Anatomy and Cell Biology

Master of Science degree in Anatomy and Cell Biology

IU School of Medicine offers a Master’s degree in Anatomy and Cell Biology with two different learning tracks that prepare students for successful careers in either research or education. This is an independent degree and not required as a prerequisite for the doctoral degrees.

Research Track MS

This two-year program is designed for individuals who wish to pursue careers in biomedical research and can serve as either a terminal degree or as preparation for PhD studies. Program applicants must have completed a comprehensive series of graduate-level courses on the fundamentals of modern research biology (including G715, G716, G717, G817, G855, G505) as well as two years of D861 (seminar), electives and at least 12 hours of D860 (research) with completion of a laboratory-based thesis or research paper. Participation in this program does not require the traditional anatomical courses. Applications for the Research Track are considered only after the potential student reaches a mentoring agreement with a faculty member with whom the research work will be done.

Clinical Anatomy Track MS

This one-year non-thesis program provides students with a rigorous background in the traditional anatomical disciplines, coupled with supervised experiences teaching anatomy or conducting anatomy education research. Program requirements: Anatomy courses including D501 (Gross Anatomy), D853 (Embryology), D502 (Histology), D527 (Neuroanatomy), as well as F503 (Physiology), B500 (Biochemistry), D861 (Seminar), and electives. No research project is required.

Graduation Requirements

Both tracks of the Master’s program in Anatomy and Cell Biology require a total of 30 credit hours for the degree, but the Research Track requires more time in research. Students in the Research Track are expected to begin their investigational work during the first semester. Research Track students are expected to complete a larger research project related to their focus and enter a PhD program after earning their Master’s degree.

Admission Requirements

Applicants should have a bachelor’s degree in the sciences—with a minimum GPA of 3.0—or a substantial knowledge base in these disciplines as well as scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) or Dental Admission Test (DAT). Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required of international applicants. Applicants applying with MCAT or DAT scores must attach a verifiable copy of scores to the application as a separate document or email to the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology. Official college transcripts should be sent directly from the institution(s) to IU School of Medicine, Medical Science Building 5035, 635 Barnhill Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46202-5120.

Applicants must submit a personal statement that describes their career interests and indicates which track (research or clinical anatomy) they are applying to pursue. The application also requires three letters of recommendation from professors or other academics who can assess the applicant’s educational preparation and suitability for graduate study. If applying for the Research Track, applicants must submit a letter from an identified mentor within the IU School of Medicine Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology.

SemesterResearch Track
(2 years)
Clinical Anatomy
(1 year)
Fall Year 1G715 Biomed Sci I (3)

G716 Biomed Sci II (3)

G717 Biomed Sci III (3)

D502 Histology (4)

F503 Physiology (5)

B500 Biochemistry (3)

Students in the Research Track are encouraged to begin their research project as soon as possible.
Spring Year 1G817 Cell Biology (2)

D861 Seminar (1)

D860 Research (3)

Electives (0-3)

D501 Gross Anatomy (5)

D527 Neuroanatomy (3)

D853 Embryology (3)

D861 Seminar (1)

Electives (0-3)

D861 Seminar meets in both Fall and Spring semesters, but registration does not occur until Spring.
Summer Year 1D860 Research (3)D878 Anatomy Teaching (2)


D700 Educational Research (2)

Electives (0-3)

Fall Year 2 

G855 Biostatistics (1)

G505 Research Ethics (1)

D860 Research (3)

Electives (0-3)


Spring Year 2D861 Seminar (1)

D860 Research (3)

Electives (0-3)

Summer Year 2D860 Research (0-3)N/A
Research HoursAt least 12 hours of D860 ResearchNo research hours requiredThe Research Track requires completion of a laboratory research project; the Clinical Anatomy Track does not require laboratory research.
ElectivesAdditional graduate-level courses, including at least 12 hours and not more than 15 hours of D860 ResearchAdditional graduate-level courses to complete 30 credit hour requirement
Total Credit Hours3030
Final ProjectsThesis or paper about laboratory-based researchNo final project required
Final ExaminationOral, based on thesis or paperNo final exam required
Final Examination CommitteeThree members of ACB graduate facultyNo committee required