Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences
Course Sequence & Descriptions -- Phila Campus
Biomedical Research Concentration
Other schedules may be devised with the thesis advisor and program director.
Forensic Biology Concentration
Forensic Biology Concentration courses start in the Fall.
Organizational Leadership in the Biosciences Concentration
Organizational Leadership in the Biosciences Concentration can begin in either Summer
(T) Turbo class held in an accelerated weekend format.
Biomedical Sciences First Year (Foundation) Courses
BIOM 501 – Molecular Basis of Medicine
The course presents fundamental information regarding biochemistry, molecular biology
and medical genetics in a way that is highly practical in today’s clinical and/or
research setting. This overview course includes discussions of molecular biology and
genetics, metabolism and the body’s production and use of energy, and blood-related
issues such as blood proteins, lipoproteins and hemostasis.
BIOM 502 – The Infectious Process
This course introduces graduate students to fundamental principles of immunology and
microbiology. This overview includes discussions of the interplay between the microbial
pathogen and the host immune response during the infectious process. Representative
microorganisms belonging to each class of pathogen (bacterial, viral, fungal and parasite)
are discussed. After the introductory lectures, the focus will be on current topics
of interest in infectious disease and public health, including vaccines, cancers with
an infectious etiology, and eradication of disease.
A comprehensive consideration of the human anatomy as it relates to function in order
to provide the anatomical component of diagnosis and treatment. This course will cover
the gross anatomy of all systems in the human body including musculoskeletal, neuronal,
lymphatic, respiratory, cardiovascular, digestive, urinary and reproductive with an
emphasis on structural relationships and functional correlations to clinical applications.
Course objectives include the acquisition of anatomical structural knowledge, and
the development of team working, oral presentation and written communication skills
as well as the development of critical assessment of biomedical literature. Learning
is facilitated through lecture, group study of anatomical dissections, team problem
based learning with clinical case presentations and a reflective observation team
Students receive fundamental information regarding the structure and function of cells,
how cells are organized into tissues and how tissues are organized into organs. In
the histology laboratory students learn to identify cells, tissues and organs through
This course provides a broad introduction to the basic and clinical neurosciences,
including motor function, cerebrovascular blood supply, sensory receptors, higher
cortical functions, the limbic system, neurometabolism, and nervous system structure
BIOM 506 – Medical Pharmacology
Medical pharmacology presents an introduction to the basic concepts and principles
of pharmacology. Specific lectures are presented in the areas of pharmacokinetics,
autonomic pharmacology, cardiovascular pharmacology, CNS pharmacology and the control
This introductory course focused on medical physiology correlates the principles of
basic functional mechanisms to practical methods for clinical assessment. Students
receive hands-on instruction in methods to evaluate physiological mechanisms in a
laboratory setting. Classroom and laboratory instruction are correlated to enhance
understanding in the following areas: basic electrophysiology, cardiac, skeletal muscle
physiology, gastrointestinal, respiratory, cardiovascular and renal physiology.
Research Concentration Courses
BIOM 681 – Research Thesis Proposal
This course introduces the student to literature review, hypothesis generation, and
research design. The student will form a partnership with a research mentor and thesis
committee. Working with the mentor, the student will develop a written research plan
which must be approved by the committee and program director. If the project requires
clearance by any regulatory board (IRB, IACUC, etc.) this course will be considered
"in progress" and no grade issued till such authorization is secured.
BIOM 682 –Journal Club
Students in this course will each give a multimedia presentation that includes appropriate
background, methodology, results, interpretations, and conclusions of an original
study drawn from the recent peer-reviewed literature. Emphasis is placed on developing
skills in critical review and in communicating scientific studies in seminar format.
BIOM 683 – Thesis: Manuscript Development
The student will demonstrate mastery of his or her area of research by writing a viable
draft of the thesis manuscript comprising abstract, introduction/background, materials
and methods, results, discussion, and literature cited. The draft will be submitted
to and approved by the thesis committee, who will schedule the thesis defense in conjunction
with the program director.
Prerequisites/Corequisites: BIOM 681, 682, 693.
BIOM 685 – Thesis: Defense
The candidate will demonstrate mastery of his or her area of research, and biomedical
research in general, by delivering a seminar-format presentation open to the faculty
and college community. The audience may question the candidate on matters pertaining
to the project and related studies. After the public session, the defense will continue
with the thesis committee discussing both with the candidate and in private matters
that may need to be resolved before the final thesis can be submitted.
Prerequisites/Corequisites: BIOM 683, 693.
BIOM 687 – Thesis Status
The candidate will revise the written thesis as required by the thesis committee and
library guidelines, secure committee approval, and submit the thesis in its final
form to the program director, who will then recommend the candidate for degree conferral.
This course will be considered "in progress" and no grade issued until the final thesis
is submitted. At the end of each term that the thesis is not submitted, the candidate
will develop an action plan in consultation with the thesis committee and program
director; additional fees may be incurred.
Prerequisite/Corequisite: BIOM 685.
BIOM 690 – Research Methods
This course introduces students to fundamental concepts of epidemiology and research
design in health and disease. Principles of evidence-based medicine are discussed
as they relate to key areas of disease prevention, health promotion and therapy discussed.
Community-based issues, problems and solutions are addressed. Students who complete
the course will be able to understand and apply basic statistical terms and applications
as well as various research design models that appear in current medical literature.
Students learn to assess the quality of medical literature research designs to study
commonly encountered clinical and community issues. Students will learn to describe
the relationship between the medical literature and evidence-based medicine. This
course is cross listed with PHYA 542.
BIOM 691 – Thesis Research I
1 – 7 credits
Mentored research leading to the degree of Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences.
Students will learn lab techniques and review the relevant literature with the goal
of understanding not only the "how" but the "why" of their project. If the project
has met all regulatory requirements, data collection may commence. May be taken in
one or more terms for up to seven (7) total credits. Includes at minimum one meeting
of the full thesis committee per term.
Prerequisite /Corequisite : 681
BIOM 692 – Thesis Research II1 – 9 credits
Full-time mentored research leading to the degree of Master of Science in Biomedical
Sciences. May be taken in one or more terms for up to nine (9) total credits. Includes
at minimum one meeting of the full thesis committee per term.
Prerequisites: BIOM 501, 502, 503, 504, 505, 506, 507, 681, 690, 691.
BIOM 693 – Thesis Research III1 – 9 credits
Mentored research that brings the project to a conclusion as approved by the thesis
committee, such that it may be presented in written and oral form. May be taken in
one or more terms for up to nine (9) total credits. Includes at minimum one meeting
of the full thesis committee per term.
Prerequisite: BIOM 692.
BIOM 699 – Thesis Continuation
Students who complete 24 credits of Biomedical Research before successfully defending
the thesis must register for thesis continuation credit each semester until passing
Forensic Biology Concentration Courses
FMED 500 – Pathology for Forensic Medicine
The course provides a systematic approach to the pathological basis of the principles
of forensic medicine. The course begins with an overview of cell injury, death, adaptation,
repair and regeneration. It continues with a survey of the dermatological, skeletal,
neurological, endocrine, immunological, cardiorespiratory, vascular, gastrointestinal,
renal, urological and reproductive systems. Special emphasis is given to conditions
of the cardiovascular, cardiorespiratory and central nervous systems that cause death.
FMED 501 – Principles of Forensic Medicine I
This course begins with an overview of the field of forensic medicine. This includes
discussion of the history of forensic science and medicine. Also discussed are the
roles of medical examiners, coroners and non-physician medico-legal death investigators.
General principles of crime scene investigation are introduced. Instruction then moves
to the science behind forensic medicine. Topics in this section include post-mortem
changes, sudden natural death, blunt force injury, sharp-force injury, ballistics
and gunshot wounds. Also taught here are asphyxiation, drowning, thermal injuries,
electrical injuries and lightning injuries.
Prerequisite: FMED 500
FMED 502 – Principles of Forensic Medicine II
This course continues the overview of the field of forensic medicine. Topics covered
in this course include forensic study of toxicology, anthropology, odontology, entomology
and neuropathology. Students also learn about forensic medicine aspects of motor vehicle
accidents, explosions and bombs, bioterrorism and mass fatalities. This course covers
use of fingerprinting, trace evidence analysis and DNA analysis in conducting medico-legal
investigations. Students will be given an outline of criminal law and considerations
in preparing and delivering court testimony. Investigation of special crimes including
child abuse, sexual assault, arson and deaths of persons in custody will be discussed
as well as techniques for providing grief assistance.
Prerequisite: FMED 501
FMED 508 – Capstone Integrated Experience
The Capstone Integrated Experience project is a research project that will involve
field experience and/or research in the area of forensic medicine. The objective is
to afford students the opportunity to apply the knowledge and the skills they have
acquired through their academic coursework in a real life setting in an area of personal
interest within the scope of forensic medicine. This project will culminate with a
final paper at the conclusion of the experience.
Organizational Leadership in the Biosciences Concentration Courses
ODL 501 – Foundations and Systems of Organizational Development
This course is an introduction to the ODL program. It describes the genesis of organization
development and how it has evolved over the last 50 years. Students address the importance
of using themselves as an instrument of change by creating their own development program
that they will use throughout the entire ODL program. The course introduces a consulting
model and models of organizational change that can be applied immediately to the student’s
ODL 504 – Personal and Professional Development
This course is an exploration of development from three viewpoints – personal, interpersonal
and organization. Students will examine their own preferences, strengths and motivations
as well as the role these play in their relationships. They will assist others in
meeting career or personal goals through a mentoring relationship. Topics include
feedback, career development, personality preferences, motivation, mentoring, creating
a development plan and supporting development in an organization.
ODL 506 – Social Factors and Cultural Diversity
Culture is the set of shared attitudes, values, goals and practices that characterizes
a community. These communities exist around gender, race, color, age, differently-abled,
sexual orientation, class, religion, ethnicity and nationality. This course examines
differences that characterize people of various communities and what happens when
they come together in organizations. The dynamics of social factors and cultural diversity
in organizations will be examined through both theoretical literature and pragmatic
experience. The course will culminate in the development of strategies for engaging
people of various cultures more successfully.
ODL 508 – Leadership for Practitioners
This course provides an overview of leadership and organization development practitioner
models that effectively lead organizations through the change process. A key focus
of the course is to: enhance the reflective practice of the adult learners by integrating
organization diagnostic models presented in class; design aligned interventions that
enhance individual, relational and organizational health; and coach learners to achieve
higher practice performance within their respective organizations.
ODL 510 – Capstone: Action Research Project
The Capstone course is taken in the last year of the student’s master’s degree work.
Working with the program director as her/his advisor, the student demonstrates her/his
competence in leading organizational change. Students write an action research paper
from an actual or theoretical practice perspective describing how they would engage
in organizational diagnosis to clarify the current organizational or business challenge,
design an intervention(s) appropriately aligned with the organization diagnosis, and
practice use of self as an instrument of change to achieve the desired individual
and organizational results.
ODL 514 – Managing Emotional Systems in the Workplace
This course develops the students’ ability to be more effective in leading change
in the workplace by increasing their ability to manage their own emotional reactivity
and develop an objective perspective on how emotional systems operate. Students discover
their own patterns of reactivity and identify how they can diffuse a toxic situation
by changing their own behavior.
ODL 516 – Developing Systems Literacy: Organizational Workshop
The organizational workshop focuses on helping people “see” the systematic conditions
in which they live and work. It is a day-long group simulation followed by three days
of debriefing. This rich learning experience provides an understanding of what is
needed to create powerful human systems – systems with outstanding capacity to perform
their functions and carry out their mission. This experience and the related frameworks
demonstrate what is now understood about systems. They cast a powerful light on organizations.
ODL 517 – Communication Skills for Leaders
This course introduces a comprehensive set of communication skills available to leaders
including theoretical background, practical applications and on-camera practice sessions
delivering critical messages to diverse audiences. Students will examine core components
of messaging and powerful presentations in organizational settings, including media
applications. Students will learn how to effectively communicate from organizational
and individual settings, including creating an organizational communication plan.
*Turbo class held in an accelerated weekend format
ODL 519 – Strategic Change: Planning for Organizational Success
Change may be inevitable, but organizational response to change is not. Understanding
the nature of change pressures on the organization and developing an effective strategy
for organizational change is critical to the long term success of that organization.
Key change strategies are reviewed and analyzed in detail, providing a diverse “tool
kit” of alternative paths-forward for the leader. Students are asked to apply these
new alternatives to their own organizational experience and provide new “thought leadership”
to existing challenges of change.
ODL 520 – Appreciative Inquiry
Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is a method for discovering, understanding and fostering
innovation in systems. AI uses incisive questions to gather positive stories and images,
leading to the construction of positive possibilities. AI seeks out the very best
of “what is” to help ignite the imagination of “what could be.” The aim is to generate
knowledge in such a way as to: surface important values, expand the “realm of the
possible,” help the system envision a desired future, and encourage the successful
translation of these values into practice and these images into reality. One way the
principles and practices of AI will come alive is by students applying the methodology
to their own growth and development as leaders of change.