Graduate Programs

Master’s Curriculum

The Anatomy and Neurobiology MS Program offers a 2-year graduate curriculum of formal instructional activities and research training mentored by the members of the faculty leading to the terminal MS degree. The Program prepares students for technical careers in neurobiological research laboratories in academic, private and government institutions. The Program also provides a strong foundation for students who choose to continue onto doctoral training.

This is a research-oriented degree program comprised of graduate course work and supervised research leading to a Master's thesis. The Master of Science program involves approximately one year of course work and a research thesis performed under the supervision of a faculty advisor.

First Year

Fall semester:

  • Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology (Modular Course) (BIOC 503)
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience (NEUS 609)
  • Faculty Research Seminar (ANAT 690)
  • Directed Research, Laboratory Rotations (ANAT 697)

Spring semester:

  • Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology (BIOC 504)
  • Systems Neuroscience (ANAT 610)
  • Faculty Research Seminar (ANAT 690)
  • Directed Research, Laboratory Rotations (ANAT 697)

Summer following first year

  • Directed Research (ANAT 697)

Second Year

Fall semester:

  • Scientific Integrity (OVPR 601)
  • Faculty Research Seminar (ANAT 690)
  • Directed Research (ANAT 697)

Spring semester:

  • Seminar (ANAT 690)
  • Directed Research (ANAT 697)

Students must pass all courses with a grade of B or better. Students who fail to achieve a B will be required to re-take that course. The student must maintain a 3.0 overall cumulative grade point average to continue in the Master’s program.

Final Defense:

There is no expectation of the time required to complete the Master’s degree; usually two years of study are necessary to complete the requirements. At the appropriate time in their research, the student will prepare a thesis and schedule a Final Oral Defense of the thesis. The Final Oral Examination (defense of the thesis) will cover the subject of the candidate’s dissertation and related basic science coursework.

Program Goals

The program is designed to provide students with the skills required to advance to positions as bioscience researchers, trainers and technicians in a broad spectrum of positions. The structure of the program provides a framework for the progressive development of a mastery of the current state of the subject matter of bioscience, an ability to synthesize this information and apply this foundation to the identification of key areas of investigation/experimentation in bioscience.

The program relates the above framework to the development of the ability to design, implement and interpret experimental approaches which address the questions identified.

In addition, students will develop skills in the various means of communicating both the core of bioscience knowledge and the expression of experimental design, results, and interpretation to a variety of potential audiences. The program will prepare students to secure a position in their chosen career goal (medical school, doctoral studies, employment in academic or private laboratories). 

Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology Virginia Commonwealth University VCU Medical Center
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