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Pathways Curriculum

Students begin the program in the summer preceding their first fall term. 

Students must complete:

  • 24 Rackham credits in MCDB and related areas, including a minimum of 16 credits of coursework and 8 credits of research (MCDB 700). 
  • Responsible Conduct of Research Course (e.g., PIBS 503 or MCDB 499) during their first year in the program. 
  • Only graduate-level courses (400 level and above) may count towards the M.S. degree. 
  • Courses offered by departments other than MCDB must be approved by the student's thesis advisor and the director of the Pathways Master's program before they are taken. 

All courses will be selected in consultation with the student's research advisor and the program director.

Students are required to be a Graduate Student Instructor (teaching assistant) for a minimum of two terms during their program, typically the winter semester of the first year and the fall semester of the second year.

Students will be matched into research labs during the first summer. They will work in that research lab for 2 years, completing a research project that is of sufficient quality for a Master's thesis. 

Students will defend their thesis in an open seminar, followed by an oral exam by their thesis committee.


It is important that you seek advice from the Director of Master’s Programs and the Graduate Studies Committee (GSC). Students should schedule an advising appointment once per semester.

For questions concerning the program, advice on the curriculum, or any concerns you may have please contact: