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Goals and Objectives

I. Goals and Objectives of the Program

The M.S. program is a terminal degree program targeting students interested in developing their skills toward a career requiring basic science knowledge. The objectives of this program are to

(1) provide integrative scientific education in the biomedical and public health sciences to graduates from an accredited undergraduate institution

(2) provide the opportunity to explore career options in various health professional disciplines

(3) develop integrative and critical thinking skills to allow application of scientific knowledge to traditionally non-scientific fields

(4) train students in the rudiments of research on a basic science, public health or clinical topic; these include hypothesis testing, data collection, manuscript preparation

(5) enhance competitiveness for admission to a health professional and/or Ph.D. program

(6) enhance skills for job placement including resume and cover letter evaluation, and interviewing preparation.

To achieve these objectives, our program proposes two areas of emphasis: (1) advancement of basic science and public health knowledge for career enhancement and (2) partnering basic science with other disciplines. In the first area of emphasis, students will augment their scientific skills with advanced coursework emphasizing critical thinking and application of that knowledge to problems facing human health. This area targets students interested in pursuing professional or advanced academic degrees. In the second area of emphasis, the student can expand their knowledge to allow them to direct a non-scientific career toward one that relies on a scientific skill set. Students in this area of emphasis may be teachers wishing to teach science in secondary schools, individuals interested in eventually achieving other professional degrees such as a J.D. or M.B.A. to pursue patent law or a position in a biotech/pharmaceutical company, or as a scientific liaison translating scientific knowledge to the general public in a community organization or a for profit company, a position sometimes called a knowledge broker.

Proposed coursework is designed to build the foundation knowledge common to first-year curricula in medical and dental schools and biomedical and public health Ph.D. programs. The common core curriculum will include coursework in the basic and public health sciences, biostatistics, epidemiology, and social and behavioral theory. In addition to coursework, students will participate in a series of activities:

  • Preparation of an independent development plan and evaluation/aid in implementation of this plan by a faculty mentoring team
  • Training in reading and evaluation of the scientific literature
  • Enhancement of career development skills, be it preparation to take entrance exams or preparation of resumes and cover letters, and interviewing skills
  • Participation in seminars to learn cutting edge advancements in science
  • Cross-disciplinary approach to the acquiring and application of scientific knowledge
  • Summer skill development sessions allowing students to participate in career development activities

In addition to the information contained in this handbook, the student is urged to consult the current Graduate School Catalog for additional information regarding the requirements of the Graduate Council at West Virginia University.