Doctoral Program Requirements

Required Courses prior to candidacy:

  • Advanced Mammalian Physiology (PHSL 511a, PHSL 511b)
  • Presentation of Physiological Data (PHSL 501)
  • Seminar (PHSL 500)
  • Research (PHSL 598)
  • Dissertation Research (PHSL 600, up to 6 credit hours)
  • 10 graded credits at the 400 and 500 level from the approved list (see coursework form)
  • University required tool (e.g. PHSL 510)
  • A total of 24 graduate credit hours is required prior to candidacy

Track your Coursework

See Course Information


After admission to candidacy:

Students must complete 24 hours of Dissertation Research (PHSL 600). Up to 6 hours of dissertation research earned prior to candidacy may be counted.


At least one semester of teaching is required for the degree and this usually consists of one or two sections of an undergraduate laboratory.

Advisory Committee

An advisory committee should be formed in the student’s second semester
The committee shall consist of at least five members:
Advisory Committee Chair – the student’s faculty advisor
At least three members from the Department of Physiology
At least one member from a department other than Physiology
Following the selection of a research advisor and the Advisory Committee, the Graduate Faculty Committee Approval Form must be filled out with the names and signatures of committee members and filed with the department secretary. The completed form will then be forwarded to the Graduate School for final approval.

Preliminary Examination

\Preliminary examinations for doctoral students consist of a set of written exams covering the student’s research area and course work, a research proposal in the area of the dissertation research project, and an oral defense of the proposal. In most cases, the written exams are taken in early August after the completion of the second year of study. After passing the written exams, the student will have one month to write the research proposal. The student’s Advisory Committee will evaluate the research proposal and if it is found acceptable, the oral defense of the proposal will be scheduled with the Advisory Committee.

For more information refer to the Guidelines for the Preliminary Examinations.


The dissertation should represent a competent piece of original research carried out on a specific physiological problem or area under the advisor’s supervision. It should include an adequate review of the literature, a statement of the hypothesis, a set of experiments testing the hypothesis by whatever methods are appropriate, an analysis of the results, and an interpretation of the work and its significance. The research should be of sufficient quality and quantity to merit publications in peer-reviewed journals. The dissertation must conform to the formatting guidelines of the graduate school. Upon completion of the dissertation research, a final department seminar is presented followed by an oral examination. The examination will be conducted by the Advisory Committee and will cover the subject of the dissertation and topics related to the discipline.

Required forms and what to do with them