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The Master of Science in Medical Science Program at Indiana University School of Medicine incorporates traditional didactic coursework with specialized problem-based learning and guided research opportunities. A rigorous Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) bridge course is also utilized to prepare trainees for success in test preparation and the promotion of self-confidence.

First Year Curriculum

  • Fall Semester
    BIOC-B 500 Introductory Biochemistry: A basic course in biochemistry, including the study of the structure and function of biological molecules, enzyme catalysis, molecular biology of gene regulation, intermediary metabolism and cell regulation (3 credit hours)

    ANAT-D 502 Basic Histology: A basic course on the microscopic anatomy for the human body emphasizing the microscopic structure of cells, major tissue groups and organ systems of the body (4 credit hours)

    PHSL-F 503 Human Physiology: An introductory course in human physiology emphasizing basic physiological mechanisms of control with regard to membrane, neural, endocrine, reproductive, muscle, cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, renal and multi-systems physiology (5 credit hours)

    MSCI-X 503 Problem-Based Learning in Medical Science: A small group, problem-based learning course designed to emphasize active, self-directed learning and application of basic biomedical science to clinical problems  (1 credit hour)

  • Spring Semester
    MICR-J 510 Infectious Microbes and Host Interactions: A basic course emphasizing the molecular and cellular events in microbiology and immunology which permit pathogenic bacteria and viruses to enter human cells and disrupt cell function while evading the host’s immune system (3 credit hours)

    MSCI-X 503 Problem-Based Learning in Medical Science: A small group, problem-based learning course designed to emphasize active, self-directed learning and application of basic biomedical science to clinical problems  (1 credit hour)

    ANAT-D 501 Human Gross Anatomy: An introduction course on the basic structure of the human body including prosection of the body to provide knowledge of the structure/ function of major organ systems, peripheral nervous system and vascular supply systems (5 credit hours)

Second Year Curriculum

  • Fall Semester
    PHAR-F 818 Principles of Medical Pharmacology: This survey of pharmacology will teach students the general principles of drug action. Students will develop an understanding of the basic pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamics and pharmacogenetic principles underlying drug therapy, prototypic drugs and their adverse effects, the development of drug dependence and addiction; and an awareness of environmental toxins.  (3 credit hours)

    BIOL 55900 Endocrinology: The study of hormone function. Considerations will be given to the role of hormones in growth, development, metabolism, homeostasis and reproduction.  (3 credit hours)

    MGEN-Q 580 Basic Human Genetics: An introduction to the genetics of human traits and heritable diseases. Emphasis will be on general aspects of eukaryotic genetics as it applies to humans, but some prokaryote genetics will be studied for comparison. (3 credit hours)

  • Spring Semester
    ANAT-D 527 Neuroanatomy: An introductory course in neuroanatomy emphasizing the structure and function/dysfunction of the central and peripheral nervous systems (3 credit hours)

    MSCI-X 501 Guided Research in Medical Science: A basic biomedical science research experience under the direction of a full-time faculty member at IU School of Medicine (3 credit hours)

MCAT Preparation Program

The MSMS Program begins in the month of June annually with an intensive Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) bridge course. The goal of this course is to enhance and reinforce academic skills that are essential for both improved MCAT performance and success in rigorous course work.

Approximately 30 hours per week are spent in class with an emphasis on cooperative learning in small groups. Subject matter includes physics, general chemistry, organic chemistry, biology and psychology. Reading, writing and critical thinking skills are stressed. Grading for this course is pass/fail. Objectives for the course are as follows:

Create a healthy psychosocial context that promotes student-directed learning

  • Foster relationships between program participants and members of the IU School of Medicine community
  • Encourage a positive student attitude toward the intensive MCAT preparation schedule
  • Assist students in developing new skills for academic success
  • Promote teamwork
  • Enhance student performance on the MCAT

Problem-Based Learning

Problem-based learning (PBL) is an active, student-directed educational method. In PBL, students progressively develop autonomous learning skills, increasing their ability to continuing to learn on their own both in the program and outside of the classroom. A facilitator provides the educational materials and guidance that enhances this progression. Through the utilization of the PBL method, students process and solve problems with information they may already possess, permitting validation of individual knowledge while identifying and inquiring new knowledge regarding the topic at hand.

While in the MSMS Program, students engage in independent study researching learning issues using various resources including textbooks, reports, scientific journals, web publication and more, as well as subject matter experts with relevant experience. PBL tailors the academic experience to suit the needs and learning styles of individual students. At the conclusion of a PBL course, students assess their work, each other as well as the facilitator.

MCAT problem-based learning is an active, student-directed learning process guided by tutors. Students meet in small groups for three hours, three times per week for six weeks to process and solve passages and problems similar to those that appear on the MCAT using PBL principles. The goals of the MCAT PBL are as follows:

Use passages similar to those of the MCAT to promote student understanding of the overall exam

  • Enhance student confidence through mastery of test-taking skills
  • Promote students’ reasoning and problem solving skills through analysis of MCAT passages to identify significant facts, identify learning issues, and to make appropriate answer choices
  • Provide a learning environment in which students collaboratively direct their own learning
  • Enhance students’ knowledge base and life-long learning skills through self-directed inquiry in
  • Learning issues

Guided Research (MSCI-X 501, Second Year Spring Semester)

The three-credit research requirement includes at least 16 weeks, 20 hours per week, of research work supervised by a research advisor who is a member of the Indiana University Graduate Faculty with an appointment at IU School of Medicine. Special exceptions may be possible with the approval of the MSMS advisory/academic committee. Advisors assign research grates based upon the quality of the laboratory performance, students’ intellectual contribution to projects, meeting updates and an oral research presentation at the end of the semester. This academic requirement is scheduled in the MSMS curriculum to be completed in the spring semester of year two

If required by the laboratory, the student may be required to complete chemical and biological safety training before beginning research. Research mentors are expected to provide any additional safety training in handling subjects, blood-borne pathogens and radioactive isotopes that may be needed to complete the project. For an example of the training sessions on lab and biological safety, contact IUPUI Environmental Health and Safety.