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College of Veterinary Medicine

Veterinary Biomedical Sciences Master's Degree Program

Program Description

The Veterinary Biomedical Sciences (VBS) MS program in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University is designed to train graduate students through excellence in teaching and innovative basic, applied, and clinical research that improves animal and human health.  The VBS also prepares DVM graduate students to meet the demands of veterinary careers, internships, and residencies.  The graduate faculty members in the program have established programmatic requirements, guided by the policies of the Graduate School, for admission, supervision, and completion of the MS degree.  The program is the only program in the State of Kansas that offers a MS degree in disciplines of Veterinary Medical Sciences related to all aspects of animal health and wellbeing.  The program offers opportunities for DVM students to concurrently work on a dual degree program (DVM/MS) to gain research experience to enhance their career opportunities. 

The VBS program has three subdisciplines, Anatomy and Physiology, Clinical Sciences, and Pathobiology, which are under the supervision of the graduate faculty members in the Departments of Anatomy and Physiology, Clinical Sciences, and Diagnostic Medicine and Pathobiology, respectively.  The research activities of the graduate faculty are in specialized areas of Infectious Diseases, including Zoonotic Diseases and Transboundary Diseases, Bacteriology, Companion Animal Health, Comparative Biomedical Sciences, Cancer Biology and Treatment, Epidemiology, Food Animal Health and Management, Food Safety and Security, Immunology, Nanotechnology, Metabolic Diseases, Physiological Sciences, Stem Cell Biology, and Translational Medicine.  The program is served by a number of graduate faculty that have national and international recognitions, including a Regents Professor and ten with the title of University Distinguished Professor, the highest honor accorded by the university, and seven have the honor of Endowed Chairs and Professorships.  Additionally, Researchers from outside K-State are adjunct members of the program.  The research activities and discovery strengths of the faculty in the program are organized and focused in Centers and Institutes, which include the Beef Cattle Institute,Center of Epithelial Research,Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (CEEZAD), Center of Excellence for Translational and Comparative Oncology Research (CETCOR),Center for Outcomes Research and Education (CORE),Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne Diseases (CEVBD), Institute of Computational Comparative Medicine,Midwest Institute for Comparative Stem Cell Biology,Nanotechnology Innovation Center, and the U.S.-China Center for Animal Health.  Graduate students also have opportunities to work in federal research institutes, such as the Arthropod-Borne Animal Disease Research Unit (ABADRU), a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) institute in Manhattan, KS to study vector borne diseases, and the Plum Island Animal Disease Center, a Department of Homeland Security laboratory to study foreign animal diseases in Plum Island, NY.

Program Requirements

Minimum admission requirements include a cumulative grade point average of 3.0/4.0 in the B.S. or DVM/VMD degree.  In special circumstances, students with a 2.8 or 2.9/4.0 will be considered on a probationary basis.  The General Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not a requirement for admission, but applicants are encouraged to take the examination and submit the scores with the application.  International students must demonstrate proficiency in English by earning a satisfactory score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).  A majority of the admitted students have a degree in Veterinary Medicine, but a DVM is not a requirement.  The most important considerations for admission are that applicants have documented academic achievement and an interest in an advanced study and research in the fields of Veterinary Biomedical Sciences. 

Students seeking MS degree in Veterinary Biomedical Sciences can choose one of three options: Course work-based, Report-based, and Thesis-based.  A master's degree requires a minimum of 30 hours.  Students completing a course work-based degree are required to take 30 credits of courses.  Students completing a master's report are required to complete a maximum of two hours of report or research credit.  Students completing a master's thesis are required to complete a minimum of six to a maximum of twelve research credit hours.  

Dual degree students (DVM/MS) are eligible to apply for the BRITE program, which allows DVM students to take one year off from their DVM curriculum to pursue a subsidized, in-depth mentored research experience and earn a MS degree upon completion of the program, before returning to their DVM curriculum.

Application Procedures

Applicants should contact individual graduate faculty in the program to identify research interests and research program.  A willingness to accept the applicant as a graduate student by a faculty is a requirement for approval of the application for admission by the Executive Committee of the Graduate Program.  The major professor will provide guidance and mentorship, and for thesis-based MS degree, offer a research project, laboratory space, and in most cases, a Graduate Research Assistantship (GRA).  If the professor does not have funding available to offer a GRA, the applicant could still choose to work under that professor if the student has alternate funding sources available (scholarships, fellowships, personal funds, etc.).  An applicant with no major professor can still submit an application. 

Students seeking admission to the VBS program are encouraged to have the completed application submitted before the preceding semester. Generally, students seeking admission for summer (June) or fall semester (August) should submit the application before January 1 and for admission to spring (January) semester, before the previous August 1.

The application for admission to the Pathobiology Graduate Program is done online through CollegeNet on the Graduate School Website. The applicant is required to create a CollegeNet account or sign in using an existing account. The CollegeNet account will allow access to a personalized Activity Log, from which they can edit their application.

Application Requirements

  1. Application fee
    The fee for U.S. citizens and permanent residents is $65. The fee for international applicants is $75. Fees are payable with a credit card through CollegeNet.

  2. Transcripts
    Official transcripts for each college or university where baccalaureate degree was awarded and/or any completed advanced course work should be uploaded in the CollegeNet.  This should include a copy of the 'Transcript Explanation' that is usually on the reverse side of the transcript.  Students whose transcripts are not in English must furnish a translation by an appropriate authority.  Failure to list any colleges or universities attended may result in dismissal from the University.

  3. Statement of objectives
    The applicant will need to upload a statement of objectives describing the academic background, any relevant research, job and life experiences, academic objectives giving specific reasons for the selection of the field of study, contemplated research areas, and professional plans, career goals, etc.  The statement of objectives serves to communicate to the Graduate Program Executive Committee the applicant’s commitment and desire to meet the personal and professional demands of a MS degree.

  4. Three letters of recommendation
    The applicant should provide the email addresses of the three individuals writing the letters of recommendation in the online application.  CollegeNet will then request, via e-mail, each reference to fill out an evaluation form and upload a letter of recommendation.

  5. Graduate record exam
    The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required for admission, but applicants are encouraged to take the examination and submit the scores. The applicant can upload an unofficial copy of the GRE scores in the online application and may also request the Educational Testing Service to send scores to Kansas State University (school code 6334).  There are no minimum scores required for admission.

Additional Requirement for International Students

English language

An official report of score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) must be uploaded or sent to Kansas State University (school code 6334) for all applicants whose primary language is not English. Applicants with a degree in the last two years from a United States college or university are not required to submit a TOEFL score but must take an English proficiency test upon arrival.

iBT TOEFL (internet based) scores must have a minimum total score of 79 with no individual score below 20 on the reading, listening, and writing sections.

Applicants submitting a paper-based TOEFL (PBT) test scores must have a minimum total score of 550 with no part score below 55 on reading or listening sections and a TWE (Test of Written English) score of 5.0 or higher.

Applicants who are submitting an IELTS score must have a minimum total score of 6.5 with individual scores of 6.5 or higher on the reading, listening, and writing sections.

Applicants who do not meet the minimum proficiency standard will be required to complete specified courses offered by the English Language Program (ELP) at Kansas State University. 

The Executive Committee and the Director of the Graduate Program, in consultation with the relevant Department Head, and the potential major professor make the final admission decision.

Financial Support

Graduate Research Assistantships may be offered and funded by the major professor from research grants.  Prospective students are also encouraged to apply for federally sponsored fellowships and traineeships for agencies such as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA), National Defense Education ACT (NDEA), National Institute of Health (NIH), and National Science Foundation (NSF).

Career Opportunities

A MS in VBS prepares students for a number of varied academic, industry, state and federal government agencies and veterinary practice careers. Students who have completed the VBS program typically enter doctoral programs or pursue careers in academia, industry, and private or specialty veterinary practices. 

Research Facilities

The College of Veterinary Medicine is comprised of three major buildings: Coles Hall, Trotter Hall, and Mosier Hall.  These buildings encompass approximately 468,838 total square feet and provide space for outstanding instructional, research, clinical, and diagnostic activities.  Three departments, Anatomy and Physiology, Clinical Sciences, and Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology, the Veterinary Health Center and the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory are located in the college. In addition to numerous research laboratories within the departments, the college has several Core Laboratories, including the Flow Cytometry Laboratory, Electron Microscopy Facility, Confocal Microscopy Facility, Molecular Biology Facility and the Image Analysis Facility

Faculty Contact

Dr. T.G. Nagaraja
Director, Pathobiology Graduate Program
Department of Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology
College of Veterinary Medicine
Kansas State University
305 Coles Hall 
1620 Denison Avenue
Manhattan, KS 66506-5800 
Tel: 785-532-1214 
Cell: 785-341-6342
tnagaraj@vet.k-state.edu

Graduate Program Assistant Contact

Ms. Barb Turner
Graduate Program Assistant
Department of Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology
Kansas State University
302 Coles Hall
1620 Denison Avenue
Manhattan, KS 66506-5800
Tel: 785-532-4500
bturner3@vet.k-state.edu