M.S. Anatomy Degree Programs

Earn your Master’s degree from the Center for Anatomical Science and Education (CASE) at Saint Louis University.

SLU's master's degree typically takes 2.5 years to complete.  CASE offers two paths for the Master’s degree – a thesis or a project

You also have the opportunity for competitive teaching assistantships for clinical anatomy and neuroscience courses through the medical school, allied health professional, and graduate school 

Many CASE Graduates have diverse career paths in the biomedical sciences with some earning additional advanced professional and academic degrees (M.D., D.O., D.D.S., and Ph.D.) leading to positions in postdoctoral research training, scientific jobs in industry, clinical practice, and academia.


M.S. (thesis) Anatomy Degree

The thesis option provides advanced training in anatomy for individuals interested in teaching elementary courses in anatomy and serves as an introduction to biomedical research. It is also appropriate for those whose main interests are in related fields such as medicine or physical therapy. A total of 30 credit hours, including four to six credit hours of thesis research, is necessary to complete the degree.

Curriculum

MS (thesis) students will take the following core courses:

Human Histology and Ultrastructure ANAT-5100 (5 credit hours) Fall Semester
Microscopic anatomy of human body; emphasis on relationships between structure and function of tissues and organs. 

Human Embryology ANAT-5200 (2 credit hours) Fall Semester
Prenatal human development; emphasis on correlation of normal development with development of common congenital malformations. 

Human Systems Physiology ANAT-5400 (4 credit hours) Fall Semester
Physiology principles and mechanisms lectures will emphasize and correlate function with structure of cells, tissues and organ systems 

Human Gross Anatomy ANAT-5000 (8 credit hours) Spring Semester
Structure and function of human body; emphasis on anatomical relationships and concepts and their functional significance; dissection required. 

Human Systems Neurobiology ANAT-5300 (5 credit hours) Spring Semester
Structure and function of the human nervous system; emphasis on neuroanatomical relationships of functional systems and neurobiological concepts of brain mechanisms. 

MS (thesis) students will be expected to attend and participate in all Anatomy Seminar and Journal Club presentations and attend all MS non thesis, MS thesis and PhD dissertation defenses.

Additional courses include:

Basis Research Techniques ANAT-5440 (2 credit hours) Fall Semester
Fundamental techniques and instrumentation; emphasis on principles underlying preparation of material for histological, histochemical and ultrastructural examination and interpretation of results. 

Thesis Research ANAT-5990 (0-6 credit hours) Fall, Spring, or Summer Semesters
Student will propose and complete a research project under the guidance of a faculty member. 

Journal Club ANAT-6900 (0 Credit Hours) Fall and Spring Semesters


The minimum credit hours needed to successfully complete the MS (thesis) degree is 30 hours.


Qualifying Examination and Defense
  • Upon completion of the core curriculum and Basic Research Techniques in Anatomy the student must register for 4-6 hours of Thesis Research.  The thesis research project generally takes 2 – 3 academic semesters after the research proposal has been approved. Initially, the student must identify a research project under the guidance of a CASE faculty member.  
  • An MS (thesis) committee will then be formed as the student prepares their research proposal (http://www.slu.edu/Documents/graduate/FormMastersThesisProposalIA.pdf). A three member MS (thesis) committee, chaired by the student’s primary advisor, will be appointed by the Director of the Anatomy Graduate Program.  The committee must include at least two members of the CASE Anatomy graduate faculty. A third member of the committee can be appointed by the Graduate Program Director if they are graduate faculty in other SLU departments or at another University.  It is the decision of the Anatomy Graduate Program Director to accept the advisor’s recommendation and to identify the final member of the committee. 
  • Once the proposal has been approved by the MS (thesis) committee, it is then submitted to the Graduate Education Office.   
  • A thesis must be completed and approved by the faculty advisor and MS (thesis) committee.  The thesis should follow the formatting guidelines issued by the Graduate Education office http://www.slu.edu/Documents/graduate/Formatting%20Guide%20Aug%202011%282%29.pdf 
  • Completion of the thesis research project follows:  writing of the thesis, application for advancement to candidacy and the thesis defense. It shall be the responsibility of the student to initiate their candidacy by filling out a candidacy form through Graduate Education at SLU http://www.slu.edu/x32104.xml.  The completed form must be returned by the deadline stated in the Graduate Education Calendar of Deadlines. Once the completed candidacy form has been processed by Graduate Education, the thesis committee chair will receive a ballot for the oral defense of the thesis.  The ballot is distributed to the other committee members by the thesis committee chair when they vote on the oral defense.  Once the ballots are completed, signed and sealed it is the committee chairperson's responsibility to deliver the ballots to Graduate Education Office immediately following the defense.
  • The defense of the thesis provides an opportunity for the student to formally present their findings to their committee, the faculty and students in CASE, and to any family member or anyone from the general public wishing to attend.  
  • Two weeks before the thesis defense an electronic and print announcement of the date, time, location, and title of the defense will be publicized to all members of CASE.  At least 7 working days prior to the defense a final draft of the student’s thesis must be made available in the Anatomy Conference Room for faculty and students to review.
  • The thesis defense is two parts.  First the student will make an oral, PowerPoint presentation of no longer than 45 minutes duration where they present their research. Following the presentation, questions from the collective audience will be encouraged.  Once all questions have been satisfactorily answered by the student, the audience is excused and the closed, or executive, part of the defense takes places with only the student and their committee present. The thesis committee can ask detailed questions and expect the student to demonstrate thorough knowledge of their project and related research. Questions on general topics in Anatomy, unrelated to their research, may also be asked. Following all questioning, the student is excused from the room and the committee members, without discussion, complete the defense ballot.
M.S. (project) Anatomy Degree

The project option provides training in anatomy without the required thesis research project and is appropriate for students who want a graduate degree in anatomy to fulfill a professional need to teach human anatomy structure and function. It is also appropriate for students who are undecided about a career in the health professions and want to improve their academic background before applying to professional schools such as medicine or dentistry. A total of 30 credit hours is necessary to complete the degree.

Curriculum 

MS (project) students will take the following core courses:

Human Histology and Ultrastructure ANAT-5100 (5 credit hours) Fall Semester
Microscopic anatomy of human body; emphasis on relationships between structure and function of tissues and organs. 

Human Embryology ANAT-5200 (2 credit hours) Fall Semester
Prenatal human development; emphasis on correlation of normal development with development of common congenital malformations. 

Human Systems Physiology ANAT-5400 (4 credit hours) Fall Semester
Physiology principles and mechanisms lectures will emphasize and correlate function with structure of cells, tissues and organ systems 

Human Gross Anatomy ANAT-5000 (8 credit hours) Spring Semester
Structure and function of human body; emphasis on anatomical relationships and concepts and their functional significance; dissection required. 

Human Systems Neurobiology ANAT-5300 (5 credit hours) Spring Semester
Structure and function of the human nervous system; emphasis on neuroanatomical relationships of functional systems and neurobiological concepts of brain mechanisms. 

MS (project) students will be expected to attend and participate in all Anatomy Seminar and Journal Club presentations and attend all MS project, MS thesis and PhD dissertation defenses.

Additional courses include:

Advanced Dissections in Human Anatomy ANAT-5500 (2-4 Credit hours) Fall, Spring, or Summer Semesters
This course will serve as an opportunity for students to develop advanced dissection and presentation skills as they perform prosections of human cadavers to ongoing medical, graduate and/or allied health human anatomy courses. Students will perform regional dissections and presentations, under the guidance of anatomy faculty, with an emphasis on clinical applications of gross anatomical structure and function. This course provides students with instruction and experience in teaching techniques in anatomy. 

Master's Project ANAT-5960 (2-4 Credit hours) Fall, Spring, or Summer Semesters
This course is designed to develop advanced skills necessary for teaching human anatomy and includes an optional participation in the Reinert Center for Teaching Excellence Certificate in the University Teaching Skills program. Students will work independently on a scholarly project in one of the anatomical disciplines under the guidance of an anatomy faculty member. Projects will include but are not limited to anatomical dissection utilizing cadaver material and/or computer programs to be used as future teaching tools. Students enrolled in this course may also participate and complete the Reinert Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning Certificate in University Teaching Skills (CUTS) program (http://www.slu.edu/centers/cte/certificates.html). This certificate will prepare students to be effective educators. 

Journal Club ANAT-6900 (0 Credit Hours) Fall and Spring Semesters


The minimum credit hours needed to successfully complete the MS (project) degree is 30 hours.


Qualifying Examination and Defense

  • Upon completion of the core curriculum the student must identify an independent study project under the guidance of a CASE faculty advisor for the required Master's Project (ANAT-5960, 2-4 hrs) course.  
  • The Master's Project (ANAT-5960, 2-4 hrs) course is intended to foster students' intellectual development by working independently with a faculty advisor and a MS (project) committee.  It is hoped that a student will develop the capacity to plan and execute a project and will acquire competence and critical writing skills.
  • The MS (project) committee will be formed as the student prepares the project proposal.  A three member MS (project) committee, chaired by the student’s primary advisor, will be recommended to the Director of the Anatomy Graduate Program for approval.  The committee must include at least two members of the CASE Anatomy graduate faculty. 
  • The initial responsibility of the MS (project) committee is to determine the feasibility of the project and its proposal, and to permit the student to proceed only after such determination has been made. The committee and Director of the Anatomy Graduate Program shall sign off on the student's proposal and a copy should be kept in the student's file in the CASE office. The signing of this document signifies that the student has permission to proceed with the study as outlined in the proposal.  
  • The MS (project) committee will meet regularly with the student and advisor and is responsible for reviewing the ongoing project and manuscript drafts, and to provide feedback in a timely manner.
  • A manuscript of the project, in the form of a treatise, must be completed and approved by the faculty advisor and MS (project) committee.  The treatise is a critical analysis of the project and is expected to demonstrate mastery of the material using critical thinking skills.  The manuscript should follow the formatting guidelines issued by the Graduate Education office http://www.slu.edu/Documents/graduate/Formatting%20Guide%20Aug%202011%282%29.pdf 
  • As the project and manuscript near their completion, a tentative date to complete the oral examination will be scheduled, no less than two weeks in advance, by the faculty advisor and approved by the MS (project) committee.  The last day to complete the final oral examination will be identified by the Saint Louis University Graduate Education Calendar of Deadlines and will be strictly enforced.
  • Before the oral examination is officially scheduled to take place, the student's Master's Project (ANAT-5960, 2-4 hrs) course project must be completed and approved by the student's faculty advisor and MS (project) committee.  
  • Two weeks before the thesis defense an electronic and print announcement of the date, time, location, and title of the defense will be publicized to all members of CASE.  At least 7 working days prior to the defense a final draft of the student’s thesis must be made available in the Anatomy Conference Room for faculty and students to review.   
  • The oral examination will consist of a formal presentation of the student project to the MS (project) committee, the faculty and students in CASE, and to any family member or anyone from the general public wishing to attend.  After the presentation, the committee will meet with the student privately to ask any questions relating to the project and manuscript, and of the student's knowledge of Anatomy.  After the private meeting, the student will be asked to leave the room as the committee votes on the oral examination performance by filling out the ballot issued by the Graduate Education office.  Once the ballot is completed, signed and sealed it is the committee chairperson's responsibility to deliver the ballot to the Graduate Education office immediately following the oral examination.  

Application

Applicants must posses a Bachelor's degree or its equivalent from a recognized institution. It is preferred that applicants have at least an average grade of "B" and a strong background in Biology and Chemistry.  Application deadline for Fall admission is July 1. 

Students are usually admitted in the beginning of the fall semester although in some cases entrance can occur at the beginning of the spring semester. Application requirements include official transcripts, official scores on the Graduate Record Examination, three letters of recommendation, a resume/cv and a goals statement. Materials should be uploaded as part of your online application.

Inquiries about the program can be made to pander20@slu.edu.

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