Neuroscience, Systems Biology and Bioengineering — M.S., Ph.D.

Program director
Michael Pecaut

Associate program director
Christopher Wilson

The core curriculum provides a broad background in molecular biology, immunology, and medical microbiology and infectious diseases. Advanced courses allow each student to fully develop an area of interest.  Research strengths of the program include: cellular and systems neurosciences, bioinformatics, molecular biology, computational modeling, biostatistics and data analytics, radiation physics, functional/structural imaging, in vivo and in vitro physiology, as well as biomedical engineering.

The thesis or research option for the Master of Science degree provides training for individuals who will become technicians involved in biomedical research in universities or in the biotechnology industry, and for medical technologists seeking specialized research training. The nonthesis Master of Science degree option provides content appropriate for  secondary teachers seeking advanced training in areas such as neuroscience, systems biology, bioinformatics, medical imaging; and for students seeking admission to a professional school, such as medicine or dentistry.

The Doctor of Philosophy degree is designed to prepare students for a career in independent research and teaching in a university, clinical, or biotechnology environment. Doctoral degree students are expected to develop creativity and independence in addition to technical skills.

Program student learning outcomes

  1. Students will demonstrate a broad knowledge of the biomedical sciences.
  2. Students will demonstrate subject mastery of neurosciences or systems biology or bioengineering, as well as integrative aspects of these disciplines.
  3. Students will interpret the current literature in their respective track within neuroscience, systems biology, and bioengineering.
  4. Students will demonstrate an understanding of the principles of scientific and professional ethics.
  5. Students will make original contributions to the body of biomedical knowledge.
  6. Students will demonstrate the process of applying for external funding.*

*This objective is not applicable to M.S. degree students.

A minimum of 46 units is required for the M.S. degree, as detailed in the table below. Two options, a research track and a course work track, are available. Students must maintain a G.P.A. of at least 3.0. Students must adhere to all University and program policies as published in the Student Handbook, University CATALOG, or "Student Guide." Policies and requirements are subject to change.

Basic science core
IBGS 501Biomedical Communication and Integrity2
IBGS 502Biomedical Information and Statistics2
IBGS 511Cellular Mechanisms and Integrated Systems I6
IBGS 512Cellular Mechanisms and Integrated Systems II6
IBGS 522Cellular Mechanisms and Integrated Systems II Journal Club2
IBGS 523Cellular Mechanisms and Integrated Systems III Journal Club2
Seminars (all required)
IBGS 604Introduction to Integrative Biology Presentation Seminar1
IBGS 605Integrative Biology Presentation Seminar1
IBGS 607Integrated Biomedical Graduate Studies Seminar 10
Religion
REL_ ____Graduate-level religion course (RELE, RELR, or RELT)3
Program specific courses
Choose from the following:9
Neuroscience GS
Data Management: Modeling and Development
Introduction to Bioinformatics and Genomics
Medical Microbiology
History of Neuroscience
Cortical Circuits
Contemporary Neuroimaging
Neuroinflammation: Neuron-Glia Interactions
Orthopaedic Regenerative Engineering and Mechanobiology
Bioengineering Fabrication
Medical Imaging Physics
Medical Image Analysis
Radiation Detectors for Medical Applications
Radiation Therapy Physics
Neuropharmacology
Degree completion options12
Coursework track:
Electives (Choose 11 units from available electives listed below)
Research track:
Elective (0-2 units)
Research (8 units) 2
Thesis (1-3 units)
Total Units46
1

Registration and attendance required every quarter in residence, but units do not count toward total required for graduation.

Noncourse requirements

Course work track:  a comprehensive written examination over the graduate course work in lieu of preparing a thesis.

Research track:   pass an oral examination given by his/her graduate guidance committee after the thesis has been completed.

Normal time to complete the program

2 years— based on full-time enrollment; part time permitted

Comparison

See the comparison of the M.S. Course work, M.S. Research and Ph.D. tracks of this program.

For the Ph.D. degree, students must complete a minimum of 70 units—as detailed in the table below—and must maintain a G.P.A. of at least 3.0.  Students must adhere to all University and program policies as published in the Student Handbook, University CATALOG, or "Student Guide." Policies and requirements are subject to change. 

Basic science core
IBGS 501Biomedical Communication and Integrity2
IBGS 502Biomedical Information and Statistics2
IBGS 503Biomedical Grant Writing2
IBGS 511Cellular Mechanisms and Integrated Systems I6
IBGS 512Cellular Mechanisms and Integrated Systems II6
IBGS 522Cellular Mechanisms and Integrated Systems II Journal Club2
IBGS 523Cellular Mechanisms and Integrated Systems III Journal Club2
Seminars (all required)
IBGS 604Introduction to Integrative Biology Presentation Seminar1
IBGS 605Integrative Biology Presentation Seminar 12
IBGS 607Integrated Biomedical Graduate Studies Seminar 10
Religion
RELE 525Ethics for Scientists3
RELR 588Personal and Family Wholeness3
RELT 617Seminar in Religion and the Sciences3
Program specific courses
Choose from the following:20
Neuroscience
Required:
Neuroscience GS
Foundations in Neuroscience
Neuroscience Methods
Electives:
Fundamentals of Electrophysiology
History of Neuroscience
Cortical Circuits
Contemporary Neuroimaging
Neuroinflammation: Neuron-Glia Interactions
Neurosciences Journal Club
Neuropharmacology
Systems biology
Required:
Data Management: Modeling and Development
Introduction to Bioinformatics and Genomics
Systems Biology – A Practical Approach
Data Analytics
Electives:
Medical Microbiology
Systems Biology Journal Club
Advanced Bioinformatics — Sequence and Genome Analysis
Genomics and Bioinformatics: Tools
Integration of Computational and Experimental Biology
Bioengineering
Required:
Data Analytics
Integration of Computational and Experimental Biology
Cellular and Molecular Engineering
Bioengineering Fabrication
Electives:
Bioengineering Journal Club
Orthopaedic Regenerative Engineering and Mechanobiology
Medical Imaging Physics
Medical Image Analysis
Radiation Detectors for Medical Applications
Radiation Therapy Physics
Research
IBGS 696Research Rotations 22
NSBB 697Research 212
IBGS 699Dissertation2-5
Total Units70
1

Registration and attendance required every quarter in residence, but units do not count toward total required for graduation.

2

 Must take at least 3 units of course work with a clear microbiology focus.

3

 Must take at least 3 units with a clear immunology focus.

Noncourse requirements

  • pass both written and oral comprehensive examinations in order to advance to candidacy.
  • successfully defend the dissertation before their guidance committee prior to being awarded the Ph.D. degree.

Normal time to complete the program

5 years— based on full-time enrollment; part time permitted

Comparison

See the comparison of the M.S. Course work, M.S. Research and Ph.D. tracks of this program.