MS in Medical Sciences Concentrations

In addition to taking the required courses for the MAMS program, students also have the opportunity to tailor their academic program to an interest in one of the following three areas:

  • Mental Health Counseling & Behavioral Medicine
  • Clinical Investigation
  • Medical Nutrition Sciences

Students pursuing a concentration will complete the final thesis project in a topic related to the concentration and must complete the requirements for each of the programs, as noted below. Students may elect a concentration after beginning the MS in Medical Sciences program and do not need to note this on their application.

Concentration in Mental Health Counseling & Behavioral Medicine

The renewed emphasis in most medical education programs on primary care demands that physicians become adept at the assessment, treatment, and prevention of mental disorders as well as physical disease. Increasingly, health care professionals are being asked to become experts in human behavior, since the key to health promotion is prevention. The mental health curriculum, which includes coursework in counseling techniques, health psychology, group treatment modalities, psychopathology, neuroscience, and the addictions, provides a unique opportunity for a mental health specialty for medical science students.

Students in the Mental Health Counseling & Behavioral Medicine concentration must take:

  • GMS MH 703 Counseling Techniques: Helping Relationships, Skills, and Procedures

as well as two of the following courses:

  • GMS MH 704 Group Work Dynamics and Process
  • GMS MH 705 Psychopathology
  • GMS MH 711 Health and Exercise Psychology
  • GMS MH 812 Addictions
  • GMS MS 703 Neuroscience or
  • GMS MH 709 Neuroscience for Mental Health Professionals

Concentration in Clinical Investigation

“Clinical investigation” is research that involves humans as research subjects. This type of research is growing rapidly at many levels. The pharmaceutical and biotech industries are constantly discovering new disease “targets” and new compounds to attack these targets. The Human Genome Project will also expand the number of identifiable disease targets. In the medical device industry, the development of new and better materials for devices and the development of hybrid devices (implantable devices with a pharmaceutical or biotech component) have nearly limitless potential. These new technologies need to be tested in clinical research studies to document their safety and efficacy in humans. To conduct these clinical studies, we need well-trained professionals who know how to conduct human research. This need will continue to grow as the demand for clinical studies grows. The courses offered in the clinical investigation concentration provide a solid grounding in the technical and ethical aspects that make human research different from other types of research. Students will learn the elements of study design, trial management, and human research regulations, and write a thesis about a clinical research topic.

Four courses (16 credits) are required to complete the concentration in Clinical Investigation.

The requirements for the Clinical Investigation concentration are:

The three following courses

  • GMS CI 640 Regulatory and Compliance Issues
  • GMS CI 675 Designing Clinical Research Studies
  • GMS CI 790 Seminar in Clinical Investigation

And one of the following courses

  • GMS CI 660 Good Clinical Practices in Clinical Research
  • GMS MS 610 Ethico-legal Issues of Bioscience

Concentration in Medical Nutrition Sciences

Recent research on the genetic, environmental, behavioral, and social determinants of human diseases has focused attention on the integral role of nutrition in disease epidemiology. Advances in basic nutritional sciences have identified new mechanisms of biological action of the essential nutrients and other components of foods. There is increasing evidence for the efficacy of a wide variety of medical nutrition therapies for the prevention and treatment of many chronic and infectious diseases and their complications. The importance of nutrition in individual and population health throughout the human life cycle, particularly into advanced age, is increasingly recognized. New methods in nutritional epidemiology have expanded research on the relationship among diet, nutritional status, disease risk, and health outcomes.

Evidence is emerging that public health nutrition interventions and health communication campaigns, consistent with national health policies, are effective in promoting and improving the nation’s health and that of vulnerable population subgroups. The concentration in Medical Nutrition Sciences will provide multidisciplinary training in nutrition sciences.

The following four courses are required to complete the concentration in Medical Nutrition Sciences:

  • GMS NU 600 Medical Nutrition Sciences
  • GMS NU 610 Research Methods in Medical Nutrition Sciences
  • GMS NU 620 Research, Clinical and Public Policy Applications in Medical Nutrition Sciences
  • GMS NU 700 Medical Nutrition Sciences Seminar

Four credits of elective courses offered by the Division of Graduate Medical Sciences must also be completed.