Academic Programs Catalog

College of Veterinary Medicine

Comparative Medicine and Integrative Biology

Nationwide, there is a need for scientists who understand modern molecular biology in the context of integrated systems and can apply this understanding to human and animal health. Addressing this national need with an interdepartmental graduate program in Comparative Medicine and Integrative Biology will offer graduates the understanding of how molecular and cellular events integrate into whole-animal systems, knowledge of how appropriate animal models can be used to study human and animal disease, and understanding of how species differences and similarities can be used to investigate basic biology and disease.

Graduates of the master’s and/or the doctoral program in comparative medicine and integrative biology will find employment in academia, governmental research and regulatory agencies, and in pharmaceutical industry research. They will become leaders in discovery and problem-solving research in medical science and will play an instrumental role in the translation of new knowledge to address current issues in human and animal health and well-being. The overall program is designed to develop an integrative approach to research in clinical, cellular, and molecular problems in comparative medicine and integrative biology. It emphasizes development of a firm scientific background in clinical and basic biomedical sciences and the conduct of original research.

Admission

To be considered for admission, applicants must hold a bachelor’s or higher degree in life sciences or related fields and have achieved a grade-point average of at least 3.0. As biological sciences interface more and more with disciplines such as bioinformatics, mathematics, and engineering, it is possible that students holding degrees in fields other than life sciences may contribute to and benefit from training in comparative medicine and integrative biology. The admissions committee may recommend that degree holders in other fields be admitted if their background is deemed appropriate to a particular research area in the college. The committee is chaired by the associate dean for research and graduate studies of the College of Veterinary Medicine and has representatives from each department, as appointed by the chair of each department. An applicant’s acceptance will be based on the academic record including grade-point average, quality of previous training, performance on standard tests such as the GRE, and proficiency in English as demonstrated by standard tests such as the TOEFL or equivalents; statement of professional goals, three letters of reference, and availability of appropriate mentors.

Upon admission to the program, the admissions committee will appoint a temporary advisor. Within six months after entrance into the program, a major advisor will be selected by mutual agreement between the student and the proposed major advisor, after consultation with the associate dean for research and graduate studies and the department chair from the home department of the proposed major advisor.

The major advisor will be required to submit a student’s progress report to the admissions committee by December 30 of each year. The committee will conduct an individual interview with each graduate student annually to assess progress in the program. Assessment of the student’s progress will be reported to the major advisor, chairperson of the advisor’s department, and the Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies.

 


Comparative Medicine and Integrative Biology - Master of Science

The College of Veterinary Medicine offers a master of science program in comparative medicine and integrative biology to develop an understanding of major concepts in comparative medicine and integrative biology as well as to acquire comprehensive knowledge of a major field and related subjects. Plan A consists of prescribed course work, original research of an important problem in human and animal health or biology, a thesis, and a final oral examination. Plan B consists of prescribed course work and a final research paper.

In addition to meeting the requirements of the university and of the College of Veterinary Medicine, students must meet the requirements specified below.

Requirements for the Master of Science Degree in Comparative Medicine and Integrative Biology

The student must complete a total of 30 credits for the degree under Plan A (with thesis) or Plan B (without thesis), with at least 12 of those non-research credits in courses at the 800-900 level. Student’s who lack sufficient background in certain areas may be asked to take collateral courses at the 400-500 level. These collateral courses are not counted toward degree requirements. The student’s program of study must be approved by the student’s major advisor and must meet the requirements specified below: 

               
Requirements for Both Plan A and Plan B (30 credits):  
1. Both of the following courses:  
  EPI 827 The Nature and Practice of Scientific Integrity 3
  VM 820 Current Topics in Comparative Medicine and Integrative Biology 2
2. One of the following courses:  
  STT 421 Statistics I   3
  STT 422 Statistics II   3
  PHM 980 Problems   3

Additional Requirements for Plan A:

  1. One course from two of the following three major areas:   Molecular Life Sciences, Integrative Biology, and Pathology. A list of  approved courses is available from your academic advisor.
  2. Complete 10 credits of 899 Master’s Thesis Research from one of the following departments: Large Animal Clinical Sciences, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Pathology, Pharmacology and Toxicology, Physiology and Small Animal Clinical Sciences.
  3. Elective credits including non-research and seminar courses as determined by the academic advisor.
  4. Pass an oral examination in defense of the thesis.

Additional Requirements for Plan B:

  1. One course from each of the following three major areas: Molecular Life Sciences, Integrative Biology, and Pathology. A list of approved courses is available from your academic advisor.
  2. Elective credits including non-research and seminar courses as determined by the academic advisor.
  3. Submit a satisfactory research paper.



Comparative Medicine and Integrative Biology - Doctor of Philosophy

The College also offers the Doctor of Philosophy degree focused on depth of understanding across disciplines, acquisition of research skills and the conducting of original research.

In addition to meeting the requirements of the university and of the College of Veterinary Medicine, students must meet the requirements specified below.

Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Comparative Medicine and Integrative Biology

The student must complete a minimum of 18 credits of non-research courses, with at least 12 credits in courses at the 800 level and above. All students are required to take the following courses, with at least two enrollments in Veterinary Medicine 820:

EPI 827 The Nature and Practice of Scientific Integrity 3
VM 820 Current Topics in Comparative Medicine and Integrative Biology
2
         

All students are required to take at least one course from each of four major areas: molecular life sciences, integrative biology, pathology, and statistics and epidemiology. A list of approved courses is available from the major advisor. In rare cases, a student may lack sufficient background in certain areas and may be asked to complete collateral courses at the 400 or 500 level. Credits earned in such collateral courses are not counted towards the degree.

The doctor of philosophy degree program in comparative medicine and integrative biology is conducted in two phases:
Phase I consists of acquiring and/or documenting a high degree of competence in fundamental and basic biomedical sciences and developing research skills. Phase I culminates with a comprehensive examination, submission of a research proposal, and presentation of a research seminar outlining the research proposal including preliminary data. Students may elect to take their comprehensive exam after completion of at least 12 credit hours of course work.

Phase II consists of conducting research, continuing to expand knowledge by taking additional courses and seminars as necessary, and completing 24 credits in and successfully defending the Ph.D. Dissertation.