The Combined BS/MS Degree Program

The combined BS/MS degrees program in MCDB is designed to allow exceptional students with a strong interest in biological and biomedical research to accelerate their professional education. This program is to be completed in eight terms of enrollment. The requirements are as follows:

  1. Candidates must satisfy the Yale College requirements for the BS degree. In addition to the three core requirements specified, the four electives must be relevant graduate-level courses designated “G.” One of these is a graduate seminar selected with the approval of the director of undergraduate studies. Students must earn a grade of A or A- in two graduate-level courses and a grade of B- or higher in the rest.
  2. Six term courses outside the major must be taken in the last two years, and at least two undergraduate courses in the last two terms.
  3. In addition to the courses specified above, students must complete two graduate research courses for six course credits:

a) MCDB 585b, a two-credit course taken in the second term of the junior year. At the start of the course, each student forms a committee comprised of their thesis adviser and two faculty members that meet to discuss the research project. Two of the members of this committee must be members of MCDB faculty, as appropriate to the thesis topic. At the end of the course, the student completes a detailed prospectus describing the thesis project and the work completed to date. The committee evaluates an oral and written presentation of the prospectus and decides whether the student may continue in the combined program.

b) MCDB 595ab, a four-credit, year-long course (two credits each term) and is taken during the senior year. During the course, the student gives an oral presentation describing the work. At the end of the course, the student is expected to present his or her work to the department in the form of a poster presentation. In addition, the student is expected to give an oral thesis defense, followed by a comprehensive examination of the thesis conducted by the thesis committee. Upon successful completion of this examination, as well as all other requirements, the student is awarded the combined BS/MS degree.

Students must also satisfy the requirements of Yale College for the simultaneous award of the bachelor’s and master’s degrees, including the following:

  • Students must apply in writing to the director of undergraduate studies and obtain departmental approval no later than the beginning of the second term of their Junior year. Students must have the approval of both the director of undergraduate studies and the director of graduate studies to receive graduate credit for the graduate courses they select.
  • At the time of the application, only those students with two-thirds A or A- grades in all their courses and with two-thirds A or A- grades in MCDB courses, including prerequisites, will be admitted to the program.
  • Students must have this program approved by the undergraduate affairs committee of the major and the relevant departmental faculty by the end of the first term of their junior year. Because faculty meetings are held irregularly, the director of undergraduate studies should receive proposed programs by November 1.