Which Physiology Program is Right for You?

Our department offers two programs that terminate in an MS in Physiology for students interested in studying human physiology at the graduate level.

the "regular" program compared to the smp –


"Regular" MS in Physiology

Special Master's Program

Curriculum Flexibility

10 credits of elective courses

0 elective credits

Research Opportunity

Yes/Limited; Spring semester only


Schedule Flexibility

Two- and three-term schedules
part-time by special arrangement*

Fixed 10-month curriculum;
full-time only

Cohort Size

~30 students

~200 students

Open to all Pre-Health Students


No, only those pursuing MD/DO

Average Matriculant GPA



MCAT or GRE Required


Yes (MCAT)

Degree Earned

MS in Physiology

MS in Physiology

* International students must complete the program as full-time students within 12 months.

1) Ms in Physiology Program –

The "regular" MS in Physiology program is an academic enhancement program designed for strong science students who are pursuing a career in medicine, other health professions (dentistry, physician assistant, masters public health, etc), or a career in related fields such as biomedical education and patent law.  Generally about 80% of our cohort is pre-med, 10% pre-dental, 5% pre-PhD, and 5% other pre-health.  The program is designed to be completed in two terms (one academic year; late August until mid-May), but the flexible curriculum allows for alternative schedules as well.  Schedules for part-time students can be made with special arrangements; students interested in part-time study should indicate this on their application.  The program is only offered in a traditional "brick-and-mortar" format; there are no options for online-only or hybrid enrollment.

The curriculum consists of graduate-level courses in the biomedical sciences that serve as a solid foundation for further education in the health sciences.  Required courses provide an advanced science framework and elective courses allow students to tailor the program to their specific interests and career goals by taking classes in the many different departments here at Georgetown University Medical Center such as Tumor Biology, Biotechnology, Microbiology, Clinical & Translational Research, and more.  In many cases, the faculty teaching these courses are the same faculty teaching medical school courses at GUSOM and PhD-level courses in our biomedical programs.

Cohort and Class Size
While the admitted cohort of full-time students for fall is approximately 30 students, class sizes vary by course.  Core courses such as Fundamentals of Physiology have students enrolled from other graduate program (such as our MS and PhD programs in Pharmacology) and class size is generally between 50 and 60 students, whereas elective courses can have as few as four students.  A representative sample of elective courses and their respective class sizes is given on our Elective Courses page.

Research Option
Although research is not a focus or emphasis of the program, there are opportunities for our students to participate in a research elective course (during the spring semester only) with approval of the Program Director and dependent on the number of available spots.

George Squared Partnership
Students who complete the  ABS certificate program (see below) and are accepted to the MS in Physiology are eligible to transfer their earned graduate credits to the MS in Physiology degree at Georgetown and complete the MS degree requirements in as little as one semester.

2) The Special Masters in Physiology (SMP) –

The SMP is a 10-month MS program exclusive to students pursuing a career in medicine who wish to strengthen their academic credentials for application to medical school. Students in the SMP (approx. 200 students in the SMP cohort) take 6 first-year medical courses alongside the GUSOM medical students (approx. 200 students in the M1 cohort) in addition to rigorous medically related graduate courses.  The grading curves in the medical courses are set by the performance of only the GUSOM students, challenging SMP students to perform at or above the level of the GUSOM medical students.  There is no research option and SMP students do not have the option of choosing elective credits.  The program starts in early August and ends in mid-June.

George Squared (G²) Partnership –

The Advanced Biomedical Sciences (ABS) program at GMU is a post-baccalaureate, graduate-level certificiate program designed for students interested in careers in medicine, dentistry, and the wide variety of allied health professions.  The ABS program is hosted on GMU's Science and Technology campus in Manassas, Virginia and is co-taught by a team of faculty from both George Mason University and Georgetown University as part of the George Squared Partnership.  Of special interest to pre-medical students is that the ABS program includes MCAT prep as an optional part of the curriculum and also offers continued access to the MCAT prep online resources for a full year after the end of the program.

The George Squared Parternship also provides an opportunity for graduates of the ABS program to apply to and complete their MS  in Physiology degree at Georgetown University.    Students who earn a B or better in all ABS classes (with a final GPA of 3.0 or higher in the ABS program) are invited to apply to the regular MS in Physiology program at Georgetown University's main campus in Washington DC.  Students who are accepted into the MS in Physiology program through the George Squared Partnership can transfer all of their ABS certificate credits to Georgetown.  Students then finish their remaining 8-10 credits in as little as one semester to complete their MS degree.  Students are also able to apply to other MS degrees at Georgetown with varying levels of credit transferaiblity; the MS in Physiology program is the only program that guarantees 100% credit transfer from the ABS program to the MS degree.

Comparison Chart

To help you decide which program is right for you, we encourage you to explore the website for each program and to speak to each program's representatives. To start, we offer a basic comparison table below.


"Regular" MS
in Physiology

Special Master's
Program (SMP)

ABS Certificate
at GMU

1 year program, non-thesis

Earns an MS degree

(see note below)

Only open to pre-med
students (MD/DO)



Curriculum includes first-year
medical school courses



Curriculum includes MCAT prep




Curriculum includes
Gross Anatomy Lab


Curriculum includes
research opportunity



Recommened minimum
undergraduate GPA




Students who successfully complete the G² Advanced Biomedical Sciences Certificate program can subsequently apply to Georgetown University's Graduate School and complete an additional 8-10 credits to receive their MS degree in Physiology from the regular MS in Physiology program in as little as one semester. Click here for more details.