The Boonshoft School of Medicine & The College of Science+Mathematics

Master of Science in Anatomy

photo of two students studying anatomyThe Master of Science in Anatomy degree can be earned through one of two programs—the thesis option or the course option. In both programs, the required core courses are microanatomy, gross anatomy, embryology, neurobiology and three seminars.

The thesis option is for students who need or desire the full range of professional experience, including intensive research and writing. This option assures training in research techniques and in the preparation of scholarly papers. It culminates in the preparation and defense of a thesis based on original research. The student's program of study is an initiation into methods of intense study and research in some selected area of anatomy.

The course option allows the student to plan a program of study that satisfies his or her educational needs and career objectives, as well as meeting degree requirements. The student's program of study includes a comprehensive oral examination of the material presented in the core anatomy courses and a written scholarly project focusing on a contemporary issue falling under the various subdisciplines of anatomy. The course option also includes the opportunity to learn fundamental laboratory techniques used in anatomical research, and to help teach in one or more of the department's graduate or undergraduate courses.

Thesis Option

(30 credits)

The purpose of the thesis option is to provide the student with a strong research-oriented background in one of several areas of anatomy. A program of study is designed for each student by the student's faculty advisor and an advisory committee. Course work for the first two semesters is identified in the table below. The second year is devoted almost exclusively to research and culminates in the writing and oral defense of a thesis based upon original research performed while enrolled as a graduate student at the university. The thesis option requires successfully completing a minimum of 30 credits of graduate-level course work offered by the College of Science and Mathematics and defending a research thesis.

The number of students selected for the thesis option is limited and depends on the availability of research topics and advisors, as well as the student's research and educational interests. Two years in residence are normally required to complete the thesis option, although this length of time may vary depending on the background and goals of the student.

View Master of Science in Anatomy Thesis Option degree requirements in the University Catalog.

Course Option

(33 credits)

The course option requires successfully completing a minimum of 33 credits of graduate-level course work offered by the College of Science and Mathematics and passing a comprehensive examination. This option is designed primarily for those who plan to go on for further graduate or professional training. The pace of the curriculum is designed to permit adequate time to achieve excellence in the course work. Full-time students generally complete the course option program in four semesters.

View Master of Science in Anatomy Course Option degree requirements in the University Catalog.

Comprehensive Anatomy

The course option program of study of the Master's in Anatomy degree program includes Comprehensive Anatomy. Students register for Comprehensive Anatomy as soon as they have completed the core anatomy courses. Comprehensive Anatomy consists of a two-hour oral examination over the four core anatomy courses—microanatomy, gross anatomy, neurobiology and embryology. The exam consists of three rounds of questioning by a panel of four faculty members—each faculty member representing one of the core courses. A fifth faculty member may act as moderator and timekeeper. Testing may include questions using projection slides, photographs or models. Students are often required to illustrate their answers. The exam is graded pass/fail (4 credit hours); students must pass at least three of the four subject areas to pass the exam. Each panel member votes according to the performance of the student in his/her area of expertise within the four core courses. The exam is open to the public.

Round 1: 15 minutes of questioning by each faculty member
Break: 10 minutes
Round 2: 10 minutes of questioning by each faculty member
Round 3: 5 minutes of questioning by each faculty member

In anticipation of this important exam, students should spend most of the semester prior to the exam reviewing the content of the course work previously taken. Students meet with each faculty member of the panel early in the semester to determine the specific areas of content to review. Each faculty member approaches the exam differently. Some faculty offer more guidance and, therefore, expect more detailed answers. Other faculty offer less guidance and are, therefore, satisfied with more general answers. Yet other faculty use a blend of the two approaches.

If failure of the exam is determined by the faculty panel, students are permitted a one-time repeat. The repeat exam covers all four courses and follows the same procedures as outlined above.

Topics of Instruction

Students holding GTA positions are required to enroll in Topics of Instruction (ANT 7000) during the first two semesters in which they teach. For students not holding a GTA position, the requirement to serve as a teaching assistant for one semester can be scheduled in any of the semesters of the second year. Therefore, the sequence of courses for the second year will vary according to the teaching assignment.

The Scholarly Project

The course option program of study of the Master's in Anatomy degree includes the writing of a review paper—the Scholarly Project—that integrates and evaluates previously published material, and the subsequent approval of this paper by a faculty committee. The Scholarly Project is letter graded (3 credit hours).

Students select a topic of interest that is relevant to anatomy, and select a graduate faculty member in the Department of Neuroscience, Cell Biology and Physiology to serve as mentor. This faculty member is not necessarily the student's academic advisor. Two additional faculty members are invited to serve on the Scholarly Project committee along with the student's mentor. One of the additional faculty members may be from outside the Department of Neuroscience, Cell Biology and Physiology.

The object of the Scholarly Project is to thoroughly review one scientific topic, or one aspect of a scientific topic. The paper should begin with the earliest known information and progress to the very latest scientific knowledge. The most critical experiments or discoveries relevant to the topic should be chronicled. The scope and depth of the topic, and the starting point for the chronological review should be carefully determined in consultation with the mentor.


  1. A minimum of 10 empirical papers reporting original research should be cited. While review papers may be read for background information, review papers may not be cited in the bibliography. Likewise, textbooks, reference books, and Internet references should not be cited in the bibliography without the permission of your advisor. Make hard copies of all articles listed in the bibliography, and be prepared to submit these articles to your advisor or committee, if asked.
  2. The text of the paper should be 10 to 20 pages in length (typewritten in standard font and double-spaced) plus references. Tables, drawings, and graphs may be added as appendices.
  3. The paper should be written in a scientific style commensurate with the topic and should include an introduction and summary. The scientific content should be at the appropriate depth for a graduate level paper.
  4. The student should work with the faculty mentor to develop a draft suitable for submission to the committee. This draft should be given to the other members of the committee for review no later than the eighth week of the quarter. Faculty committee members should return the draft with comments no later than one week after receipt.
  5. After the opportunity for one re-write, the paper will be resubmitted to the committee who will then collectively decide on a letter grade for the paper.
  6. Organization and time management are important aspects in the completion of the Scholarly Project within the time frame of the semester. Students and faculty need to work together to arrange appropriate deadlines.

Core Course Descriptions

ANT 7110: Human Gross Anatomy
Although three 1-hour lectures are given each week, the focus and concentration of the course is dissection of the human body. Three 3-hour laboratories are scheduled per week for a total of 12 class hours per week. Substantial unscheduled time is required to complete the scheduled work. Additionally, students are expected to explore human cross sectional and radiographic anatomy using computer-based technology. A team of four students assigned to a single donor typically accomplishes the dissection.

ANT 7150: Advanced Human Embryology
The course addresses the development of the human body, including gametogenesis and early development, development of all major organ systems, and the function of the placenta. A major portion of the course is comprised of descriptive embryology. Mechanisms and clinical relevance of developmental abnormalities are also incorporated into the course. In addition, the experimental techniques of modern developmental biology are discussed.

ANT 7210: Human Microanatomy
Microanatomy is concerned with the functional morphology of cells, the chemical composition of cellular components, the origin of specific cell types, and the histological and ultrastructural survey of the tissues and organs that comprise the human body. Approximately 4 weeks are devoted to cell biology; the remaining 10 weeks focus on the histology of tissues and organs. The cell biology portion is entirely a lecture format, while the histology portion includes laboratory sessions with the lectures.

ANT 7310: Human Neurobiology
The purpose of the course is to provide an introduction to the structure and function of the human nervous system. Neuroanatomical and neurophysiological principles are presented within the framework of current research strategies aimed at investigating common clinical neurological dis orders. Students are exposed to diverse learning experiences that include neuroscience laboratories and case problem-solving sessions in addition to traditional lectures and conferences.


Admission Requirements

In addition to the requirements of the Wright State University Graduate School, the following requirements of the Department of Neuroscience, Cell Biology, and Physiology must be met in order to be considered for admission for the Master of Science in Anatomy Program.

Academic Requirements:

  • All applicants must have a B.A., B.S. or equivalent degree.
  • Applicants must have an overall GPA of 3.0.

Entrance Exams:

  • Applicants with a GPA of less than 3.0 must submit GRE scores. A combined GRE total exceeding 305 (minimum 153 Verbal; 152 quantitative) is required.
  • International students are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). A TOEFL score exceeding 550, or a minimum score of 100 on the TOEFL-IBL is required.

Prerequisite Courses:

  • Two years of Biology, Vertebrate Anatomy, and Cell Biology (recommended).
  • Two years of Chemistry, including Organic Chemistry.

How to Apply

To be admitted to the Master of Science in Anatomy program, students must first be accepted into the WSU Graduate School in regular status. Minimum graduate school requirements include an earned bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university and a minimum undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 (based on a 4.0 grading scale). Applicants who do not meet the minimum undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 must also send an official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score to the Graduate School. Applicants who have taken the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) may submit those scores in place of the GRE to the Graduate School.

Applications and information can be obtained online at  All correspondence pertaining to the admission of a student should be addressed to the Graduate School, Wright State University, 3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy., Dayton, OH  45435-0001.

In addition to applying for admission to the Graduate School, applicants should submit a statement of preferred option or concentration of study, professional goals, purpose of graduate study and specialty interest, plus three letters of recommendation.

To be considered for fall admission, students should complete their applications by August 1 of the year they wish to matriculate.

For additional information please contact Kim Hagler, Program Secretary, at 937-775-4496 in the NCBP Graduate Program Office located in 105 White Hall.