Physiology (M.S. 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 a Ph.D. Students planning a career in teaching or research in physiology are advised to complete the requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy 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. 

Mission Statements

Masters Program: The mission of the M.S. program in the Department of Physiology is to provide an introduction to advanced training in physiology. Our goal is to train students to carry out advanced research in physiology and to develop problem solving and presentation skills in a wide variety of professional venues and to develop the necessary background to work in research, enter our Ph.D. program, or other professional program.

Doctoral Program: The mission of the Ph.D. program in the Department of Physiology is to provide an outstanding educational experience for future scientists, researchers, and academicians in one or more areas of cellular and organ system physiology or developmental biology and reproductive systems. By combining a contemporary curriculum with innovative research, our goal is to develop skilled investigators in the physiological sciences who, by utilizing their advanced problem solving and presentation skills, are qualified to succeed as educators, independent researchers, and as scientists in a wide variety of professional venues.

Reproductive Sciences Concentration: 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 goal of this concentration within the Physiology Ph.D. program is to educate students to become well-qualified, knowledgeable reproductive physiologists who will make substantial contributions to strengthen and advance the field of reproductive medicine and health.

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 Interdisciplinary Biomedical Sciences (IBS) Fellowships typically complete the required IBS course requirements during their first two years of graduate study.

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).

Masters Program

Applicants for the Masters of Science degree must complete a minimum of 30 credits beyond a bachelor's degree, of which eight credits must be thesis research credits.  For the remaining twenty-three credits, four must be from multidisciplinary courses other than Physiology (minor).

Doctoral Program

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 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.

Reproductive Sciences Concentration

Students pursuing this concentration are expected to follow the requirements of the Physiology Ph.D. 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.