Master of Science in Stem Cell Biology

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Master of Science (M.S.) Degree in Stem Cell Biology

This degree program offers training in stem cell biology, a rapidly growing interdisciplinary field.  Molecular, cellular, and developmental biology are the foundations of the program.  Students complete 30 credits in graduate level courses.  After completing required course credits, students choose the remaining credits from a wide range of courses to fulfill the degree program.

Students have the opportunity to study at an interdisciplinary program situated in a major research university at the Stem Cell Institute featuring a large, interdisciplinary, world-renowned faculty. The University of Minnesota has a long-standing commitment to discovery in the field of biology and research. 

This program is an excellent preparation for work in academic and bioscience industry settings.

Students will:

  • take lecture, lab, and seminar classes in the above-listed disciplines in addition to stem cell biology classes.
  • interact with members of the Stem Cell Institute by participating in research seminars and journal clubs.
  • spend a full calendar year conducting stem cell research in a Stem Cell Biology Graduate Program faculty member's laboratory. This research will form the basis of the Master’s thesis (Plan A only)

Focus and rationale

Stem cell biology has important medical applications through the production of cells for therapeutic transplantation and the stimulation of endogenous regeneration of body tissues. It interfaces with tissue engineering, the use of engineering principles to construct tissues and organs from living cells; and also with gene therapy, which involves the alteration of cellular properties by the introduction of new genes.

labStem cells are the cells responsible for tissue renewal in humans and animals. They can both reproduce themselves, and produce functional differentiated cells to make up the tissue in question. Embryonic stem cells are cells that can be cultured in vitro from early embryos, reproduce themselves, and form any cell type in the body. Stem cell biology embraces the range of topics from understanding how stem cells work, in terms of basic molecular and cellular biology, to practical methods for producing cells for transplantation and other clinical applications.

The Stem Cell Institute (SCI) of the University of Minnesota was founded in 1999, the first such center in the U.S. The 51 faculty members undertake research on the properties of embryonic and adult stem cells, and associated developmental biology problems. Most of the work is basic science research although there is also some clinical research particularly in the area of hematopoietic cell transplantation. Core facilities in MTRF include flow cytometry (equipment and personnel for separating live cells according to their properties).

The SCI has expertise across the field of stem cell biology. Faculty are members of various graduate programs, especially Molecular, Cell, Developmental Biology and Genetics (MCDB&G), Neuroscience, Microbiology, Immunology and Cancer Biology (MICaB), and Pharmacology. About half are located in the McGuire Translational Research Facility (MTRF) on the East Bank campus.  The remainder are located in other buildings of the East Bank and St. Paul campuses.  They include members of the College of Veterinary Medicine, and Institure of Technology, as well as the Medical School and College of Biological Sciences.