Master's Program Requirements

Required Courses:

  • Advanced Mammalian Physiology (PHSL 511a, PHSL 511b)
    • If a grade below a B is earned in PHSL 511A or 511B, the course(s) MUST be retaken and an A or B grade earned
  • Presentation of Physiological Data (PHSL 501)
  • Seminar (PHSL 500)
  • Thesis Research (PHSL 599, 3-6 credits)
  • 30 credits at the 400 and 500 level
    • 21 graded credits  (A, B)
    • 15-semester credits at the 500 level

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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 four members:
    • Advisory Committee Chair – the student’s faculty advisor
    • Two other members from the Department of Physiology
    • 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.

Advisory Committee Meetings

Students will schedule their first meeting with the advisory committee in the spring semester of their first year.  The purpose of this meeting is to review course grades, provide input on the student's proposed research project and research progress. The first committee meeting must be scheduled as soon after the seminar as can be arranged and before the end of the spring semester.  Failure to do so will result in non-renewal of your assistantship contract.
The second advisory committee meeting must be scheduled before the start of the spring semester of the student's second year to review student progress and set a deadline for the completion and defense of the thesis.  


The thesis should represent a competent piece of original research carried out on a specific physiological problem or area under the research 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. Upon completion of the thesis 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 thesis and other matters related to the discipline. The thesis must conform to the formatting guidelines of the graduate school.

Required forms and what to do with them

  • Graduate Faculty Committee approval form:  Fill out the form, get the signature of the committee chair, and director of graduate studies and turn in the form to the Physiology office.
  • Research Project Approval Form: Fill out the form, and take it to your first committee meeting. Return the signed form to the Physiology office.
  • Defense forms: Take these forms to your thesis defense. All forms should be turned in to the Physiology office.
    • Assessment of thesis and oral defense for the M.S. degree form: You will need one form for each of your committee members.
    • Oral defense form:  Only one copy is required.
    • Thesis approval form: Only one copy is required.