MSBI Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to take the GRE exam?

All applicants must submit either a GRE or MCAT score. Results must be less than 3 years old.

Do I need to take the TOEFL?

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required for all international students.  The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is accepted as a replacement for the TOEFL and international students that have completed one year of full-time study with a GPA of 3.2 in an accredited university in the United States are exempt from this requirement. Results must be less than 2 years old.

What are the pre-requisites for the MSBI Program?

The MSBI Program requires an undergraduate degree in either science or engineering.  Mathematical aptitude and basic programming skills are highly encouraged.

What are the time requirements for the MSBI program?

The MSBI Program is designed such that it can be completed in one year of full-time study or over two years on a part-time basis.  However, the program must be completed within a maximum of three years.  For full-time students there will be ~12 hours/week of lectures, which will occur during conventional work hours (no evening or weekend classes).  Students should anticipate approximately three hours of preparation time/assignment work for each lecture hour.  The program runs for three academic quarters (Fall, Winter, Spring), with the Summer quarter reserved for (optional) thesis work.

How big is the MSBI class and what is the student to faculty ratio?

Our typical class is 20 students. We have a total of 15 faculty members teaching classes in the MSBI program.

What are my chances of being accepted into the MSBI Program?

This may fluctuate from year to year. However, our inaugural class had an average undergraduate GPA of 3.4 and a mean GRE-Quantitative score of 723 (old scoring) or 157 (new scoring). Other factors that affect acceptance are a clear rationale for wanting to pursue biomedical imaging and demonstrable interest in research.

Is there any financial aid available for the MSBI Program?

The MSBI Program is self-supporting and therefore requires tuition to be solvent. UCSF does have a financial aid department to assist students and can grant aid in the form of loans to MSBI students. At present we are offering three financial need-based awards for the 2016-2017 academic year. Students will automatically be considered for one of these scholarships if they complete and submit a general application for financial aid.

When do classes start?

The program kicks off in the Fall and we follow the standard UCSF academic calendar throughout the course of the year, which can be found here.

Where are the majority of lectures and labs convened?

Most lectures and labs are convened at China Basin Landing, a short distance from the UCSF Mission Bay Campus; however, periodically there are labs convened at other UCSF campuses, as well as UCSF Affiliates.

Can I join the MSBI Program out of cycle?

This is, in general, very difficult.  The curricula is sequenced in such a way that crucial (foundational) core courses are offered in the Fall Academic Quarter and courses offered in subsequent academic quarters build on prior material.

Is the MSBI program appropriate for students interested in medical school?

The MSBI program caters to a wide range of students, including those with aspirations to attend medical school.  A significant fraction of our students identify as being interested in attending medical school.

How can the program help students interested in medical school?

The MSBI program is a blend of technology and medicine.  The program is initially focused on imaging foundations and engineering aspects of imaging technology.  It then evolves to be more focused on medical applications of imaging before finally concluding with independent research.  Since medical imaging spans a wide range of clinical disciplines, students are exposed to many aspects of medicine.  In addition, as an accelerated one year master’s program, it is an efficient way to obtain a graduate degree and research experience.

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