Applied Biosciences

Established by the Arizona Board of Regents:Professional Science Master 2010

The Applied Biosciences (ABS) program at the University of Arizona (UA) is a Graduate Interdisciplinary Program (GIDP) under the Graduate College. ABS is a dedicated Master’s program that awards a Professional Science Master’s degree, and prepares students for careers in the biotechnology and health science industries. It consists of foundational and practical training in various areas of applied biosciences, along with "cross-training" in workplace skills, such as business, research and regulatory affairs.  A mandatory internship is an integral part of the ABS experience. During a two-year course of studies, students will gain a strong understanding of the applications of the biological sciences to real world problems, including those faced by public institutions and private industry.

The ABS-PSM is organized into six semi-independent “tracks” to prepare students for professional careers: Controlled Environment Agriculture, Diagnostic Laboratory Sciences, Industrial Microbial Biotechnology, Medical Microbiology and Immunology, Molecular and Cellular Biology and Sustainable Bioeconomy and Bioenergy.  


Faculty Membership

Nafees Ahmad, Executive Committee
Anne E Arnold
Plant Sciences
Margaret Briehl
Adam S. Buntzman
BIO5 Institute
Qin Chen
Stephen Cowen
Anne E. Cress
Cellular & Molecular Medicine
Joel Cuello
Agricultural & Biosystems Engineering
Barun De
Bentley Fane
Plant Sciences
Kevin Fitzsimmons
Soil, Water and Environmental Science
Rachel Gallery
School of Natural Resources and the Environment
Gene Giacomelli
Agricultural Biosystems Engineering
Ryan Gutenkunst, Exectutive Committee
Molecular and Cellular Biology
David Harris
Eliot Herman
Plant Sciences
Michael Johnson
Murat Kacira, Executive Committee
Agricultural Biosystems Engineering
Jason Hansen Karnes
Pharmacy Practice and Science
Julie G. Ledford
Rebecca Mosher
Plant Sciences
Lisa Nagy
Molecular & Cellular Biology
Ravi Palanivelu
Plant Sciences
Francesca Polverino
Sadhana Ravishankar, Chair
Animal & Biomedical Sciences-Res
Monika Schmelz
Monica Schmidt
Plant Sciences
Ursula K. Schuch
Plant Sciences
Frans Tax
Molecular and Cellular Biology
Guang Yao
Molecular and Cellular Biology
Daniela Zarnescu
Molecular and Cellular Biology

Participating Colleges & Departments

Program Bylaws


Graduate Interdisciplinary Program in

Applied Biosciences


The Graduate Interdisciplinary Program (GIDP) in Applied Biosciences (ABS) provides graduate education and professional training in the applications of the biological sciences.  The ABS GIDP involves faculty members from any college at the University of Arizona who share a common interest in the professional training and education of scientists interested in pursuing careers in industry, public and private service and education. The program offers a Professional Science Masters (PSM) degree in Applied Biosciences.

It is the responsibility of the ABS GIDP to provide a graduate educational program in the various areas of applied biology, to publicize the program, and to maintain graduate participants of the highest quality. It is also the responsibility of the program to encourage vigorous, productive research activities and maintain an interactive community by providing seminars and promoting campus-wide interdisciplinary activities.

The following sections outline the by-laws that govern policies and operating procedures.

1.         Governing Bodies

A.        The ABS program is subject to all the rules, policies and regulations of the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR), University of Arizona Policy, GIDPAC policy and Graduate College Policy.

B.         The structure and organization of the ABS GIDP shall conform to the Guidelines for Interdisciplinary Programs established at

C.         The program is recognized by the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) as a Professional Science Masters (PSM) degree.  The ABS program will abide by CGS guidelines as to its curriculum and structure. These guidelines are established at  Abiding by the guidelines of CGS allows the program to be listed in their literature and to use the PSM logo.

2.         Administrative Structure

A.        The program shall be divided into tracks, which correspond to disciplinarily and multidisciplinary coherent groups of courses. Each track will have a lead faculty member who will have the title “Director of Graduate Studies (track name)” (DGS)

B.         The program shall be governed by an Executive Committee (EC) that consists of the DGSs from each track and from 1-4 member elected from general faculty affiliated with the program.  The Executive Committee is responsible for nominating or receiving nominations for new members of the Executive Committee and will vote on these nominations. Members of the Executive Committee will be appointed only from the membership of the ABS-PSM Committee (Faculty). Each Executive Committee member will serve a three-year term. Each of these terms can be renewed by vote of the Executive Committee and approved by the Faculty Director of the Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs.

C.         The Chair of the ABS GIDP shall be appointed by the Faculty Director of the Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs from nominees submitted by the Executive Committee.  The Chair will serve a renewable five year term. 

D.        The ABS shall maintain an Advisory Board consisting of experts in Business, Industry and/or the Community. The board will not have less than 5 members, and should be composed of members that represent the diversity of areas represented by the tracks in the program.

3.         Duties of the Program Chair

A.        Administer the Program and activities of the EC with the assistance of the program coordinator of the GIDP

B.         Convene and chair meetings of the EC, not less than once per semester.

C.         Convene and chair meetings of the Industry Advisory Board, not less than once per semester

D.        Act on behalf of the EC and the GIDP to implement policies of the Program;

E.         Serve as the representative of the Program to the University Administration, granting agencies, prospective students, etc.

F.         Prepare and submit an annual report of activities and accomplishments of the Program according to University regulations.

G.        Administer the operating budget of the GIDP

H.        Appoint sub-committees, such as curriculum, admissions, resources, activities etc., as necessary

I.          Prepare Annual Performance Reviews for faculty that request them.

J.          Prepare documentation and evaluation of GIDP participation for faculty undergoing P&T/CS review.

4.         Duties of the Executive and other Committees

A.        Devise and implement procedures to be followed in selecting and reviewing members of the GIDP

B.         Devise and implement appropriate policies and procedures for the operation of the graduate program, such as admissions, curriculum, student supervision, completion of degree program requirements, and decisions regarding program resources.

C.         Serve on sub-committees as needed for effective operation.

D.        Assist in providing academic counsel to new students and evaluations of students at various stages of progress through the Program.

E.         Assist the Program chair in the preparation of annual reports of the ABS program’s activities and accomplishments to the Faculty Director of Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs. Prepare the materials for Academic Program Reviews.

F.         Prepare the materials for Academic Program Reviews.

G.        Facilitate interaction and communication within the Program and with supporting academic units’ heads and deans and the GIDP Faculty Director.

H.        Formulate the annual budget and seek funding from appropriate University, State, Federal and private sources.

I.          Solicit nominations to vacated slot(s) on the Executive Committee to ensure continuity over time.

J.          Solicit nominations to vacated slot(s) on the Industry Advisory Board to ensure continuity over time.


5.         Duties of the Advisory Board

A.        Advise the Program Chair and EC about issues of curriculum, community needs and new issues and innovations in the private sector.

B.         Advocate for the program to Government and Industry partners.

C.         Assist students in securing internship positions and in job-placement

D.        Assist the program in fund-raising, budgeting and other financing.


6.         Membership in the GIDP

The ABS GIDP consists of tenure or continuing status eligible faculty members at the University of Arizona who participate in graduate education and research in Applied Biosciences.  An affiliate membership is available to tenure-eligible or continuing-status-eligible faculty who meet some, but not all of, the criteria for regular membership or for faculty who are not Tenure/CS eligible.

A.        Regular members

i.          Tenure/CS-eligible faculty shall be nominated for membership in the ABS GIDP by submitting a request for membership and a recent curriculum vita to the Executive Committee.  A two-thirds majority of positive votes of the Executive Committee shall be required for nomination to membership to the Faculty Director of Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs who shall confer membership.  Criteria for membership can include demonstrated applied biology research activity, significant contacts with industry or the public sector, deep interest in graduate education, and resources for graduate training.

ii.         A member of the ABS GIDP shall be dropped from membership for failure to participate in the activities of the Committee. Participation includes service as a thesis/internship advisor, service on an ABS GIDP subcommittee; teaching a graduate course used in the program curriculum or giving a seminar/colloquium on a topic related to applied Biology. Membership shall be subject to periodic review and failure to satisfy those criteria as decided by a two-thirds majority of the Executive Committee shall result in loss of membership or change in status to affiliate membership.

iii.        Members dropped from membership or changed to affiliate status may reapply for regular membership.

iv.        Members of the ABS GIDP may serve as academic and research advisors or Affiliate graduate students in the program, directors/advisors of graduate thesis/internship committees, and as members of master’s committees.

v.         Members of the ABS GIDP shall meet annually and as needed. 

vi.        Each member of the ABS GIDP shall have one vote on matters brought to the Faculty by the Executive Committee.  A quorum shall constitute one-third of membership.  Failing a quorum, a mail vote shall be required.

vii.       Members shall be listed as Faculty of ABS GIDP in the Graduate Catalog.

B.         Affiliate Members

i.          Non-tenure-eligible faculty who otherwise meet the criteria for membership and Tenure/CS-eligible faculty who meet some but not all of the criteria for membership may apply for affiliate membership in the GIDP by submitting a request for membership and recent curriculum vitae to the Executive Committee.  A two-thirds majority of positive votes of the Executive Committee shall be required for election to associate membership.

ii.         Affiliate members shall have all the privileges and responsibilities of regular members except that they are non-voting. (Non-tenure/CS-eligible faculty must also seek the approval of the Graduate College to serve on graduate committees,   

7.         Amendments

The By-laws shall be amended or revised by movement of the Executive Committee and a two-thirds positive vote of the membership of the ABS GIDP

Approved:       Date: 03.28.17