MBS Academic & Course Requirements
The Tufts University School of Medicine MS in Biomedical Sciences curriculum is modeled on the School of Medicine's first-year medical curriculum. In fact, eights of the thirteen core courses in the program mirror a portion of the current Tufts School of Medicine courses. The remaining core courses are either modeled after medical courses or unique offerings designed to enhance a student's future success.
Basic and Clinical Human Anatomy is presented from the perspective of important medical imaging modalities including CT, MR and 3-D reconstruction. This course not only teaches an important understanding of normal body structure but also provides clinical correlations for important conditions that affect humans.
Basic Human Pathology incorporates the concepts of general pathology with important features of systems pathophysiology in order to present an understanding of the pathologic basis for human disease. Elective courses available to MS students are numerous and diverse. They are drawn from a variety of Tufts sources including the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences, the Public Health programs and other Professional Degree programs.
Examinations are typically identical to those taken by first-year medical students. For the most part, they will be taken at the same intervals as given to medical students. The thesis, either literature-based or laboratory-based, will be completed by the end of the first or second year.
The MBS Program has aligned its prerequisites with those of Tufts School of Medicine's MD Program. Students must have all pre-medical requirements completed with a C- or better prior to matriculation into the MBS Program.
We encourage applicants to check the requirements at medical/dental schools they may be interested in applying to in the future, as they may differ from the requirements at Tufts School of Medicine.
MBS Core Curriculum
Medical Course: Introduction to Microbiology: A Molecular Approach (1.5 credits) — The Introduction to Microbiology course links basic science and diseases caused by bacteria and viruses. The genetic and physical structures of microbes, their growth and replication strategies, and the regulation of important virulence factors are subjects in this course. The key essential features and processes of microbes are exemplified by their roles as targets of antibiotic and antiviral agents. We teach from paradigms, using important current problems in medicine that illustrate how bacteria and viruses choose their hosts, determine their lifestyles, and regulate their pathogenesis genes. We explore the notion that the human microbiome plays a role in health and disease. The course goals are to provide a mechanistic framework for students to use to solve biological problems, and to better conceptualize new information in infectious disease and biomedical science. Gardel, Fall semester
Medical Course: Cell Biology (1.5 credits) — This course describes the study of form and function of cells and societies of cells (tissues) at the light and electron microscopic levels. As such it combines the principles of cell biology with biochemistry, molecular biology, and genetics. Although lectures stress the relationships between structural composition and function, important clinical correlations are provided. Castellot, Fall semester
Medical Course: Medical Histology (3.0 credit) — This course describes the study of form and function of cells, societies of cells (tissues), and organizations of tissues (organs) at the light and electron microscopic levels. As such it combines the principles of traditional cell biology and histology courses. Although lecture and laboratory sessions stress the relationships between structural composition and function, important clinical correlations are provided. The overall course objectives are to 1) develop the concept of the inseparable relationship of form and function, 2) provide adequate perspective and preparation to integrate the knowledge of cells, tissues, and organs into the scheme of other basic and clinical biomedical sciences, and 3) demonstrate that the study of cells and tissues is an important approach to the study of the human body in general a strategy that can assist in developing and strengthening powers of critical observation, problem solving, diagnostic reasoning, and judgment. Sun, Fall semester
Medical Course: Biochemistry (3.0 credit) — This course describes the study of the chemistry of cells and tissues and presents the biochemical basis for physiologic processes. While emphasis is placed on functional and regulatory aspects, a solid knowledge of the structure of major biochemical substances and of enzymatic reactions is required for understanding how biochemical reactions determine physiologic function and regulation. Although emphasis is placed on normal processes, disease states are presented to show how specific biochemical defects can lead to illnesses. The overall course objectives are to 1) understand how genetic regulation and metabolic reactions determine normal physiologic function, 2) begin to understand the biochemical basis of disease, and 3) use biochemical knowledge to interpret clinical problems. Baleja/Yee, Fall semester
Medical Course: Immunology (1.5 credits) — This course describes the study of the structure and function of the cells, tissues, organs, and molecules that are responsible for protecting the body against invading pathogens and infectious disease. Basic information is provided on host defense mechanisms, origins and functions of immune cells, innate immunity, the complement system, and specific immunity (humoral and cell mediated mechanisms). Topics also include antibody structure and function, antibody genetics and B cell development, T cell differentiation and activation, cellular cooperation and control of the immune response. Important clinical information is also presented including allergy, hypersensitivity and autoimmune disease, underlying mechanisms of transplantation immunology and tumor immunology, various forms of immunodeficiency including HIV, and methods of manipulating the immune system to treat immunologically mediated diseases. The overall course objectives are to 1) introduce students to important concepts in modern medical immunology, and 2) teach immunological mechanisms that have direct clinical application. Brodeur, Fall semester
Medical Course: Physiology (4.5 credits) — This course describes the study of the functions and vital processes of the human body. It is divided into four sections: cellular and neuromuscular physiology; cardiovascular and respiratory physiology; renal and gastrointestinal physiology; and endocrine and reproductive physiology. The overall course objectives are to 1) provide students with a thorough understanding of the basic physiologic principles of the human body, 2) integrate physiologic information with other biomedical disciplines, and 3) provide an important foundation for continuing clinical studies, especially in pathophysiology and pharmacology. Jefferson, Spring semester
Medical Course: Genetics (1.5 credits) — Medical genetics involves the application of genetic principles in the practice of medicine. Medical genetics encompasses diagnosis and treatment of genetic diseases, study of inheritance of diseases in families, mapping of disease genes to their chromosome locations, study of the molecular genetics and pathogenesis of inherited disorders, provision of genetic counseling for families, and recently, investigations of methods for gene therapy. Medical geneticists care for fetuses in utero, newborns, children, and adults with inherited conditions, adults with infertility or recurrent miscarriages, and adults who are genetically predisposed to cancer. Unlike any other field, genetics represents a true integration between the basic and the clinical sciences. The overall course objectives are 1) Given a clinical problem, take an appropriate family history; 2) Given a pedigree, determine the most likely mode of inheritance; 3) Given a disorder, whether Mendelian, chromosomal, or multifactorial in origin, determine the likely risk for other family members; 4) Recognize who might benefit from genetic counseling and provide it if the problem is straightforward, or know to whom to refer patients if the problem is complex; 5) Appreciate how a disease gene is localized, learn the potential benefits of understanding the molecular approach to disease, and appreciate the therapy that can derive from this understanding; 6) Take into account the diversity in genetic makeup as an important factor in preventive health care, diagnosis and treatment; 7) Reduce unnecessary exposure to known and potential physical and chemical mutagenic, teratogenic, and carcinogenic agents; 8) Recognize how environment can affect phenotype; 9) Identify ethical dilemmas in providing genetic services. Cowan, Fall Semester
Medical Course: Pharmacology (1.5 credits) — The overall objectives of this course are to: 1) describe the nature and steps in the drug discovery and development processes, 2) differentiate the interplay between basic and clinical pharmacology and the elements of pathobiology and pathophysiology that lead to drug choices in clinical practice, 3) analyze the principles of selective toxicity and pharmacokinetic and other medicines which underlie the rational use of drugs and 4) identify the properties of drug action at specific receptors and the mechanism of actions of drugs, and 5) determine toxic and therapeutic endpoints and drug side effects and list major indications and contraindications for relevant drugs. Greenblatt/Abourjaily, Fall Semester
MBS Course: Introduction to Clinical Medicine (1.5 credits) — This course represents a survey of clinical medicine as practiced by physicians and other health care providers in Western countries. During the first half, students are introduced to basic human physiology; pathophysiology; and the fundamentals of clinical medicine including history taking, the physical examination, diagnostic testing, and modern therapeutics. During the second half, students apply information learned in the first half to the most prevalent diseases that plaque the developed world. Issues pertaining to population medicine and public health, health promotion and disease prevention, behavioral influences on health, and alternative medicine are also covered in the context of applicable disease states. The overall objectives of the course are to 1) identify the major the determinants of health genetic, environmental, behavioral and social and consider the extent to which physicians can influence their health effects; 2) describe the general processes undertaken to arrive at a diagnosis, formulate a treatment plan, counsel a patient, and assess the benefits and harms of an intervention; 3) explore the relevant professional, ethical and interpersonal parameters that define the patient-physician relationship; 4) explain the scientific rationale behind medical decision-making and identify the major non-scientific factors that influence the day-to-day practice of medicine; 5) illustrate common diagnostic, treatment and preventive interventions for selected conditions and describe the principles governing their safe and effective clinical application; and 6) gain first-hand experience in the collection, organization, interpretation, analysis and communication of clinical information. Glickman-Simon, Fall semester
Medical Course: Basic Human Pathology I & II (3.0 credits) — This course describes the study of diseases in relation to the structural and functional changes in cells, tissues, and organs during the natural histories of specific disorders. The course begins with the principles of general pathology, which focus upon the basic changes in cells and tissues in response to broad pathological processes and pathogenetic mechanisms; it concludes with topics in systemic pathology, which address certain common, important specific disease processes as they affect particular organs or systems in the context of actual patient care. The importance of practical techniques (e.g., morphologic, molecular, immunologic) that reveal pathologic changes in fluids, cells, tissues or organs of patients and result in specific diagnoses that lead to sound clinical care and intervention will also be presented. The overall course objectives are to 1) achieve a mastery of the basic vocabulary of medicine, which allows health care professionals to communicate effectively, 2) develop some special skills needed for pathology, including visual recognition and interpretation of pathologic lesions during examination (physical, gross or microscopic), and 3) develop a working framework for making good, rational, medically-related decisions, which involves gathering appropriate data, organizing pertinent data, interpretation, and generating probable conclusions. Kwan, Fall and Spring semester
Medical Course: Introduction to Basic and Clinical Human Anatomy (3.0 credits) — This course describes the study of the structure of the human body as seen through dissection and medical imaging, including radiography and magnetic resonance. Topics covered include the anatomy of the Extremities, Thorax, Abdomen, and Pelvis. Laboratory exercises will include computer-based dissections using 3-D reconstructions based on the Visible Human Project as well as 2-D cross sections and radiographic images. The overall course objectives are to 1) provide students with an introduction to anatomical and medical terminology and basic information on grossly dissectible structures in the human body, and 2) apply this knowledge to clinical and diagnostic problem-solving. Willson, Spring semester
MBS Course: Nutrition (1.5 credits) — This course describes the study of the role of specific nutrients in normal metabolism as well as the relationship of nutrition throughout states of life. Topics include the important role of nutrition in the development and treatment of major chronic diseases including heart disease, cancer and obesity; and the relationship of exercise to the maintenance of good health, chronic disease prevention, and the aging process. The overall course objective is to emphasize the value of nutrition and exercise in both health maintenance and disease. Phelan, Fall semester
- Elective (3.0 credit)
- MBS: MCAT Tutorial
- MBS: Thesis (Library or Laboratory-based) (3.0 credits)
MBS Elective Courses
(Partial list; courses require approval from instructors and depend on space availability)
MBS 222 – Computerized Motion/Gait Analysis
(**Note: Several sessions will meet off campus at New England Sinai Hospital in Stoughton; students will need to carpool). To provide students with an introduction to the biomechanics of locomotion as a predictor and indicator of neuromuscular control in the human body, and to became familiar with the principles and instrumentation of computerized motion and gait analysis.
MBS 224 – From the Cell to Cancer
Historic and epistemological overview of the subject with special emphasis on the quality and relevance of the premises adopted by those favoring either a) the somatic mutation theory (SMT) and its variants or b) the tissue organization field theory (TOFT).
MBS 225 – Bioethics for the Budding Physician-Scientist
This course provides an overview of the basic principles of ethics and then uses student presentations to illustrate those principles in the context of cases that are important to physicians doing research.
MBS 226 – Bioethics for the Budding Clinician
This course provides an overview of the basic principles of ethics and then uses student presentations to illustrate those principles in the context of cases that are important to physicians and their patients.
MBS 228 – Critical Evaluation of the Clinical Literature
MBS 229 – Mental Illness and its Pharmacologic Management
MBS 231 – Immunotherapy of Cancer and Autoimmune Disease
This course provides an in-depth perspective on the types of immunotherapy currently being evaluated, as well as a review of the evolution of immunotherapeutic approaches, including the treatment of allergy.
MBS 232 – Introduction to Dentistry: Ethics, Professionalism, and Dental Anatomy
PH 201 – Principles of Epidemiology
PH 205 – Principles of Biostatistics
PH 210 – Law in Public Health
PH 234 – Public Health Economics
PH 235 – Advanced Public Health Economics
PREP 236 – Principles of Change and Education in Pain Management
PREP 238 – Evaluation and Treatment of Pain
MBS Thesis Requirement
The Tufts MBS program is a full-time experience that includes a thesis. Minimally, it can be completed in one year, but may be extended. In this regard, we have also made provisions for those candidates who wish to continue their studies leading to the MPH degree or MBA degree.
A literature or laboratory-based thesis, which is the capstone of our program, must be completed successfully to obtain the MS degree.