Biomedical Sciences

The Hal B. Jenson MD Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences degree program is 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 master’s 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 master’s degree program is the linkage to the medical program. When accepted to the Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences program, students are conditionally accepted to the MD program for the following year. The curriculum 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 will be invited to participate in this nine-month master’s degree program. Students accepted into the 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 this program. Candidates are referred by the Medical Student Admissions Committee to the Master’s Program Selection Committee, who makes the final student selections in late May or June.


The MS program in Biomedical Sciences 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.

2021-2022 Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences Curriculum Calendar

Biomedical Sciences Curriculum Map
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2021-2022 Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences Curriculum Calendar

Biomedical Sciences Curriculum Map


  • 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.
  • Capstone
    The capstone is designed as the culmination of your MS Program composed of learning strategies, critical analysis of scientific literature, and a thesis literature review. In Capstone I, students develop strategies for learning including time management, study skills, organization, effective reading, testing skills, mindset, and motivation. Students learn how to interpret scientific literature and prepare scientific presentations, identify a topic related to the molecular mechanism(s) of disease, and develop a strategy for a literature review of the subject. Students apply the critical evaluation of scientific literature concepts to literature related to their thesis topics, and develop a comprehensive outline and annotated bibliography. In Capstone II, students learn about scientific writing and apply the skills learned in Capstone I to write a literature review-based thesis. Students give an oral thesis presentation upon their successful completion of Capstone II and finish the program.

Program Co-Directors

Laura Bauler, PhD, and Peter Vollbrecht, PhDLaura Bauler, PhD, and Peter Vollbrecht, PhD, serve as co-directors of the MS Program in Biomedical Sciences. Please contact Drs. Bauler or Vollbrecht if you wish to learn more about this unique master’s degree program. You can learn more about Drs. Bauler and Vollbrecht, including their contact information, on their WMed faculty webpages at the following links:

Program Named in Honor of Hal B. Jenson, MD

At the time of his retirement as Founding Dean in May 2021, this degree program was named in honor of Hal B. Jenson, MD because of his leadership, advocacy, and dedication to the development of this Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences degree program.

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