The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences has its roots in the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, which began in 1970 as a private school. In 1972, TCOM’s basic science courses were taught at North Texas State University (now the University of North Texas) in Denton. In addition to the basic sciences faculty hired by TCOM, certain additional North Texas faculty were contracted to participate in teaching these courses. All TCOM faculty in the basic science departments received joint appointments in the university’s Departments of Biomedical Sciences, Biological Sciences or Biochemistry. They also received either full or associate graduate faculty status at the university. These appointments were important because they permitted TCOM basic science faculty to mentor graduate students either in the biomedical sciences master’s degree program, or Ph.D. students in biology or biochemistry .
The successful collaboration of the two schools earned the confidence of state government leaders and, in 1975, TCOM became a state-supported medical school under the jurisdiction of the governor-appointed North Texas State Board of Regents.
Over the years, TCOM grew in physical facilities as well as basic and clinical sciences faculty. In addition, the number of graduate students seeking training in the health sciences also grew. Until 1993, the students still were officially registered under the University of North Texas graduate program.
In 1992, TCOM faculty were training more than 70 graduate students seeking either the M.S. degree in biomedical sciences or the Ph.D. in biological sciences or biochemistry. These students received virtually all their training at TCOM, in courses taught by TCOM faculty and in laboratories on the TCOM campus in Fort Worth. Because these students wanted doctoral training in the health sciences, it was preferable that they receive a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences with specialties in anatomy and cell biology, biochemistry and molecular biology, physiology, pharmacology and microbiology and immunology.
Because it would benefit students to have their degrees in biomedical sciences and awarded by a health science center, the university and TCOM requested the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to transfer the M.S. degree in biomedical sciences and degree-granting authority from the university to the medical school, which was geared to evolve into a health science center, and to establish a Ph.D. degree in biomedical sciences.
On January 25, 1993, the chancellor and TCOM’s president submitted the following requests to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board: to transfer from UNT to the proposed UNT Health Science Center the Department of Biomedical Sciences and degree-granting authority for the M.S. degree in biomedical sciences; and to approve degree-granting authority to award the Ph.D. degree in biomedical sciences.
On July 15, 1993, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved the request to transfer the M.S. degree in biomedical sciences and the Department of Biomedical Sciences from UNT, and to establish a Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at the proposed UNT Health Science Center.
During the summer of 1993, the Texas Legislature unanimously approved the redesignation of TCOM as the University of North Texas Health Science Center, specifying that the center would continue to be a separate and independently functioning institution, not a department or school within the University of North Texas.
The request for a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences was approved on October 28, 1993, and as of November 1, 1993, the UNT Health Science Center began offering both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in biomedical sciences.