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Master’s in Stem Cell Science

California’s first master’s program in stem cells comes to USC. The one-year program will feature an invitational second research year.

By Cristy Lytal
March 18, 2014

Students enrolling in the new master’s program in stem cell biology will study organisms such as these mouse kidney stem cells. Image by Lori O'Brien.

Students enrolling in the new master’s program in stem cell biology will study organisms such as these mouse kidney stem cells. Image by Lori O'Brien.

USC Dornsife students studying biological sciences or other disciplines may be interested in this news: this Fall, the university will offer the first master’s program in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine in California.

“The program gives students a unique entrée into the rapidly expanding field of stem cell biology in the globally recognized capital of stem cell science — California,” said Henry Sucov, director of the program.

Offered by the Department of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, the one-year program will feature an invitational second research year.

Students can enroll in biomedical science courses, including developmental and stem cell biology, human embryology, regenerative medicine, and the translational and therapeutic aspects of stem cell technology. They will also have the unusual opportunity for extensive hands-on laboratory experience with stem cells.

At the conclusion of year one, selected students will be invited to extend their expertise by conducting independent research and continuing course work during an optional second year. Selection will be based on academic performance and research interests.

After completing this program, graduates will have a competitive advantage in applying to medical or Ph.D. programs, entering the growing stem cell pharmaceutical domain or engaging in other academic, clinical or business efforts. They will possess a unique understanding of how the body’s own developmental and repair mechanisms can restore damaged cells, tissues and organs.

“There are only two other master’s programs in stem cell biology that I am aware of in the U.S., and neither of these take as rounded an approach to the problem of translating research from the laboratory into the clinic,” said Andrew McMahon, director of the Department of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine. “I’m particularly excited to bring in the field’s leading practitioners as visiting faculty to share their experience with business, regulatory oversight, clinical trials and the pharmaceutical industry. Our goal is to train our students to become the select group of leaders who will chart the course of medicine of the future — regenerative medicine.”

USC invites prospective students to submit their applications — including transcripts, GRE test scores, a personal statement and two letters of recommendation.