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Masters of Science Programs: Frequently Asked Questions

  • What if I have not chosen an MS Advisor? Is there a course I can take for the research credit?

    Students who have not chosen their advisor may register for GS00 1520 Research in Biomedical Sciences under Dr. William Mattox. Once you join a lab, please contact Dr. Wassim Chehab and Bunny Perez so your registration can be switched to your advisor.

  • What is the difference in full-time versus part-time enrollment?

    Full-time registration is defined as:

    Fall and Spring Semesters = 9+ credit hours/units
    Summer Semester = 6+ credit hours/units

    Part-time registration is defined as:

    Fall and Spring Semesters = less than 6 credit hours/units
    Summer Semesters = less than 5 credit hours/units

    Please note that if you are funded by a Faculty member, Financial Aid, or are an International Student, you MUST be registered as a full-time student. However, if you are a domestic, self-funded student, you may register as a part-time student.

  • What is the difference between good academic standing and academic probation?

    Good academic standing is maintained when the student’s overall Grade Point Average (G.P.A.) is 3.0 or better and the student has been meeting his/her MS milestones in a timely fashion.

    Academic probation - any of the following actions or conditions can cause the student to be placed on academic probation by the Dean:

    • Failure of any course
    • Cumulative GPA. falls below 3.0
    • Failure to meet with his or her Advisory Committee within a six-month period
    • Failure to meet the particular requirements for the MS degree in the time periods specified by the School
    • Failure to make satisfactory progress toward the degree 


    • Any student on probation is ineligible to apply for GSBS scholarships, fellowships, or travel awards and will not be allowed to stand for the MS final oral thesis examination.
    • More severe actions, up to and including dismissal may be considered by the Academic Standards Committee for a student's failure to make satisfactory progress toward the degree.
  • Are there any additional requirements regarding Advisory Committee meetings?

    To remain in good academic standing, students are required to meet with their Advisory Committee soon after it is approved (within 1-2 months) and at least once every six months after.

    Students are expected to provide their committee with a pre-meeting progress update at least 5 days before their meeting

    After the meeting, the student and the Advisor complete the committee meeting report

    Both the student's progress update and the committee meeting report are to be submitted to [email protected] in Academic Affairs AS WELL AS members of the student’s Advisory Committee within 10 days of the meeting.

  • Are there additional details I should know about the MS Defense?

    If a member of the Advisory Committee is unable to attend the defense, a substitute who meets the same criteria (e.g., outside the student's major interest or from another department) must be added.  The individual must be a GSBS faculty member.  The student should send an email to Dr. Mattox and copy the Advisor as well as the substitute member to request approval of the substitution.  The substitute member will sign the Results of the Defense form, but will not sign the student's thesis.  The committee member who was unable to attend the defense shouldn't sign the defense results form, but will still be required to approve and sign off on the thesis.

    Any member of the GSBS Faculty who attends the public presentation may participate in the examination to the extent described below. Others wishing to attend must be approved by the Advisory Committee.

    Within one week after the defense, Academic Affairs will communicate the results to the Dean and the ASC for their information and approval.

    Also within one week of the defense, any GSBS faculty member who has read the student's thesis and has attended the defense may write directly to the Dean to provide an evaluation of the student's performance.

    In reaching a final decision on whether to award the MS or require further work and/or another defense, the Dean will take into consideration the recommendation of the Advisory Committee and other comments received from GSBS Faculty. In particular cases, the Dean may solicit additional evaluations of the thesis from experts in the field either within or outside the GSBS Faculty.

    The decision of the Dean will be communicated to the student and the Advisory Committee within one month of the defense.

  • How can I join the GSBS PhD Program?

    MS Students can not transfer to the PhD program, but are welcome to apply for acceptance to the PhD program. All applicants (including GSBS MS students) will be evaluated using the same criteria. MS students must complete all of the requirements for their degree prior to beginning their PhD work.

    In the event that the student is unable to complete the elements of their MS degree prior to the first semester of the PhD program, the student must defer until completion of their MS degree requirements.

Related Links

MS/SMS Programs

MS in Biomedical Sciences
        Degree Requirements/Milestones
        Curriculum Requirements
        Program Course Requirements


For more information about the MS program or for current MS student academic advising, please contact Dr. Wassim Chehab.