Anatomical Sciences Program (MA)

The Masters program in Anatomical Sciences aims to give students a solid foundation in anatomical sciences in both the macro- and microscopic realms.  

Trainees are prepared to pursue careers in biomedical research, anatomy teaching or related fields requiring knowledge of biological structure and an ability to analyze it.

Our faculty are engaged in cell and developmental biology, bioimaging, and neuroscience, with a strong emphasis on computational approaches that can derive unique insight from complex data sets. While our program focuses on microscopic anatomy and cell biology, we aim to produce scientists with knowledge of biological principles at all levels of scale and who are enabled by proficiency in computational imaging methodologies and data analyses.

Online Applications

  • All Ph.D./MA Programs
    Choose from the pulldown list the specific program you want to apply to, for example, Anatomical Sciences MA, or PhD Program in Biomedical Sciences.

To be accepted as a student in the Master's program, the applicant must have completed a baccalaureate degree. Applicants are evaluated on:

  1. Academic background; i.e. college coursework.  A strong basic science background – chemistry, physics, math – is desirable, as is good performance in upper level biology courses.
  2. Personal statement and letters of recommendation. These provide a gauge of interest and commitment, as well as an additional indication of abilities.  Research experience is a major plus because graduate training is very research-oriented, and so can be very different from one's undergraduate classroom experience.  It is very helpful both for the admissions committee and for the applicant to know that an applicant knows what biomedical research is like and has demonstrated some affinity and talent for it.
  3. A personal interview may be requested of an applicant, either in person or by phone or internet, if the admissions committee desires further clarification of a student’s qualifications. An interview also provides applicants with an opportunity to meet with faculty and students and determine whether they find the Department a favorable environment to continue their education.

An official TOEFL score (or the Pearson Test of English Academic is also accepted) is required of all foreign students coming from countries where English is not the official language, and a minimum score of 550 on the paper-based test (PBT), 213 on the computer-based test (CBT), or 79 on the iBT is required. 

The Anatomy Program

Our program emphasizes research over didactic study.  Our faculty are engaged in research in cell and developmental biology, systems biology and informatics, bioimaging, and neuroscience.

Research projects tend to be highly interdisciplinary, with faculty collaborations in the Canon Stroke & Vascular Research Center, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the Departments of Chemistry, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Computer Science, as well as other departments within the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. To accommodate such diverse interactions, coursework requirements are a kept at a minimum and it is the advisor's responsibility to arrange with the student, at the time of entry, a tentative program of study.

Academic Requirements

Required course work is as follows:  Students must complete a one-semester course in Cell Biology and at least one semester of one of the following: Histology, Neuroscience, or Gross Anatomy The remainder of the program is developed on an individual basis but, in general, comprises interdisciplinary courses, courses in areas relevant to the student's research, and a substantial thesis or project prepared under the supervision of a full time department faculty member and committee selected by the student and faculty advisor.

Research or Special Project

The main requirement for the Master's degree in our program is completion of (a) a research thesis describing hypothesis-driven experimental work, or (b) a special project constituting novel work advancing a technical or instructional aspect of Anatomical Sciences.  The subject of the thesis or project must fall within the interests and expertise of program faculty, and the scope of the work generally represents the product of 2-3 semesters of effort.  Thus, completion of the program can be expected to take 2 years. 

Course Work

For the Masters program in Anatomical Sciences, a typical curriculum follows this pattern:

Year 1

Fall semester

  • Departmental seminar (1 credit)
  • Cell Biology (3 credits) and/or Histology (5 credits)
  • Research (3-7 credits) – explore research topic(s) and identify thesis advisor

Spring semester

  • Departmental seminar (1 credit)
  • Neuroscience 1 (3 credits), Quantitative Neuroanatomy (3 credits) or other elective or advisor-recommended course (3-4 credits)
  • Research (3-7 credits) – begin focused work on thesis/project


  • Research

Year 2

Fall semester

  • Departmental seminar (1 credit)
  • Cell Biology, Histology, or Gross Anatomy if needed; other elective or advisor-mandated course(s) (3-6 credits)
  • Research (5-11 credits) – continue thesis/project research

Submit "Application to Candidacy"

Spring semester

  • Departmental seminar (1 credit)
  • Neuroscience 1, Quantitative Neuroanatomy or other elective course (optional)
  • Research credits as needed to reach 30; complete thesis/project research

Masters defense

Residence Requirement

Minimum 1 year full-time.

Contact Us

Director of Graduate Studies

Kolega, John

John Kolega, PhD

Associate Professor / Graduate Program Director

Department of Pathology & Anatomical Sciences, Jacobs School Room 4258, 955 Main St Buffalo, NY 14203

Phone: (716) 829-3527; Fax: (716) 829-2911


Office Assistant 2

Lannette M. Garcia

Office Assistant 2

Pathology and Anatomical Sciences

955 Main Street, Room 4102, Buffalo, NY 14203-1121

Phone: (716) 829-5204