The Biomedical Sciences Department offers a program of graduate education providing an advanced level of study for students interested in biology as it relates to human health, medicine, and disease. Major emphasis in the program is placed on developing an understanding of the mechanisms involved in human diseases and providing broad-based training in both basic and applied biomedical sciences. In-depth training is offered in selected areas of emphasis, such as immunology, the pathogenesis of infectious diseases, toxicology, pharmacology, neurodegeneration, and cancer biology. The MS degree has two tracks.

  1. Thesis Track requirements include a thesis based on hypothesis-driven research conducted by the student to enhance problem-solving abilities and the student’s capacity to function more effectively in the biomedical field.
  2. The Non-Thesis Track is designed for students who want to gain knowledge in the biomedical sciences by taking courses focused on human health and disease without a research component. This track may be suitable for a variety of students, including those who currently work in a laboratory setting and wish to obtain a higher degree and those requiring a degree beyond the bachelor's level to teach.

Admission Requirements 

Application Deadlines

Application deadlines vary by program, please review the application deadline chart for specific programs. Other important dates and deadlines can be found by using the One Stop calendars.


An applicant must meet Graduate School requirements plus the following requirements to be considered for admission:

  1. The program primarily enrolls individuals with backgrounds in biomedical sciences or related fields who have completed a bachelor's degree at an accredited institution. For students entering without a degree in a related area, the faculty determines deficiencies to be overcome prior to admission. Applications will not be reviewed until all required materials are obtained by the program. All completed applications received prior to February 1 will receive consideration for enrollment beginning the following Summer term for the Non-Thesis Track or Fall semester for the Thesis Track. Completed applications received after February 1 may be considered if space is available in the program. Students may enroll on a full-time or a part-time basis.
  2. Applicants may be admitted to regular status if their grade point average is the equivalent of 2.75 or above (scale of 4.0). Averages below 2.75 may be considered for admission on a probationary basis, in which case particular attention is given to the last 60 hours completed in the undergraduate program, with special emphasis on performance in biomedical science-related courses. Probationary status is removed after successful completion of the first eight graduate credits with a grade point average of 3.0 or above.
  3. Graduate Record Examination scores on the General Test are required.
  4. Three letters of reference, preferably from academic and/or research sources or supervisors, must be provided.
  5. The applicant must provide a statement of not more than 1,000 words providing career objectives and reasons for seeking a degree in the UWM Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program.
  6. Students must identify, at the time of applying, whether they seek enrollment in the Thesis Track or Non-Thesis Track. Students wishing to change tracks after admission must receive approval of the program.

Credits and Courses

The minimum degree requirement is 32 graduate credits.

Thesis Track

Fifteen (15) core curricular credits and a minimum of 8 credits in research (BMS 799) must be taken. Substitutions to these courses require approval of the Program.

BMS 710Seminar in Biomedical Sciences (1 credit per semester; 3 credits total)3
BMS 717Laboratory Technology-Theory and Practice2
BMS 718Experimental Design and Research in Biomedical Sciences1
BMS 750Infection and Immunity3
or BMS 751 Immunopathology
Choose one of the following:3
Molecular Pathology
Current Concepts in Cancer
Molecular Pathophysiology
Choose one of the following:3
Advanced Psychological Statistics
Statistical Analysis in the Health Sciences
Introduction to Biostatistics
Probability and Statistical Inference
BMS 799Research in Biomedical Sciences8
Total Credits23

The remaining 9 credits required for the degree are electives, of which at least 6 must be taken for graduate credit from within the BMS Program. Program approval is required for BMS 590 credits to be applied towards the degree. BMS 599: Independent Study does not count toward completion of the degree. No more than 3 credits of BMS 999: Advanced Independent Study will be counted for the Thesis Track.

Non-Thesis Track

Eleven (11) core curricular credits, as well as 2 credits for the capstone project, must be taken. Substitutions to these courses require approval of the Program.

BMS 710Seminar in Biomedical Sciences (1 credit per semester; 2 credits total)2
BMS 750Infection and Immunity3
or BMS 751 Immunopathology
Choose one of the following:3
Molecular Pathology
Current Concepts in Cancer
Molecular Pathophysiology
BMS 610GPharmacology3
or BMS 615G Cellular and Molecular Toxicology
BMS 890Capstone Project2
Total Credits13

Of the remaining 19 credits required for the degree, a minimum of 10 credits (excluding BMS 999) must be taken for graduate credit within the BMS Program. Up to nine credits may be taken as elective courses at the graduate level. These elective courses may be within the BMS Program or outside of the Program. BMS 999 will not be counted toward the Non-Thesis Track without approval from the Program.

Additional Requirements

Major Professor as Advisor

For both tracks, the student must have a major professor to advise and supervise the student’s studies.

Thesis (Thesis Track)/Capstone (Non-Thesis Track)

Students enrolled in the Thesis Track must write an acceptable thesis based on original research and pass a final oral examination in defense of the thesis under the supervision of a major professor. Students in the Non-Thesis Track must pass a comprehensive examination based on their coursework or complete a project based on a literature review. These are administered and evaluated by the program's faculty and staff.

Time Limit

The student must complete all degree requirements within seven years of initial enrollment.

Accelerated Program Option

This program is offered as part of an accelerated graduate program. For more information, see Accelerated Graduate Degrees.