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MS/PhD Programs



The School of Dental Medicine, Department of Oral Biology & Pathology offers programs of graduate study and research leading to the MS and PhD degrees under the auspices of the Graduate School of Stony Brook University. Either degree can be taken in conjunction with the DDS degree.

The MS curriculum is of approximately two years' duration and is particularly suited for those dental graduates who wish to obtain basic and translational oral and related biological science training without or in conjunction with a clinical specialty.

A major part of the PhD is research and the development of a thesis on the findings. Areas of research are listed below but others may also be possible. Programs of study are also available to individuals with a PhD or a clinical degree (dental or medical) who desire further research training or experience.

The main function of this program is to train oral biology educators and researchers to staff dental and medical schools, dental research institutes, dental and medical industrial laboratories, and to provide relevant basic science training for dentists and physicians taking postdoctoral specialty training. In addition, this program has been of particular interest to industrial based scientists seeking additional training and advanced degrees.

The course work consists of in depth exposure to knowledge, directly and indirectly related to oral biology and its related sciences, and is coupled with appropriate individual research, tutorial and thesis programs.

While the Department is interested in all aspects of Oral Biology, active programs of research presently being conducted include the following:

  • Biology of epithelial growth and differentiation
  • Biology of skin and mucosal grafting
  • Bone metabolism and osteoporosis.
  • Chemistry of the biological calcium phosphates and their relation and application to oral and systemic disease.
  • Development, metabolism, and control of microflora on the teeth and various epithelial surfaces of the human body particularly those of the mouth, skin, vagina and gastro-intestinal tract.
  • Diabetes and systemic disease relationships to oral disease.
  • Epithelial gene therapy
  • Etiology, monitoring of and therapy for dental caries and dentinal sensitivity.
  • Immunobiology of dendritic cells
  • Mechanisms of epidermal and oral carcinogenisis
  • Oral putrefaction; etiology, measurement and therapy role in oral malodor/gingivitis-periodontitis.
  • Salivary gland function in normal and diseased states/secretory mechanisms, etiology, monitoring of and therapy for oral dryness (xerostomia)
  • Ultra-structure and metabolism of healthy and diseased periodontal tissues with an emphasis on remodeling, matrix metalloproteins, host modulation.
  • Wound repair


Degree Requirements:

1.     Minimum degree requirements of the Graduate School

2.     Applicable to their course of study, students must complete all or part of the Oral Biology and Pathology Oral Systems course.

a.     MS students must complete three (3) graduate courses selected from offerings within and outside the Department.

b.     PhD students are generally required to complete six (6) course offerings at the graduate level.

3.     To officially reach PhD candidacy after course work completion, the student must pass an advancement-to-candidacy examination. To do this, the student must prepare a written proposal in a format like that of a National Institutes of Health research grant application. A public seminar is presented by the student to members of his/her advisory committee, the Department and the University community at large, in which the student defends his/her proposal. This is followed by a further defense by the student before his/her advisory committee. A recommendation for advancement to candidacy is then made and forwarded to the Graduate School for its official approval.

4.     The advancement-to-candidacy examination is used to examine the student’s ability to handle the intellectual and communicative processes involved in carrying out independent research.

5.     The key requirement for either degree is the development of an original research thesis. If recommended for approval, the dissertation committee will send the recommendation to the Graduate School who will make the final decision to award the degree.

a.     MS format: The student defends the thesis to the student’s dissertation committee. A public defense of the MS thesis is not required.

b.     PhD format: The student defends the thesis in a public seminar followed by a second examination by the student’s dissertation committee.

6.     Each student has the opportunity to engage in various aspects of the teaching program within the Department of Oral Biology and Pathology, and a major effort is made to assist students to attend and present papers at scientific meetings.