Curriculum

The non-thesis Master of Science in Molecular Biotechnology program includes core courses and practica. If completed on a full-time basis, it takes 2 years to complete the 40 credit hour program. The program is not well suited to part-time study, particularly the practicum component. However, it is possible to extend the course of study over more than 2 years by delaying the recommended schedule of courses.

The curriculum is divided between core courses and practicum. The majority of the core courses (see list below) are completed during the first year of enrollment with the three practica completed during the second year in the program.

Core Courses. The core curriculum includes biochemistry, molecular genetics, cell structure, cell signaling, research ethics, biotechnology issues, scientific writing, and radiation safety, and provides a solid foundation in the field. Practical skills are built through lecture and laboratory coursework in the theory and application of a broad range of nucleic acid- and protein-based molecular biotechnologies.

Practicum. After completing the core curriculum, students gain experience by performing three semester-long practica, with one practicum during each of the Spring, Summer, and Fall semesters of the second year. Each practicum is performed at a different site to provide a different molecular biotechnology emphasis, such as bioscience research, biotechnology industrial applications, or molecular diagnostics. These practica provide an extensive hands-on experience with a broad range of molecular biotechnologies as well as real-life experience in the bioscience sector.

During a practicum, students work with investigators, laboratory staff, and other members of the practicum site in the ongoing activities of the practicum site. In a research-oriented practicum, students initially participate in an ongoing research project that leads to independent research activities. While enrolled in a practicum, the primary academic obligation is at the practicum site, and students engage in their practicum-associated activities on a full-time basis (i.e., eight hours a day, Monday through Thursday). This dedicated effort allows students to understand the theory and application of state-of-the-art molecular techniques and technologies in depth. Additionally, studying at a single practicum site for a full semester allows students to gain an appreciation of the day-to-day opportunities, obligations, and realities of professionals working in molecular biotechnology settings.

Degree completion. During the second spring semester, a final general examination is required of all degree candidates. This exam consists of a written and an oral examination. To satisfy the written component, students write a grant proposal. Successful completion of the written component is required preliminary to taking the comprehensive oral examination of general knowledge of molecular biotechnology concepts and applications.


Year One Courses

Fall Semester


GSMC 850 Proteins and Metabolism (2 credit hours)
Basic principles of metabolism, protein structure and an introduction to nucleic acids
(9AM-11AM, Mondays and Wednesdays, first half of the fall semester)

GSMC 851 Molecular Genetics (2 credit hours)
Basic principles of molecular genetics, DNA replication, DNA repair, transcription, and translation (9AM-11AM, Mondays and Wednesdays, second half of the fall semester)

GSMC 852 Introduction to Biomedical Research I (2 credit hours)
Research problems, methods, and literature discussion that interfaces with the lecture content of GSMC 850 and GSMC 851 (9AM-11AM, Fridays, throughout the fall semester)

GSMC 856 Introduction to Research Ethics (1 credit hour)
Discussion of research ethics, including scientific fraud, plagiarism and misrepresentation, conflicts of interest, and confidentiality (9AM-11AM, Thursdays, first half of the fall semester)

CLS 710 Molecular Techniques Lecture I (2 credit hours)
Theory underlying molecular techniques involving recombinant DNA, genetic engineering, and genomics (1PM-2PM, Mondays and Thursdays, throughout the fall semester)

CLS 711 Molecular Techniques Laboratory I (2 credit hours)
Advanced laboratory with practical application of selected nucleic acid and cell culture techniques for research and clinical settings (2PM-4:30PM, Mondays and Thursdays, throughout the fall semester , many additional independent hours required in the laboratory)

CLS 730 Current Issues in Biotechnology (1 credit hour)
Research and lecture seminar series by academic and industry speakers on scientific, business, legal, social, and ethical issues in biotechnology (2PM-3:30PM, Fridays, throughout the fall semester)

Spring Semester

GSMC 853 Cellular Structure (2 credit hours)
Basic principles of cellular structure and function, including lipid bilayer, membrane proteins, and cellular organelles (9AM-11AM, Mondays and Wednesdays, first half of the spring semester)

GSMC 854 Cell Communication (2 credit hours)
Basic principles of cellular communication, including G-protein-coupled signaling, cytoskeleton, cell cycle control, cell death, extracellular matrix, and cancer (9AM-11AM, Mondays and Wednesdays, second half of the spring semester)

GSMC 855 Introduction to Biomedical Research II (2 credit hours)
Research problems, methods, and literature discussion that interfaces with the lecture content of GSMC 853 and GSMC 854 (9AM-11AM, Fridays, throughout the spring semester

CLS 720 Molecular Techniques Lecture II (2 credit hours)
Theory underlying protein purification, characterization, and analysis techniques including proteomics (1PM-2PM, Tuesdays and Thursdays, throughout the fall semester)

CLS 721 Molecular Techniques Laboratory II (2 credit hours)
Advanced laboratory with practical application of selected protein and immunological techniques for research and clinical settings (2PM-4:30PM, Tuesdays and Thursdays, throughout the fall semester , many additional independent hours required in the laboratory)

Summer Semester


BIOL 702 Laboratory Practice: Radiation Safety Procedures (0.75 credit hours)
Structure of the atom, isotopes, and radioactivity with emphasis on radiation protection and safe handling of isotopes (Monday – Friday, first week of the summer semester)

BIOL 703 Radioisotopes and Radiation Safety in Research (1.25 credit hours)
Structure of the atom, isotopes, and radioactivity with emphasis on radiation protection and safe handling of isotopes (Monday – Friday, second week of the summer semester)

CLS 750 Practicum I (4 credit hours)
Molecular biotechnology practicum performed in collaboration with laboratories in the Kansas City area (Monday – Friday, final 6 weeks of the summer semester)

Year Two Courses

Fall Semester

CLS 751 Practicum II (5 credit hours)
Research performed in collaboration with laboratories at KUMC and other institutions in the Kansas City area (Monday – Thursday, throughout the entire fall semester)

CLS 740 Journal Club (1 credit hour)
Analysis and presentation of articles from the literature (Fridays, through the fall semester)

Spring Semester


CLS 752 Practicum III (5 credit hours)
Research performed in collaboration with molecular biotechnology-oriented industries in the Kansas City area (Monday – Thursday, throughout the entire spring semester)

CLS 742 Scientific Writing (1 credit hour)
Development of scientific writing skills. This course will also serve to guide students and monitor progress in completing the written component of the final general examination required of all students (Fridays, through the spring semester)

Last modified: Sep 04, 2014

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