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  Nov 23, 2017
 
 
    
2016-2017 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Integrated Biomedical Sciences (MS and PhD)


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Integrated Biomedical Sciences: PhD Program


Philosophy The PhD in integrated biomedical sciences is designed to educate science professionals for leadership in research and academic positions, as well as to provide career path education relevant to their specialized fields. In the past, Rush offered doctoral degrees in anatomy, biochemistry, immunology, neurological science, physiology and pharmacology. Since collaborative interdisciplinary teams of scientists perform current and future biomedical research, we no longer offer, individual basic science degrees. Instead our new doctoral program emphasizes an integrated interdisciplinary approach to biomedical research. Graduates of this program will perform high-quality, impactful biomedical research at colleges and universities, government agencies, hospitals and nonprofit agencies and in industry. Students in the program will work with faculty and scientists to generate new knowledge in the fields of biomedicine using sophisticated research methods and statistics. As a part of the program, students are required to pass a comprehensive preliminary examination and demonstrate their knowledge of core and concentration-specific course work. They will design and conduct research that culminates in a dissertation, and they will disseminate their scientific findings through scholarly publications and presentations.

Integrated Biomedical Sciences: PhD Admission Requirements


Applicants must enter the program in the fall semester in order to begin the required course work in the core curriculum. The deadline for submission of applications is generally March 1. International applications can be accepted after March 1 but must take into consideration the delays associated with the necessary visa arrangements. The Integrated Biomedical Sciences Program has the following requirements for admission to the
program:

• A baccalaureate degree from an accredited college.

• Course work in biology, cellular biology, molecular biology, physics, chemistry, organic chemistry, physical chemistry and mathematics, including calculus, is highly recommended. Upper-level biochemistry or physiology courses are    also highly recommended.

• Official academic transcripts from all baccalaureate and postbaccalaureate educational experiences are required. These should provide a minimal grade point average of 3.0 overall (A = 4.0). Higher grades are expected     in science courses,  and evidence of research experience is preferred.

• GRE or MCAT scores are required. All applicants whose native language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Applicants from foreign countries must have their transcripts evaluated by the   independent agency, ECE.

• A statement of the applicant’s interests, previous research experience, and goals needs to be included as an essay in the application. The personal statement must include a ranking of the student’s interest in the five different research    tracks. If the student’s research track interest is not clear, then the student should list “undecided.”

• Three letters of recommendation, two from academic resources, are required. We prefer these to be from science faculty who can evaluate the character of the applicant, the applicant’s academic and research performance, and the    applicant’s ability to think and work independently.  

 

The admissions committee will evaluate applications. All prior academic experience and the letters of recommendation will be evaluated for an indication of the applicant’s potential for  success as a graduate student and future independent investigator. With rare exceptions, PhD applicants will be required to interview with faculty members before admission to the program.  

Acceptance into the doctoral program is limited by  the availability of stipends, and also by the availability of faculty to act as mentors.  All accepted doctoral students receive a competitive stipend and tuition scholarship. The stipend and tuition scholarship is renewed each year providing the  student is making satisfactory progress towards the degree.

 

 

 

 

 

Integrated Biomedical Sciences: Curriculum


Year 1


Note

* Registration during this semester requires permission.
GCC = Graduate College Core Curriculum
GCC XXX* = Actual course numbers will vary with elective or cognate required by the track.
BTN = Biotechnology course
V = Variable amount of credits


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

 

Year 2:


Fall


Summer


Note:



In years two through five, the emphasis is on research.   A student works with the track director, dissertation advisor and committee to determine the most appropriate mix of electives and research hours each semester . A typical registration is listed below.

• Electives: nine credit hours total may be taken at any time, primarily in years two and three.

• Cognates (track-specific requirements): 16 hours total

• GCC 694-698 Advanced Topics Seminar courses count as cognates and are taken for one semester hour of credit each fall and spring term starting in the second year for a maxi- mum of eight credits.  The Advanced Topics Seminar course should align with the student’s research track.

• GCC 598 Pre-Dissertation Research (Pre-Dissertation Research and laboratory rotation hours are part of the core curriculum .)

• GCC 699 Dissertation Research (variable (V) credits :
Students are expected to register for a low number of research credits each semester since only 17 credits of dissertation research are required . Seventeen hours of GCC 699 are required for graduation. A low number of credit hours are considered to be a full time commitment to research .

 

While registrations appear similar in years three through five, the nature and character of the research changes, and the student passes through a number of steps towards completion of the PhD .

 

Integrated Biomedical Sciences: PhD Dissertation Program Progression


Year 1 Classes and Comprehensive Exam:


The goal of the course work in the first year is to expose the student to the biomedical sciences to enable them to design and approach a research problem from molecular, biochemical, cellular and organ system perspectives. The reading courses provide a critical understanding of the literature and existing base of knowledge. They will also show the student 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. The Topics in Biomedical Integration course (GCC 531 ) is offered in the spring semester. In this course, a specific disease will be studied from the molecular perspective to organ system failure under Faculty direction. The students will then be assigned a group project in which they use the approaches they have learned to study another disease. This project will strengthen student skills in preparation of the comprehensive exam. In the summer, GCC 532  Topics in Biomedical Integration II is the comprehensive exam in which students will be given an individualized disease topic related to their planned research. They will be required to write a literature review approaching the topic from each biomedical prospective.

Year 1 Research Experience:


During the first year, students will have three lab rotations. Each rotation must be in a different laboratory. The laboratory rotations will expose students to a range of research environments. Students are expected to learn techniques and attend all lab meetings, etc. Based on these rotations, uncommitted students (funded by the Graduate College or the NIH), will submit the names of three potential advisors with a priority ranking to the Integrated Biomedical Sciences Education Committee. The education committee, in consultation with the potential advisors, will decide which student will be matched with which advisor. Students committed to particular laboratories (funded by a research advisor’s grants) are still required to take three laboratory rotations. During the first year, the student will select a track and will identify potential research advisors. The program director and track director will then select the student’s comprehensive exam topic. Advisors will be identified after three rotations are completed.

Year 2 Track Selection, Research experience, Qualifying Exam


The selection of a research advisor will significantly influence the student’s selection of a research track. Subsequent classes will be dictated by the track cognates and electives, and by relevant electives offered in other tracks. The selection of electives should complement research activity and the interests of the student, and should help prepare him or her for the career choice identified through the use of the Individual Development Plan (IDP) website and additional resources provided by the Graduate College.When the student is not in class or studying, the student should be working on his or her research project. The goals of the 2nd year are to learn the relevant laboratory techniques and to develop a research proposal in conjunction with the research advisor. The research project will advance knowledge in a specific discipline and yield first-author scientific publications for the student. The student’s research proposal should include a hypothesis and specific aims and be written up as an F31 grant (See the Dissertation Proposal and Presentation section below). The student must select a dissertation committee and present the proposal to the committee by the end of the second year. The presentation and defense to the committee is considered the qualifying exam. Acceptance of the proposal by the dissertation committee means that the student is a candidate for the PhD. The student’s assessment at this time relates to the following student outcomes:

• The graduate is able to acquire research skills, collect and analyze data, and interpret results in order to address an original research question.

 In addition, this step begins the continuing assessment of the following outcomes:

 • A graduating student is capable of independent critical thinking and writing, as well as proposing, performing and effectively presenting his or her research.

• The graduate is able to work collaboratively with other scientists, physicians and health care professionals to give and obtain feedback concerning the approach to research problems, data analysis and implications of research.

The student creates an IDP to better define his or her areas of interest including teaching, administration, research in industry, or academic research. Upon graduation, the graduate will have used the IDP, mentorship and training opportunities to refine his or her career path.

Student progress is evaluated at the end of each year in years two through five. For year two, the student’s mentor and track director will assess progress relative to expected outcomes. In years three through five, the student will submit a written report documenting progress toward expected outcomes. The mentor and track director will also submit their assessment of student progress for the year. Then a meeting with the student, mentor and track director will take place at the end of each year to discuss progress.

Year 3-5 Research Progress/Publications/Dissertation


The research advisor monitors the day-to-day progress of the student. The dissertation committee will meet at least once per year to monitor progress and to approve any changes to the proposed research project. The committee may meet more frequently, especially after the approval of the student’s research proposal. The student is expected to attend national meetings, make presentations, present posters, etc., and become a part of the scientific community. Likewise, the student should be submitting research articles. The program requires that the research project yield at least one first-authored research article accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. The publication requirement is necessary but not sufficient for graduation. The dissertation committee will continue to assess student progress on the aims and determines when the student has completed his or her dissertation. (See the Dissertation Proposal and Presentation section below.)

The student’s assessment continues on the outcomes listed above with emphasis on the growth of research and communication skills. Likewise, it is expected that the communication outcomes will also become more centered on written communication in the form of abstracts, peer-reviewed journal articles and the dissertation as the student begins to complete the following outcome:

• The graduate is able to contribute to the scientific literature in an area of expertise via published abstracts, a dissertation and by the publication of a first-authored research article in a refereed journal.

Thesis Document, Presentation and Approval


The student is expected to write a thesis document (approved by the director of the Library of Rush University Medical Center) and present the work in a public lecture attended by the thesis committee, and University faculty and students. The thesis committee will then meet with the student in a closed session to address any additional questions and to deliberate on approval of the thesis. Typically the meeting immediately follows the public lecture. The student may be asked to make revisions before final thesis approval by the committee.  The registrar’s office must be notified of impending completion of the degree by submission of an Intent to Graduate Form at the beginning of the final semester. As the thesis is reaching final form, the student should consult with the University librarian to assure that the document is formatted correctly. Once the thesis is approved, the student will complete the final checklist to assure that all necessary approvals have been obtained. Each student will be required to have an exit interview and provide feedback concerning his or her experience at Rush University.

Minimal Credit Hours Required for the Integrated Biomedical Sciences PhD Degree


The PhD in integrated biomedical sciences should be completed in five years and requires completion of 80 semester hours of credit distributed as follows: core courses (37), concentration specific cognates (16), electives (9), and dissertation research (18). 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 provide systematic exposure to the contemporary process of scientific discovery and will serve as the basis for the remainder of the curriculum. Advanced students entering with a Master of Science (MS) degree in a biomedical science or a Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree may have satisfied the requirement for some of the core classes based on their prior records.When core course requirements are waived, the requirement of core course hours can be compensated by taking extra hours of laboratory rotations or pre-dissertation research. These students may be able to complete the degree in a shorter time period providing that they progress through the other program requirements.

Students will be required, in conjunction with their advisors, to select from concentration-focused cognates in one of five tracks: translational cancer research; cardiovascular and respiratory biology; immunity, inflammation and infection; disorders of the musculoskeletal system; and disorders of the nervous system. All students will be required to participate in track-specific advanced topic seminars and to complete a minimum of 18 semester hours of dissertation research following admission into candidacy for the PhD. Dissertation hours in the Graduate College encompass laboratory research required for completion of the dissertation, including analyzing published data; developing a research proposal; learning and applying advanced methodologies and statistical data analyses; developing skills to write and submit a pre-doctoral training grant application; practicing presentation skills to disseminate one’s own research findings in national conferences; writing a research publication; and developing and defending a dissertation project.

Integrated Biomedical Sciences: Academic Policies


Academic Advisor/Principal Advisor


The IBS program director functions as the academic advisor to the students during the first year of matriculation in the program. At the end of the first year, each student will identify the 226 track that he or she wishes to enter and will begin working in the laboratory of his or her research advisor. At this time, the track director along with the research advisor will serve as mentors for the student.

Research Advisor selection:


During the first year, the student, in consultation with the program director and track directors in areas related to the student’s interests, will select three laboratories for research rotations. Based on these rotations, the student will identify the track he or she is interested in and submit the names of three potential advisors with a priority ranking to the IBS education committee. The IBS education committee, in consultation with the potential advisors, will match students with advisors. Students who are already committed to a particular laboratory (funded by the research advisor’s grants) are still required to take three laboratory rotations. The student’s research project should advance knowledge in a specific discipline and yield first-author scientific publications for the student.

Integrated Biomedical Sciences: Track/ Research Opportunities


The research tracks for the Integrated Biomedical Sciences PhD Program are translational cancer research; cardiovascular and respiratory biology; immunity, inflammation and infection; functions and disorders of the musculoskeletal system; and functions and disorders of the nervous system. The tracks include qualified faculty from Rush University Medical Center who have an interest in research in these tracks. They come from academic departments as well as clinical departments, which enables students to select a variety of individuals with basic and clinical expertise to serve on their advisory committees and guide them through their projects.

Qualifying Exams


  • Comprehensive exam - In the summer quarter following the first year of classes, all students will take GCC 532 ; Topics in Biomedical Integration II. This course is their comprehensive exam where each student will be given an individualized disease topic related to their planned research. They will be required to write a literature review approaching the topic. This comprehensive exam assures that the student can approach a research or clinical problem from a variety of perspectives, accounting for the published literature that illuminates the molecular, cellular and organ systems manifestations of the disease process.
  • Qualifying Exam (Dissertation Proposal and Presentation) - The student must select a Dissertation Committee and present the proposal to the committee by the end of the 2nd year. The student’s research proposal should include at least three Specific Aims and be written up as a NIH F31 grant. Acceptance of the proposal by the Dissertation Committee means the student is a candidate for the PhD.

Dissertation Research Committee


After passing comprehensive exams, the student selects a research advisor and begins to collect preliminary data. By the end of spring of the second year, the student and advisor will select a research committee in consultation with the track director. This committee will advise the student and evaluate his or her dissertation. The Graduate College requires that the committee include five members and that one member be the student’s mentor or advisor. A majority of the committee (at least three members) must be faculty at Rush who are members of the Graduate College. The chair of this committee, who cannot be the student’s mentor or advisor, will be chosen at the first committee meeting and will preside at all subsequent meetings and arrange for a timely completion of the dissertation work. The dissertation 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 dissertation, in which case only one member may disagree with the final decision. In addition to the five committee members, either the director of the graduate program, the associate director or a track director will serve as an ex officio member of the committee.

Dissertation Proposal and Presentation


Each student will present a thesis proposal before the end of the spring semester of the second year that the student has developed with a thesis advisor and graduate committee. The format for the written portion of this requirement is the standard Individual National Research Service Award (F31) mechanism. In addition, a comprehensive review of the literature relevant to the proposed studies is highly recommended as an adjunct document for this requirement. All students are highly encouraged to submit these proposals to the National Institutes of Health for consideration of funding. The schedule for submission deadlines is April 8, Aug. 8 and Dec. 8 of every year.

Once the written document is completed, the thesis proposal will be presented, in seminar format, to the Integrated Biomedical Sciences Program, with the written portion provided to the student’s committee at least one week prior to the presentation date. A formal committee meeting with dissertation proposal defense will follow this presentation. During this meeting, the 227 quality and merit of the project will be assessed, and a determination as to whether the work satisfies the degree requirements or what measures for remediation are required to satisfy this requirement will be made at this time. Upon successful completion of this requirement, the status of doctoral candidate is conferred on the student. It is recommended that this requirement be satisfied as early in the second year as is reasonably attainable. In the event that a student does not satisfy this requirement before the end of the summer of the second year, the student and advisor will need to present to the IBS education committee a reason as to why this requirement has not been satisfied and provide a plan for remediation.

Once the dissertation proposal requirement has been satisfied, each student will present an oral and written annual update to his or her committee, which details progress made in the previous year. The committee will review progress of the project and the candidate’s career development. In addition to this, the website that helps students identify career goals, my individual development plan (myIDP), should be used whenever possible to track and report all professional development activities.

Completion of the Degree


In the candidate’s final year, a dissertation data defense will be presented to the candidate’s committee demonstrating that satisfactory progress has been made on the project to justify development of a plan to complete all experiments and to initiate dissertation preparation. Upon completion of this phase, the student will present the dissertation to the University in written form (approved by the director of the Library of Rush University Medical Center) and present the work in a public one-hour lecture attended by the dissertation committee and faculty and students of the University. The dissertation committee will then meet in closed session with additional questions and will approve the dissertation. Typically the meeting immediately follows the public lecture. In line with the rules and procedures of the Graduate College, the committee strives for a consensus, but the dissertation can be approved over the objections of a single committee member. However, if two committee members disapprove the dissertation, then it is not approved. The awarding of the PhD degree requires the demonstration of a capability for independent research and a contribution to scientific knowledge.

It is assumed that one or more research articles will be included in the dissertation. Since a peer-reviewed, first-authored research article is required for the degree, the dissertation is not considered complete until the publication of this article. If publication is pending, the committee may sign off on the dissertation, but the program director will not sign off until the paper is published.

The registrar’s office must be notified of impending completion of the degree by submission of an Intent-to-Graduate Form at the beginning of the final semester. As the dissertation is reaching final form, the student should consult with the University librarian to assure that the dissertation is formatted correctly. Once the dissertation is approved, the student will complete the final checklist to assure that all necessary approvals have been obtained. Students will be required to have an exit interview and provide feedback concerning their experience at Rush University.

Student Grievance Procedure


A student who is having difficulty with a course, anticipates being absent from class, or faces an emergency that will impact his or her attendance or performance should contact his or her course director. A student with a problem in laboratory rotations or research should attempt to resolve the issue through direct communication with the laboratory advisor or mentor. A good faith attempt to plan or resolve any issues directly with the course director, laboratory advisor or mentor should always be the first course of action. If this fails, the student should bring the concern to the program director if the student is a first-year student or to their track director if the student has already identified a track. The program director or track director will work with the student and faculty member(s) to resolve the issue. If it is a serious issue, the program director, track director or faculty member may involve the education committee. The student may also appeal directly to the education committee by requesting in writing that it meet to discuss the issue. The education committee will meet within 10 days to render a judgment to best address the interests of the student within the guidelines of the Integrated Biomedical Sciences PhD Program.

Students must maintain a B average in the first year. If they drop below a B average, they should discuss the possibility of remediation with the director of the course they had difficulty with. The course director may issue an incomplete grade for a limited time in accordance with university policy while agreedupon remediation takes place. However, once a failing grade (No Pass or letter grade less than B) has been given, the education committee must approve a remediation plan. Until the grade is remedied or the average is improved in some other way, the student is on probation. A student who remains on probation for two semesters will be dismissed.

Students who have entered a track must receive at least a B grade in any courses deemed required by their track director. Failure to remediate a grade of less than B in a required course, a no-pass grade in a pass/no-pass course, or the receipt of another such grade while on probation will result in dismissal. 228 The education committee will also hear complaints concerning academic dishonesty, nonprofessional behavior and student misconduct. The council may become involved through a direct request from a student or faculty member or by a referral from the honor code committee. If the committee has not been involved, the council may refer the initial request to the honor code committee. They will hear testimony from any involved faculty and students and may recommend remediation or disciplinary measures. Recommendations for expulsion or suspension are made to the Office of the Dean of the Graduate College. Appeals will be heard by the Graduate College Council (GCC) or a subcommittee of the GCC that will be organized solely for the purpose of hearing the appeal and making a recommendation to the Dean. The ultimate decision regarding student expulsion or suspension rests in the Office of the Dean of the Graduate College.

Graduate College/Rush University Academic Policies


Academic policies specific to the Graduate College are located earlier in this catalog. In addition, the Academic Resources and Policies section of this catalog contains Rush University academic policies.

 

Integrated Biomedical Sciences: PhD Tuition Scholarship and Stipend


All students who are admitted to the IBS PhD program at Rush University Medical Center will receive a tuition waver and stipend. The stipend is awarded annually and renewed if the student remains in good standing. To remain in good standing, the Graduate College requires that students maintain at least a “B” average failure to do so will result in the student being on probation, if the student does not have a B average following one semester of probation, they may loose their stipend. Students are expected to attend all classes and spend the appropriate time in the lab. All outside employment is forbidden without prior graduate college approval as it interferes with the time and effort necessary to complete the program. This excludes activities that would be in line with Individual Development Plan goals like tutoring, teaching and proctoring.

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. Students who do well in the IBS MS program are encouraged to apply for the IBS PhD program. Graduates
will be prepared to perform advanced biomedical research at colleges and universities, government agencies, hospitals, non-profit agencies and industry. In the past Rush offered master’s degrees in Anatomy, Biochemistry and Immunology/
Microbiology; however the IBS master’s program includes additional basic science disciplines, such as neurological science, physiology and pharmacology, as well as the original three areas. Since collaborative interdisciplinary teams of
scientists perform transformative biomedical research, singlediscipline based science degrees will no longer be offered. Instead our new 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 statistics.

Integrated Biomedical Sciences: Track/Research Opportunities


The research tracks for the program are translational cancer research; cardiovascular and respiratory biology; immunity, inflammation and infection; functions and disorders of the musculoskeletal system; and functions and disorders of the
nervous system. The tracks include qualified faculty from Rush University Medical Center who have an interest in research in these tracks. They come from academic departments as well as clinical departments, which enables students to select a variety of individuals with basic and clinical expertise to serve on their advisory committees and guide them through their projects.

Integrated Biomedical Sciences: MS Admission Requirements


Applicants must enter the program in the fall semester to begin the required course work in the core curriculum. The priority deadline for admission consideration is March 30 and the final date that applications will be accepted is May 1. The program has the following requirements for admission:

• A baccalaureate degree from an accredited college.

• Course work in biology, cellular biology, molecular biology, physics, chemistry, organic chemistry, physical chemistry and mathematics, including calculus, is highly recommended.  Upper-level biochemistry or physiology courses are also    highly recommended.

• Official academic transcripts from all baccalaureate and postbaccalaureate educational experiences are required. These should provide a minimal grade point average of 3.0 overall (out of 4.0). Higher grades are expected in science courses.
 Applicants from foreign countries must have their transcripts evaluated by the independent agency, ECE.

• GRE or MCAT scores are required. All applicants whose native language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

• A statement of the applicant’s interests, previous research experience, and goals needs to be included as an essay in the application. The personal statement must include a ranking of a student’s interest in the five different research tracks.  If the student’s research track interest is not clear, then he or she should list “undecided.”

• Three letters of recommendation, two of which must come from academic resources, are required. Letters will preferably be from science faculty who can evaluate the character of the applicant, the applicant’s academic and research  performance, and the applicant’s ability to think and work independently.

The admissions committee will evaluate applications. All prior academic experience and the letters of recommendation will be evaluated for an indication of the applicant’s potential for success in the program. With rare exceptions, MS applicants will interview online or by phone with faculty members before admission to the program. Acceptance is on a rolling basis and will be limited by the availability of faculty to act as mentors.  We will begin accepting qualified applicants after the priority deadline until the cohort is complete.

Integrated Biomedical Sciences: MS Curriculum


Year 1


Year 2


Note


GCC = Graduate College Core Curriculum
GCC XXX* = Actual courses numbers will vary with elective or cognate
required by the track.
BTN = Biotechnology course
V = Variable number of credit hours
The specific courses or hours of cognates and electives will vary each semester
depending upon the student’s choice of track and specific
course selections.
A low number of credit hours are considered to be a full-time
commitment to research.

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 Track Selection


During the first year, students will typically have two lab rotations in different laboratories. 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, mentorstudent discussions, etc. Based on these rotations, students will submit the name of a potential advisor and their track choice to the Integrated Biomedical Sciences Education Committee.  The 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 third rotation may be taken in the spring or summer. The selection of a research advisor and project will determine the student’s selection of a research track.

Year 2: Classes, Research Experience, Thesis Committee, Thesis Proposal and Thesis Presentation


Any classes will be dictated by the track cognates and electives available that academic year. Course selection should complement research activity and the student’s interests and should help prepare him or her for the career choice identified through the use of the individual development plan website and additional resources provided by the Graduate College. When the student is not in class or studying, the student should be working on his or her research project.  The student’s assessment at this time relates to the following student outcomes:

• The student is able to acquire research skills, collect and analyze data, and interpret results to address an original research question.  

In addition, this step begins the continuing assessment of the following outcomes:

• A graduating student is capable of independent critical thinking and writing, as well as proposing, performing and effectively presenting his or her research.

• The graduate is able to work collaboratively with other scientists, physicians and health care professionals to give 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 his or her areas of interest, including teaching, administration, and research in industrial or academic environments or further professional education. Upon graduation, the graduate will have used the IDP, mentorship and training opportunities to refine his or her career path.

In consultation with an advisor, the student chooses a thesis committee consisting 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. Each student will write a succinct research project proposal which will be presented to the 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. Students should view the committee members as a resource for didactic and technical assistance.

The student is expected to write a thesis and present his or her research to the Rush research community (thesis presentation).  The thesis committee will then meet with the student to address any questions or issues related to the data or format of the thesis document. The student may be asked to make revisions before final committee approval.

Minimal Credit Hours Required for the Integrated Biomedical Sciences MS Degree


The program is designed to be completed in five consecutive semesters and requires completion of at least 37 semester hours.  These hours include 20 credit hours of core courses, seven credit hours of track-specific cognates, four credit hours of elective courses, and six hours of thesis research credit.  

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. In addition, students will work with faculty advisors to select one area from five available tracks: translational cancer research; cardiovascular and respiratory biology; immunity, infection and inflammation; function and disorders of the musculoskeletal system; and function and disorders of the nervous system. 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 advisors, to select seven credit hours of courses from concentration-focused
cognates in their chosen tracks and a minimum of four elective credits from the Graduate College courses offered. Finally, students will be required to accrue a minimum of six credit hours of thesis research. Master’s students will be encouraged
to participate in track-specific advanced topic seminars in the second year.

Integrated Biomedical Sciences: Academic Policies


Academic Advisor/Principal Advisor


The program’s assistant director functions as the academic advisor to the students during the first year of matriculation in the program. After two rotations, the student will identify the track that he or she wishes to enter and will begin working in the laboratory of his or her research advisor. At this time, both the track director and research advisor will serve as mentors for the student.

Research Advisor Selection


During the first year, the student, in consultation with the assistant program director and track directors in areas related to the student’s interests, will select two laboratories for research rotations. Based on these rotations, the student will identify the track that he or she is interested in and submit the name of a potential advisor to the IBS education committee. The committee will match students with advisors.

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 research committee in consultation with the track director. This committee will advise the student and evaluate his or her proposal and thesis documents. The thesis 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 track 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 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 semester 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.

Student Grievance Procedure


A student who is having difficulty with a course, anticipates being absent from class, or faces an emergency that will impact his or her attendance or performance should contact the course director. A student with a problem in laboratory rotations or research should attempt to resolve the issue through direct communication with the laboratory advisor or mentor. A good faith attempt to plan or resolve any issues directly with the course director, laboratory advisor or mentor should always be the first course of action. If this fails, the student should bring the concern to the program director if the student is a first-year student or to their track director if the student has already identified a track.  The program director or track director will work with the student and faculty member(s) to resolve the issue. If it is a serious issue, the program director, track director or faculty member may involve the education committee. The student may also appeal
directly to the education committee by requesting in writing that it meet to discuss the issue. The committee will meet within 10 days to render a judgment to best address the interests of the student within the guidelines of the Integrated Biomedical Sciences Program.

The education committee will also hear complaints concerning academic dishonesty, nonprofessional behavior and student misconduct. The council may become involved through a direct request from a student or faculty member or by a referral from the honor code committee. If the honor code committee has not been involved, the council may refer the initial request to the committee. The council will hear testimony from any involved faculty and students. The council may recommend remediation or disciplinary measures. Recommendations for expulsion or suspension are made to the Office of the Dean of the Graduate College. Appeals will be heard by the Graduate College Council (GCC) or a subcommittee of the GCC that will be organized solely for the purpose of hearing the appeal and making a recommendation to the Dean. The ultimate decision regarding student expulsion or suspension rests in the Office of the Dean of the Graduate College.

Graduate College/Rush University Academic Policies


Students must maintain a B average in the first year. If they drop below a B average, they should discuss the possibility of remediation with the director of the course causing difficulty.  The course director may issue an incomplete grade for a limited time in accordance with university policy while agreed-upon remediation takes place. However, once a failing grade (No Pass or letter grade less than B) has been given, the education committee must approve a remediation plan. Until a grade is remedied or the average is improved in some other way, the student is on probation. A student who remains on probation for two semesters will be dismissed.  

Students who have entered a track must receive at least a B grade in any courses deemed required by their track director.  Failure to remediate a grade of less than B in a required course or a no-pass grade in a pass/no-pass course or the receipt of another such grade while on probation will result in dismissal.

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