Master of Veterinary Biomedical Science

The Master of Veterinary Biomedical Sciences (VBMS) program is dedicated to providing advanced academic learning in the life sciences through graduate coursework, professional training, and research. Graduates from this degree program are able to independently explore an area of the primary literature of the life sciences, analyze and critique published research reports, and communicate about life sciences in formal oral and written modalities.

Admissions Requirements and Procedures

Policies will follow existing LMU policies for undergraduate and/or master's degree programs, with any differences for this degree program noted in this catalog. Each applicant is evaluated holistically by considering each required element of the application package.

VBMS Program Eligibility and Required Prerequisite Coursework

All applicants to the VBMS program must:

  • hold a bachelor's degree from an institution with regional accreditation or equivalent verification in the case of international degrees
  • have a cumulative (CUM) GPA that, when averaged with the 30 credit hours of the VBMS program, can be brought to at least a 2.8 CUM GPA, which is the minimum permitted for admission to LMU-CVM's DVM program

CUM GPAs are computed using courses from all transcripts, including undergraduate, graduate, and professional coursework. Applicants are encouraged to submit GRE standardized test scores with their application file to be considered by the admissions committee for the VBMS program. Scores from the following standardized tests will be considered, but are not required, for admission to the LMU-CVM VBMS program:

  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

A typical applicant who is accepted to the LMU-CVM VBMS program meets or exceeds the following:

  • GRE > 292, with a writing score of >3.5
  • Science coursework GPA > 3.0, OR CUM GPA > 3.0, OR
  • Evidence of an improved trajectory in academic performance, especially in science coursework

All applicants to the VBMS program must demonstrate successful completion of the following required prerequisite coursework with a GPA of 2.0+:

  • Six (6) credit hours of English
    • Reading and/or Composition courses can count towards this total.
  • Six (6) credit hours of Mathematics at the College Algebra level or higher
    • Probability and Statistics can count towards this total.
  • Sixteen (16) credit hours of Biological Sciences with labs
    • Eight (8) credits of General Biology
    • Eight (8) credits of upper-level Biology
  • Twelve (12) credit hours of Chemistry
    • Six (6) credits of Organic Chemistry and labs
    • Six (6) credits of General Chemistry and labs
  • Three (3) credit hours of algebra- or calculus-based Physics with labs
  • Three (3) credit hours of Biochemistry
  • Probability and Statistics*
  • Molecular Genetics**

*Required prerequisite for LSCI 604 Graduate Life Sciences Research Design and Analysis. Applicants who do not have Probability and Statistics may still be admitted to the program, but are required to take Probability and Statistics concurrently with LSCI 604.

**Required prerequisite for LSCI 503 Advanced Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology. Applicants who do not have Molecular Genetics may still be admitted to the program but are required to take Molecular Genetics while enrolled.

VBMS Required Application Materials

  • Complete the PostbacCAS Application
    • Official Transcripts for all institutions attended
    • Two (2) letters of recommendation*
    • One (1) personal statement that professionally articulates a response to the following prompt:
      • How will the VBMS program help you achieve your career goals?
    • Application fee (PostbacCAS fee + LMU Application fee)
    • Full CV

*Letters should be requested from the applicant's instructors (natural science instructor recommended), a veterinarian familiar with the applicant's experiences in veterinary medicine, or a health professions advisory committee.

VBMS Admissions Procedure

Upon receipt of a complete and verified application through PostbacCAS, the following process will commence:

  1. Initial Review: The LMU-CVM Office of Graduate Programs will confirm that all required elements of the application have been received. Incomplete applications will be returned to the applicant for resubmission with missing materials included.
  2. Committee Review: The VBMS Admissions Committee will review the application to determine if the applicant meets admission criteria. Applicants who meet the criteria will be invited for a committee interview.
  3. Admission Interview: The Zoom interview will allow committee members to assess the applicant's fit with the VBMS program.
  4. Recommendation and Dean's Decision: The committee will make a recommendation of admission to the LMU-CVM Dean. The Dean will make the final decision of admission.
  5. Admission Decision Notification: The LMU-CVM Office of Graduate Programs will make the notification of the Dean's decision to each applicant.

When reviewing application files, the committee looks at numerous applicant criteria, including undergraduate/graduate coursework, letters of recommendation, personal statements, and any other pertinent materials that may be included with the file.

Upon acceptance into the graduate program, applicants will receive an official packet of materials including an acceptance letter and any other items than may be deemed necessary. Deadlines regarding program deposits, residential life, immunization records, etc. will be included in the acceptance packet.

Acceptance Deposits

To secure a seat in the VBMS program, accepted applicants must submit a seat deposit of $250. Deposits may be submitted via the accepted applicant's MyLMU account.

For students who opt to live in university housing, an additional deposit is required by the Office of Residential Housing. Accepted applicants who choose to live in LMU housing are responsible for the submission of an LMU Housing Application, payment of the deposit, and timely communication with the LMU Residence Life Staff.

Applicants with Foreign Coursework

Applicants to the VBMS program who have completed coursework at an institution external to the United States must complete the standard application procedure outlined above. All data included in the application (essays, demographic information, reference letters, CVs, etc.) must be written in English.

Any transcripts from institutions located outside of the United States must be evaluated by either the World Education Services (WES) or Josef Silney & Associates, Inc. Transcripts and evaluations should be submitted as normal through PostbacCAS.

If English is not the applicant's native language, the applicant must submit one of the following test scores via an official report sent directly from the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to PostbacCAS.

  • iBT (Internet-based TOEFL): minimum score of 61.
  • CBT (Computer-based TOEFL): minimum score of 173.
  • PBT (Paper-based TOEFL): minimum score of 500.

TOEFL scores older than 2 years will not be accepted.

*Applicants who earned a baccalaureate degree (or equivalent) from an American or English-speaking institution are not required to take the TOEFL.

Transfer Credit Policy

Applicants may request to transfer a maximum of six (6) relevant graduate credit hours. The VBMS Admissions Committee must approve all transfer credit requests, and students must request the transfer before the first day of classes in the student's first semester in the VBMS program.

Tuition and Fees

Tuition and fees are subject to change and are determined by LMU main campus. For information regarding tuition and fees, please visit the Student Financial Services webpage here.

Please note that some fees may not be specifically listed. Any questions about tuition rates, fees, or financial aid should be directed to the Student Financial Services team.

Students previously enrolled in the VBMS program who become new CVM-I students prior to completion of the VBMS degree may complete their VBMS courses at no additional tuition charge above tuition paid for their CVM-I year, provided the total credits in courses for both programs do not exceed the maximum number in the typical CVM-I schedule (see CVM Course Catalog for credit hours). VBMS students who return to complete the degree at any time will be charged the tuition rate in force when they return to complete the required courses. Students desiring to complete the MS degree in CVM-II or later will be charged the tuition rate in force when taking the courses.

After completing the core required courses for the VBMS Thesis Track, the tuition rate for VBMS Thesis Research course credits shall be the same as other VBMS credit hours for that year.

For the 2023-2024 Academic Year, the per credit hour tuition rate for deficiency courses is $1070.

Deficiency Courses

Required undergraduate deficiency coursework is determined by the Admissions Committee at the time of admission. This coursework will include courses to complete any deficiencies or pre- requisites. Key science courses in which the student previously earned a grade of D are required to be repeated in order to improve the academic portfolio of the student and to provide a foundation for the subsequent courses in the MS curriculum. Again, completing required deficiency courses may extend the time required to complete the VBMS degree. The student may complete deficiency courses prior to beginning the VBMS program as long as transcripts are submitted that demonstrate the deficiency has been filled.

  • Potential Deficiency Coursework
    • BIOL 315 Molecular Genetics 3 credit hours
    • BIOL 441 Biochemistry 4 credit hours
    • MATH 270 Probability & Statistics 3 credit hours
    • PHYS 211 General Physics I and lab 4 credit hours
    • PHYS 212 General Physics II and lab 4 credit hours
    • CHEM 221 Organic Chemistry 1 and lab 4 credit hours
    • CHEM 222 Organic Chemistry II and lab 4 credit hours

Academic Progress, General Policies, and Standards

Graduate students are required to maintain a 3.0+ GPA in their program of study. Those who do not maintain a 3.0+ GPA will be placed on Academic Probation. The grading scale for LMU-CVM VBMS courses is as follows:

A = 89.5 - 100%; expected student learning outcomes were demonstrated by superior quality student work in all aspects of the course

B = 79.5 – 89.4%; expected student learning outcomes were demonstrated by better than average quality of student work in the course

C = 69.5 – 79.4%; expected student learning outcomes were demonstrated in student work

F = Below 69.5 %, expected student learning outcomes were not demonstrated in student work

Enrollment and Course Loads

Full-time status of a Master of Veterinary Biomedical Science graduate student is a minimum of nine (9) graduate credits in a Fall or Spring semester or six (6) during a Summer session. Many Master of Veterinary Biomedical Science program students enroll in a total course credit load of 12-19 credits, which may include deficiency courses.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

At the end of each semester in a graduate program, a student's coursework will be evaluated to determine whether they are maintaining the required GPA. Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0+. Students who perform below this standard will be placed on academic probation until they succeed in meeting the required GPA or are dismissed from the program. If a student is not able to maintain the required GPA, the Graduate Council has the authority to recommend removal of a student from the program. If it is determined to be numerically impossible to reach the required cumulative GPA level, even with earning the highest grades possible in subsequent coursework, the student will be dismissed from the program. The CVM Dean will provide official notification in such cases.

The minimum requirement for degree completion is 2.85 cumulative GPA.

A student placed on academic probation is required to meet with the CVM Academic Success Team (Dr. Copeland or Mr. Greene) twice in the semester following notification of probation. One meeting must be held at the beginning of the semester, another at midterms, to discuss academic progress. The student is able to meet with the Success team as many times as necessary or desired, but must meet at least twice. Failure to fulfill this requirement may result in dismissal from the program. The student remains on probation until the deficient coursework is recovered. The probationary semester GPA must be a 2.85+; if a student fails to meet that benchmark, they will remain on probation and be required to complete further academic counseling. If a student is unable to achieve a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.85+ at the end of the second consecutive probationary semester, the student will be dismissed from the program.

Medical Leave of Absence 

A student may petition to their Program Director for a medical leave of absence from a graduate program in the event of a medical condition that prevents normal participation in the required activities of the degree program for more than one week. For a student in the thesis option, the petition should be supported by the supervisory committee affirming that the student is at a stage in their program where they may return and continue the approved thesis research or will be allowed to propose another research topic on return to active status in the program. If the supervisory committee is not supportive of continuation after the medical leave of absence, the student will need to request a different supervisory committee on return to active student status. If a supervisory committee cannot be assembled for the student, the student will be advised to complete a different major in the program or discontinue the graduate program.

Attendance

Graduate students in the Master of Veterinary Biomedical Science degree program are required to follow the attendance policies of each of the courses in which they are registered.

Course Repetition

Repeating a course will replace the previously earned grade in calculation of the cumulative GPA in order to remove the probationary status and/or determine graduation eligibility. The original grade continues to be reported on the transcript and should also be reported by the student to avoid the consequences of false reporting to any other educational institution. A course may not be repeated more than once. A student may only repeat two (2) courses in a degree program.

Graduate Council

The LMU-CVM Graduate Council is the policy-making and recommending body for the graduate programs provided by the LMU-CVM. It is composed of the Program Directors of each graduate program and the Director of Graduate Programs for LMU-CVM. The Graduate Council meets regularly to review program functions, admissions status, student academic progress, proposed academic changes, and policy effectiveness. Programmatic recommendations flow from this council to the CVM Dean's Executive Committee of the Richard A. Gillespie College of Veterinary Medicine before being considered by the University Academic Council, University Cabinet, University President, or Board of Trustees.

The Graduate Council Serves as the primary Graduate Appeals Committee to resolve any academic matter that arises in the graduate programs. Academic decisions, including approval or requests to repeat a course, are based upon overall academic performance while in the graduate program.

Appeals

In the event that a student wishes to submit an appeal regarding an academic matter decided upon by the Graduate Council, a formal written appeal must be submitted within 5 business days of receiving notification of the Dean's decision. Appeals should be submitted via the Office of Academic Affairs for a hearing by the CVM Appeals Committee. The CVM Appeals Committee reviews decisions made by the Graduate Council to assure that policies and procedures have been followed in making academic or program changes and decisions.

The CVM Appeals Committee is expected to collect information from all parties to the matter in question and hold a hearing in which parties to the appeal will be invited and notified. A decision must be reached by no more than five (5) business days after the initial hearing. Decisions of this committee will be communicated to the party making the appeal as well as any individuals named in the appeal, along with the relevant Deans and the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs. Final decisions will be communicated no more than five (5) business days after a hearing. A log of matters and copies of all communication related to an appeal will be maintained by the CVM Dean's Office.

Failure to appear for the appeals hearing will result in automatic Appeals Committee decision to uphold Dean’s decision.

Maximum Timeframe for Program Completion

VBMS: students must complete their studies within two (2) years after initial registration, unless they are dually enrolled in a professional program. Students in the VBMS thesis track must complete all requirements within three (3) years of full-time enrollment or five (5) years part-time enrollment after initial registration.

A request for an extension requires the approval of the VBMS Graduate Council and the LMU-CVM Dean.

The student bears the ultimate responsibility for ensuring completion of all graduation requirements.

VBMS Program Policies and Committees

Academic Performance in Professional Courses

If a grade of "B" or better is earned in LMU-CVM courses, students who are accepted into LMU-CVM will not have to repeat the classes during their first year at LMU-CVM. This will allow students who are accepted into the LMU-CVM  to enter with up to 10 earned credits. During their first year in the CVM they may apply to be considered as Veterinary Teaching Assistants and Tutors.

Guaranteed Interview to LMU-CVM

Students who maintain a cumulative 3.0+ graduate GPA over at least 15 credits in the VBMS program and complete their Veterinary Medical College Application Services (VMCAS) application and apply to LMU-CVM will be granted an interview with the LMU-CVM.

Veterinary Biomedical Science Admissions Committees
This committee consists of faculty members from the collaborating programs including the College of Veterinary Medicine and School of Mathematics and Sciences. When reviewing application files, the committee looks at numerous applicant criteria including undergraduate/graduate coursework, letters of recommendation, essay, personal statement, and any other pertinent materials that may be included with the file.  The committee consists of two faculty members from LMU-CVM, the Program Director, and one faculty member from the Department of Biology or Conservation Biology.

Veterinary Biomedical Science Thesis Supervisory Committees
The appointment of all Thesis Supervisory Committee members is made by the CVM Dean upon recommendation and agreement by the Thesis Faculty Advisor and graduate student.  The committee consists of members with relevant expertise to support the student's research topic and includes the Chair (CVM faculty) and a minimum of 2 additional graduate faculty members, with at least one chosen from CVM faculty.  Additional information about this committee and thesis guidelines are found in the M.S. Thesis Guidebook.

Employment while a Graduate Student
The curriculum of the VBMS at LMU is designed to enhance a student’s academic qualifications. All classes are preparatory coursework for professional school and other post-graduate goals. It is strongly recommended that students are not employed during the duration of the program. This ensures that they will be able to focus 100% upon their studies.

Enrollment in other Master Programs 
No students will be able to enroll in any Master of Business Administration Courses while taking MS courses. Students accepted into the DVM- MBA program must take the MBA courses in the summer following their first two VBMS semesters.

Orientations
As a VBMS student you will be required to attend multiple orientations. The orientations will include program familiarization, establishing your Fall schedule, finalizing your financial aid and completing the registration process. A specific mandatory orientation occurs for students participating in Veterinary Anatomy alongside CVM students, this is to ensure familiarity with specific campus and laboratory policies at the DeBusk Veterinary Teaching Center.

Participation in Research Courses
Scholarly work is a desirable characteristic of a veterinary school or residency applicant.  Master of Veterinary Biomedical Science students must take advantage of the opportunities to become familiar with faculty expertise and current research activities. The student should request a short meeting to discuss becoming part of these ongoing efforts and then reach a mutual decision to contribute to that faculty member’s research team. Depending on the amount of research effort, variable academic credit is available. Students may need to conduct research activities during the summer in order to complete the requirements. Students must realize that scholarly activity is time intensive and that it demands an investment beyond the typical time devoted to lecture or lab courses. Capacity for students to participate in research projects is limited by the number and workload of supervisory faculty members in the several departments. Students may elect to continue their graduate research project as a thesis research project which should result in a scholarly research publication or presentation. If this pathway is selected the student may continue to pursue the research during the summers as approved by their Supervisory Committee.


Participation in CVM Courses
Participation in College of Veterinary Medicine courses is dependent on past academic performance, capacity, and adhering to ethical and behavioral standards. Pre-requisites must be met by the student and sufficient capacity must exist to accommodate the student in the course. Students with superior grades have an obvious advantage when being considered for this privilege. As communicated in the course descriptions of this catalog there are certain courses for which enrollment requires the student to be in a specific degree seeking program and are not open to any other students.

Research Travel Awards
Students submit their own application. These awards will be given based on the merit of the scholarship completed and may be used to defray expenses of traveling to a regional, national, or international meeting to present the completed scholarly work of the student or team of students. A single award will be made for a team project. The team may decide to send a representative or split the award among the members allowing more than one member to participate in the target professional meeting. The students should record the award on their CV. 

To be considered for an LMU MS Research Award, the student must submit an abstract of the work that has been completed, a letter of evaluation from a graduate faculty member familiar with the work, and information on the meeting for which the student(s) plan to present the work.

The Office of the CVM Dean, or its assignees, will review all applicants and make the awards. Awards may be granted multiple times each budget year depending on available funds.

General Graduation Requirements
A minimum of 30 (VBMS) credit hours graduate coursework and satisfactory completion of all core courses is required for graduation with the Master of Science degree. The student must complete the degree program with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.85 or greater to be awarded the degree unless otherwise required to be higher. The student bears ultimate responsibility for effective planning, progression, and completion of all requirements for the chosen degree.  The student should review their academic progress on MyLMU by accessing WebAdvisor for Students, Academic Planning, and then Program Evaluation to access their academic evaluation.  This document also represents the Intent to Graduate form which is signed and submitted to the Registrar's Office by the specified due date for participation in the commencement ceremony and conferring of degree.

Students are also required to complete all program and University assessments and surveys.

CVM Guaranteed Interview
Failure to achieve a cumulative 3.0 or higher GPA over 15 credits of the student's first semester may result in the loss of your LMU-CVM interview.

Degrees and Certificates

Courses

LSCI-503: Advanced Molecular Genetics & Cell Biology

Credits 3

This course is an in-depth coverage of Eukaryotic and Prokaryotic molecular cell biology. Topics include structure and utilization of the organismal genome; nuclear and cytoplasmic division; membrane structure, transport, and compartment dynamics; cell communication; cell-cycle regulation; cytoskeletal structure and dynamics; cellular aspects of multicellular development and apoptosis. Assigned readings in current primary literature will be used to extend learning of topics in this course. This course has a required critical analysis paper.

LSCI-510: Principles of Physiology

Credits 3

This course is an in-depth coverage of vertebrate physiology. Study will include the specific function of all major vertebrate organ systems along with focus on neurological and endocrine regulatory integration. Assigned readings in current primary literature will be used to extend learning of topics in this course. This course has a required critical analysis paper.

LSCI-604: Research Design & Analysis

Credits 3

This course covers the principles and applications of research design in the life sciences. This includes framing and articulating a research question, creating testable hypotheses, collecting valid data, approaches to data analyses, and presentation of results. Examples from the primary literature will be discussed and evaluated.

LSCI-683: Graduate Research Project

Credits 1

The graduate student conducts life science research under the supervision of a graduate research mentor. A written research report is required to complete the course. May be repeated for credit.

VANT-710: Veterinary Anatomy I

Credits 5

A systemic and topographic study of macroscopic body structure is presented via lecture and laboratory. This course utilizes the dog and cat as the primary models for the study of general mammalian form; however, the anatomical information learned may be applied (with varying degrees of modification) to essentially all domestic mammals as well as many exotic species. A team approach is used for laboratory dissection. Clinical applications are incorporated throughout the course in alignment with the ultimate goal of contributing to the education of a practitioner.

Course available to Master of Science degree seeking students only.

VANT-712: Veterinary Histology

Credits 1

This course is a series of laboratories designed to develop the necessary skills to identify microscopic anatomy of basic cell types, tissues, organs, and organ systems. Principles learned in this course will be applied in simultaneous and subsequent courses in the CVM curriculum. Course available to Master of Science degree seeking students only.

Pre-Requisites: Admission to the Master of Science, Veterinary Biomedical Science Program

VANT-713: Veterinary Parasitology

Credits 3

This course teaches principles of parasitology, including etiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis, treatment, and control of selected parasitic diseases in animals. Students will gain knowledge of life cycle biology, transmission strategies, and natural hosts of major parasites of animals.

VANT-720: Veterinary Anatomy II

Credits 4

The pony will serve as the primary model for studying large animal anatomy and for comparing equine anatomy and other large domestic animal anatomy with small animal anatomy. This will serve to reinforce basic anatomy similarities. Emphasis will be on the anatomy of large animals (horse, large and small ruminants, and the pig), which are vital to CVM students to matriculate through the veterinary curriculum in preparation to understand the principals of practicing veterinary medicine and entering the medical profession. Anatomical concepts will be studied of the various regions of the body and will be correlated with systemic anatomy and with topographical and other regional anatomy. To encourage student participation in the learning process, information exchange periods will accompany most labs.

Course available to Master of Science degree-seeking students only.