Master of Science in Medical Sciences

Program Description

The Master of Science in Medical Sciences (MSMS) is an integrated, multidisciplinary interdepartmental program in the basic medical sciences that is designed to provide trainees with a broad-based one-year core curriculum followed by a comprehensive examination leading to the Masters (MS) degree.

PHSU is committed to the development of independent, competitive and well-trained professionals with strong interpersonal communication skills. The major goals of the MS Program in Medical Sciences are to further develop students who have the necessary skills and knowledge to pursue competitive research and academic careers.

The program is limited to graduates holding a bachelor’s degree and may be used to:

  • Supplement an undergraduate record with an enhanced science preparation in order to become eligible for admission to any of the health fields professions.
  • Enhance the student’s possibilities of being accepted into the Ponce Health Sciences University (PHSU) Medical Education (MD) Program by demonstrating added competence in the required sciences.

Program Goal

The major goal of the MSMS is to further develop students who have the necessary skills and knowledge to pursue competitive research and academic careers.


Knowledge: Students must demonstrate knowledge about established and evolving medical sciences as well as the application of this knowledge to research. By the time of graduation students are expected to:
a. Demonstrate general knowledge in the basic sciences including Anatomy, Biochemistry, Histology,
Microbiology, Neuroscience, Community Medicine, Ethics, and Physiology.

Professionalism: Students must demonstrate a commitment to carrying out professional responsibilities and to abide by ethical principles. By the time of graduation, students are expected to:
a. Demonstrate a commitment to carry out professional responsibilities based on ethical principles.
b. Demonstrate honesty, integrity and respectful behavior in all research, courses and career training

Communication Skills: Students must demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that result in the
effective exchange of information

  1. All applicants are requested to have a bachelor’s degree. The courses required for admission are as follows (to be included in the bachelor’s degree):


Course TitleCredits
Organic Chemistry8
Behavioral and Social Sciences6

*Revised: December 20, 2016

  1. In addition to the above requirements, we strongly recommend course work in Cell Biology, Genetics, Microbiology, Liberal Arts and/or Humanities.
  2. Fully bilingual in English and Spanish (read, write, speak and understand).
  3. Minimum GPA of 2.7 on a four points scale is required for applying.
  4. Minimum Science GPA of 2.7 on a four-point scale is required for applying.
  5. The completion of a graduate degree in science or health allied field may be used to substitute the GPA and science GPA of the bachelor’s degree.
  6. MCAT score or equivalent(i.e., PCAT, DAT, EXADEP, GRE,etc.)
  1. Master’s students must register for and pass a comprehensive qualifying examination based on the required course work.  To be eligible for the comprehensive exam a student must have achieved a minimum 3.00 GPA for 34 credits with no more than 6 credits of C grades and no F grades.  Courses with F grades must be repeated and replaced with grades of B or better.

Grading System

The grading system for MSMS is as follows:


A100% – 87%
B86% – 77%
C76% – 67%
FFailed (below 67%)
IPIn Progress
NPNot Pass
AWAdministrative Withdrawal

A Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy has been established to ensure that student of Master of Sciences in Medical Sciences complete the academic program within the acceptable time frame and the minimally accepted quality of performance.  Student’s academic progress is evaluated annually at the end of each semester.

General Requirements

  • Time Frame for completion of the Academic Program

A student of Master of Sciences in Medical Sciences will be allowed a maximum time frame of two semesters of enrollment beyond the standard required for the completion of the program. Summer enrollment is considered part of the academic year for the purpose of this measure.


Master of Sciences in Medical Sciences1 year2 years


  • Definition of Full Time

Students with an academic load of six credits or more per semester will be considered Full Time Masters students.

  • Definition of Half Time


Students with an academic load of three to five credits per semester will be considered Half Time

Masters students.

  • Definition of Part Time or Less than Half Time

Students with an academic load less than three credits per semester will be considered Part Time Masters students or Less Than Half Time student.

Completion of Program Requirements

  • Course Requirement

Students must complete all courses within the established time frame. The Program requires a minimum of 40 credits for graduation.

  • Performance Requirement

A student must maintain a minimum 3.00 point GPA in a scale of 4.00 point by the end of the year. Any student failing to meet 3.00 point GPA standard of performance or failing any course will be referred to the Student Promotion Committee.

  • Comprehensive Qualifying Examination Requirement (CQX)

A Comprehensive Qualifying Examination must be taken at the end of the academic year. The maximum time allowed to take this examination is three attempts within one year according to the program time frame. A passing score for CQX is required for graduation.

  • Professional Behavior Requirement

The students must conduct themselves in accordance with the norms for professional conduct set forth by the Ponce Health Sciences University and the corresponding accreditation agencies.

Satisfactory Academic Progress is required for financial aid eligibility.

Grade Requirement

In order to graduate, the student should complete all requirements and maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.00 point in a scale of 4.00 point by the end of the year and pass the CQX.   Satisfactory Academic Progress is required for financial aid eligibility.


  1. A grade of “F” in any course or student with less than 3.00points GPA will be referred to the Student Promotion Committee (SPC).
  2. A grade of “F” in any of the courses or a cumulative GPA less than 3.00 is not allowed. Any F grade must be repeated. No more than 2 failures are allowed in the Master Program.
  3. A student repeating a course or with a GPA less than 3.00 is considered in academic probation.
  4. If the student fails to obtain a 3.00 point GPA or better after repeating course(s), he/she will be considered for dismissal from the academic program.
  5. Courses with “F” grades will remain on record after they are successfully repeated, but the new grade (s) will be used to compute the grade point average.
  6. Grade of “P” (Pass) or “NP” (No Pass) is applicable to the Comprehensive Qualifying Examination. A grade of “NP” requires repetition. The maximum time allowed to take this examination is three attempts. In case of a third “NP” grade, the student will be considered for dismissal from the academic program.
  7. An “I” (Incomplete) grade will only be allowed under very special circumstances as determined by the faculty member. The student must remove the “I” (Incomplete) by the end of the following semester or an administrative “F” will replace it.
  8. A student with less than 3.00 points GPA or has No-Pass grade in the CQX is not in satisfactory academic progress and is considered in academic probation.
  9. If the dismissal decision is reversed by due process, the student will not be considered in SAP and will be placed on academic probation for one semester.

Professional Behavior Requirement

The students should conduct themselves in accordance with the norms for professional conduct set forth by the Ponce Health Sciences University.  In case of unacceptable professional behavior, the corresponding Dean or the Program Chairperson will refer the case to the Promotions Committee. If the recommendation of the Student Promotion Committee is to dismiss the student, the student has the right to follow the appeal process.

Completion of Program Requirements

  1. Course Requirement

Students must complete all courses within the established time frame.  The Program requires a total of 62 credits.

  1. Performance Requirement

A student must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.00 for every semester. A student failing to meet this standard of performance will be referred to the Students Promotion Committee.

  1. Comprehensive Examination Requirement

The program requires approval of a Comprehensive Examination covering core areas of the field.

  1. Professional Behavior Requirement

The students should conduct themselves in accordance with the norms for professional behavior set forth by Ponce Health Sciences University, the corresponding accreditation agencies and the Clinical Practice Manual of the School Psychology Program.

Appeal Process for Academic

Students who are notified by the Associate Dean of Medical Education a decision of the Students Promotion Committee (SPC) that he/she must repeat failed courses during the next academic year or to be dismissed from the master’s program, have the right to appeal the decision within seven working days after receiving the notification.


The appeal or due process presented below must be followed.


The student will request reconsideration in writing to the School of Medicine SPC and include all relevant documentation to support the request.  The Committee will evaluate the reasons and evidence submitted to determine if they change their initial decision.  The SPC has 48 hours to submit its decision to the Associate Dean for Medical Education, who will notify the decision to the student.


If the SPC sustains the adverse decision, the student has the right to appeal to the Dean of Medicine. The appeal must be submitted in writing within seven working days after receiving the notification.  The Dean of Medicine will evaluate the appeal and the student’s academic record. The Dean can appoint a three-member Ad-Hoc Committee to re-evaluate all evidence. Rejection of the appeal by the Dean is final.


If an Ad-Hoc Committee is appointed, they will notify the student in writing of the date and the time when the appeal will be evaluated. The Ad-Hoc Committee has forty-eight (48) hours to submit a recommendation to the Dean of Medicine. The Dean of Medicine will consider the Ad-Hoc Committee recommendation and make the final decision within forty-eight (48) hours.


Any decision will be reported to the student in writing. The decision made by the Dean of Medicine is final.


The same process described above will be followed in the case that the adverse decision made by the Committee is for non-academic reasons, such as unacceptable professional behavior. The Department Chairperson, the Associate Dean for Medical Education or the VP for Student Affairs will refer the case to the SPC. If the recommendation of the SPC is to dismiss the student, the appeal process described above may be activated.


In the l event that an adverse decision is made due to non-academic reasons and the Dean of Medicine sustains the decision after the appeal process, the student may appeal to the Vice-President for Academic Affairs and then to the President.

Financial Aid Eligibility

Financial Aid eligibility is contingent upon satisfactory academic progress. Please refer to the institutional policy on Satisfactory Academic Progress published by the Office of Financial Aid.


The Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs shall have primary responsibility for overseeing this policy and will provide all medical students a copy of this document upon admission to Ponce Health Sciences University School of Medicine.


The President, Vice President of Academic Affairs and the Vice President for Student Affairs, as well as the Dean of Medicine, Associate Dean for Medical Education, Registrar and Financial Aid Director will receive all pertinent data to ensure proper enforcement of the policy here set forth.

For more details of PHSU tuition and fees please refer to: Cost of Attendance

Ponce Health Sciences University is pleased that you have selected our institution to continue with your academic and professional goals. The Office of Student Financial provides you with the information and tools to assist you in reaching educational goals. Please take your time to navigate through the various links we have provided and feel free to contact the Financial Aid Office if you need more information:
Financial Aid Application Process Links
Important Links (External):

Important Links for PHSU application forms and manual

PHSU Financial Aid Application – click to download the form
– Request for Aid and Loans
– Student Authorization
Click here to download your
– Student Financial Aid Manual
Federal Financial Aid Programs

  • Direct Unsubsidized Loan: students who meet the requirements established by the US Department of Education may receive a Direct Loan, according to the academic program: graduate and professional students are eligible to receive up to $20,500 per academic year. As an institution that previously participated in the HEAL Programs our MD, Doctorate and PhD in Clinical Psychology, as well as certain Master Degree Programs might be eligible for additional amount of loan. The amount is established annually by Federal Regulations. The Financial Aid Office provides orientation about the application process for student loans, the student’s qualifying requirements and the specifics regarding interest rate, orientation fess, repayment process, etc. The student must submit an agreement form known as a Master Promissory Note, and complete electronic entrance counseling, both on-line:
  • Direct Loan-Plus Graduate Loan: This is a federal fixed-interest loan for graduate and professional students, beyond the DL Unsubsidized award, to cover any additional cost of attendance. The interest rate and origination fee, which is annually fixed by the Federal Government, begins to accrue from the date of the first disbursement. The loan qualifying process requires a credit check verification, on-line entrance counseling and an on-line submission of a Master Promissory Note:
  • Private Loans (Alternative Loans). These are credit-based loans that may be used to supplement other types of financial aid programs. The loan amounts vary according to amount requested and approved for the student. The interest rate is variable, accrued while in school and usually based on the current “Prime Rate” plus a lender’s predetermined interest rate. Repayment may be up to 20 years. These Private Alternative Loans provide funds to complete the remaining need after the student is awarded other financial aid. Due to the high interest rate that these loans represent, the student should consider these loans as a last resource to their financial need. PHSU does not recommend any specific lender, the evaluation and selection is a student’s individualized decision.
  • Historical Private Lender List
    PHSU does not deny or otherwise impede the student’s choice of an alternative lender or cause unnecessary delay in loan certification of these loans. The following is a list of the three private loans that have been most commonly selected by our students during last two previous academic years, however, we reiterate that the student may select any other lender they esteem will meet their financial need.

Other Financial Aid Options:
Military Scholarship Programs: Students interested in a military career may consider apply for one of the scholarships programs for healthcare professions offered by the US Army, the US Air Force, Navy or the National Guard. The students must contact the desired program:

National Health Services Corps Scholarship Program: available for students in the primary health care specialties and committed to serving part or their entire career in federally designated health professional shortage area. Learn more about this program at:
Financial Aid Application Process
Direct Loan Application Process
Students interested in applying for a Direct Loan must comply with the federal requirements and following requirements:

      1. Have financial need.
      2. Be an US Citizen or an Eligible Non-Citizen.
      3. Have a valid social security number.
      4. Enroll in an eligible program as a regular student working toward a degree.
      5. Meet satisfactory academic progress standards.
      6. Register (or have registered) with the Selective Service if you are a male between the ages of 18 and 25.
      7. Certify that are not in default on a federal student loan and that do not owe money on a Federal student grant.
      8. Student cannot exceed the aggregate loan limit established by the Department of Education.
      9. Comply with the Entrance Interview/Counseling.
      10. Provide all the documents and information required by the Financial Aid.

Students must fill the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the corresponding academic year, in order to be evaluated to determine eligibility for federal and state funds. It must be submitted on line at no later than last working day of April. The PHSU school code is G24824. Students need a pin number, which can be obtained at
Once the student submits the FAFSA, the Department of Education will send an Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) to the school, which will be used for evaluation and analysis.
Students with a FAFSA application selected for verification by the Department of Education will be required to submit the following documents:

  • Complete a Verification Worksheet (provided by the Financial Aid Office)
  • Copy of the Tax Return (IRS or PR tax return form) or
  • W-2 form(s) (if apply)
  • Evidence of wages, salaries, tips, etc., reported on the FAFSA
  • Others

If the student (student’s parent or spouse) is not required to file income tax return, he/she will be required to complete and sign a Certification of Income, provided by the Financial Aid Office, among other documentation. Note: No loan will be process until the verification process is completed.
As part of the evaluation, the Financial Aid Office will take in consideration the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is the amount that the student should contribute towards his/her cost of education, and it is determined by the Federal Government. The need analysis consists of the following basic calculation: Cost of Attendance minus EFC equals Financial Need. As part of the analysis, it will be considered any other expected financial aid (external funds such as Vocational Rehabilitation, Veteran Administration, military scholarships, and any other grant or scholarship). Note: A student cannot receive financial assistance in excess of the determined Financial Need.
Awarding and Notification
The next step is the awarding of financial aid amounts by PHSU and preparing the award notification for the student. Once the awarding process is completed, a Notification of Award is sent to each student.
Return Policy and Requirement for Withdrawal and Return of Federal Financial Aid (see PHSU catalog refund policy section)
Suspension of Eligibility for Drug-Related Offenses
If convicted of any offense involving the possession of a controlled substance, a student’s eligibility for Title IV Financial Student Aid Program will be denied for:

  • One year after the first conviction
  • Two years after the second conviction
  • Indefinitely after the third conviction

Eligibility may be restored if the student partakes of an approved Federal Government Rehabilitation Program.
Please refer to the Student Financial Aid Manual for specific information regarding all the dynamics of financial aid as it applies to new and continuing students.
Financial Aid Contact Information:
Financial Aid Personnel:
Mrs. Myrian Gaud Maitín, MBA
Financial Aid Manager
Mrs. Nicole Vázquez Colon, MSS
Financial Aid Officer
Ms. Mariannette Cruz Rentas, BS
Administrative Assistant
Office Hours
Monday to Thursday: 8:00-11:30 am – 1:00-4:30 pm
Friday: Administrative Work (By appointment only)
Financial Aid Office Contact Information
Phone Number: (787) 840-2575 ext. 2134, 2135 or 2136
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 7004, Ponce. Puerto Rico 00731
Physical Address: 388 Zona Ind. Reparada 2 Ponce PR 00716-2347

How To Apply

Applicants must submit the following documents:

  • Official transcript from all undergraduate and graduate schools attended.
  • Three letters of recommendation written by individuals familiar with the applicant’s professional work and skills.
  • Certificate of No Penal Record
  • Application processing fee of $85.00
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Upon acceptance, we require a Health Certificate from the Department of Health of PR, a physical exam and evidence of up to date immunization record that must include Varicella, Td Adult (no more than 10 years), MMR and Hepatitis B.  Written confirmation of acceptance and a deposit of $100 to secure your seat in the entering class.


Readmission Application