Biomedical Sciences

The Bridge to MD Program is a Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences degree program designed specifically for applicants to our medical school who have strength in their pre-medical experiences and attributes, and would benefit from additional basic science preparation before beginning medical school. The Bridge program coursework is designed to strengthen understanding in basic science material providing a stronger foundation as the student enters medical school. A distinct benefit of enrolling in the Bridge program is the linkage to the medical program. When accepted to the Bridge to MD program, students are conditionally accepted to the MD program for the following year. The curriculum for the Bridge program runs alongside MD students and instruction is provided by medical school faculty. This program supports WMed’s mission to build a diverse and inclusive environment that will serve the medical needs of our community.

Application Process

A select group of students who have applied for admission to the MD program at WMed will be invited to participate in this nine-month master’s degree program. Students accepted into the Bridge program are required to meet the same requirements as the MD students including submitting an AMCAS application, MCAT score within the last three years, a minimum 3.0 GPA, and completion of a bachelor’s degree prior to beginning at WMed. There is no direct application to the Bridge program. Candidates are referred by the Medical Student Admissions Committee to the Bridge Selection Committee, who makes the final student selections in late May or June.

The Path to Medical School

To fulfill the requirements of the conditional offer of admission to the MD program, students must: 

  • Earn a passing grade for every course; 
  • Meet professionalism requirements; 
  • Complete an MCAT preparation course; 
  • Retake the MCAT examination and achieve an MCAT score meeting or exceeding the MD admission standards. 

Bridge students are required to submit an AMCAS application and complete all pre-matriculation requirements prior to beginning the MD program. 

Students who successfully complete the degree program in greater than nine months will be granted the MS degree, but are not ensured admission to the medical school in the following year. 

Curriculum

The Bridge program builds on the student’s undergraduate foundation in the basic sciences with select medical school courses. Academic support and study skills help promote academic success and refine successful learning strategies. The goal of the degree program is to prepare students for success in medical school. Students will be expected to achieve or surpass a threshold level of competency in foundational biomedical sciences and professionalism required to gain admission to medical school. 

To earn the MS in Biomedical Sciences, students must:

  • Display knowledge of established and evolving biomedical sciences;
  • Apply established and emerging biophysical scientific principles fundamental to healthcare;
  • Communicate effectively both verbally and in writing.

Bridge Curriculum Map
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Bridge Curriculum Map

Courses

  • Transition to Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences
    Transition to Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences prepares students to understand, participate and connect in the master’s degree program. Students build the foundation for their success in academics and professional relationships. During this course, students have opportunities to connect with the medical school’s services and offices, and are introduced to student life organizations, student support services, information management and library skills, learning strategies, time management, financial aid, personal development, emotional intelligence, wellness, reflective writing, and the biomedical sciences curriculum.
  • Cellular Biochemistry
    Cellular Biochemistry is a course that focuses on the structure and function of cells and tissues, and how nutrition and key homeostatic hormones influence how organs metabolize carbohydrates and lipids. In addition to learning about the regulatory features of energy metabolism in healthy individuals, students also learn how dysregulation of energy metabolism underlies obesity, metabolic syndrome, and disturbances in glucose metabolism including diabetes. This course also provides an introduction to regional anatomy and the basic principles of pharmacology.
  • Molecular Genetics
    Molecular Genetics provides a background in metabolism of small molecules and the genetic contributors to disease. Cellular pathways governing macromolecular precursor synthesis and breakdown is covered. Basic processes of DNA, genome, and chromosome metabolism are integrated with key principles of inherited and spontaneous genetic disorders. Gene expression, developmental genetics, population genetics, infectious agents, and molecular technologies are explained to provide a framework for understanding the DNA-based contributions to human disease.
  • Principles of Immunology
    Principles of Immunology provides a fundamental understanding of the immune system. The course integrates immunology with microbiology and includes relevant aspects of pharmacology and pathology. Specifically, students learn about the soluble mediators, cells, and organs of the immune system and how these elements work together to prevent infection; examine how immune system dysfunction causes autoimmune diseases and allergies; and acquire the necessary foundational knowledge of virology, mycology, parasitology, and bacteriology to understand how infectious microbes cause organ-specific and systemic diseases.
  • Cell Growth and Development
    Cell Growth and Development provides a fundamental understanding of hematologic and tumor biology basic science principles. The course focuses on basics of hematology and neoplasia. The course covers the biological mechanisms underlying embryology, hematopoiesis, cellular growth control, cell cycle regulation, apoptosis, tumor immunology, and the roles of oncogenes and tumor suppressor proteins. The pharmacology of major therapeutic agents used to treat hematological disorders and antineoplastic agents is described.
  • Normal and Forensic Anatomy
    Normal and Forensic Anatomy provides a fundamental understanding of all major anatomic structures of the human body. This course takes a systemic approach emphasizing gross-level anatomy and examines body systems interactions to form the functioning whole. Anatomy of organs and organ systems are correlated with physiologic functions. Imaging techniques including CT, MRI, and x-rays are used to introduce the application of diagnostic imaging to the diagnosis of clinical disorders. Methods of forensic anatomy and anthropology are discussed in the context of the functions of the medical examiner.
  • Histology and Cell Biology
    Histology and Cell Biology is a lecture and laboratory course directed at an understanding of the structure of cells, tissues, and organs, and the functional significance of their morphological features. This course includes laboratory sessions that feature observations of human tissues through the study of digitized images (virtual slides). Students learn to identify specific structures, cells, tissues, and organs, and integrate basic concepts and principles of microanatomy as related to clinical medicine.
  • Advances and Perspectives in Medicine and Health
    Students attend a series of events, which include a mixture of basic science seminars, clinical seminars, humanities lectures, workshops, plays, demonstrations, simulations, and conferences. This course allows students to explore their interests and learn from local and national experts.
  • Critical Analysis of Scientific Literature
    Students learn to critically evaluate the scientific literature relevant to the biomedical sciences, including biomedical ethics. In addition, students learn how to develop learning objectives, and how to prepare presentations and lead discussions on biomedical topics. Throughout this course students become adept at active and self-directed learning.
  • Learning Strategies
    Learning Strategies provides academic development and support throughout the degree program. The course provides one-on-one and group instruction in time management, stress management, study skills, learning skills, test-taking strategies and analysis, information management and library skills, active learning techniques and personal assessment. In addition to the formal instruction, the learning skills specialist regularly meets with students to monitor progress and provide feedback in a supportive environment.
  • Capstone
    Capstone I, Capstone II, and Capstone III are a series of related courses. In Capstone I, the student identifies a topic related to the molecular mechanisms of disease and the strategy for a literature review of the topic is developed in consultation with the course directors. In Capstone II, the student critically evaluates the literature to develop a comprehensive outline and begins writing a thesis. In Capstone III, the student completes the thesis and gives a thesis presentation to faculty

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