Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences

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Professional Growth.
Community Impact.

Earn a Master’s Degree in Biomedical Sciences while taking graduate-level coursework related to topics found on the MCAT and completing a research project resulting in a Master’s thesis.

Loras is proud to offer a Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences, designed to serve as an “academic record enhancer” (ARE) postbaccalaureate pre-medical/pre-health program. ARE programs are specifically intended for students who have taken the required undergraduate science coursework to apply to medical school (or other graduate-level health professional programs), but do not have a competitive application. Students looking to enhance their previous academic history to be competitive applicants for med school, a PhD program, or a full-time job, will find that our challenging coursework allows them to show demonstrated improved academic ability, as well as continue to extend their learning on topics necessary for the MCAT and in health professional school.

A master’s degree program is beneficial to ARE students. Among ARE programs, some offer a graduate degree, others a certificate of completion. Loras believes ARE programs that award a master’s degree serve students best. Not only does the credential of a master’s degree reflect the amount of work students will put into the program, but it will serve them best should they not be accepted to a health professional program or change their mind.  This rationale is consistent with the advice given on the AAMC’s Considering a Postbaccalaureate Program website. Our program includes research that culminates in a thesis.

Participation in a scientific research project at Loras helps students deepen their understanding of science in ways that are not possible with purely didactic coursework. The immersion that comes with research deepens the understanding of science concepts and makes connections between biology, biochemistry, genetics, molecular biology, and physics. Students need to make these connections to score well on the MCAT exam (or other standardized exams for other types of professional school applications) – a critical component of a successful application. A meaningful research experience can strengthen a student’s application portfolio, and can improve critical analysis skills needed for the medical admission test (MCAT) and medical school. Conversely, the research project would also give students experience that will be valuable to them if they decide to pursue a Ph.D. program or go directly into the workforce.

Loras College has a rich liberal arts tradition and a strong history of educating students for various health care professions. We strive to develop active learners, reflective thinkers, ethical decision makers, and responsible contributors – all key attributes for success in your chosen career in medical/ health care and for a satisfying life. We are interested in people joining our graduate program for whom medicine will not be just a job, but rather the vocation they are choosing to use their talents to best serve humanity.

Loras College is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Loras is pleased to offer an opportunity for prospective graduate Biomedical Sciences students to enjoy a casual, personalized Zoom conversation with the Biomedical Sciences Program Director and the Director of Graduate Admission to learn more about the curriculum, research, outcomes, enrollment process, and much more. Get a true sense of what grad school is like from a faculty member you will be working closely with.

Grad Chat Registration

Straight Talk From a Duhawk

“We feel strongly that this two-year plan gives students more time to study for the MCAT which they will take at the end of their first year, plus gives them research experience in the second year before they would start their professional school. One-year programs leave students with a “gap year” before they can start medical school. The research project for the program is chosen from a wide range of biomedical science areas, including physiology, kinesiology, neuroscience, genetics, biochemistry, and cellular and molecular biology.”

Straight Talk From a Duhawk

" Our program builds in a research experience to help students improve both their in-depth learning and the strength of their application to medical school."

Meet Dr. Cooper
Admission Criteria & Application Checklist

Admission Criteria and Eligibility Information:

  • Have earned at least a bachelor’s degree by the time of enrollment, with a background in natural sciences.
  • Strong academic ability, evidenced by a cumulative undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0. A holistic admission decision will be based on multiple factors, including your motivation for pursuing this degree, work history, volunteer activities, and other extracurricular involvement.
  • Completion of the following prerequisite course requirements before the start of the program:
    • General Chemistry (two semesters)
    • Organic Chemistry (two semesters)
    • Biochemistry (at least one semester)
    • Introductory Biology (one semester)
    • Cellular/Molecular Biology (one semester)
    • Physiology or Anatomy & Physiology is recommended, but not required.
  • In lieu of the prerequisite courses, students may be eligible for admission with an MCAT score of above 500 with no sub-score below 123 (30th percentile), as an indication that they have some background in all those areas.
  • US citizen or permanent resident. (International students interested in specific coursework should please contact the Program Director).
    Application Checklist
      Course Requirements & Schedule


      Semester Classes Credits
      Year 1 Fall *BIO 515-Advanced Research Seminar I 2
      *BIO 520-Advanced Cellular and Molecular Biology 3
      *BIO 525-Bioethics 3
      *Elective option:
      One of the following may be chosen in conjunction with your advisor:
      ATR 542-Health and Wellness Promotion or
      Biology elective class (Immunology, Microbiology, etc.)
      Year 1 Spring *BIO 530-Advanced Integrative Physiology 3
      *CHE 548-Advanced Graduate Biochemistry 4
      *BIO 516-Advanced Research Seminar II 1
      Year 1 Summer *Elective option:
      One of the following may be chosen in conjunction with your advisor:
      ATR 541-Public Health or
      ATR 540-Epidemiology
      Year 2 Fall *BIO 610-Research 6
      *Elective option:
      One of the following may be chosen in conjunction with your advisor:
      ATR 542-Health and Wellness Promotion or
      Biology elective class (Immunology, Microbiology, etc.)
      Year 2 Spring *BIO 611-Research 3
      *ATR 580-Pathophysiology 3
      Elective option: To be chosen in conjunction with your advisor (if not already finished) (3-4)
      Total 34-35

      *Classes with an asterisk are required classes for the Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences Degree (28 credits). In addition, two elective classes (totaling at least 6 credits) are also required and can be taken in the Fall, Spring, or Summer as suggested in the timeline above. A minimum of 34 total credits is required to graduate from the program.

      Students interested in pursuing medical school typically take the MCAT exam in the Summer between Year 1 and Year 2. 

      Frequently Asked Questions

      Application and Admission

      What are the academic requirements for admission into the Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences?
      A minimum cumulative GPA of at least 3.0. Pre-requisite courses include two semesters of General Chemistry, two semesters of Organic Chemistry, at least one semester of Biochemistry, Introductory Biology and Cellular/Molecular biology. Physiology or Anatomy/physiology is recommended, but not required. In place of the pre-requisite courses, students may be eligible for admission with an MCAT score above 500 with no sub-score below 123 (30th percentile) [as an indication they have some background in all those areas].

      How do I apply for admission?
      Please see the Admission Criteria & Application Checklist section of this webpage. The entire application process is completed through the PostBacCAS website.

      What are the application deadlines?
      For students applying to begin in Fall: the PostBacCAS online application should be submitted and all supplemental application documents should be received by August 1.

      For students applying to begin in Summer: the PostBacCAS online application should be submitted and all supplemental application documents should be received by May 1. (Please note that only one class is available to take in the Summer. We highly encourage students to begin the program in the Fall term).

      *Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis until the application deadline for each term.

      Does the Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences program require an undergraduate degree in a specific program? What are preferred undergraduate majors for admission into the program?
      The Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences program requires a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree in a science-related major.

      How long will it take to receive a decision regarding my application?
      We have rolling admissions for this program; therefore, after your application file is complete and verified in PostBacCAS, we will be in touch within approximately two weeks with our admission decision.

      How will I be notified of the admission decision?
      You will be contacted by email once a decision has been made.

      Can I take some courses as a non-degree student?
      Individuals who would like to take graduate classes for professional development, continuing education credits, or personal enrichment may take up to 9 graduate credits as a non-degree (Special) student. Special students may not enroll in courses without approval from the program director.

      In order to enroll in the course(s), students must complete the standard online graduate application (in the Student Profile section of the application, select “Professional & Continuing Education” as the Student Type, and “Other Non-Degree Coursework” as the Academic Program), and email unofficial copies of transcripts from each institution attended to the Director of Admission for Graduate and Professional Education Programs. The transcripts will then be evaluated by the program director to ensure that any necessary pre-requisite course requirements have been met. Please note that degree-seeking students have registration preference.

      After the completion of 9 non-degree credits, a student must then apply for formal admission into the program in order to move forward and take additional courses.

      Financial aid is not available to non-degree special students.

      Is there an option for conditional admission?
      Candidates can discuss deficiencies in the admissions criteria with the Program Director for possible admission. Exceptions to the admission requirements would be made by the Director in consultation with the Postbac/Pre-health Admission Committee. Interviews via Zoom/Skype may be required in borderline cases or if program capacity is exceeded.

      How can I receive more information about the Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences program?
      For more information about the application and admission process, please contact Megan Henderson: Director of Admission for Graduate and Professional Education Programs, at or 563.588.7140. For more information about the Biomedical Sciences curriculum, please contact Dr. Kate Cooper: Program Director, at

      Curriculum and Class Format

      What type of internship/shadowing/research opportunities are available to students in the Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences program?
      The Dubuque area has a robust health care environment with several hospitals and larger physician groups that provide opportunities for our students in the program to shadow a wide variety of health care professionals, including specialists. Moreover, we will connect students with direct patient care experiences (certified nurse aide, emergency medical technician, phlebotomist, scribe) as well as volunteer opportunities depending on each student’s timeline and interest. Since there are no university medical teaching hospitals in the area, our students do not have to compete for observation hours.

      How many credits are required in the Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences degree?
      A minimum of 34 credits are required to complete the degree. However, due to the credit load of some of the elective courses, students may take up to 36 credits to complete the degree.

      What is the format of the Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences classes?
      The format of the courses are face-to-face instruction.

      Is there a preferred entry point into the Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences program?
      Students are highly encouraged to begin the program in the Fall term; however, one class is offered in the Summer if students would like to get a head start and begin early.

      Does the Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences program accept transfer credits?
      Students can transfer a maximum of 9 graduate credits into the program from a previous institution. The courses must be similar in content to coursework offered at Loras and approved by the Program Director.

      How long does it take to complete the program?
      This program is designed to be completed in two years. However, a longer, personalized schedule may be created for students who wish to take fewer credits per term.

      What is a maximum course load per semester?
      Typically 9 credits, however students are allowed to take up to 12 depending on their program plan of study that they set up with their advisor.

      What is the time commitment outside of class?
      Time commitments vary depending on the course and individual’s specific skill set. As a general rule, students will spend 4 – 6 hours per week outside of classroom instruction on class-related work for each class.

      Where are classes held?
      Classes are held in several buildings across the beautiful Loras College Campus.

      When do classes meet?
      Each face-to-face class meets during the day. For specific times and dates, see the course schedule prior to each academic semester.

      Will there be an orientation prior to the first class?
      Yes, students are required to attend the Graduate Student Orientation prior to beginning coursework so they can become familiar with the faculty, campus services, and their peers.

      Does the program offer online courses?
      No. At this time, all courses are offered in-person.

      Is Loras College accredited?
      Yes, Loras College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

      Does Loras have linkages to any medical schools?
      Loras does not have linkages to medical schools. We strive to connect our students with schools that are the right fit for them.

      If I’m interested in playing a sport at Loras while in graduate school, how many credits do I have to take?
      Graduate students must be enrolled in a degree-seeking master’s program to be eligible to participate in NCAA athletics at Loras.

      Student athletes enrolled in one of our degree-seeking master’s programs need to have full-time status (taking at least 6 credits per term) during the semester(s) they’re practicing or competing in the sport. Students also need to be making satisfactory progress towards their degree (as determined by Loras). If a student wants to participate in athletics while being enrolled less than full-time, they will need to work with their coaches to determine if they are eligible for a waiver.

      Please note that while 6 credits per term is considered full-time for graduate students at Loras, students only need to take at least 3 credits per term in order to be eligible for federal financial aid.

      Financial and Housing

      What are current tuition rates for the Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences?
      Visit the Graduate section of our Tuition & Fees page for detailed cost information.

      Tuition and Fees are subject to change at any time.

      Is financial aid available?
      Students wishing to obtain a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan must complete the current year FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and take at least 3 credits per term. Please contact our Financial Planning Office at 563.588.7136 or for more information.

      Loras College does not offer institutional scholarships for graduate students at this time.

      Does Loras offer on-campus housing for graduate students?
      Loras-owned housing is available for graduate Biomedical Sciences students in Smyth Hall.  Smyth is an alternative residence hall located in the center of campus. Smyth is comprised of single and triple rooms; and houses a limited, diverse population including transfers, upperclassmen, Postbac Pre-Med/Pre-Health, and graduate Biomedical Sciences students. Smyth is also home to the Religious Studies and Theology departments.

      Amenities include:

      • Free laundry facilities (washers and dryers)
      • Free wifi
      • Kitchen (stocked with pots, pans, baking sheets, etc.) on B level

      Room information:

      • Rooms contain a bed/dresser/desk unit, desk chair, and waste basket
      • Beds are XL Twin sized, so students are encouraged to bring extra-long sheets
      • Students may bring a mini-fridge under 5 cubic feet
      • Heat is included, but A/C is not, so students are welcome to bring their own window air conditioning unit (must be 5000 BTU or less) or else a portable A/C unit. Contact if you need help installing the window air conditioner
      • Basic cable is not provided, but students are welcome to bring a streaming device of their choice to use in Smyth.

      *To get your mailbox set up: please stop by the mailroom in the Alumni Campus Center (ACC).

      Please see for current housing costs.

      Program Cost

      Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences Program Cost
      Visit the Graduate section of our Tuition & Fees page for tuition information.

      Below are additional fees associated with students enrolled in the MS in Biomedical Sciences program (subject to change):

      • BIO 516 – Advanced Research Seminar II course fee: $35
      • BIO 610 – Research course fee: $50

      Employer Reimbursement
      Students who wish to utilize tuition reimbursement from their employer must complete Loras’ Employer Tuition Reimbursement Form before the first day of their first class. Students will still be issued regular billing statements from Loras, but will be exempt from any service charges and will be exempt from having to make full payment until after the end of each class (or until after program completion for CFP Certification or Cybersecurity Bootcamp students). Students or employers are welcome to make payments directly to Loras along the way if they would like, but it is not required. If the employer reimbursement criteria are not met and/or reimbursement is denied, the student must bring their account current immediately before any future registration will be permitted. Student’s balance must be paid in full within 30 days of the last day of each term (or within 30 days of program completion for CFP Certification Education and Cybersecurity Bootcamp students), and prior to Loras issuing the student a degree and/or final transcript.

      Financial Aid
      Degree-seeking graduate students (in a Master’s program) are eligible to receive $20,500 in Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan funds for each academic year. Students wishing to obtain a loan must complete the current year FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) at: (Loras’s school code is 001873), and be taking at least 3 credits per term. The loan will disburse directly to the school to cover the cost of the term. Loras’s academic year runs from Summer-Spring (ie: Summer 2021-Spring 2022).

      Loras College does not offer institutional scholarships or federal grants for graduate and professional education students at this time.

      Students who have outstanding loans from their undergraduate education may be able to defer payment on those loans while enrolled in a degree-seeking master’s program. Deferment options are generally available to students who are enrolled at least half-time in a graduate program (3 credits or more per semester). If deferment is a requirement for you to be able to afford to enroll in a graduate program, we advise you to connect with our Financial Planning Office or your loan service providers to make sure you know exactly how deferment applies to your previous loans.

      Contact us if you have additional financial aid or billing questions:
      Financial Planning Office

      Carrie Jones, Director of Student Accounts

      Tuition and Fees are subject to change at any time.


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      Corporate Partnerships
      Loras College Biomedical Sciences Staff

      Kate Cooper, Ph.D.
      Professor of Biology
      Chair, Division of Molecular, Life & Health Sciences
      Biomedical Sciences Program Director
      563.588.7956 |
      Full Profile

      Elaina Biechler, Ph.D. 
      Associate Professor of Kinesiology
      Coaching Leadership Program Director
      Full Profile

      Sarah Cassella, Ph.D.
      Assistant Professor of Neuroscience
      563-588-7184 |
      Full Profile

      Thomas Davis, Ph.D.
      Professor of Biology
      563.588.7767 |
      Full Profile

      Kathryn DeShaw, Ph.D.
      Assistant Professor of Kinesiology
      563.588.7088 |
      Full Profile

      Andrew Kehr, Ph.D.
      Assistant Professor of Biochemistry
      563-588-7133 |
      Full Profile

      Christoffer Lammer-Heindel, Ph.D.
      Associate Professor of Philosophy
      Chair, Division of Philosophical, Religious, Theological, Social, & Cultural Studies
      563.588.7733 |
      Full Profile

      Molly M. McDonald Figgins, Ph.D., ATC
      Associate Professor of Athletic Training
      Athletic Training Program Director
      563.588.7995 |
      Full Profile

      Adam Moser, Ph.D.
      Associate Professor of Chemistry
      563.588.7920 |
      Full Profile

      Ulrike Schultz, MD, MPH
      Postbaccalaureate Pre-Medical/Pre-Health Program Director & Pre-Health Advisor
      563.588.7255 |
      Full Profile

      Keith Thraen-Borowski, Ph.D.
      Associate Professor of Kinesiology
      563.588.7475 |
      Full Profile

      Questions? Let’s get in touch.

      Kate Cooper, Ph.D.
      Biomedical Sciences Program Director
      Division of Molecular, Life & Health Sciences Chair

      Professor of Biology

      Megan Henderson
      Loras College Graduate Admissions

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