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Cell & Developmental Biology MS Program Requirements

Masters with Research Thesis:

Minimum of 24 course credits, and 6 credits of research leading to the completion of a thesis. No more than 12 of the 24 credits can be taken at the 300 or 400 advanced undergraduate level:

6 credits of Cell and Developmental Biology

6 credits of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics

2 credits of seminar courses

4 credits of laboratory rotation (one semester only, up to 4 hours allowed as substitution for electives.) A written report is required which must be approved by the Program Director for credit and retained in the student’s program file for review by the preliminary examination and thesis committees. Lab rotations are limited to students enrolled for the first 3 semesters in the program.

7-10 credits of electives. Most courses in the Microbiology, Biochemistry, Physiology and Neurobiology graduate programs are acceptable.

Course Recommendations for the Research Thesis Track

6 credits of Cell and Developmental Biology Requirements

3 credits - Molecular Biology of Cells (148:514)

3 credits - Developmental Biology (148:504)

6 credits of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics Requirements

3 credits - Biochemistry (115:511)

3 credits - Biochemistry (115:512), Molecular Biology (119:478), or Molecular Genetics (119:482)

2 Seminars (148:598) Two seminar courses are required

(3) Laboratory Rotations (148:610, 611 – 2 credits each) (one semester only, up to 4 hours allowed as substitution for electives)- A written report is required which must be approved by the Program Director for credit and retained in the student’s program file for review by the preliminary examination and thesis committees. Laboratory rotations are limited to students enrolled for the first 3 semesters in the program.

7-10 Electives/ Advanced Minicourses. Most courses in the Microbiology, Biochemistry, Physiology, and Neurobiology graduate programs are acceptable. No more than 3 hours of Advanced Problems in Biology (148:509,510) or another independent study course can be applied toward the M.S. with thesis and used to compute a student’s grade point average for requirements. A paper is required for all independent study courses. This paper must be submitted for final credit and will be retained in the student’s program file for review by the M.S. examination thesis committee.

Total number of course credits: 24
6 credits (minimum) Thesis Research (148:701,702)
The Graduate School requires a minimum of 30 credits consisting of coursework and thesis research for the Plan A M.S.

Masters with Non-Research Thesis:

Minimum of 30 course credits:
6 credits of Cell and Developmental Biology
12 credits of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and/or Molecular Genetics
2 credits of seminar courses
1-2 credits in Advanced Problems in Biology. This involves the completion of substantive literature research on a current problem in Cell and Developmental Biology – this is the core of the MS non-research thesis for this track. A faculty advisor will be arranged after discussion between the faculty advisor and student
10-14 Elective Credits. Most courses in the Microbiology, Biochemistry, Physiology and Neurobiology graduate programs are acceptable.

Course Recommendations for the Non-Research Thesis Track

6 credits of Cell and Developmental Biology Requirements

3 credits - Molecular Biology of Cells (148:514)

3 credits - Developmental Biology (148:504)

6 credits of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics Requirements

3 credits - Biochemistry (115:511)

3 credits - Biochemistry (115:512), Molecular Biology (146:478), or Molecular Genetics (11:126:481)

2 Seminars (148:598) Two seminar courses are required

1-2 credits Advanced Problems in Cell and Developmental Biology (148:509,510)- a paper is required for course credit. This involves the completion of substantive literature research on a current problem in cell or developmental biology. The topic will be assigned by a faculty advisor. This paper, usually 40 to 60 pages in length, should contain a comprehensive review of the current literature relevant to the topic and should also include citations and discussion of papers in the current literature.

10-14 Electives/ Advanced Minicourses. Most courses in the Microbiology, Biochemistry, Physiology, and Neurobiology graduate programs are acceptable.
The Graduate School requires a minimum of 30 course credits for the Non-Research Thesis.

** Students doing the non-thesis option may count a combined total of 6 credits of Lab Rotations and Adv Problems toward their degree**


Laboratory Rotations

Rotations are not required, but are recommended for students to find a lab if they want the Thesis Option. A rotation is usually done over a period of 7 to 8 weeks but can be extended by mutual consent of the faculty sponsor and student. If you plan on doing two rotations in the Fall, you should register for 4 credits of Lab Rotation. Students are required to provide the Graduate Program Office with a Lab Rotation form signed by their rotation advisor before beginning the rotation. At the end of each rotation, the student will submit a short summary to the research advisor. A copy of the sumnmary must also be submitted to the Graduate Program Office for the grade to be submitted. Once a student has chosen a lab to do their thesis research, the student may register for Research directly with the permission of their thesis sponsor.

1. Each Rotation = 2 credits

2. Rotations are graded Pass/Fail

3. Rotation Dates: (Fall) Rotation 1 (1st 8 weeks) (check dates with instructor)Rotation 2 (2nd 8 weeks) (check dates with instructor)
                           (Spring) Rotation 3 (3rd 8 weeks) (check dates with instructor)

4. Lab Rotation Course # for registration is 16:148:610, 611


Final Committees:

The final committees for both Research and Non-Research will evaluate the research thesis or literature review and administer a final oral comprehensive examination, covering the thesis or review and general subject matter. A student must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better to take the final oral examination.

Committee Composition:

Research Thesis Committee

Each committee must consist of at least 3 faculty members or associate members of the student’s graduate program. One non-program member is permitted, but only by requesting special permission of the Program Director.

The examination will be an oral defense of the student’s dissertation and will be presented before the examination committee.

Non-Research Thesis Committee

Each committee must consist of 3 faculty members or associate members from within the student’s graduate program. Outside members are allowed, but these are in addition to the 3 program members; no substitutes for the 3 are permitted.

A general examination will consist of: evaluation and approval of independent study and final paper, and evaluation of student’s graduate accomplishments. Final paper usually consists of 40 to 60 pages. The exam will be an oral presentation of the thesis to the committee, followed by an examination by the committee.

Transfer of Credit:

Up to 12 graduate course credits can be transferred toward the MS degree. Credits may not be transferred until 12 credits of graduate course work have been completed in the Graduate School in New Brunswick. Courses must have been taken with the last 6 years and passed with a grade of B or better.

Advisor:

The CDB program director will serve as a general advisor for first year M.S. students concerning course selection, approval etc. By the end of the first year, each student should have identified a permanent advisor.

Requirements for Transfer from the MS to the Ph.D. Track:

MS students who are interested in pursuing a PhD should consult with the Director with regard to the guidelines for transfer. To be considered for the PhD track, the student should:

1) have completed at least 12 credits of core PhD courses or equivalent at Rutgers/UMDNJ 2) provide evidence of excellent academic potential – usually a 3.0 GPA or better and 3) obtain a letter from a faculty member addressing the applicant’s research potential and agreeing to support the student for their PhD research. Students who qualify and are approved for transfer must then take and pass the written PhD qualifying examination given in June.

Academic Standards and Termination: A student is required to carry a cumulative GPA of 3.0 to remain in good standing in the program. It is also expected that the student will receive a grade of “Satisfactory” (S) for research credits. Students failing to achieve the 3.0 GPA will be sent a warning letter and be given a year to remedy that deficiency, and to bring his/her cumulative GPA up to 3.0 or better. Failing to do so will result in termination from the program. A notice of termination will be sent to the Dean of the Graduate School- New Brunswick.

Contact Us

Division of Life Sciences Graduate Program Office
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Nelson Lab-604 Allison Rd
Piscataway, NJ 08854
Phone: 848.445.9517
gradoffice@dls.rutgers.edu