Students in the M.S. Program in the Department of Biomedical Sciences receive training in one or more of the following fields of study in the oral health sciences: Anatomy, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Neuroscience, Microbiology/Immunology, and Physiology/Pharmacology.

The program, leading to the M.S. degree in Oral Biology, is designed primarily to provide advanced scientific training for graduates of dental programs and students enrolled in a clinical specialty program at Texas A&M College of Dentistry. This program is also well suited for dental specialists from countries other than the United States who desire to obtain or improve their background in dental research.

For most of the graduate clinical programs at the College of Dentistry, there is significant overlap in coursework with the M.S. in Oral Biology.  It is especially appropriate for those clinical students with stronger academic motivation or who may wish to pursue a combined career of clinical practice and teaching in a clinical department. 

Current dental students at the  College of Dentistry are also eligible for the M.S. program. These students work with advisors in the Graduate Program in Oral Biology to implement specially designed M.S. programs. The goal is to provide research training that will give the student an excellent background for subsequent advanced research training in a Ph.D. program or clinical specialty training.

Non-dental students with a baccalaureate degree in the biological sciences are also eligible to apply for the M.S.  in Oral Biology program.  This M.S. provides non-dental students with the background for a more advanced degree. The degree provides additional training to individuals, such as secondary school science teachers or laboratory technicians, who may benefit from increased scientific knowledge.

Application Process

The following link leads to detailed instructions for this new process:  https://medicine.tamhsc.edu/graduate-studies/prospective/medical-science/application.html  You will apply online through APPLYTEXAS at applytexas.org.   First, select Texas A&M University (College Station), Application Type, Semester of Entry, and then select the “Oral Biology, M.S.” or “Oral Biology, Ph.D.”  major. There is a question at the end of the application that asks what campus you want to attend; you should pick DALLAS.  Letters of recommendation can be requested through the Texas A&M University Applicant Information System (AIS) via the Howdy Portal or directly at http://applicant.tamu.edu.  AIS access is granted after your application has been received, your Universal Identification Number has been issued and you have activated your NetID.  You will receive instructions on how to activate your NetID.  

We have only one application deadline: December 15th.  Besides using the online application process through APPLYTEXAS, we require the following:

  1. One official transcript must be sent directly to the College of Dentistry from each college that you have attended.  This is in addition to the transcripts discussed in #3 below.

  2. The Texas A&M University Admissions office does not accept credential evaluations from private companies.  We perform our own evaluation of foreign credentials.  Therefore, we require the official native language transcript with an accompanying official English translation.

  3. Texas A&M University will accept transcripts sent electronically through SPEEDE or eSCRIP-SAFE. Transcripts from any other vendor will not be accepted.

  4. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. Use the code 6059.

  5. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score for international applicants. The TOEFL institution code for TAMU is also 6059.  Additionally, we accept IELTS, International English Language Testing System scores or PTE Academic.

  6. Deadline for applications: December 15 is the next admissions deadline.

  7. Financial support - We do not support M.S. degree candidates, although support may be available for Ph.D. students.

  8. Tuition cost can be found on the graduate school website link: http://www.bcd.tamhsc.edu/graduate-studies/futurestudents/index.html#AdmitBMS

  9. Visiting the campus is not encouraged.  If the graduate committee wants to interview you, they will send an invitation. You will not be reimbursed for travel expenses for interviews.

The graduate committee will not review an application until it is complete.

 Regards,

Kathy Svoboda, Ph.D.
Graduate Program Director
Regents Professor
Department of Biomedical Sciences
Texas A&M University College of Dentistry
3302 Gaston Ave.
Dallas, Texas 75246

Minimum Requirements

The minimum requirements for the M.S. degree in Oral Biology include the successful completion of:

  • Basic core courses or equivalents

  • Additional elective courses

  • Thesis proposal and preparation

  • Thesis

Students must maintain a grade point average of 3.0 on a scale of 0 to 4.0. A minimum of 32 semester credit hours is required for graduation. Those entering with a D.D.S. or other advanced degree may transfer up to 10 credits toward this credit-hour requirement on the recommendation of the Department of Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program Committee.

Advanced Standing

Students entering the M.S. Program in Oral Biology who have completed graduate courses in the basic sciences, typically as part of a predoctoral dental curriculum, may not be required to take a substantial portion of the core curriculum, depending on their specific background.

Residence

Please consult the Texas A&M Graduate Catalog about this subject and other issues found below:    http://catalog.tamu.edu/

Curriculum and Credit Requirements

Requirements for the degree consist of a total of 32 semester hours made up of required courses, a selection of at least three elective courses from the broad range of biomedical sciences, and completion of a M.S. thesis.

Recommended Courses

Responsible Conduct in Biomedical Research
Research Design and Methodology
Applied Biostatistics
Seminar:  Current Issues in Science (attendance is recommended during each semester in residence, but the course may be taken a maximum of two times for credit).  Seminar cannot exceed two credit hours.  Specific requirements are in the online TAMU graduate catalog   http://catalog.tamu.edu/

Students must take additional courses from those approved by the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program Committee (see course list on this website ). The choice of elective courses will be determined on an individual basis through consultation between the student and their advisor. Credit for reading courses, laboratory rotations, research, and thesis preparation is arranged on an individual basis.

Initial Advisors

After receiving approval for admission to graduate studies and prior to enrolling for coursework, the student will consult with the Oral Biology (OBIO) Graduate Program Director, who will serve as the student's initial advisor. The OBIO Graduate Program Director will help the student select coursework and will suggest other faculty with whom the student may consult in order to secure a permanent advisor (mentor).

Each student is required to meet with their advisor/mentor and/or the OBIO Graduate Program Director prior to the beginning of each semester to discuss coursework for the upcoming semester and progress toward the degree. The OBIO Graduate Program Committee will review the progress of students on a regular basis.

In some cases, an Advisory Committee may be appointed for the student to facilitate construction of their  degree plan. The Advisory Committee will be approved by the OBIO Graduate Program Committee that will most often consist of the student's proposed mentor, and two other members. All mentors and committee members must be TAMU graduate faculty.  External committee members must be special graduate faculty (see graduate faculty at OGAPS.tamu/faculty-advisors/search).

In cases of students pursuing concurrent M.S. training and clinical certification, an Advisory Committee will be approved by the OBIO Graduate Program Committee. This Committee will consist of the student's mentor/advisor, and the Clinical Graduate Program Director, plus other members.  Meetings of the advisory committee for joint students will be held at least once a year to review the student's progress and will be organized by the student and the mentor. Additional meetings may also be held at the request of the student or mentor, or if any issues affecting progress develop. If necessary, the Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies will attend meetings of the advisory committee to help coordinate the clinical and basic science components of the program.

Mentors

By no later than the completion of the second semester of residence, each student will select a mentor from among the College of Dentistry graduate faculty.  The mentor will be responsible for helping the student formulate a degree plan, including appropriate course work and a research proposal. 

The qualities of a good mentor are numerous. The mentor: 1) must produce scholarly activity and be able to establish a close rapport with the graduate student; 2) should have a substantial background in the methodology for the proposed project and be able to guide the student with formulating a credible scientific design; and 3) must have sufficient time for research and for counsel and supervision of the student.

Degree Plan

The student, in consultation with the mentor and Advisory Committee, will develop a proposed degree plan for submission to the Office for Graduate Professional Studies (OGAPS) via DPSS (Document Processing Submission System) by no later than the end of the second semester of residence. Part-time students may submit this plan at a later time as determined by the pace of their program and consultation with the OBIO Graduate Program Director.  A form is used to establish or change a degree plan;  after being filled in, a hard copy should be printed and the required signatures obtained.  This form can be found at: 

http://www.bcd.tamhsc.edu/graduate-studies/futurestudents/index.html 

In addition to the degree plan, the student  will prepare a written narrative that must contain a listing of completed and ongoing course work, an approximate listing of future coursework, and a list of Advisory Committee members. The OBIO Graduate Program Committee will review this document and make suggestions for changes as appropriate.  In the case of students pursuing simultaneous clinical certification, the degree plan must also be approved by the student’s Clinical Graduate Program Director. 

Changes to degree plans, including the addition or deletion of courses must be reported to the OGAPS. 

Thesis

Students enrolled in the M.S. Program in Oral Biology are required to submit and defend a thesis, which will be prepared after completion of the majority of the coursework.

The thesis must follow the TAMU thesis guidelines.  It is expected that the manuscript be in the review process, although the final acceptance is not required prior to the thesis defense.

The thesis should deal with a topic related to the major field of study, embody the results of the original individual research, demonstrate an understanding of the literature on the subject, establish mastery of appropriate research techniques, and constitute a contribution to knowledge. The text must be written in English. Thesis guidelines are available at www. ogaps.tamu.edu/buttons/forms-information

All theses must be submitted electronically to Thesis and Dissertation Services following the guidelines set by Texas A&M University. 

Thesis Committee

The mentor serves as the Chair of the Thesis Committee, which shall consist of a minimum of three graduate faculty members.  All faculty must be members of the TAMU graduate faculty.  One or more members of the Thesis Committee may come from another component of the Texas A&M University or from another institution (outside member). Additional members are frequently appointed to enhance some aspect of the research problem. Since members of the committee must be available for meetings and consultation with the student, full-time faculty members are preferable.  Note:  all members of the committee are required to be TAMU graduate faculty.

In the case of students pursuing a concurrent clinical certification, the Clinical Graduate Program Director may be appointed as an additional member of the Thesis Committee, and may, if appropriate, serve as the outside member of the Thesis Committee.

Approval of the membership of the thesis committee will be secured through the same DPSS system used to obtain approval of your degree plan.

The first function of the Thesis Committee is to help plan the proposed research project. During the progress of the research and the writing of the thesis, members of the committee provide guidance to the student to maintain the quality of the work. Theses Committees should meet with the student as a group, each semester, to review the progress of the research.

Thesis Proposal

The student, in consultation with their mentor and their Thesis Committee, will develop a thesis proposal, which will follow the standard format for graduate research proposals at Texas A&M  College of Dentistry.  Briefly, the format will be in the NIH small grant format (R03, R21).  It must include the following sections: Specific Aims, Background and Significance, Research Plan (consisting of Materials, Methods of Investigation, Methods of Analysis, Potential Difficulties, and Sequence of the Investigation), Consortium/Contractual Arrangements, Compliance, and Literature Cited.  The signed proposal form must be submitted to the Graduate Program in Oral Biology Office and the Office of the Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies. If the thesis research involves human or animal subjects, an approval number from the Institutional Review Board for Human Subjects or the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee must accompany the thesis proposal. 

Thesis Defense

A final draft of the thesis must be submitted to the members of the Thesis Committee not less than one week before the defense-of-thesis examination. In addition, a form stating the approval by the chair of the Thesis Committee must be submitted to the Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies with the final draft. If changes are required in the thesis that cannot be accomplished in the time available, the defense-of-thesis oral examination must be rescheduled.

The Thesis Committee administers an oral examination in which the student defends their thesis. Scheduling of the oral examination is arranged through the OBIO Graduate Program, with notice given to the Office of Research and Graduate Studies. The candidate must show appropriate mastery of the chosen research area and evidence of independent thought. The oral examination typically consists of three parts: 1) presentation of the thesis research in a seminar format; 2) questions related to the general area of the student's research; and 3) in-depth queries concerning the research and thesis.

Any interested faculty and administrators at Texas A&M University College of Dentistry may participate in parts 1 and 2 of the defense-of-thesis examination. Only Thesis Committee members will be present during part 3 of the examination. Final committee approval of the defense of the thesis will be indicated on the "Defense and Oral Examination Outcome."  http://www.bcd.tamhsc.edu/graduate-studies/futurestudents/index.htm

Following the defense, the student must upload the thesis via Vireo to the OGAPS office with the TAMU thesis office written thesis approval form and the TAMU thesis office office copyright and availability form.

Time Limit

All degree requirements must be completed within a period of six consecutive years in order for the M.S. degree to be granted. The student may request, with cause, that the Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies grant a one-year (only) extension.  Graduate credit for coursework that is more than seven calendar years old at the time of the final examination (oral or written) may not be used to satisfy degree requirements.