UW School of Dentistry

MS (Thesis Program)

Students in this program are expected to gain proficiency in one or more of the basic sciences in addition to gaining expertise in the subject area of oral and craniofacial sciences.  This program is suitable for someone interested in a career in dental research or future PhD research or professional dental training.  We generally only accept students who have had considerable undergraduate research experience (in a biology, microbiology, or immunology research laboratory for example) or who have worked in research after obtaining their undergraduate degree. 

Course Requirements

The program requires a minimum of 70 credit hours (including at least 9 credits of thesis), of which at least 7 credits must be from science courses outside the Department of Oral Biology.  The program normally takes seven quarters of course work and thesis research. Students who have adequate backgrounds in required courses may, on presentation of appropriate documentation, be excused from required courses; up to 6 hours of transfer credit may be granted at the discretion of the Graduate School.

Thesis Research

A research thesis is required for this MS degree.  During the first year, each student will be encouraged to spend time in several laboratories in order to gain familiarity with research in progress in the department and to help identify an area of special interest to the student.  Once this has been accomplished, a preceptor and thesis advisory committee will be appointed and the student will begin thesis work.  The Final Examination will be concerned with the subject matter of the thesis and is conducted as an open seminar followed by examination by the advisory committee.


Students are encouraged to take elective courses offered through the Medical Education and Graduate School which will help them in their teaching careers.


A. Core Courses. The following courses are mandatory program requirements.
Code Title Credits Offered
DPHS 568 Biostatistics 3 S
ORALB 569 Advanced Oral Microbiology 2 W
ORALB 575 Oral Biology Seminars 1 A, W, Sp
ORALB 578 Research Techniques in Oral Biology
(lab rotations- minimum of 2 required)
2-4 A, W, Sp, S
ORALB 579 Molecular Biology 2 S
ORALB 581 Secretory Process in Exocrine Glands 2 Sp
ORALB 591 Advanced Topics in Oral Biology and Medicine
(Craniofacial & Dental Development)
2 W
ORALB 592 Advanced Topics in Oral Biology and Medicine
(Skeletal Tissue Biology) (Oral Soft Tissues & Neurobiology)
2 Sp
ORALB 600 Independent Study or Research var A, W, Sp
ORALB 700 Master’s Thesis var A, W, Sp

B. Available Electives. In addition to DPHS 568, students must take at least 7 credit hours from science courses outside the Department of Oral Biology. This list is not meant to be exhaustive.

Available electives.
Code Title Credits Offered
BIOC 530 Introduction to Structural Biology 3 A
BIOL 411 Developmental Biology 4 A, W
DPHS 569 Clinical Epidemiology and Study Design 2 S
IMMUN 532 Advanced Immunology 4 A
MICROM 411 Gene Action 5 W
MICROM/IMMUNO 441 Intro to Immunology 4 A
MICROM 445 Medical Virology 2 Sp
MICROM 553 Molecular Mechanisms of Bacterial Pathogenesis 3 A (Even Years)
NBIO 401 Systems Neurobiology 3 A
NBIO 402 Neuropathophysiology 3 W
NBIO 403 Systems and Behavioral Neurobiology 3 W
NBIO 404 Neuropharmacology 3 Sp
ORTHO 580 Craniofacial Anatomy 3 S
PABIO 568 Molecular Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases 2 W
PERIO 575 Immunologic Aspects of Oral Diseases 2 A
C. Other possible Electives
Code Title Credits Offered
ORALB 564, 565 Clinical Oral Pathology 2 A, W, Sp, S
ORALB 510 Development, Function &Structure of Oral Tissues 3, 3 W, Sp
ORALB 572 Oral Pathology 3, 3 A, W
ORALB 574 Clinical Stomatology 3 Sp
ORALB 580 Molecular Biology Laboratory
(offered every other autumn quarter)
4 A (Even Years)

D. In order to prepare for teaching, it is strongly recommended that the student take at least one class on educational methods. Such credits will not fulfill the requirement for out-of-department science courses, but will count toward the total credits required. Suggested courses include, but are not limited to:

Suggested courses.
Code Title Credits Offered
MEBI 520 Teaching Methods in Medical Education 2 W
MEBI 521 Evaluation of Learning in the Health Sciences 3 Sp
ORALB 562 Supervised Teaching in Oral Biology max. 10 A, W, Sp, S

E. Sample Distribution of Courses for the MS Degree Program.

Oral Biology: 55 credits
Dental Public Health Sciences: 3 credits
Recommended Electives: 4 credits
Teaching Electives: 5 credits

F. Students are also required to attend and participate in the Biomedical Research Integrity Series. This is a non-credit summer course taught through the Department of Medical History & Ethics and consists of a series of lectures and discussion groups.