Student Spotlight

Zoya Sandhu, OMS I

Class of 2022

  • Hometown: Salt Lake City, UT
  • Undergraduate Studies: Biology
  • Clubs and Activities: Member of Medical Students Advocating for Underprivileged Populations (MSAUP) and Women in Medicine Club.

Why did you choose RVUCOM? I chose RVU because of the amazing board scores. I feel like I will be completely prepared for whichever...
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Faculty Spotlight

Cheryl McCormick, PhD

Associate Dean for Integrated Curriculum
Professor of Physiology

  • Hometown: Reidsville, NC
  • Undergraduate Studies: Bachelor of Science degree in Biology at Salem College. Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Technology from Medical College of Virginia.
  • Graduate Studies: Doctor of Philosophy degree in Pharmacology/Physiology and a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Clinical Chemistry from Wake Forest University.

What classes do you teach? I teach Renal I and II, and IHL I. Why did you choose to...
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Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences

The MSBS is a 9-month (30 semester hours) degree program designed to strengthen the academic background of qualified applicants who are seeking acceptance into graduate health programs, such as medical, veterinary, dental, physician assistant, or other professional programs. The MSBS currently offers a core curriculum in the Biomedical Sciences designed to prepare students to enter professional education and/or advanced degree programs in the biomedical disciplines. The MSBS aims at enhancing the student’s academic record and competitiveness of his or her candidacy for a professional or graduate degree.

 

What makes RVU’s MSBS program stand out?

  • The majority of courses are taught by the medical school faculty (PhDs, DOs, MDs, and PharmDs)
  • Case studies are widely integrated into the curriculum
  • The program integrates service learning into each semester
  • Exams are in block testing format to prepare students for long exams, such as the MCAT and board exams
  • The program incorporates simulation experiences each semester with medical students and standardized patients

MSBS Student Spotlight

Toni Nicastro, Class of 2018

Hometown: Thornton, Colorado

Undergraduate Studies: University of Colorado Denver, B.S in Biology

Are you glad you chose RVU MSBS Program and why?
Yes, without this program I would not have had the opportunities that I have had. I have learned so much about medicine, study strategies and the steps it takes to become a physician. The professors and other staff at RVU have been so supportive and gracious and I cannot thank them …

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“The faculty and staff were outstanding and so supportive throughout the challenging curriculum.

It was the best decision I could have made to prepare for medical school.”

 –     Diego Puentes, OMS I, MSBS Alumni

Click here to read more MSBS alumni testimonials


Mission

The Rocky Vista University Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences program will provide an opportunity for students with diverse backgrounds and life experience to strengthen their educational foundation in the biomedical sciences, cultivate critical thinking skills, and prepare for careers in the health sciences.

Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs)

  • Foundational Concepts Mastery– Demonstrate mastery of the knowledge, skills, and aptitudes of central concepts in the biomedical sciences necessary for entry into a health-related discipline or practice
  • Foundational Concepts Application– Develop an understanding of the underlying principles of health and disease and apply those principles to clinical scenarios.
  • Scientific Method Application– Apply the scientific method and principles of evidence-based medicine to approach biological and health-related issues.
  • Reasoning and Problem-solving– Practice critical reasoning and problem-solving skills relevant to health-related disciplines.
  • Communication Skills– Exhibit effective verbal and written communication skills.
  • Self-directed Learning– Demonstrate a skill set required for learning and generating material autonomously, and develop study skills consistent with a culture of inquiry.
  • Professionalism– Display core values of compassion, integrity, collegiality, cultural competency, attitude of service, professionalism, and motivation in interactions with peers, staff, faculty, and community.

To apply for the MSBS program, you must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • US citizen or permanent resident
  • An earned bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university
  • Completion of all prerequisite coursework with a grade of ‘C’ or better**
  • A science and overall GPA minimum of 2.75 (on a 4.0 scale)
  • Official standardized test scores: GRE, MCAT, PCAT, or DAT
  • Completed application via PostBacCAS and a $50 supplemental application fee
  • Resume including all relevant volunteer and paid work experience, along with service and leadership activities
  • Two letters of recommendation, including one from a pre-health advisor or committee and another from a healthcare professional who can attest to the candidate’s suitability to attend a graduate program in the biomedical sciences. In the event the candidate attends a school that doesn’t have a pre-health advisor or does not offer a letter-writing service, the candidate may substitute a letter from a basic science faculty member.

**Prerequisites include:

  • Biology with lab: 8 semester hours
  • General chemistry with lab: 8 semester hours
  • Organic chemistry with lab: 8 semester hours
  • Physics: 8 semester hours
  • English composition or Literature: 6 semester hours
  • Social or behavioral sciences: 6 semester hours

First-Year Students – Class of 2018

Tuition

$26,550

Student Service Fees

$200

Books and Supplies

$829

Health Insurance

$4,296

Room and Board

$16,380

Personal Expenses

$3,150

Transportation

$2,250

Loan Fees

$1,344

Total

$54,999


The Cost of Attendance (COA) is an estimate of the cost of attending RVU and maintaining a modest but adequate standard of living. Your individual budget may be higher or lower. The COA does not include living expenses for a student’s spouse or other dependents. Total loan amounts borrowed and scholarships awarded cannot exceed the COA minus any other aid received. Tuition amount is based on 30 credit hours at $885 per credit hour. Loan fees represent the estimated amount an average student would pay if they borrow from the Federal Direct Loan program.

Students are strongly encouraged to complete a personal budget and only borrow the minimum amount needed to cover their actual costs. Many RVU students are able to live on less than the COA by budgeting carefully and reducing their expenses for room, board, personal and transportation costs.

The Cost of Attendance for the 2018-2019 academic year and beyond is subject to change without notice.

Please contact the RVU Office of Student Financial Services if you have questions regarding the Cost of Attendance: http://www.rvu.edu/prospective-students/student-financial-services/  or 720-874-2442

Rocky Vista University will only consider applications submitted via PostBacCAS, the centralized application service for Post Bac programs. The application is available at  https://postbaccas.liaisoncas.com/ The application opens September 1, 2018 and closes July 15, 2019.

All application materials including transcripts and letters of recommendation are to be submitted directly through PostBacCAS. After your application has been verified, you will receive an email to submit the $50 RVU MSBS supplemental fee.

Completed files will be processed and reviewed on a rolling basis as long as there are seats available in the class. Therefore, for full consideration, it is recommended that you submit your application as early in the process as possible.

Upon acceptance of an offer of placement within any program within RVU, all candidates are required to complete a criminal background check and a 10-panel drug screening. This screening must meet the COM standards, be conducted by an agency approved by the COM, and occur prior to the date specified in the matriculation agreement. An applicant who has a deficiency or abnormality discovered on either screening will be referred to a sub-committee of the Student Performance Committee for further investigation. The sub-committee will make a recommendation to the Dean as to whether the offer of admission should be maintained or withdrawn. The Dean will make the final determination regarding the applicant’s status. Failure to complete a Criminal Background Check by the required deadline could affect the ability to matriculate or engage in RVU educational experience.

All RVU programs are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission:

Higher Learning Commission 230 S. LaSalle Street; Suite 7-500; Chicago, IL 60604 Phone: (800) 621-7440

For Graduating Class of 2018:

Fall Semester – August 7, 2017 – December 7, 2017

Credit Hours

Physiology I

4

Human Anatomy I

2

Molecular Basis of Medicine I

2

Microbiology and Infectious Disease

3

Fundamentals of Pharmacology

1

Scientific Methodologies

2

Medical Humanities

1

Spring Semester – January 8, 2018 – May 11, 2018

Credit Hours

Human Anatomy II

2

Physiology II

4

Molecular Basis of Medicine II

2

Journal Club

2

Immunology

3

Selected Topics in Pharmacotherapeutics

2

For Graduating Class of 2019:

Fall Semester – August 13, 2018 – December 14, 2018

Credit Hours

Physiology I

4

Human Anatomy I

2

Molecular Basis of Medicine I

2

Microbiology and Infectious Disease

3

Scientific Methodologies

2

Medical Humanities

1

Spring Semester – January 7, 2019 – May 18, 2019

Credit Hours

Human Anatomy II

2

Physiology II

4

Molecular Basis of Medicine II

2

Journal Club

2

Immunology

3

Pharmacology

3

MSBS Student Policies Regarding Application and Admission to RVUCOM*

*Applicable to the 2017-2018 academic year and subject to change for subsequent matriculating years.

 

College of Osteopathic Medicine

MSBS students interested in applying to RVUCOM (Colorado or Utah location) will be evaluated by the MSBS faculty at the conclusion of each semester. A recommendation to the COM Admissions Committee will be made regarding the student’s academic aptitude for success in the COM and suitability to advance the mission and vision of RVUCOM. MSBS students recommended by the faculty of the MSBS Program will be evaluated by the RVUCOM Admissions Committee, which will make a recommendation to the Dean who will make the final decision regarding acceptance.

Matriculation to the COM is contingent upon successful completion of the MSBS Program and all graduation requirements. RVU does not guarantee acceptance into any of its programs and will consider as many or as few MSBS students for admission as it deems appropriate.

Students recommended to the COM by the MSBS Program faculty will be required to submit an AACOMAS application as soon as fall grades are posted. Candidates interested in RVUCOM’s program should start their AACOMAS application as soon as possible and submit as soon as the fall grades are posted. The MSBS Program Director (or designee) will write a summative letter representing the collective recommendation of the MSBS Program faculty. Recommended students will not be required to submit a supplemental application or interview for the RVUCOM. RVUCOM minimum requirements regarding MCAT score and total GPA prior to matriculation into the MSBS Program will be waived. Students considering programs outside RVU are encouraged to become familiar with the admissions standards of those programs to ensure requirements are met. Students interested in applying to the RVUCOM (Colorado or Utah location or both) will be given the opportunity to designate their preferences via the AACOMAS application.

 

Physician Assistant Program

The RVU Physician Assistant Program has applied for accreditation with the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). At this time, the RVU PA program has chosen not to pursue approval with ARC-PA for advanced placement or special admissions practices for any individuals or groups.  Please see the PA program webpage for admissions information and requirements.

http://www.rvu.edu/physician-assistant-program/

MSBS Faculty and Courses Taught

 

Duane T. Brandau, DO, PhD
Assistant Dean of Clinical Education and Research
Professor of Molecular Medicine
– Molecular Basis of Medicine I
– Molecular Basis of Medicine II


Walter Buck, PhD
Chair of Structural Medicine Department
Professor of Structural Medicine
– Human Anatomy I
– Human Anatomy II


Ian George, PhD

Assistant Professor of Structural Medicine
– Human Anatomy I
– Human Anatomy II


Mike Jorgensen, PhD

Director of Predoctoral Anatomy Fellowship Program
Assistant Professor of Structural Medicine
– Human Anatomy I
– Human Anatomy II

 

Rachel M.A. Linger, PhD
Assistant Professor of Pharmacology
– Fundamentals of Pharmacology
– Selected Topics in Pharmacotherapeutics


Nicole Michels, PhD
Chair of the Medical Humanities Department
Associate Professor of Physiology
– Medical Humanities


Elizabeth Moffett, PhD

Assistant Professor of Structural Medicine
– Human Anatomy I
– Human Anatomy II


Joel Roberts, MD

Instructor of Physiology
– Physiology I
– Physiology II


Rebecca Ryznar, PhD

Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology
– Microbiology and Infectious Disease
– Journal Club


Francina Deason Towne, PhD

Program Director, MSBS
Assistant Professor of Immunology
– Immunology


Lon Van Winkle, PhD

Professor, Medical Humanities
– Medical Humanities


Jacquelyn Waller, PharmD, BCPS
Assistant Professor of Pharmacology
– Fundamentals of Pharmacology
– Selected Topics in Pharmacotherapeutics

For questions about the MSBS program, contact admissions@rvu.edu.

Questions about the MSBS Program application process

  • When is the application deadline? 
    • Applications can be submitted through PostBacCAS until 11:59 pm EST on July 15, 2019. The MSBS Program is on rolling admissions, so applying as early as possible is to the applicant’s benefit. We can accept students up to the time of matriculation.
  • Can I transfer or can RVU access my documents and materials from last year’s MSBS or AACOMAS application? 
    • RVU is now going through the PostBacCAS application service, and all applicants must start over with a new application.  We are not able to pull any documents or application materials from a previous MSBS or AACOMAS application.  Here is the link to the application.  https://postbaccas.liaisoncas.com/
  • Is there a separate supplemental application with more questions, or is the link to the portal only to pay the supplemental fee? 
    • The RVU supplemental questions are included on the PostBacCAS application; the link to the RVU portal page is to pay the supplemental fee only.
  • How long does it take to receive a response from the MSBS department once I’ve submitted my supplemental fee? 
    • Typically, it can take 3-6 weeks to receive notification from us, but this timeframe can change depending on the number of applications being reviewed and when the MSBS Admissions committee is scheduled to meet.
  • Will you accept a fee waiver, and if so, what is the process? 
    • A fee waiver from PostBacCAS will be honored.  Applicants should send a copy of the PostBacCAS email granting the waiver to admissions@rvu.edu. The waiver will be processed manually and, once the waiver is processed, the application will be officially submitted.
  • Why have I not received any email or information since my application was verified several days ago? 
    • The Admissions Office will send updates through PostBacCAS a few times a week. If you have not received any information, it could be the update hasn’t captured a new application and it is still in process.
  • Do you need an official standardized test score when I apply? 
    • A standardized test score must be self-reported in order for the application to be reviewed by the MSBS Admissions committee. An official score report is required once an applicant is accepted to the program.
  • Is there a minimum score? 
    • There is no minimum score for any of the qualifying tests: GRE, MCAT, PCAT, or DAT.
  • Can standardized test scores be released electronically to PostBacCAS directly? 
    • They need to be self-reported on the application. An official score report can be sent directly to admissions@rvu.edu if and after an applicant is accepted.
  • Are there any exceptions to the recommendation letter requirement? 
    • We need one healthcare professional letter and one pre-health committee or advisor letter.  In the event a candidate attends a school that does not have a pre-health advisor or does not offer a letter writing service, the candidate may substitute a letter from a basic science faculty member.
  • What is the preferred way of having letters of recommendation submitted?
    • All letters must be submitted through PostBacCAS.
  • What specific type of healthcare professional can write me a letter of recommendation? 
    • Acceptable letters should come from a US-trained professional physician (MD/DO), RN, NP, PA, PT, dentist or a podiatrist.
  • Can I be in progress with prerequisite coursework or with a standardized test while applying?
    • Yes, however, an application will not be considered complete or reviewed until all prerequisite work is complete and posted on an official transcript and verified by PostBacCAS, and a test score reported on the application.
  • Will you accept online and community college coursework to meet the prerequisite requirements? 
    • Yes, although it is recommended to have taken at least a few upper-level biomedical sciences courses at a four-year university; this is useful for the MSBS department to gauge the applicant’s ability to succeed in the MSBS program.
  • Can I apply to both the MSBS and DO program at the same time?
    • Given the timing of the program admissions cycles, it is possible to be accepted to the MSBS program beginning August 2019 while your DO application is still being reviewed for the following July 2020 start date.

Questions about the MSBS Program

  • How many students are accepted to the MSBS program?  
    • For the 2018-2019 school year, approximately 30 seats are available.
  • How many students are accepted each year from the MSBS program into the COM?
    • In our inaugural year, more than half of the graduating students were accepted into the COM. We are currently in our second year and will have that data compiled in June.  There is no cap on the number of students accepted, though all students accepted must meet rigorous academic and professional requirements.
  • How much interaction/contact is there between MSBS students and DO students? 
    • Both programs are developing opportunities for increased interaction between students and can include: lab observations, demonstrations, standardized patient encounters, and the implementation of a mentoring program.
  • Is there an MCAT prep course offered with the MSBS program? 
    • No, there is no MCAT prep course offered. Generally, the MSBS course schedule is four days per week, with one day free for studying and professional development.
  • Can I work while being in the MSBS program?
    • It is highly recommended and encouraged that MSBS students do not work while enrolled. We consider this program an investment in the student’s future and prefer the students focus their time and energy on being successful in the program so they have a better opportunity for acceptance into the COM or other healthcare programs.
  • What can I do with an MSBS degree?
    • Although the majority of our students pursue this degree in preparation for pursuit of a professional healthcare degree, there are other vocational opportunities available with an MSBS degree. Some of these include research, teaching, laboratory work, clinical trial coordination, and others.

Gainful Employment: click here for more information about the estimated debt of students who complete the program and other important information.