USC University of Southern California

Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC

Master of Science in Craniofacial Biology

The Master of Science in Craniofacial Biology degree offers the clinician and non-clinician (DDS, MD, equivalent or someone with an undergraduate degree and interest in craniofacial development) the opportunity to obtain basic science and/or clinical research knowledge and skills.Training will include research into the causes of craniofacial diseases and anomalies, as well as normal development and function. The course of study is particularly directed toward those clinicians committed to pursuing a career in research and teaching.

The MS in Craniofacial Biology degree may be completed concurrently with certificate specialty training in:

  • Operative Dentistry
  • Periodontology
  • Orthodontics

Those attaining the MS degree are able to critically evaluate published scientific information and methodologies and can apply a high level of scientific understanding to their chosen field of study.

In addition to the required didactic coursework, students are required to identify a research topic, generate research data, critically evaluate the significance of this data and then write a thesis covering the research topic. The progress of MS students is monitored and assessed by their thesis committee, which consists of at least three full-time tenured or tenure-track USC faculty members with diverse research backgrounds.

The thesis committee may choose any format for students to present and defend their theses. This may include a formal presentation followed by a period of questions, or it may be a question and answer session only. The purpose of the exam is for the student to demonstrate an above-average understanding of the chosen research topic.

MS Degree Requirements

  • A total of 32 units are required, including eight courses in Craniofacial Biology.
  • Four units of 594a/b Thesis (594a and 594b should be taken in two consecutive trimesters).
  • Necessary units of 590 Thesis Research.
  • All students must achieve a 3.0 grade point average in craniofacial biology courses.
  • Four core courses in craniofacial biology:
    CBY 574, Statistical Methods in Bioexperimentation
    CBY 579L, Craniofacial Molecular Genetics
    CBY 585, Systematic Research Writing
    CBY 671, Epistemology of Ethos of Bioscience
  • The four remaining courses required may be selected from any offered by the Craniofacial Biology program or other graduate programs selected by the students and their mentors to best support their research interests.

This degree is under the jurisdiction of the USC Graduate School. Students should also refer to the Requirements for Graduation section and the Graduate School Policies and Requirements on the USC Catalogue website. All courses applied toward the degree must be courses accepted by the USC Graduate School.