MS in the Molecular and Cellular Basis of Disease

Customize your course of study
Illustration of cancer cells
Healthcare Career Track

Designed for the following career paths:

  • Medical school
  • US residency programs
  • Clinical research
  • Pharmaceutical positions
Research Career Track

Designed for the following career paths:

  • PhD Programs
  • Research positions in pharma or biotech
  • Research positions in academia
Questions? Contact:
Pamela Wearsch

Pamela Wearsch, PhD

MS Program Director


The MCBD (Molecular and Cellular Basis of Disease) Program is designed for students with a background in the biological sciences who are interested in pursuing advanced coursework in Immunology, Cancer Biology, Neurodegeneration, and/or Pathology.

Who should apply?

The MCBD program is useful for students who are pursuing a professional doctoral degree (e.g., MD, DO, PhD, DDS) or for International Medical Graduates who are seeking placement in US residency programs. Graduates of the MCBD program may also pursue employment opportunities in basic or clinical research, teaching, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, or government.

The curriculum offers two tracks (Healthcare or Research) and a variety of courses in the biomedical sciences, allowing students to customize their course of study based on their career path.

How does the program work?

Students will earn a Plan B Master's degree from Case Western Reserve University.

Degree requirements: 30 credits plus a final project

Final project: A faculty-mentored review paper that will ideally be suitable for publication. This project is pursued during the final two semesters.

Core course requirements:

  • Cellular and Molecular Biology (Heathcare track: PATH 475, Fall, 3 credits, or Research track: IBMS 455/453; Fall, 6 credits)
  • Basic Pathologic Mechanisms (PATH 510, Spring, 4 credits)
  • Two electives in the following concentration areas: Immunology, Cancer, Neurodegeneration, or Anatomy/ Histology (6 or more credits)

Matriculation: Students may begin the program during any academic term (Fall, Spring, or Summer).

Program length: A full-time program is typically completed in 16 months (3 semesters). An accelerated 12-month program is also available.

Elective opportunities include independent study in basic research, clinical research or observerships in Clinical and/or Anatomic Pathology. Eligibility for clinical observership opportunities include specific background prerequisites and are subject to availability.

Advantages of the MCBD MS Program

Our customized curriculum allows you to design a course of study that best fits your academic needs and career goals.
Learn from the experts
Our faculty are internationally-recognized for their expertise in Cancer Biology, Immunology, and Neurodegeneration.
Our program offers extensive opportunities for research at a top-25 medical center that will help you advance your career.
Professional development
Small classes, MCAT prep, and intensive career advising are just a few of the ways that we prioritize your growth and success.

Admission Criteria

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and screened by the Pathology Department Admissions Committee. The required application materials include:

  • Unofficial transcripts for all past academic institutions
  • Score report for one of the following exams: GRE, MCAT, DAT, or USMLE
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • A personal statement that details the applicant's interest in the MS Program
  • All international students must take one of the following English proficiency exams and achieve a minimum score: TOEFL (minimum score = 100), IELTS (minimum score = 7.0), or PET Academic (minimum score = 68).

Applications are accepted throughout the year with the following deadlines. Prospective students who require a U.S. visa are advised to submit their application at least 2 months in advance of these deadlines.

  • Spring semester: November 20th
  • Summer term: April 20th
  • Fall semester: July 10th

To apply, please visit the application website.


Graduate school tuition is billed per credit hour, and the rate is $1882 per credit for the 2018-2019 academic year. For more information, please see the School of Graduate Studies website.

Financial aid is not provided by the Department. Students may apply for financial aid through the federal government.