Comparative and Molecular Biosciences MS program Degree Timeline & Course Requirements

Course requirements

Formal coursework for the MS degree varies according to the field of study, interests, and career goals of the individual student. Courses may be taken in disciplines other than Comparative and Molecular Biosciences. All requirements of the M.S. degree program must be completed and the degree awarded within five calendar years after initial enrollment in the graduate program. 

  • At least 60% of the coursework on the official graduate degree plan must be completed as a registered University of Minnesota graduate student in CMB. 
  • A maximum of eight graduate course credits may be counted in common between two University master’s degree programs.
  • Approved transfer coursework may make up the remaining 40% of degree credits and can include a maximum of 12 graduate credits taken as a non-degree seeking or non-admitted student.
  • Transfer of thesis credits is not allowed.
  • As per graduate education requirements, at least ⅔ course credits must be taken with grades A-F. 
  • Based on individual student needs, exceptions to requirements can be petitioned to the PAC. 

MS program requirements

Course credits: 20 credit minimum to be taken in CMB, VMED or a related field
Thesis credits: 10 credits (CMB 8777)
Total credits: 30 credits minimum 

Required courses

  • CMB 8134 Ethical Conduct of Animal Research 
  • CMB 8202 Mechanisms of Animal Health and Disease II
  • CMB 8303 Comparative Models of Disease
  • CMB 8550 Comparative and Molecular Biosciences Seminar
  • CMB 8560 Research and Literature Reports

Additional course requirements:

  • A course in Biostatistics (CMB 5815 Essential Statistics for Life Sciences is required)
  • 5000 or 8000 level course(s) in biological sciences (5000 level require additional approval).
  • Seminar and journal club courses do not qualify.

Biostatistics requirement:

  • CMB 5915 Essential Statistics for Life Sciences

Potential alternatives for Biostatistics requirement (approval must be obtained prior to registration):

  • CMB 8910 Statistical Principles of Research Design
  • PUBH 6450 Biostatistics I
  • PUBH 6451 Biostatistics II
  • STAT 5021 Statistical Analysis
  • STAT 5031 Statistical Methods for Quality Improvement
  • STAT 5302 Applied Regression Analysis
  • STAT 5303 Designing Experiments
  • STAT 5421 Analysis of Categorical Data 

Degree timeline

The following outline is recommended for all M.S. students in the CMB program. Participation as described will ensure that each student will complete all of the requirements of the program and progress through the program in an efficient and timely manner. 

Year One

  • Begin coursework.
  • Required courses are:
    • CMB 8134 Ethical Conduct of Animal Research
    • CMB 8202 Mechanisms of Animal Health and Disease II
    • CMB 8303 Comparative Models of Disease
    • CMB 8550 Comparative and Molecular Biosciences Seminar
    • CMB 8560 Research and Literature Reports
    • At least one course in Biostatistics (CMB5915 Essential Statistics for Life Sciences is required)
    • 5000 or 8000 level course(s) in biological sciences
  • Submit GPAS for approval at the beginning of second semester.
  • Select thesis committee members, request form from Graduate Program Coordinator, and gain approval from PAC.
  • Complete first committee meeting during your first year and submit committee meeting report form.
  • Begin Individualized Development Plan (IDP).

Year Two

  • Complete remaining coursework.
  • Update IDP.
  • Schedule two committee meetings to discuss thesis proposal, approximately once every six months and submit committee meeting report forms.
  • Complete research project and write thesis.

Summer of Year Two or Year Three

  • Update IDP.
  • Visit the Graduate School's Degree Completion Steps (Master's Plan A) to learn about the graduation process.
  • Apply to graduate by the first day of the anticipated graduation month.
  • Submit draft of thesis to advisor for approval.
  • Submit thesis to committee members (allow at least three weeks for review) and notify Graduate Program Coordinator.
  • Provide graduate program coordinator with thesis title, date, time and location of thesis defense (two weeks prior to defense).
  • Initiate Master’s Thesis Reviewers Report Form.
  • Complete final defense and Committee Chair submits final oral examination report.
  • Electronically submit final thesis manuscript.
  • Schedule exit interview with Graduate Programs Coordinator.