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Program Overview

The Master of Science in Biomedical Science Program combines Hood’s excellent resources with the expertise of scientists working in the laboratories of the National Cancer Institute’s Frederick Cancer Research Facility, the U.S. Army Research Institute on Infectious Diseases, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other nearby biomedical and biotechnology facilities. The program delivers extensive lab skill development and scientific knowledge to individuals currently working in the field seeking to upgrade their proficiency, and to those who hope to transition into a scientific field.

The program offers concentrations in biotechnology and molecular biology, microbiology, immunology and virology, and regulatory compliance. Additionally, a separate regulatory compliance certificate program is available. Courses are taught in the evenings, offering flexibility for professionals who work full time.

Entrance Requirements

Complete and submit the graduate school application available at 

Grade Point Average
A minimum 2.75 undergraduate GPA is required for admission to the graduate school and to the Master of Science in Biomedical Science Program.

Request one copy of official transcripts from each institution of higher education attended. Applicants must submit an essay that includes the student’s matriculation intent, future goals and relevance of work experience. All documents should be sent directly to the graduate school. The relevance of the undergraduate major is considered. Priority is given to students who have a major in biology, biochemistry or chemistry. To be considered for admission, students must have completed undergraduate coursework in genetics, cell biology, microbiology, organic chemistry and pre-calculus.

About the Program

Degree Requirements
The Biomedical Science Program is a 33-credit program of graduate research and academic study offering a thesis and a non-thesis option. Students seeking graduate study beyond a master’s degree or careers in research should choose the thesis track, which includes the defense of a 6-credit, research-based thesis. The program is designed to meet the needs of individuals who work in government or private-sector labs and to be taken on a part-time basis. Most thesis-track students complete the laboratory research thesis at their employment site under the direction of a thesis adviser approved by the College. Current scheduling demands limit the availability of Hood’s lab space for these projects.  

Students who do not have a working relationship with a laboratory are encouraged to pursue the nonthesis option, which includes an oral defense of a mock grant proposal.

Core Courses

BMS 511 Protein Biochemistry 3
BMS 523 Cell Structure and Function 3
BMS 524 Molecular Biology of Eukaryotic Cells 3
BMS 537 Intro to Bioinformatics 3


Track Thesis Requirements
Four core courses (12 credits)
Four elective courses (12 credits)
BMS 570 Research Seminar course (3 credits)
BMS 580 Research-based thesis, under the direction of a thesis adviser and
a reading committee. Oral defense of the thesis is required. (6 credits)

Nonthesis Track Requirements
Four core courses (12 credits)
Six elective courses; three must be laboratory and lecture courses (18 credits)
BMS 571 Biomedical Sciences Seminar course; including preparation and oral defense of a mock grant proposal. (3 credits)


In addition to the qualifications of our full-time faculty, the classroom experience and capabilities of our current staff are enhanced through the utilization of qualified adjunct instructors, who come from top research and development firms, biotech and pharmaceutical companies, and nearby federal and private laboratories, including NCI, USAMRIID, GlycoMimetics, Inc. and VIRxSYS, Corp.

Rachel K. Bagni, Ph.D.,
Assistant Professor of Biology and Director of the M.S. in Biomedical Science Program
Professor Bagni earned a doctoral degree at The Catholic University of America. She is interested in the development of serological and molecular biology tools to aid in the study of the pathogenesis of viruses that cause cancer in humans.

Ann L. Boyd, Ph.D.,
Professor of Biology
Professor Boyd earned her doctoral degree at Louisiana State University with a post-doctoral fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine in the Department of Virology. She performed research in virus and cancer molecular biology for NCI and their contracting agencies. Currently she serves on a number of ethics review boards for research with human subjects and is active in the field of biomedical ethics.

Ricky R. Hirschhorn, Ph.D.,
Professor of Biology
Professor Hirschhorn specializes in the molecular cell biology of Huntington’s disease, an inherited neurogenerative disorder. She earned her doctoral degree from the University of Pittsburgh and completed post-doctoral work at Temple University Medical School.

Craig S. Laufer, Ph.D.,
Professor of Biology
Professor Laufer earned a doctoral degree in biochemistry from Kent State University and completed post-doctoral studies at the University of Maryland. His research interests include the biochemistry and genetics of DNA and protein interactions. A second area of interest includes the use of in vitro-directed evolution approaches to study the structure and function of bacterial pectin methylesterases.

Jeffrey Rossio, Ph.D.,
Associate Professor of Biology
Professor Rossio is retired from Life Technologies Corporation in Frederick, where he served as head of immunoassay development. Professor Rossio is known internationally for his work in immunology, including clinical testing, HIV pathogenesis, biodefense and transplant diagnostics. He earned his doctorate at The Ohio State University.

Oney P. Smith, Ph.D.,
Associate Professor of Biology
Professor Smith earned his doctoral degree at Texas A&M University. He is interested in the biologies, gene-expression strategies and control of insect-transmitted plant viruses. In collaboration with the U.S. Department Of Agriculture-Agriculural Research Service at Fort Detrick, he continues to apply molecular genetic techniques to the identification, biology and control of plant viruses that are vectored by insects.