Masters of Professional Studies Program

The M.P.S., Master of Professional Studies, is a non-thesis Master’s degree.  M.P.S. students pursue course work, attend seminars, and complete a small research project culminating in a defense, at a pace and level appropriate to their outside schedules and backgrounds.  The M.P.S. degree is primarily for

  • active professionals in biological and health-related sciences who aim to earn a degree part-time OR
  • secondary school teachers OR
  • individuals lacking previous biomedical research experience who are interested in gaining some research experience and graduate training OR
  • individuals who need catch-up on BMMB-related coursework before pursuing higher education or careers in biochemistry, microbiology, or molecular biology.

Because M.P.S. students are not completing a thesis and thus are not substantially aiding the specific aims of a grant, they are not eligible for TA, RA, or fellowship financial support, so MPS students must self-support. 

The requirements of the MPS program are very different from the thesis-based MS program and include

  • Students must complete a minimum of relevant 30 credit hours at the 400–600 level. They do NOT all need to be BMB courses–a lot of these might be courses from GSBSE–BMS designator, SBE, CHY, etc, based on student interests and committee approval.For example, we have graduate courses in virology, cell biology, physical biochemistry, molecular basis of cancer, image analysis, immunology, etc.
    • At least 12 credit hours of formal course work (other than “699” graduate research) at the ≥500 level are required, excluding BMB 580/582.
    • Students must take 4 credit hours of BMB 580 Seminar in Microbiology or BMB 582 Seminar in Biochemistry.
  • A minimum of 4 credit hours of BMB 491 capstone research is typically required. Thus, a small amount of research is required, though it’s less than a senior-year undergraduate capstone and is much less than the thesis in an M.S. degree.  The details of the work are negotiated with the faculty research advisor.
  • Final Examination:  When the requirements of the M.P.S. degree are completed, candidates must pass a comprehensive written or oral examination over course work and the research experience. It may be an oral presentation and defense of the research that was completed or an oral examination of topics studied in formal coursework or in the laboratory.  The exact topics and format will be decided by the M.P.S. committee.  The examination shall be administered by the Advisory Committee and a “Pass” will be determined by majority vote.