Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Physiology is the study of the structure, and function, and integration of the human body.  In the pioneering days, research efforts were primarily directed at tissues and organs.  This research continues to this day and has resulted in a comprehensive picture of the function of the human body.  As molecular and genetic methods have come of age, physiologists have implemented these techniques to elucidate the molecular mechanisms that underlie physiological function.  It is now clear that in order to develop a complete understanding of the normal and dysfunctional human body, we must ask questions at all levels, from the molecular to the cellular, to the organ, to the whole organism.

Graduate studies leading to a Doctor of Philosophy degree in the basic biomedical sciences are offered.

Physiology Admissions Requirements

Applicants are required to have a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and a minimum GPA of 3.0/4.0.  Applicants should have received credit for courses taken in:

  • Biology1 2 yrs. as required for science majors
  • Chemistry1 1 yr. general chemistry and organic chemistry
  • Physics 1 yr.
  • Mathematics  minimum of 1 semester of calculus
1

courses should include laboratory experience


All applicants must take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). The GRE must be taken within the last 5 years and the TOEFL within the last 2 years. There is no minimum score required for the GRE.

In addition to the GRE, international applicants are also required to take one of two English proficiency tests: Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS: Academic module only). The minimum required scores for the TOEFL are 560 for the paper test and 68 for the internet test. The minimum score on the academic IELTS is 6.5.

Three letters of recommendation are required. The applicant must submit 3 essays stating the reasons for your interest in the program, a description of your professional goals and an outline of your undergraduate, industrial or summer research. On campus recruitment interviews are conducted during February and March. Phone interviews for international application occur in January and February.

The admission committee makes its decision based on the candidate’s research experience, grade point average, personal statement, GRE score, interviews, letters of recommendations, and how the candidate matches up against other interested applicants.

Physiology Degree Requirements

A minimum of 72 credit hours and a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 is required for the Ph.D. degree. In addition, all doctoral candidates must register for PHYL 7099 Dissertation for at least two semesters in order to graduate. The student is required to demonstrate intellectual command of the subject area of the graduate program and capability to carry out independent and original investigation in the area. The student must successfully defend a dissertation and be recommended by their program COGS for approval of their degree to the Dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

Physiology Track

First Year
FallCredit Hours
IBMS 5000Fundamentals Of Biomedical Sciences 8
IBMS 5008Lab Rotations 2
Spring
IBMS 5008Lab Rotations 2
PHYL 5041Excitable Membranes 1
PHYL 5042Cardiovascular Physiology 1
PHYL 5043Respiratory & Renal Physiology 1
PHYL 5044Metabolism/Hormones/GI System 1
Summer
PHYL 6097Research 1 1-9
Second Year
Fall
PATH 5021 or CSBL 5095Biostatistics 3
PHYL 6091Selected Topics Of Physiology (see table below) 2
PHYL 6090Seminar 1
PHYL 6097Research 1-9
Spring
INTD 6002Ethics In Research 0.5
PHYL 6091Selected Topics Of Physiology (see table below) 2
PHYL 6090Seminar 1
PHYL 6097Research 1-9
Qualifying Exam (QE) proposal due prior to May 1st.  
Summer
PHYL 6097Research 1-9
Third Year
Fall
PHYL 6090Seminar 1
PHYL 7099Dissertation 1-12
Spring
PHYL 6090Seminar 1
PHYL 7099Dissertation 1-9
Summer
PHYL 6097Research 1-9
Fourth Year
Fall
PHYL 6090Seminar 1
PHYL 7099Dissertation 1-9
Spring
PHYL 6090Seminar 1
PHYL 7099Dissertation 1-9
Summer
PHYL 6097Research 1-9
Fifth Year
Fall
PHYL 6090Seminar 1
PHYL 7099Dissertation 1-9
Spring
PHYL 6090Seminar 1
PHYL 7099Dissertation 1-9
Summer
PHYL 6097Research 1-9
 Total Credit Hours: 104.5-131.5
1

Students may take the full course but are only required to take three out of the four modules (PHYL 5041 Excitable Membranes, PHYL 5042 Cardiovascular Physiology, PHYL 5043 Respiratory & Renal Physiology, PHYL 5044 Metabolism/Hormones/GI System).

Other courses -- Selected Topics in Physiology or coursework as desired by mentor.

All students are required to submit a dissertation research proposal the Spring semester following passing the Qualifying Exam.  Dissertation research proposal is to be presented during the PHYL 6090 Seminar Spring Student Seminar course.

Students are required to attend Monday Physiology Department Seminars/Special Seminars followed by student roundtable luncheon.

Note: MD/PhD students must meet the same requirements as all other students in the Physiology Track, with the exception of Fall I courses.

PHYL 6091 Selected Topics in Physiology

At least two courses selected from among the offerings in: 1
PHYL 6091-01: Cardiovascular
PHYL 6091-03: Cell Biology in Neural Science
PHYL 6091-04: Endocrine and Metabolism
PHYL 6091-05: Molecular Physiology
PHYL 6091-07: Ion Channels in Disease
Coures that may be substituted for one of these selections:
Fundamentals Of Neuroscience1: Molecular, Cellular, & Developmental Neuroscience
Fundamentals Of Neuroscience 2: Systems Neuroscience
Topics In Cardiovascular Research
Neurobiology Of Learning And Memory
Neurobiology Of Aging
Development
Genomics
Stem Cell Biology
1

Not all selected topics are offered each semester, please discuss with Track Leader/Academic Coordinator for more details.  Substituted courses will require approval from Track Leader/COGS.

Physiology Objectives/Program Outcomes

  1. The student will be able to critically review and interpret research literature.
  2. The student will be able to demonstrate proficient understanding of core physiological principles.
  3. The student will be able to communicate effectively in verbal presentations.
  4. The student will be able to demonstrate the ability to conduct independent research.
  5. The student will be able to effectively communicate in writing.