Physiology (M.A. and Ph.D.)

The Department of Physiology offers programs leading to the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. The degree of Master of Science is frequently the first step toward the Ph.D. Students planning a career in teaching or research in physiology are advised to complete the requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy degree. degree. A Reproductive Sciences Concentration is an option in the Doctor of Philosophy program. It incorporates the teaching, research and physical resources of both the Physiology and the Obstetrics and Gynecology Departments, offering interdisciplinary doctoral training in the reproductive sciences with the degree earned through the Department of Physiology. 

Admission Requirements

Admission to these programs is contingent upon admission to the Graduate School and the graduate programs of the School of Medicine, respectively.  In addition, applicants for the Doctor of Philosophy degree are normally expected to have a personal interview with one or more members of the Departmental Graduate Committee.

Academic Scholarship

All course work must be completed in accordance with the regulations of the Graduate School and the School of Medicine governing graduate scholarship and degrees.

The overall requirements for the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees are set forth in the Graduate School section of this bulletin. The master’s degree is offered under Plan A only, for which the student must submit a thesis based on original research. Ph.D. students holding School of Medicine IBS (Interdisciplinary Biomedical Sciences) Fellowships typically complete the required IBS course requirements during their first two years of graduate study. The available IBS curriculum includes:

IBS Curriculum
IBS 7015Interdisciplinary Cell and Molecular Biology7
IBS 7030Functional Genomics and Systems Biology2
IBS 7050Biomedical Neurobiology2
IBS 7090Biomedical Immunology2
IBS 7100Biomedical Neuropharmacology2
IBS 7110Introduction to the Business of Biotechnology3
IBS 7115Special Topics in Biotechnology Commercialization1
IBS 7130Systems Neuroscience: Structure and Function of the Nervous System2
IBS 7140Foundations of Computational Biology3

Candidates for the Ph.D. are expected to conduct original research and prepare a dissertation commensurate with thirty credits of dissertation direction. The research supporting the dissertation generally is suitable for publication in one of the current scientific journals.

The thirty credit dissertation registration requirement is fulfilled by registering for the courses PSL 9991PSL 9992PSL 9993, and PSL 9994 (Doctoral Dissertation Research and Direction I, II, III, and IV, respectively), in consecutive academic year semesters. (Spring/summer semester registration is optional).

Physiology and Reproductive Sciences (Ph.D. Concentration)

The Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology collaborates with the Department of Physiology in offering the Reproductive Sciences concentration within the Ph.D. program of the Department of Physiology and, in conjunction with that department, offers broad and interdisciplinary training in the reproductive sciences. Students pursuing this concentration are accepted into the Department of Physiology graduate program, but their curriculum is oriented around courses in the reproductive sciences taught primarily by Obstetrics and Gynecology graduate teaching faculty. Students taking the Reproductive Sciences concentration will select dissertation mentors from the Obstetrics and Gynecology graduate teaching faculty and perform their dissertation research in the basic science facilities of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

The goal of the program is to educate students to become well-qualified, knowledgeable reproductive scientists who will make substantial contributions to strengthen and advance the field of reproductive medicine and health. This is a unique program, regionally and nationally, that exposes the trainee to both basic science and clinical research, and emphasizes major topics within the reproductive field including fertilization, developmental biology, genetics, molecular biology, endocrinology, toxicology, teratology, pregnancy and infectious disease. The curriculum, while emphasizing both formal lecture and seminar style courses, also takes advantage of numerous other educational activities occurring within the Departments of Obstetrics/ Gynecology and Physiology such as guest lecturers, journal clubs, workshops and symposia. The Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Department of Physiology attempt to pattern each student’s program according to their particular area of interest and research requirements while at the same time exposing them to the diversity within this discipline.

Applicants for the Doctor of Philosophy degree must complete a minimum of ninety credits beyond the bachelor’s degree, of which at least thirty credits must be in doctoral research and dissertation direction. For the remaining sixty credits, ten must be from courses within the Reproductive Sciences concentration and six from multidisciplinary courses other than Physiology (minor). Ph.D. students holding Interdisciplinary Biomedical Sciences (IBS) Fellowships are required to take fourteen of these credits from courses in the IBS curriculum. Remaining credits to obtain the required total are taken as electives in subjects pertinent to the student's chosen field of research. Requirements of the Department of Physiology Graduate Program must also be satisfied.