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, and 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 as well as for medical technologists seeking specialized research training. The non-thesis Master of Science degree option provides content appropriate for secondary school teachers seeking advanced training in areas such as neuroscience, systems biology, bioinformatics, and medical imaging, as well as for 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 learning outcomes

By the end of this program, the graduate should be able to:

  1. Articulate fundamental concepts in the biomedical sciences;
  2. Integrate aspects of neuroscience, systems biology, or bioengineering;
  3. Interpret the literature within neuroscience, systems biology, or bioengineering;
  4. Demonstrate the principles of scientific and professional ethics;
  5. Make original contributions to the body of biomedical knowledge;
  6. Explain the process of applying for external funding.*
    *This learning outcome does not apply to M.S. degree students.

A minimum of 45 units is required for the M.S. degree, as detailed in the table below. Two options, a research track and a coursework 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
Seminars (all required)
IBGS 604Introduction to Integrative Biology Presentation Seminar1
IBGS 605Integrative Biology Presentation Seminar1
IBGS 607Integrated Biomedical Graduate Studies Seminar 11
Religion
REL_ ____Graduate-level religion course (RELE, RELR, or RELT)3
Program specific courses
NSBB 552Data Analytics3
NSBB 526Journal Club (1) 22
Choose from the following three (3) areas:11
Neuroscience
Required core: (10-15 units)
Neuroscience GS
Foundations in Neuroscience
Neuroscience Methods
Fundamentals of Electrophysiology
History of Neuroscience
Neuroinflammation: Neuron-Glia Interactions
Neuropharmacology
Psychobiological Foundations
Electives: (5-6 units)
Cortical Circuits
Contemporary Neuroimaging
Systems biology
Required core: (10-15 units)
Physiology and Molecular Genetics of Microbes
Systems Biology – A Practical Approach
Advanced Bioinformatics — Sequence and Genome Analysis
Genomics and Bioinformatics: Tools
Integration of Computational and Experimental Biology
Biostatistics I
Biostatistics II
Electives: (7-12) 3
Data Management: Modeling and Development
Data Analytics and Decision Support
Translational Research Training
Basis of Medical Genetics
Biostatistics III
Bioengineering
Required core: (10 units)
Engineering Analysis of Physiological Systems
Cellular and Molecular Engineering
Orthopaedic Regenerative Engineering and Mechanobiology
Electives: (10-18 units) 2
Bioengineering Fabrication
Medical Imaging Physics
Medical Image Analysis
Radiation Detectors for Medical Applications
Radiation Therapy Physics
Degree completion options11
Coursework track:
Electives (Choose 11 units from available electives listed in above areas of specialization))
Research track:
Elective (0-2 units)
Research (8 units) 3
Thesis (1-3 units)
Total Units48

Service learning requirement

This requirement may be met by taking a religion course designated as a service learning course. For more information about this requirement and a list of religion courses that fulfill it, see section on academic service learning in this CATALOG.

Noncourse requirements

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

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

Normal time to complete the program

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

Comparison

See the comparison of the M.S.  and Ph.D. degree programs.

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.  Based on research dissertation focus, other courses may be required as recommended by the dissertation committee and approved by School of Medicine graduate academic affairs committee.  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 11
Religion
RELE 5__ Must be numbered 500 or above3
RELR 5__ Must be numbered 500 or above3
RELT 5__ Must be numbered 500 or above3
Program specific courses
NSBB 526Journal Club (1) 22
NSBB 552Data Analytics3
Choose from the following three (3) areas:18
Neuroscience
Required: (11-18 units)
Neuroscience GS
Foundations in Neuroscience
Neuroscience Methods
Electives: (2-6 units)
Fundamentals of Electrophysiology
History of Neuroscience
Cortical Circuits
Contemporary Neuroimaging
Neuroinflammation: Neuron-Glia Interactions
Neuropharmacology
Systems biology
Required: (10-15 units)
Systems Biology – A Practical Approach
Biostatistics I
Biostatistics II
Electives: (2-10 units)
Data Management: Modeling and Development
Advanced Bioinformatics — Sequence and Genome Analysis
Genomics and Bioinformatics: Tools
Integration of Computational and Experimental Biology
Biostatistics III
Bioengineering
Required: (10 units)
Integration of Computational and Experimental Biology
Cellular and Molecular Engineering
Bioengineering Fabrication
Electives: (2-10 units)
Orthopaedic Regenerative Engineering and Mechanobiology
Medical Imaging Physics
Medical Image Analysis
Radiation Detectors for Medical Applications
Radiation Therapy Physics
Research
IBGS 696Research Rotations (1) 22
NSBB 697Research (1-8) 212
IBGS 699Dissertation (1-5)2-5
Total Units73

Service learning requirement

This requirement may be met by taking a religion course designated as a service learning course. For more information about this requirement and a list of religion courses that fulfill it, see section on academic service learning in this CATALOG.

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

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

Comparison

See the comparison of the M.S.  and Ph.D. degree programs.