser 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 adviser 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 all voting members must agree with the final decision. The first committee meeting should take place within six months of its selection and approval.

The student is expected to write a thesis (format approved by the Center for Academic Excellence) and present the work in a public forum attended by the thesis committee, University faculty and students. The thesis defense shall be a live oral presentation (not pre-recorded) by the student on the main aspects of the research, followed by questions, comments and discussion. The chair of the thesis committee shall act as the moderator of the discussion. After discussion is completed, the committee will then meet with the student in a closed session to address any additional questions and to deliberate on approval of the thesis.


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