Masters Degree Program
Master of Science Degree in Oral and Craniofacial Sciences
University of California San Francisco
School of Dentistry
The MS in the Oral & Craniofacial Sciences is a Plan I program that complies with the guidelines of the Graduate Division of UCSF. The MS is an academic degree requiring a minimum of the equivalent of one full year of research and didactic study. The postgraduate program at UCSF allows the combination of academic/research training for the MS degree with clinical training leading to a specialty certification usually over a minimum three-year period. Outstanding dental students may also apply for concurrent enrollment in the MS program.
Application to the OCS MS program requires the applicant to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). The examination needs to be taken by a date set by the postgraduate program directors, but the entire application and GRE scores need to be submitted by May before the student enters the postgraduate program starting in June. The applicant needs to pass the GRE with a score of 30% or greater on each of the three parts of quantitative, written and verbal. If an applicant does not pass above 30% on all three sections, the applicant will be asked to take an essay examination administered by the OCS MS program to determine their competency for completing a master’s degree.
Minimum Requirements for the MS
The MS requires a minimum of 30 units, of which at least 12 must bear the Oral and Craniofacial Sciences (OCS) 200 series designation. Students will be assigned a graduate advisor who will help guide them with programmatic and research direction decisions, and this is usually the director of the postgraduate program. Each candidate will choose a separate research mentor (see below).
The following requirements must be met.
Research (12 units of OCS 250 and OCS 296 count towards the total of 30 required units for an MS degree)
OCS 250 Research will be awarded as units with 0.5 days per week per quarter = 1 unit. Prerequisite: The student must successfully complete OCS 296 (1 unit), before enrolling for OCS 250 credit. Successful completion of OCS 296 requires submission of a research protocol, signed by her/his thesis committee to the program director before enrolling for OCS 250 credits. Twelve of these OCS 250 and OCS 296 units count towards the minimum of 30 units for the MS.
Postgraduate Specialty/MS Program
Postgraduate program directors will arrange sufficient research time for their students. Students must choose their project, their research mentor and produce an outline research protocol by the end of the Fall Quarter of their first year (requires about 1/2 day per week in year 1). The bulk of the research work will then be spread over years two and three, culminating in a thesis. As a general guideline, a minimum of 1-1/2 days per week in year 2, and 1 1/2 -2 days per year 3 (with additional time should special circumstances require it) should be spent conducting research and completing the thesis.
Students will work full–time the summer quarter of year-2, and half time the summers of year-3 and year-4 on their thesis research. Students that apply to the MS program prior to their first year of dental school will have an additional full summer of research. Students will also be given two half days a week to devote towards their research and MS program didactic requirements during the Fall, Winter and Spring quarters of years 1-4. Students must choose their project, their research mentor, and produce an outline protocol by the end of Spring Quarter of their first year (requires about 1/2 day per week in year 1). DDS/MS students must register as graduate students for three quarters in order to satisfy the residency requirements of the graduate school. It is recommended that they choose three of their summer quarters to satisfy this program requirement.
A research thesis must be completed resulting from a project designed to answer a specific question (or questions) and to test a hypothesis. Detailed guidelines are given in the following pages and in the graduate handbook.
Research Mentor and Thesis Committee
The research mentor must be a member of the Academic Senate and of the Graduate Group in Oral and Craniofacial Sciences. However, with the approval of the Director of the MS program, the mentor may be outside the Graduate Group, but a co-mentor within the Group will also be appointed. The thesis committee (arranged by the research mentor and the student) must consist of at least three members of the Academic Senate. The committee must be approved by the Director of the MS program, and is chaired by the research mentor or the co-mentor as described above. The committee should meet early in the student’s program to approve the research protocol and as needed, thereafter, to assist in guiding and monitoring the progress of the project. Non-Academic Senate members can be added who have specific expertise in the area of research, subject to approval by the Graduate Division (a curriculum vitae must be submitted for review to the Graduate Division). The committee will be responsible for conducting the final examination of the thesis and the candidate.
A. CORE: Mandatory Courses (Each course must be taken for a total of 21 units)
OCS 296 (Thesis Protocol) 1 unit Fall quarter
OCS 295 (MS Journal Club) 1 unit Fall quarter
OCS 220 (OCS Seminar Series) 1 unit Winter quarter
DPH 200 (Behav. Aspects of Research and Ethics) 2 units Summer quarter
BS 183 (Intro. to Statistical Methods (or other approved biostatistics course) 4 units Fall quarter
DPH 210 (Research Methods/Design) 2 units Summer quarter
OCS 250 (Research for Masters) 10 units Any quarter
B. Additional Courses to be Selected (Minimum of 9 units to be chosen. Four units need to be chosen from the following selective courses. The student can choose additional graduate courses from the General Catalog with the approval of the MS Program Director.
OCS 224 (Host Response/Immunology) 2 units Summer quarter
PRDS 213 (Chemical Aspects Dental Caries) 2 units Fall quarter
PRDS 202 (Biomaterials/Bioeng Pt 1) 2 units Fall quarter
OCS 210 (Developmental Biology) 2 units Fall quarter
PRDS 203 (Biomaterial Bioeng Pt 2) 2 units Winter quarter
OCS 221 (Extracellular Matrices/Mineral) 2 units Winter quarter
CFA 206 (Craniofacial Anomalies I) 2 units Winter quarter
OP 208 (Oral Pathology Seminar) 3 units Winter quarter
CFA 207 (Craniofacial Anomalies II) 2 units Spring quarter
OFS 212 (Neuromuscular System) 2 units Spring quarter
OCS 225 (Oral Microbiology/Virology) 2 units Spring quarter
Procedures for Developing and Implementing Thesis Research Project
The combined program leading to specialty certification and the MS degree requires that a research thesis be completed. This will consist of a single research project that satisfies both the clinical and academic research requirements.
Students in this program should choose their research mentor and project by the end of the Fall Quarter of the first year. A protocol should be prepared in this time frame and an initial meeting held with the thesis committee at least by the end of that quarter to satisfy OCS 296 Thesis Protocol before enrolling in research OCS 250.
The project should pose a well-focused, interesting question and a hypothesis that can be tested in a feasible set of experiments that can be accommodated within the time frame of the program so that the student can finish and receive her /his Certificate of Completion and MS degree at the end of three years. Therefore, great care must be taken in the project planning stage so that the project is well focused, yet of adequate scope and significance. The research for the thesis should be a level sufficient for publication in a peer-reviewed journal in which the student is first author and the mentor is senior author. Such a manuscript accepted for publication can be completed in lieu of a written master’s thesis with the approval of the student’s thesis mentor, the thesis committee, and the MS Program Director.
There are both clinical research questions and more basic science-oriented projects. Either type of project is suitable.
The project must:
A. ask a question (or questions) that is scientifically meaningful and clinically consequential.
B. involve a careful research design with due attention to generating testable hypotheses, acquiring appropriate samples, collecting data with minimal bias and conducting statistical tests or data analysis.
C. have a reasonable chance to succeed, given the time and resources available.
D. have a reasonable chance to yield new findings.
E. be designed and conducted with the overall goal that it will be published in a peer-reviewed journal.
The project must be developed in consultation with a proposed research mentor, the Director of the MS program, and the postgraduate program director. Other faculty with expertise in the area of interest may also be consulted. The student will meet regularly with her/his master’s thesis committee starting in the second year.
The following are examples of suitable projects are given as general guidelines.
1. Experiments with animals or tissue culture cells that have direct relevance to clinical questions. For example, studying conditions that favor more rapid healing of bone defects or recruitment of mesenchymal cells to a bone lineage would use basic science techniques to address a problem of great clinical relevance.
2. Projects at the interface of treatment and laboratory experimental analysis. For example, root resorption can be a problem in orthodontic treatment. Are there growth factors or degradative enzymes in crevicular fluid of patients that might be of predictive of root resorption, or other undesirable outcomes of a particular rate or direction of tooth movement?
3. Projects that use patient cohorts and/or databases as resources to ask questions related to treatment choices and their relationships to other parameters. The project undertaken should be hypothesis-based and have significant intellectual input from the student. Product testing according to an already established protocol, or statistical analysis of data that is already assembled and organized, is not an acceptable format for a research project. However, using available databases as a resource to develop and analyze a new kind of question would be suitable.
The student should also clarify that the resources (i.e., Endnote, statistical programs like STATA) needed to carry out the project are available from the mentor, or can be provided by the division or department.
Advancement to Candidacy
Students must submit their Application for Candidacy with appropriate signatures, including the proposed title of their thesis and the names of their committee members (Research Mentor as chair and two other Academic Senate faculty), to the Graduate Division by the last day of the quarter preceding the one in which they will complete the thesis and graduate, e.g. the last day of winter quarter for those students graduating in the Spring.
See the Graduate Division Website for dead lines and new updates: http://graduate.ucsf.edu/
Completion and Submission of Thesis
|The thesis must be submitted in final form (in full compliance with the rules of the Academic Senate as detailed in the enclosed documents prepared by the Graduate Division; electronic version), with the original title page signed by all members of the committee, no later than the last day of the quarter in which the student wishes to graduate. In general, there is no grace period for this deadline. Students who have not completed their theses by this date would have to register for the quarter in which they would complete the thesis (e.g., Summer Session 1 or 2).