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MS Dual Degree Programs in Biochemistry

MBA/MS in Biochemistry (plan B) Dual Degree

I.     Background

The Department of Biochemistry at Case Western Reserve University offers the MS in Biochemistry program that caters to college graduates that strengthens their academic backgrounds prior to applying to medical school, graduate school or for enriching their credentials for the job market. The Weatherhead School of Management offers its MBA program that is recognized as an innovative approach to Management education and builds on a foundation of core skills to prepare graduates for what's happening in business right now. The dual degree program will prepare students to participate in the fields of medical research and management as well as give students an opportunity to develop expertise in areas of substantive interest. Moreover, dual degree students will be more likely to have greater job opportunities that are at the intersection of translational science and business. 

II.    Administration

Weatherhead School of Management Liaison: Simon Peck, Associate Dean of MBA Programs & Associate Professor of Strategy

Biochemistry Department Liaison: Martin Snider, Associate Professor of Biochemistry, Department of Biochemistry.

III.   Program Structure

If one were to acquire the MBA and MS degrees independently, it would require the completion of 60 hours for the MBA program and 36 hours for the MS program (a total of 96 credit hours).  In the dual degree program, cross counting allows for a reduction in the total number of class hours to 75 credit hours for both degrees as described below.  The 60 credit hour and 36 credit hour numbers are for the independent programs as accredited through the Board of Reagents in Columbus.

The dual degree requires students to complete 75 credit hours. The MS in Biochemistry requires 27 credit hours of coursework for the completion of the MS degree (plan B). The Weatherhead School of Management requires 48 credit hours of coursework for the completion of the MBA program as part of the dual degree.

The first year of the dual degree requires the students to complete the mandatory management core classes and one elective totaling 30 credit hours of coursework towards the MBA part of the dual degree. As is illustrated below, there are a variety of ways in which to complete the requirements for the MBA and MS degrees with three examples shown below.  Students have the flexibility to take the year-long elective either in the second or third year of the program. As a result of participating in the dual degree program, students will complete 9 fewer credit hours of biochemistry coursework than they would if they were in the MS program alone. Those 9 hours will be fulfilled by completing WSOM courses which will then be transferred towards completion of the MS degree. Students will complete 12 fewer hours of the MBA elective coursework than they would if they were in the MBA program alone.  Those 12 hours will be fulfilled by completing Biochemistry and Biochemistry Electives that will then be transferred toward the completion of the MBA classes. Between the two programs there is a saving of 21 credit hours in the dual degree program over independent participation in both individual programs.

IV.  Dual Degree Curriculum:

Students begin in the Weatherhead School of Management (WSOM) and complete the first year curriculum.  For the Biochemistry MS degree, students would have multiple options with an example shown below:

With this option, the student spreads the second MBA year and year of Biochemistry into two years.  This allows the student to directly relate the basic science with the WSOM classes and should enhance the student’s ability to select relevant WSOM classes in the third year.  An advantage to the straight MBA class is the increased diversity brought to the classroom by a fellow student immersed in scientific study at the same time.

Year 1: First year WSOM curriculum

  Semester 1   Semester 2  
  ACCT 401 (3) MBAC 507 (3)
  MBAC 504 (3) MBAC 508 (3)
  MBAC 512 (3) MBAC 506 (3)
  MBAC 515 (3) MBAC 517 (3)
  MBAC 511 (3) ELECT 1 (3)
Year 2 BIOC 407 (4) BIOC 408 (4)
  BIOC elective (3) BIOC elective (3)
  ELECT 3 (3) ELECT 4 (3)
  MIDS 420A/ORBH 430A (3) MIDS 420A/ORBH 430A (3)
Year 3 BIOC 601 (2) BIOC 601 (2)
  BIOC 412 (3) BIOC 434 (3)
  BIOC elective (3) EXAM 600 (1)
  ELECT 5 (3) ELECT 6 (3)

ELECT = MBA elective

As the first year curriculum of the WSOM is required before MBA electives are selected, the same is true for the Biochemistry portion where BIOC 407 and 408 are required, but the additional classes are very much up to the student.  Depending on the student’s orientation, BIOC 412 is highly recommended as it provides a solid base for how enzymes work.  BIOC 434 focuses on structural biology and may be of particular use for students who see rational drug design as a part of their future.

Successful completion of the program would require 75 credits:

Total Hours in the Weatherhead School of Management 48
Total Hours in the Department of Biochemistry 27
Total Hours in the Dual Degree Program 75

V.  Dual Degree Student Advising

Dual degree students will be  advised concerning matters related to the MBA degree by the Associate Dean of MBA Programs (currently Professor Simon Peck) . In addition, dual degree students will be granted priority registration for upper class courses, ensuring that they will be able to accommodate their scheduling needs in obtaining needed classes. Dual degree students will be advised concerning matters related to the MS in Biochemistry by Graduate Program Advisor as designated by the Graduate Education Committee of the Department of Biochemistry (currently Professor William Merrick).

By regulations of the School of graduate Studies, Master’s students are required to maintain a GPA of 2.75 or greater within the School of Graduate Studies; this will be applied to the combined GPA for Biochemistry or approved Biochemistry elective courses. The MBA program requires a GPA of at least 2.5 and a grade of C or higher in WSOM core courses; this will apply to all courses taken towards the MBA degree.  Twice a year, immediately after the end of the fall and spring semesters, or more frequently if necessary, the Associate Dean of MBA Programs at the WSOM and the Graduate Program Advisor of the Department of Biochemistry will meet to discuss the progress of all students in the program.  Students performing unsatisfactorily in the MBA or the MS components of the program or both, will be given warning that they will have one semester to show substantial improvement.  If not, they will be dismissed from the component(s) in which they are performing poorly.

VI.  Admissions

Students wishing to enroll in the dual degree program initially apply to and are admitted into each program separately. The Weatherhead School of Management will waive the GMAT requirement for admission to the MBA program and will accept the GRE scores as used in the MS Biochemistry Program admissions process.  In a recipricol manner, for students originating in the WSOM program, the requirement for the GRE will be substituted for by the GMAT for the MS in Biochemistry.  Once the program is up and running, students will be able to submit a joint application to the WSOM, which will forward materials of students who are admissible to that program, to the Department of Biochemistry for their consideration.  Once students have been admitted, they will consult with the Department of Biochemistry Department Liaison and Associate Dean for MBA Programs at the Weatherhead School of Management to determine their appropriate course of MBA study and the MBA/MS Advisor of the Department of Biochemistry to determine their appropriate program of MS study.

VII.  Student Activities: 

Both the Dean for MBA Programs of the WSOM and the MBA/MS advisor of the Department of Biochemistry will regularly contact students in the program by email with information about activities and to verify proper progress.

Students are encouraged to participate in regular WSOM and Department of Biochemistry activities as well as those targeted to them.  Under the direction of the Associate Dean for MBA Programs of the WSOM, all MBA students enrolled in dual degree program will meet twice a year in a colloquium retreat (approximately one-half day in length).  The purposes of the retreat are (1) to ensure the programs are meeting the expectations of the students and the faculty in charge, (2) to capture the benefits of the interdisciplinary experience, (3) to socialize the dual degree students as a group, instead of small groups of isolated students, and (4) to explore the intellectual and professional challenges of doing interdisciplinary work.

In addition, prior to registration, the Associate Dean of MBA Programs meets with each dual degree student to review their schedule and to explore any other issues on which they need guidance and advice.  All new students will be partnered with an experienced student to address questions the students may have about the program and life as a graduate student at Case. These students will initially be drawn from the ranks of WSOM and Biochemistry students, but when the program is up and running, from advanced MBA/MS Biochemistry students. A get-acquainted dinner will be organized during registration week in the fall to facilitate this process.

To fulfill the MS degree portion of the dual degree program, students will focus their capstone writing requirement (EXAM 600) on the subject of their work in the Department of Biochemistry.  The MBA/MS Advisor from that department will serve as a co-supervisor of this research.

Other appropriate activities for the MBA/MS students include attending the weekly Departmental Seminar and Student Seminars, as well as annual named lectureships, participating in annual retreats, and one or more journal clubs.  Additional events include the general Department of Biochemistry picnics and the Annual Holiday Party in December. 

VIII.  Advantages of the Joint Degree Program

There are several advantages to the students in the MBA/MS program.  The key advantage will be the integration of the two disciplines during the time of the students receive their training, thus allowing the students to develop a unique focus on their studies in each of the two disciplines.  In addition, the usual Master’s of Science in Biochemistry is a two year program but the students in the dual degree program will be able to complete the program requirements in just 12 months beyond the time required for obtaining the MBA degree.

Martin Snider