Oral Biology, MSOB

This program is only available to students enrolled in a Certificate program in the School of Dental Medicine.

The Master of Science in Oral Biology (MSOB) degree program is comprised of two tracks designed for outstanding students who are interested in either integrating more extensive research or structured evidence-based learning into their postgraduate education. Enrollment in the MSOB program tracks is limited to individuals concurrently registered in one of the postgraduate specialty training programs at Penn Dental Medicine.

Candidates receive the MSOB degree after completion of both their specialty training and the Master’s curriculum, which consists of didactic, seminar and research practicum courses. Depending on the track selected, research activities or a systematic literature review form the core of this program. and students are expected to participate in a project of sufficient scope and intensity or construct a structured and critically-evaluated literature review focused on an important oral health-related research or clinical question. Presentation of an in-depth review of the relevant literature along with a manuscript reporting the results of the research or systematic review are required for graduation.


This degree requires a minimum of 20 Credit Hours.

MSOB Advisory Panel

The MSOB Advisory Panel serves four main purposes:

  • To assist students in identifying research mentors who are conducting funded research.
  • To verify the quality and appropriateness of the proposed research activities.
  • To monitor the degree candidate’s progress prior to writing a thesis.
  • To mediate and settle any disputes that may arise.

The MSOB Advisory Panel consists of the Program Director and a representative from each of the participating Penn Dental Medicine departments. The Associate Dean for Academic Policies and the Director of Postgraduate Education serve as ex officio to this group.

Thesis Committee

Thesis committees consist of the research mentor and three appropriate Penn Dental Medicine standing or associated faculty members (rank of Assistant Professor or higher) chosen by the candidate and his/her mentor. One individual, other than the research mentor, is designated as the chairperson of the committee.

MSOB Program Competencies

By the end of the program, students must demonstrate performance in the following competency statements:

  • Demonstrate advanced scientific knowledge in the student’s selected area of concentration.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in delivering oral presentations and scientific writing.
  • Critically analyze current literature and report on the strengths, limitations and recommendations for future research design.
  • Demonstrate the ability to use each component of the scientific method in completing a MSOB degree research project.
  • Discuss ethics in research.

The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2023 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.