The Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences

Physiology Degree requirements and curriculum

Criteria that students need to meet for the Physiology graduate program at Penn State

Program Mission

We are the oldest intercollege biomedical sciences program at Penn State's
UNIVERSITY PARK campus and uniquely focused on the study of integrative
mechanisms of living systems. This IGDP seeks to advance society's
understanding of how body systems work at all levels - molecular, cellular,
tissues, organs - and apply that knowledge in order to reduce disease and
improve the health of individuals. Our recently awarded NIH predoctoral
training program includes a cutting edge inter-discliplinary curriculum
focused on developing skill sets necessary for entry into the 21st century
biomedical workforce. Our doctoral program was recently ranked in the top
10 physiology programs in the country. Our 2 year M.S. program is a gateway
to professional school admission or the Ph.D.

The MS Page:

The Master’s Degree in Integrative and Biomedical Physiology is structured much like the Ph.D. program during the first year, with similar course requirements. The second year can be modified to accommodate the goals of the student. Masters students are required to complete a research thesis. 
 
To be awarded a MS in Physiology, a student must successfully complete:
• Required Coursework. Masters students must have a minimum of 30 credits at the 400 – 600 levels. The first year curriculum includes courses in physiology, supplemented with courses in cellular, molecular and systems biology, and bioethics. The second year curriculum includes graduate seminars in physiology, a course in biostatistics as well as professional development.
• Research Project. An original investigation under the supervision of a Physiology program faculty advisor leading to a written thesis.
• Thesis defense. A public presentation of a student's thesis research and oral examination by a student’s thesis committee.
• Competency in English. The Graduate School requires that students demonstrate proficiency in written and oral English.
 
The time from admission to thesis defense is generally 2 years. Students must maintain a B average (3.0) or better in academic courses to be retained in the program and to continue to receive financial support.

And the PhD page:

The Physiology training program combines exposure to the fundamentals of the discipline, provided by courses in the first two years, with focused research and scholarship in a student’s area of particular interest. To be awarded a PhD in Physiology, a student must successfully complete:

• Required courses. The first year curriculum includes courses in physiology, supplemented with courses in cellular, molecular and systems biology, and a course on professional development. The second year curriculum includes graduate seminars in physiology and courses in bioethics and biostatistics.
• Candidacy examination. Given at the end of the first year: a written paper tests a student’s ability to analyze the primary literature in physiology; an oral exam tests a student’s knowledge of physiology gained over the first year.
• Competency in English. The Graduate School requires that students demonstrate proficiency in written and oral English.
• Comprehensive examination. Usually taken before the start of the third year: consists of the student's thesis proposal and an oral defense.
• Research Project. An original investigation under the supervision of a Physiology program faculty advisor leading to a written dissertation.
• Thesis defense. A public presentation of a student's thesis research and oral examination by a student’s doctoral committee.

The time from admission to thesis defense is generally 5 years. Students must maintain a B average (3.0) or better in academic courses to be retained in the program and to continue to receive financial support.