College of Graduate Studies

Post-Graduate Certificate (PGCert) in Precision Medicine

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To better prepare our students for the rapidly evolving use of genomic data in healthcare fields, Midwestern University offers a fully online 2-year Post-Graduate Certificate (PGCert) in Precision Medicine. This program has a flexible format that is designed to be completed as either a dual degree in conjunction with another Midwestern healthcare professional degree, or, starting in 2022, as a stand-alone Post-Graduate Certificate for individuals with an existing graduate healthcare degree. If your goal is to develop foundational and applied knowledge of genomics and other cutting edge ‘omics technologies in order to better inform care of your future or existing patients, this program will help you to achieve that. We will provide you with a broad education and the practical skills necessary to use precision medicine in daily patient care. You will finish this program with the capacity to understand and critically evaluate new data and techniques, so that you can best help your patients make informed healthcare decisions.

Program
Post-Graduate Certificate

Location
Glendale, AZ and Downers Grove, IL

Duration
2 years as a dual degree

Intake
Begins in Summer Quarter

Class Size
12


The Post-Graduate Certificate in Precision Medicine offered by the Midwestern University College of Graduate Studies (CGS) is designed as an online, interdisciplinary, professional dual degree or stand-alone Post-Graduate Certificate in applied genomic sciences with additional emphasis on associated ‘omics technologies including transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics. Both core and elective courses are offered, covering a wide-variety of topics including biomarkers, cancer, pharmacogenomics, microbiome, infectious disease, inflammatory conditions, cardiovascular diseases, and neurological diseases. Ethical and legal topics as well as aspects of genetic counseling will also be covered. This program provides healthcare professional students with the practical knowledge needed for incorporating advanced technologies into the prevention, prediction, diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of disease. This two-year program features a summer start and evenly spaced coursework, with no more than 3 credits required in any quarter. The structure of this program is designed to integrate well with other primary degree programs at Midwestern, allowing students to successfully manage a dual degree education, or to allow stand-alone students who are already working in healthcare to manage the coursework while employed in their field. Students enrolled in this healthcare professional program will substantially expand their precision medicine knowledge, gain a comprehensive understanding of genomic and other ‘omic technologies, and enhance their future career opportunities.  

The State of Arizona Board of Private Postsecondary Education has approved all current degree and certificate programs at Midwestern University, Glendale - Arizona Campus. All degrees and certificates are conferred under the authority granted by the Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education and The Higher Learning Commission, A Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Midwestern University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission/A Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (HLC/NCA), 230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500, Chicago, IL 60604-1413; 312/263-0456; www.ncacihe.org.

The 22-quarter-credit hour Post-Graduate Certificate curriculum is designed to either dovetail with other Midwestern healthcare professional programs, which allows dual-degree students to complete most requirements during the didactic years of their programs, or to provide precision medicine education in a stand-alone capacity (starting in 2022) to individuals with an existing graduate healthcare degree.  The Post-Graduate Certificate program includes both required core and elective coursework in Precision Medicine topics.

A typical Precision Medicine curriculum, course credits, and course sequencing can be found in the Midwestern University course catalog. The Post-Graduate Certificate program has a summer start and requires no more than 3 credits per quarter during the 2-year curriculum. The program begins with courses in basic genetics and genomics and an exploration of monogenic and complex diseases. The “Introduction to Bioinformatics, Statistics, and Data Interpretation” course provides the computational underpinnings for courses in biomarkers, the molecular pathology of cancer, pharmacogenomics, and microbiome/infectious diseases. Courses addressing legal and ethical issues as well as building familiarity with counseling and communications skills help students to place their new knowledge in the complex context of medical care. Post-Graduate Certificate students are required to take 3 additional elective courses which allow students to delve more deeply into specific areas of precision medicine according to their interests.

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission to the Post-Graduate Certificate in Precision Medicine program, applicants must submit the following documented evidence:

  1. For dual degree students: Bachelor’s degree or higher, preferably in the sciences (minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75), and acceptance to a Midwestern University primary degree program
  2. For stand-alone students: Completion of a Midwestern University primary degree program or completion of a graduate healthcare professional degree program from a comparable accredited college or university (minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75)
  3. A completed Midwestern University application for the Precision Medicine Program
  4. For current Midwestern University students whose primary degree program has already started, a letter of support must be provided from the Dean for their primary degree
  5. Passage of the Midwestern University criminal background check

Current or admitted Midwestern University students may transfer their MWU healthcare professional application to the Post-Graduate Certificate program for admissions consideration.

Admissions Decisions

Admissions decisions are made on a rolling basis. Students are advised to complete their application files as early as possible, but no later than April 1, to ensure timely consideration.

You can apply for the dual degree after you have been accepted to your primary professional program. On your student portal, use the transfer application link, which allows you to transfer your health professions application to the Precision Medicine Program for admissions consideration. Additionally, you will be required to submit a personal statement indicating how the Precision Medicine M.S. or PGCert fits into your professional goals. You will see the instructions for the personal statement while making your application.


General Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree or higher, preferably in the sciences
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75
  • Dual degree students: Acceptance to a Midwestern University primary degree program
  • Stand-alone certificate students: Completion of a Midwestern University primary degree program or completion of a graduate healthcare professional degree program from a comparable accredited college or university
  • Personal statement
  • Dual degree applicants may transfer their existing MWU healthcare professional degree applications to the Precision Medicine Program for admissions consideration

Career Opportunities

A Post-Graduate Certificate in Precision Medicine can offer many career opportunities, particularly in conjunction with another healthcare professional degree. Addition of this training on top of a primary healthcare degree may increase a student’s competitiveness for desired residencies or positions.

  • Precision/Genomic Medicine Clinician (when coupled with a healthcare degree)
  • Medical and Diagnostic Research Laboratories
  • Genomics or Biomedical Researcher
  • Computational Genomics and Data Scientists (Bioinformatics)
  • Genetics/Ethics Lawyer (when coupled with a law degree)
  • Government Employment Opportunities (ex: NIH Human Genome Research Institute)

The Precision Medicine Initiative

The national Precision Medicine Initiative was launched in January 2015. The goal of this initiative is to “pioneer a new model of patient-powered research that promises to accelerate biomedical discoveries and provide clinicians with new tools, knowledge, and therapies to select which treatments will work best for which patients”. Precision medicine enables practitioners to deliver the best possible clinical care by leveraging research and technology. This initiative directs substantial funding to three critical agencies:

  • Funding to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is provided to establish the creation of a voluntary national research cohort through the NIH’s All of Us Research Program, which seeks to create a diverse database to provide more accurate information on a wide variety of health conditions and enable patients to receive the care that is most appropriate for them as an individual.
  • A portion of the NIH funding is specifically directed to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and is intended to increase efforts to identify the genomic drivers of cancer and to develop more effective treatment approaches.
  • Funding to the FDA provides for the acquisition of appropriate expertise and curated databases to support the regulatory infrastructure needed to advance findings into the clinic in support of public health.

At the heart of the Precision Medicine Initiative is the direction to develop policies that empower patients, researchers, and providers to work together toward development of individualized care. Midwestern University has created the Precision Medicine Program to train students in the fundamentals of this rapidly growing field so that they may best utilize new knowledge to provide their patients with the highest possible level of care.

https://allofus.nih.gov/

https://www.cancer.gov/research/areas/treatment/pmi-oncology

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to the dual degree program? 
You can apply for the dual degree after you have been accepted to your primary professional program. On your student portal, use the transfer application link, which allows you to transfer your health professions application to the Precision Medicine Program for admissions consideration. Additionally, you will be required to submit a personal statement indicating how the Precision Medicine M.S. or PGCert fits into your professional goals. You will see the instructions for the personal statement while making your application.

What degree programs does Midwestern University offer in Precision Medicine? 
Midwestern University offers a dual degree Master of Science with an applied genomics capstone project and a Post-Graduate Certificate that can be taken as either a dual degree or as a stand-alone degree (the stand-alone option will be available starting in 2022). Both programs teach students to understand genetics and genomics data, describe how it is created and applied, and demonstrate basic bioinformatic analytical methods. Students will learn to determine what those data mean in practical terms for a patient’s physical and mental health, and utilize their knowledge to determine how that data can best be used to meet the medical needs of individual patients or populations.

I am admitted to a professional program on the Downers Grove, IL campus. Can I apply to a Precision Medicine dual degree program? 
Yes. Precision Medicine is a cross-campus program. Current or admitted Midwestern University students on both the Glendale, AZ and Downers Grove, IL campuses may submit their MWU healthcare professional application (using a transfer link in the student portal) to the Precision Medicine Program for admissions consideration. 

Can all students apply for admission to either the dual degree Master of Science or the dual degree Post-Graduate Certificate?
No. The Master of Science requires two summer quarters in which the primary program does not have required courses. Therefore, only students in the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Doctor of Dental Medicine, and Doctor of Optometry programs are able to apply for the Master of Science degree. Some of these programs (D.O., D.M.D., and O.D.) utilize the summer prior to matriculation as one of the necessary summer quarters. Students in any Midwestern graduate healthcare program can apply for the dual degree Post-Graduate Certificate.

What is the application deadline? 
The application window is open and admission decisions are made on a rolling basis. Applicants are encouraged to apply early but no later than April 1st. 

How many credits are the Precision Medicine degrees? 
The Master of Science in Precision Medicine degree consists of 46 quarter-credit hours which includes required core and elective coursework, and an applied genomics capstone project. Up to 18 hours of dual credit will be awarded from the students’ primary degree program.

The Post-Graduate Certificate in Precision Medicine is a 22 quarter-credit hour program that includes required core and elective coursework that is very similar to the Master of Science. However, the Post-Graduate Certificate does not require completion of a capstone project and does not include transfer of dual credit courses from the primary program when taken as a dual degree.

What does a typical week’s course load look like for a Master of Science (M.S.) student? 
It is estimated that, based on the credit load and online format, each course requires approximately 3 hours of student work per credit hour, per week during a 10-week quarter. This includes reading, virtual lectures, and assignments. M.S. degree students will take most course work during the summer quarters when they are not taking courses in their primary professional program. A typical course load for students in the M.S. program in summer quarter is 8-11 credits, equating to approximately 24-33 hours of course work per week during the summer quarter. For any other quarter, M.S. students will take no more than 3 credits, equating to approximately 9 hours of course work per week during a quarter.

What does a typical week’s course load look like for a Post-Graduate Certificate (PGCert) student? 
It is estimated that, based on the credit load and online format, each course requires approximately 3 hours of student work per credit hour, per week during a 10-week quarter. This includes reading, virtual lectures, and assignments. PGCert students will take no more than 3 credits per quarter, equating to approximately 9 hours of course work per week during a quarter.

Do courses in my primary program count toward the Master of Science (M.S.) in Precision Medicine degree? 
Yes, the M.S. program is designed to allow the transfer of up to 18 credits of approved courses completed in the primary program. For a list of courses eligible for transfer dual-credit in the M.S. program, see the M.S. in Precision Medicine entry in the Midwestern University course catalog.  

https://www.midwestern.edu/course-catalog.xml

Do courses in my primary program count toward the dual degree Post-Graduate Certificate (PGCert) in Precision Medicine Program? 
No, the PGCert program does not require and does not allow for transfer credits from the primary program.  

I am a Midwestern Alum, can I still participate in the Master of Science dual degree option? 
Yes, the program will allow professionals who graduated from Midwestern University within the last 10 years to apply to the Master of Science in Precision Medicine and transfer approved dual-credits from their existing professional degree towards the Master of Science degree requirements. However, be aware that the Master of Science has heavy coursework during two summer quarters, which may not be optimal for working professionals. The Post-Graduate Certificate has very similar coursework but is structured such that there are no more than 3 credits required in any quarter, which may be more feasible for individuals who are employed full time.

As a dual degree student, will I have to take other Master of Science (M.S.) courses during the primary program academic year? 
Yes, although the majority of the M.S. coursework is taken during the summer quarters, students should be enrolled in an elective or one required course during other quarters. Refer to the M.S. in Precision Medicine entry in the Midwestern University course catalog for a sample course sequence.

https://www.midwestern.edu/course-catalog.xml

As a dual degree student, will I have to take other Post-Graduate Certificate (PGCert) courses during the primary program academic year? 
Yes, students will be enrolled in at least one Precision Medicine course during every quarter. Refer to the PGCert in Precision Medicine entry in the Midwestern University course catalog for a sample course sequence.

https://www.midwestern.edu/course-catalog.xml

Will I be assigned an advisor? 
Students in each cohort will be assigned a faculty advisor to assist them with academic concerns, program completion, and the capstone project (for M.S. students).  In addition to the faculty advisor, the Program Director, Associate Program Director, College of Graduate Studies Dean, Associate Dean, and the Dean of Students are available to assist students. It is the student’s responsibility to initiate contact with the faculty advisor for assistance.

What is the capstone project completed by M.S. students? 
The capstone project provides an opportunity for students to demonstrate competence in basic genome analysis and assessment of genetic risk alleles. Students will make a health-focused assessment of an anonymized human genome and identify gene variants associated directly with genetic diseases or with increased risk for diseases, and then evaluate the consequences of those gene variants. The capstone project culminates in a written report of the findings and a formal presentation of findings to Precision Medicine Program faculty and students.

I have specific questions about the cost of attending with the dual degree option, where can I find more information? 
The Office of Student Financial Services can advise on cost of attendance, financial aid options, and other questions related to attendance. Refer to the office’s website for additional information:    

https://www.midwestern.edu/admissions/tuition-and-financial-aid.xml

Where can I find resources and required textbooks? 
The Midwestern University Library offers a variety of resources for students including many e-books. Desk copies of some required textbooks may be available in the reserved section of the libraries on both the Downers Grove, IL and Glendale, AZ campuses. Many of the required textbooks may also be available at the library as e-books. Some e-books allow for unlimited users while others are limited to one user at a time. See the Midwestern library website for further details. Course syllabi will indicate if there are required textbooks for a course. Not all courses will have required texts. 

What are the computer requirements for the online Master of Science and Post-Graduate Certificate Programs? 
Students enrolled in online courses are expected to have consistent access to an updated computer that is connected to reliable internet, installed with a word processing and a presentation program (e.g., Microsoft Office, Mac Pages/Keynote), and equipped with a microphone, speakers, and webcam.

Will I need to purchase my own genomic analysis software? 
No. The university will provide access to analysis software and servers that will enable students to perform all of the required data processing and other analysis.

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