Bluefield College in Bluefield, VA, is introducing a new Master of Arts in Biomedical Sciences (MABS) degree, offered in partnership with the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) in Blacksburg, VA.

Classes for the MABS will be offered at an instructional site on the VCOM campus in Blacksburg and graduates of the program who meet academic and other performance benchmarks will be guaranteed admission into VCOM’s Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) program.   The one-year MABS degree – Bluefield’s fourth new master’s program in just three years – is designed primarily to enhance the opportunity for pre-medical students from southwest Virginia and the southern Appalachian states to gain acceptance into a medical school or other professional healthcare education programs.

“Bluefield College is excited about this new master’s degree program and the collaborative effort with the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine,” said Bluefield College president Dr. David Olive.  “This program will meet a tremendous need and be instrumental for those preparing for or teaching in the medical profession.”

The 35-credit-hour face-to-face curriculum will emphasize the biomedical sciences with a strong emphasis on human medicine and clinical applications.   It will focus on biomedical coursework, research experience, field study, and seminars in professional development.  In addition, the program is designed for highly motivated students who wish to build their medical knowledge while also preparing for the rigor of medical school or other health science doctoral programs.

“The program not only teaches higher level biomedical sciences, but teaches participants how to be better graduate students,” said Dr. Brian Hill, director of Bluefield’s graduate biomedical education.  “It will give students an opportunity to reach their full potential.  It’s not easy, but you will be a better student and a better person when you come out of this program.”

Through this unique relationship with VCOM, students who successfully complete all requirements, including academic and individual performance benchmarks in the MABS, are guaranteed admission to the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) program on one of the three VCOM campuses, unlike similar programs that only guarantee an interview.  In fact, the MABS actually grew out of a graduate certificate program offered for more than seven years by VCOM, a program in which more than 70 percent of graduates gain acceptance into a medical school or other professional program of choice.

“In line with the mission of both institutions, the Master of Arts in Biomedical Sciences is offered to attract individuals from rural areas, low socioeconomic backgrounds, and underrepresented minority groups,” said Dr. Dixie Tooke-Rawlins, VCOM president and provost, “although acceptance is not limited to individuals from these clusters.”

According to BC’s Dr. Emily Lambert, associate professor and chair of the BC Biology Department, the MABS is much more advantageous than other post-baccalaureate programs and will give students a significant competitive edge.

“This MABS will academically strengthen students who are interested in pursing medical school or who need to meet or improve the requirements for other health professions or science programs,” she said.

Students in the MABS program will also have opportunities to use the knowledge they are learning in the classroom during three-day Appalachian outreach field experiences.  In addition, with class size capped at 120 students, everyone will receive a high level of attention from administration and faculty, providing a personalized classroom experience.

“This program provides us the opportunity to teach future physical and healthcare providers the importance of God’s healing power and how to incorporate spirituality into the healing process,” said Dr. Lambert.  “It also provides us the opportunity to impart upon future teachers and academicians scientific and medical curriculum from a Christian worldview.   We hope to do these things in an effort to prepare professionals that will touch the world in a meaningful way.”

MABS students interested in pursing graduate education courses to teach in the field of health sciences may also consider taking 18 credit hours of additional courses toward a Certificate in Teaching Health Sciences, which is offered online through Bluefield College’s School of Education as part of its Master of Arts in Education (MAEd) program.

The Master of Arts in Biomedical Sciences will follow Bluefield’s Master of Business Administration (MBA), set to begin in January of 2018, just three years after the college introduced its first ever master’s degree in education (MAEd) in 2015 and one year after its master’s in nursing (MSN) in 2017.

“VCOM and Bluefield College are committed to serving the needs of Southwest Virginia,” said Dr. Olive.  “I am looking foward to the collaborative development of future programs that will further our missions in this region.”

Applications for the Master of Arts in Biomedical Sciences are being accepted now, and classes will begin the last full week of July 2018.   For more information, visit, email, or call (540) 231-8687.