During the first year of study, master of science students contact faculty directly to gauge their interest and compatibility with different laboratories and mentors. These interviews should lead to the identification of a research mentor who will oversee the student’s thesis research project. Students may optionally perform rotations within the laboratory or research group of a potential research mentor in order to assist in deciding on a suitable mentor and project.
The master of science program offers two areas in which to perform research, laboratory genetics and genetic data analysis, although these need not be mutually exclusive. Students will choose mentors and perform research projects within their chosen area. The research interests of the primary human genetics faculty are available on the faculty section of the departmental Web site. In addition to the primary faculty, MS students may choose mentors and research experiences in their chosen area from among the faculty and laboratories of the schools of the health sciences.
Master of science students will choose a mentor with whom to pursue their thesis research. This may be a primary faculty member of the Department of Human Genetics (see list of core faculty) or an external investigator from among the entire faculty of the University whose research involves genetics. If the student chooses an extra-departmental research mentor, the student will also choose an internal faculty member to serve as academic advisor. The mentor is responsible for supervising the student’s research experiences, guiding the development and execution of the thesis project, and nurturing the student’s professional development.
MS students will enroll in special studies research to earn research credits for work leading to the development and execution of a master’s thesis.
During the spring term, Pitt Public Health hosts a school-wide research symposium and competition. Faculty members judge student presentations for prizes, students evaluate posters for grand rounds credit, and the Pitt Public Health community learns about our students’ research. Master of science students are strongly encouraged to participants in Dean’s Day activities.
Toward the end of the first year, students will develop, in consultation with their mentors, individualized development plans, which serves as a framework for organizing career goals and documenting progress toward professional development.