Students who are interested in studying the field of reproductive biology at the master's degree level have a few options to choose from at universities around the United States. We cover some details about these programs, such as common courses and admission standards, in the article below.
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Information About Master's Programs in Reproductive Biology
Master's degree programs in reproductive biology can generally be completed in around two years. Both thesis and non-thesis tracks are available. These programs may prepare students for further study at the Ph.D. level or for careers in research, given that there is typically a strong laboratory research component in the curriculum. Below, we will look at five different courses that are commonly found in the curriculum of these programs.
Female Reproductive Endocrinology
Master's degree programs in reproductive biology typically require that students take a course that covers the female reproductive system, function, and endocrinology. In this course, students learn about the anatomy of the female reproductive system, the ovarian and menstrual cycles, pregnancy, and parturition. In addition, this course covers various diseases and disorders that affect the female reproductive system specifically, like polycystic ovarian syndrome and hypothalamic amenorrhea.
Male Reproductive Function and Physiology
These programs also typically require that students take a course that covers the male reproductive system and its physiology. In this course, students learn about the anatomy of the male system and topics like spermatogenesis, sperm fertilization, and male sex determination. This course may also cover different problems that occur within the male reproductive system, which could include testicular cancer and abnormal spermatogenesis.
Reproductive and Fertility Technology
A course that is focused on reproductive and fertility technologies may also be included in a master's degree program in reproductive biology. In such a course, students learn about current methods and technologies that can be used to help individuals who are struggling with fertility problems. Topics that are likely covered in such a course include in vitro fertilization, various assisted reproductive technologies, intracytoplasmic sperm injection, and gamete cryopreservation.
Ethics and Responsible Research
It is also common for these programs to include a course that is focused on how to be a responsible professional in the field through the study of ethical questions and issues related to reproductive biology. This course may cover topics like how to conduct responsible research, policies and protocols related to working with human subjects, and understanding the social impact of research. In addition, students can gain a broad look at the different ethical, philosophical, and religious viewpoints that they may encounter.
A course that is focused on research methods can provide students with a detailed overview of how to properly conduct research in reproductive biology. In this course, students will learn about developing testable hypotheses and research questions, research project design, and various methodologies and techniques that can be used when conducting research. Other topics that may be covered in this course include developing a literature review, statistical methods of analysis, and biostatistics.
Admission Standards for Master's Degree Programs in Reproductive Biology
Students who are interested in gaining admission to master's degree programs in reproductive biology will need to make sure they fulfill a number of admission requirements. These programs are designed for students who have already completed a significant number of chemistry and biology courses while completing their bachelor's degree, though programs may not specify that students must have completed a bachelor's degree in biology. While it may not be required, programs may also look highly on students who have some research experience. When completing an application, students will need to send a completed application form, letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and past transcripts.
To summarize, there are a number of master's degree programs in reproductive biology which will prepare students for further study or for careers in medical research.