MS in Cell and Neurobiology Program

The Department of Cell and Neurobiology provides training in the basic medical sciences to health professional students, and prepares graduate students as future teachers and researchers in the human anatomical sciences and functional morphology. The graduate-level course of study includes in-depth training in core anatomical disciplines: gross anatomy, histology and neuroanatomy, including cadaveric dissection and microscopic study of tissues. In addition, students receive an intensive introduction to fundamentals of bone and dental biology, human anatomical variation, and clinical anatomical correlations. Interested students can receive training in laboratory teaching for gross anatomy, or research training in functional, evolutionary and virtual morphology. Professional and intellectual development is fostered through a hands-on curriculum designed to prepare the student for a lifetime of learning, exploring the limits of research, teaching and creative activities.

Goals of the program are to train students in preparation for:

  1. Teaching positions in the core anatomical sciences (Gross Anatomy, Histology, Neuroanatomy). Instructors in the anatomical sciences contribute to teaching at medical and dental schools, in allied health programs (nursing, physical and occupational therapy, physician assistants, dental hygiene), and in pre-health undergraduate majors at colleges and universities. In recent years, the number of faculty trained to teach in these subject areas has steadily decreased. As a result, finding qualified individuals capable to teach in the anatomical sciences has become increasingly problematic. The CNB master’s program in Human Anatomical Sciences is advantageously poised to address this problem.
  2. Research positions and further doctoral training in functional and evolutionary morphology. While the anatomical sciences are among the oldest (and most fundamental) of the biological and medical sciences, the modern incarnation of morphology is a relatively young and fast-moving field of endeavor. Modern areas of focus in morphology include: mapping the anatomical biodiversity of the planet; understanding the relationships between form (e.g., skeleton) and function (i.e., locomotion; mastication) in living animals; reconstructing the behavior, performance and life history of extinct organisms; elucidating the origin of major groups of animals (including our own branch of the evolutionary tree); and investigating the fundamental properties of biomaterials (e.g., bone). The movement towards quantitative methods in the anatomical sciences and integration of new disciplines to morphology research has also made this field of endeavor more translational. For example, synthetic material design, robotics, aeronautics, cinema, graphic arts, conservation biology and other fields now make consistent use of the data generated by morphologists.

Program details

The Master of Science (MS) degree is awarded for demonstrated competence in the anatomical sciences. This is typically a 12-month program that begins with intensive training in Human Gross Anatomy in the summer term. Students must complete a minimum of 32 units of graduate level courses (500 or higher) beyond the baccalaureate degree, and maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0.

Students complete 16 units from courses in Human Gross Anatomy (CNB 501ab), Microscopic Anatomy (CNB 511abL), and Neuroanatomy (CNB 521), equivalent to medical school instruction. They receive 7 units of additional specialized training in Human Skeletal Anatomy (CNB 504), a Gross Anatomy Teaching Practicum (CNB 599), and participate in the CNB graduate seminar course (1 unit). Students must take 9 additional units from the following list of courses: Advanced Regional Anatomy (CNB 502ab), Medical Physiology (CNB 572/573), Directed Research (CNB 590) or the Gross Anatomy Teaching Practicum (CNB 599). Relevant courses in other departments and schools can also be selected, but all course work must be approved by the chair of the graduate program. Students also have the option of participating in research.