MSBI Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to take the GRE exam?

GRE or MCAT scores are recommended but not required.

Do I need to take the TOEFL?

Foreign applicants will be eligible under the same conditions, but must meet further criteria listed by the UCSF Graduate Division to demonstrate English proficiency.

Do I need to have done research to apply to the MSBI Program?

Prior research experience is not required. If you have not done formal research, for the Research/Project Description part of the application, please write about a project you’ve done, whether as part of coursework, or outside coursework or academia.

Do I have to do research as part of the MSBI Program?

While the majority of our students do perform research, whether or not they complete a thesis project, it is not required and students can complete the program with formal coursework and a comprehensive exam based upon this coursework.

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. Some background information is reviewed in our bootcamps, prior to the start of classes.

How can I learn a little about different medical imaging techniques?

There are many resources on the web to get started. Besides these brief ones, there are many others and you’ll learn more and get to use imaging equipment during the MSBI program.

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?

Generally, the average GPA of admitted students is ~3.5 and the quantitative sections of the GREs or MCATs scores are in the top 25-33 percentile. Without test scores, evidence of some education and/or aptitude to learn advanced math and/or computer programming should be demonstrated. This can include descriptions of exposure to programming learned as part of a class or from an outside school project, for example. Other factors that affect acceptance are a clear rationale for wanting to pursue biomedical imaging and demonstrable interest in research and strong letters of recommendation.

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 a limited number of financial need-based awards for the 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. Currently 1/3 of MSBI graduates have gone to 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.