- Develop a detailed understanding of the molecular mechanisms that affect lifelong health.
- Appreciate the contribution of environmental and social factors to health across generations.
- Learn the principles and methods of epidemiology, and how to explain them.
- Understand human development and reproduction in both biological and sociological perspectives.
- Articulate principles of environmental, social, and reproductive justice.
- Develop protocols to prevent or cure non-communicable diseases.
- Develop arguments for policies that promote health equity.
- Learn to think critically, gather relevant data, manage research projects, analyze data, and report findings to solve challenging interdisciplinary problems related to developmental origins of health & disease.
- Work side-by-side with leading USC and CHLA faculty in hands-on lab research, lab meetings, and data presentations.
- Learn to evaluate and critique scientific literature.
- Organize, analyze, and interpret raw data and effectively communicate the results to health professionals and the public.
Students will be provided with
- An excellent educational and research experience.
- An opportunity to interact with faculty on a broad range of cutting-edge research topics in developmental origins of health and disease.
- Hands-on training to learn techniques for conducting research in the lab of a CHLA or USC faculty member.
- Exposure to the national and international developmental biology and regenerative medicine research community through seminars and symposia.
Program Description & Degree Requirements
Molecular, cellular, developmental biology, and epidemiology are the foundations of the joint USC-CHLA Master’s program. A minimum grade point average of 3.0 must be earned on all coursework applied toward the Master of Science in the DOOHD program. This average must also be achieved on all 400-level and above course work attempted at USC and CHLA beyond the bachelor’s degree and through an accumulation of no more than 10 units beyond the minimum needed for the specific degree program. Transfer units count as credit (CR) toward the master’s degree and are not computed in the grade point average.
This Master’s is subject to the following requirements: (1) a total of at least 32 units is required; (2) courses outside the lists presented above require approval from the program advisor; (3) at least 22 units must be taken at the 500- or 600-level and no courses below the 400-level; (4) 2-8 units of BISC 490X (Directed Research), may be counted toward the DOOHD; (5) 2 units of BISC 559 (seminar class) may be counted toward the DOOHD; (6) units to be transferred (maximum 4 with adviser approval) must have been taken prior to taking classes at USC or CHLA.
|CORE COURSES (18 UNITS):||UNITS|
|BISC 550A||Developmental Origins of Health & Disease||4|
|BISC 550B||Developmental Origins of Health & Disease||4|
|BISC 552||Bioethics, Health Policy and Human Development||2|
|BISC 555||Epidemiology of Developmental Origins of Disease||1|
|BISC 556||Developmental Nutrition and Lifelong Health||1|
|BISC 557||Emerging Technologies for the Study of Health and Disease||2|
|BISC 559||DOOHD Seminar Series||4|
|RESEARCH REQUIREMENTS (12 UNITS):||UNITS|
|BISC 558A||Capstone Research Project||4|
|BISC 558B||Capstone Research Project||4|
|BISC 558C||Capstone Research Project||4|
|WRITING AND COMMUNICATION REQUIREMENTS (2 UNITS):||UNITS|
|JOUR 510||Communicating Your Health Story||2|
Faculty involved in DOOHD
Our faculty have expertise in a huge diversity of topics, all with the common goal of understanding how exposures to environmental stressors in childhood may lead to disease later in life..
Please feel free to contact either of the co-directors below for more information. No question is too small.
Dr. Rusty Lansford
Rusty (on left) combines experimental, computational, and theoretical approaches to understand decision-making in cells and tissues, focusing on questions in cardiovascular and germ cell development. He also investigates how environmental stressors affect early development and lifelong health and disease.
Dr. Matt Dean
Matt (on left) studies the molecular basis of ecological and evolutionary adaptation. He mostly studies reproductive genetics, mostly in mammals – for example, how does exposure to pollution influence sperm biology?
How to Apply
You can apply to the Master’s Degree in Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOOHD) in two different ways. If you are already a USC undergraduate, and have already been working in a lab, you can apply as a “Progressive Degree”. In a nutshell, this means you can earn your Master’s as a “5th year” of your undergraduate degree. For more information, click the “Progressive Degree” link below, and feel free to contact Dr. Rusty Lansford for additional guidance.
Otherwise, you can apply to this Master’s as a stand-alone program. Note that students have the option of completing the degree in one year or two, depending on courseload.
Please apply via the USC Office of Graduate Admission at https://usc.liaisoncas.com/applicant-ux/#/login. Button is below. Please note that the application goes “live” in September 2023.
Students admitted into the MS in Developmental Origins of Health & Disease program must apply for financial aid through the main USC Financial Aid Office, which offers low-interest student loans and administers the federal work-study program. Students can apply for several competitive university and external fellowships and awards through the USC Graduate School.