Texas A&M University-Kingsville

Biomedical sciences B.S. degree available for Fall 2006

KINGSVILLE - August 25, 2006

Contact: Jason Marton
jason.marton@tamuk.edu or 361-593-4143

One of Only Five Similar Degree Plans Available in the Nation

KINGSVILLE (August 25, 2006) —Students have a new degree to choose from at Texas A&M University-Kingsville this fall, with the introduction of the Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences.

The degree provides academic preparation and training for students that are interested in pursuing health professional careers such as medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, physical and occupational therapy, optometry, physician assistant and veterinary medicine.  The biomedical sciences B.S. also trains students to pursue graduate degrees in biomedical research disciplines, such as the Ph.D. in biochemistry, cell biology and pharmacology.

According to Dr. Enrique Massa, associate professor of biology and director of the Texas A&M-Kingsville Minority Biomedical Research Support Program, the new degree was introduced in response to the increasing number of students that are pursuing pre-health professional career tracks within the current B.S. degree in biology degree plan.

“We felt that a more thorough and rigorous degree could be developed to prepare students for specific academic and career tracks,” said Massa. “In light of this, we closely examined what other degree programs exist nationwide that address the needs of pre-health professional students, and determined that the biomedical sciences degree would be a good mechanism to provide such an academic preparation.”

Massa said the goal of this new degree is to achieve a rapid increase in the enrollment of first-time freshmen—up to 75. It is anticipated that at least one quarter of current biology students will transfer into the new program.

“We do not anticipate adding new faculty, since our current faculty are capable of addressing the academic needs of this program,” said Massa. “The beauty of this program is that it is essentially at no additional cost to Texas A&M-Kingsville or the State of Texas.”

According to Massa, the A&M-Kingsville biomedical sciences bachelor’s degree plan is one of only five known programs of its kind in the country—the others are located at Texas A&M University, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, the University of California-Riverside and the University of Vermont. He notes that the UC-Riverside program solely exists as an early acceptance academic track into the medical school at the University of California- Los Angeles, while the University of Vermont program primarily trains students in allied health careers rather than preparation for pre-health professional studies and/or graduate school.

Beyond that, he cites the strong academic preparation provided by A&M-Kingsville’s plan, with substantially high entrance and graduation requirements attached to it.

“In some ways, you could consider that the A&M-Kingsville biomedical sciences degree is an ‘honors’ degree. It would be recognized by professional and graduate schools as being ‘intensive’ and thorough in preparing students for the respective academic/professional careers.”

More information on the biomedical sciences program is available by contacting Massa at 361-593-4118.

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