CMM Master's Course of Study

The Masters degree in Cellular and Molecular Medicine requires a minimum of 30 units of credit, to be divided among several disciplines essential to the development of scientists and physicians-in-training.  CMM offers both in-person and online course options. To remain in good standing with the UA Graduate College and our Program, students must achieve a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or higher in their graduate career in order to meet the degree requirement.

NOTE: The curriculum revisions were proposed by the CMM MS Graduate Studies committee and the revisions approved on 3/31/2020 by Graduate College Associate Dean, Dr. Margaret Pitts.

Please follow the guide and links below for more information. Unless explicitly stated, courses do not need to be completed in any specific order.


Core Requirements

Anatomical or Cell & Molecular Emphasis: 4 units total

  • CMM 501 - Human Gross Anatomy (4 units, Summer 5W1, in-person)

OR any combination of the following:

Histology: 3 units total

Microscopy: 1 unit total 

** As of Spring 2022, the requirement for microscopy is switching from ‘3 units’ to ‘at least 1 unit’… Students interested in research are encouraged to take CMM 565.

The requirement can be met through these courses:

  • CMM 565 - Fundamentals of Light Microscopy and Digital Imaging (3 units)
  • CMM 566 - Microscopy Basics for Biomedical Research (1 unit, fall 5W3, spring 5W3)

* As of Spring 2022, these 3  one-unit courses will no longer be taught, but they will count towards the requirement:

  • CMM 541 - Bright-Field Microscopy 
  • CMM 542 - Fundamentals of Digital Imaging 
  • CMM 546 - Fluorescence Microscopy 

Cell Biology: up to 3 units total

Choose one:

Human Disease and Pathology: 4 units total

Choose one:

  • PATH 515 - Mechanisms of Human Disease (4 units, Spring, in-person) - students interested in taking PATH 515 should complete their Histology series before registration
  • CBIO 552 - Cancer Biology (4 units, Fall, in-person) 

Scientific Communication: 2 units total

Thesis: 5 units total

  • CMM 910 - Thesis (variable units, offered all semesters)

Electives: 6 Units total

** Those taking only one unit of microscopy (CMM 566) will need two additional units of elective coursework (at least 8 total units). 

All CMM-MS students are required to take 6 or more units for elective credit. The following courses are recommended, but other coursework in the biomedical sciences and/or medicine may be appropriate and will also be considered.  MS students will be required to complete elective units with a grade of C or higher to remain in good standing.

Students will be required to receive approval from his or her thesis/advisory committee for their final selection of courses; selection should be made by the end of the second semester of study.  These courses will comprise a student’s MS Plan of Study in Gradpath.  Please check in with your Program Coordinator to ensure that you are meeting program requirements for coursework.

In accordance with UA Graduate College policies, any student whose cumulative GPA falls below 3.0 will be placed on academic probation for the following semester.  If the student's cumulative GPA remains below 3.0 at the end of the probationary semester, they may be dismissed from the program. 


Thesis requirement

Every CMM Master's student is required to complete a substantial research project and to submit a written thesis that documents that research.  Both laboratory and non-laboratory (library-based) projects will be considered.  Thesis projects will be agreed upon by the student, their PI, and their thesis advisory committee (typically made up of at least three faculty members, at least one of whom must hold their primary appointment in CMM).  

As a broad guideline, laboratory based thesis should be in the format of a publishable manuscript for an appropriate journal, and non-laboratory based thesis should be in the format of a New England Journal of Medicine review article and be 10,000-20,000 words (not including references).

For more information about the writing and defense of your thesis, click here.