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Graduate Program in Oral Health Sciences

MS (Thesis Program) : Admissions Suspended

For 2024 Admissions cycle: The MS Thesis degree program is currently suspended for admissions. OHS is not accepting applications for the MS Thesis at this time. 

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, 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 a research setting 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 Health Sciences.  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 credits 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 1-2 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.



The following courses are mandatory program requirements:

Core Courses
Code Title Credits Offered
OHS 568 Biostatistics 3 S
OHS 569 Advanced Oral Microbiology 2 W
OHS 575 Oral Biology Seminars (each academic year) 1 A, W, Sp
OHS 578 Research Techniques in Oral Biology
(lab rotations- minimum of 2 required)
2-4 A, W, Sp, S
OHS 579 Molecular Biology and Oral Health Applications 2 S
OHS 581 Secretory Process in Exocrine Glands 2 Sp
OHS 591 Advanced Topics in Oral Biology and Medicine
(Craniofacial & Dental Development)
2 variable
OHS 592 Advanced Topics in Oral Biology and Medicine
(Skeletal Tissue Biology) (Oral Soft Tissues & Neurobiology)
2 Sp
OHS 600 Independent Study or Research var A, W, Sp
OHS 700 Master’s Thesis var A, W, Sp

In addition to OHS 568, students must take at least 7 credit hours from science courses outside the Department of Oral Health Sciences. 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
OHS 571 Clinical Epidemiology and Study Design 2 S
IMMUN 532 Advanced Immunology 4 A
MICROM 411 Bacterial Genetics 4 W
MICROM/IMMUNO 441 Intro to Immunology 4 A
MICROM 445 Medical Virology 2 Sp
MICROM 553 Interactions of Bacteria with their Hosts 3 Sp, odd years
NEUSCI 401 Neuroscience 3 Sp
NEUSCI 402 Diseases of the Nervous System 3 W
NEUSCI 403 Computational Models for Cognitive Neuroscience 3 W
NEUSCI 404 Neuropharmacology 3 Sp
ORTHO 580 Cranial Anatomy 2 S
PERIO 575 Immunologic Aspects of Oral Diseases 2 A, odd years

Other possible Electives
Code Title Credits Offered
DENTPC 564, 565 Clinical and Histopathological Correlation 2 A, W, Sp, S
DENTFN 523 Oral Histology and Embryology 3, 3 W, Sp
DENTPC 574 Oral Pathology 4 W

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
BIME 520 Teaching Methods in Medical Education 2 varies
BIME 521 Evaluation of Learning in the Health Sciences 3 varies
OHS 562 Supervised Teaching in Oral Biology max. 10 A, W, Sp, S

Oral Health Sciences: 58 credits

Recommended Electives: 4 credits
Teaching Electives: 5 credits

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. NIH Trainees are required to attend every year of the duration of their federal funding.