Category: Health Magazine, Winter 2024

Title:Accelerated programs offer unique opportunities for students

Author: Lauren M. Poteat
Date Published: January 18, 2024
Jason Tilan and Caleb McKinney
Caleb McKinney, Ph.D., MPS, and Jason Tilan, Ph.D. (G’02,’09), co-designed an accelerated program for undergraduates to challenge students and set them up for success after graduation. Students work with both School of Health academic deans and BGE faculty directors.

Georgetown’s new accelerated Master of Science programs offer a streamlined pathway to a master’s degree for undergraduates pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Human Science.

During the Fall 2023 semester, the accelerated programs officially launched their application for junior level undergraduates, in preparation for their senior year of study.

Jason Tilan, associate professor in the Department of Human Science (HSCI) and director of Accelerated Biomedical Graduate Education (BGE) pathways within HSCI, says that these pathways allow students to fulfill the requirements for an M.S. degree within as little as one semester following completion of their undergraduate studies, or a four plus one semester program of study for a B.S. and M.S.

“The field of human science is a pretty broad spectrum, spanning fundamental biology to population health,” Tilan says. “Our undergraduates enter college with these wide-ranging interests in science, but not necessarily a specific career path. This program allows students to connect and strengthen ties between undergraduate and graduate biomedical and health sciences.”

This particular accelerated program—co-designed by Tilan and Caleb McKinney, associate professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, associate dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Training & Development for Biomedical Graduate Education (BGE), and assistant vice president of Master’s Program Administration & Development for GUMC—is a collaboration between BGE and the Department of Human Science in the School of Health.

“This program allows students to connect and strengthen ties between undergraduate and graduate medical health sciences.”

—Jason Tilan

During senior year, students are enrolled in the first year of the M.S. program and take two high-level courses that satisfy both the B.S. and M.S. requirement. Students also select two courses that only apply toward the M.S. degree. After completing the B.S., students complete remaining requirements for the M.S. degree.

McKinney says that one exemplary component of the program is that it allows students with limited resources the ability to complete their master’s degree in a shorter amount of time. It also includes extensive academic advising.

“The goal is to ensure that students are ready and eligible to apply to the program,” McKinney says. “They may be advised by both an academic dean at the School of Health and BGE faculty directors.”

“Being able to provide students with this opportunity is important. With such a variety of different career outcomes, it becomes necessary to help them differentiate,” explains McKinney. “This program extends far beyond undergraduate coursework. Many of our undergraduates are pre-med and programs such as this help continue Georgetown’s high placement rates in many medical schools.”

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