Courses | MS in Physiology

Students are required to complete 30 credits of coursework, including 20 credits of required courses and 10 credits of elective courses.

Students can select from the recommended electives are listed below to tailor the program to fit their interest. Students can take electives not on the list below with the Program Director and Course Instructor approval. Email the Program Director with the course description for approval.


   6 Required Courses (20 credits)

   3-4 Electives (10 credits)*

*Students applying to or planning to apply to medical school are required to take PBIO 602 as an elective.

Required Courses

PBIO 501-01: Fundamentals of Human Physiology

5 credits | Fall Semester
Course Director: Dr. Lewis J. Watson

This course is designed to provide students enrolled in graduate programs in biomedical sciences with a basic overview of the function of human body systems. The presentations will include cellular and molecular concepts but the emphasis will be on the integrated regulation among systems.

PBIO 504-01: Introductory Biostatistics

3 credits | Fall Semester
Course Director: Dr. Anca Dragomir

This course is designed for introductory biostatistical theory and application for students pursuing a master’s degree in fields outside of the Department of Biostatistics, Bioinformatics, and Biomathematics. Students first learn the four pillars of exploring and displaying data appropriately, exploring relationships between two variables, issues of gathering sample data, and understanding randomness and probability. On these pillars, students then can develop the platform for statistical inference including proportions and means, multiple regression, and ANOVA. 

PBIO 534-01: Cell & Molecular Physiology

4 credits | Fall Semester
Course Director: Dr. Thomas Sherman

This course covers the principles of biochemistry. The first section examines protein structure/function and enzymology; the middle section focuses on cell signaling, and the final section integrates it all in the context of metabolism. Current concepts regarding physiological processes at the cellular and molecular levels are investigated. This course meets twice a week for two hours and has three exams. The primary textbook is Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry.

PBIO 568-03: Advanced Physiology & Pathophysiology

3 credits | Spring Semester
Course Director: Dr. Jennifer Whitney

This graduate course will cover the fundamental mechanisms and the pathophysiologic basis of major human diseases. This course will complement the basic physiological principles covered in BCHB-561, PBIO-562, PBIO-563, PBIO-564 and BCHC-565, as well as PBIO-501 (Fundamentals of Human Physiology), and also feature a forensic component. It is a lecture-based course.

Students can substitute this course with the PBIO 603: Graduate Pathophysiology (3 credits) in summer.

PBIO 569-01: Introduction to Neurophysiology

3 credits | Spring & Summer Semester
Course Director: 

This graduate course is an introductory neuroscience course that emphasizes the study of the human nervous system as it applies to clinical medicine. Topics include cellular electrophysiology, brain & spinal cord anatomy, peripheral nervous system anatomy, the structure and function of sensory and motor systems, sleep, and cognitive topics such as learning and memory, stress, and reward. Information given in lectures is reinforced using problem-solving workshops and clinical correlates. This course is a requirement for the MS in Physiology program.

PBIO 602-02: Biomedical Career Pathways

1 credit | Fall Semester
Course Director: Dr. Lewis J. Watson

This course consists of study skills workshops, interviewing skills workshops, presentations on military medicine, primary care medicine, osteopathic medicine, and complementary and alternative medicine, as well as presentations on career pathways for specialty and subspecialty medical training. Evaluation of students will be based on attendance and homework assignments.

Students applying to or planning to apply to medical school are required to take PBIO 602 as an elective in the fall semester.

PBIO 907-01: Physiology Literature Research

2 credits | Fall, Spring, or Summer Semester
Course Director: Dr. Lewis J. Watson

Students will perform a thorough literature search and prepare a state-of-the-art, critical review paper on a topic of current interest in physiology, under the tutelage of a faculty member.

Elective Courses

Fall Electives | Spring Electives | Summer Elective

Students in the MS in Physiology program must complete 10 credits of elective coursework.  We require pre-med students to take PBIO 602 Biomedical Career Pathways as one of their elective credits in the fall semester. 

  • Students are welcome to take courses not on the pre-approved list by seeking approval from the Program Director (and in some cases additional approval from the course’s instructor or department are required) to count a course toward the degree before registering for that course; you can search the Schedule of Classes to see what is offered each semester. 
    • To gain approval, current students should email the course description to the program director.
    • Some courses may also require approval from the instructor or from the department to which it belongs (ie, Physiology students may not have registration priority for courses in other departments). 
    • Even if the program director approves a course as an elective to count toward your MS in Physiology degree, your ability to enroll in the course is at the discretion of the course instructor and the department/program to which the course belongs.

Note: Electives may not be offered every semester or could be offered in different semesters than those listed below. Check Schedule of Classes (new window) (Main Campus) for current and future semester course offerings; current students can also view the schedule on MyAccess. Also note: certain courses listed in the schedule may be cancelled due to low registration. 


Note: Each elective below is offered at the instructor’s discretion and could be offered in a different semester

  • PBIO602  Biomedical Career Pathways (1cr) (required as elective credit for all pre-med students)
  • PHAR584  Introduction to Pharmacology (1cr)
  • CLTR501  Introduction to Biostatistics in Clinical Research (3cr)
  • MICB606  Public Policy for Scientists (3cr) (Permission of Instructor & MICB dept required)
  • NSCI425  Topics in Neuroscience: Diseases, Research & Treatment (3cr) (Taught by PhD students)
  • NSCI521  Functional MRI: Theory & Practice (3cr)
  • TBIO523  Cancer Epigenetics (3cr)
  • TBIO525  Cancer Genetics * (3cr)
  • INNS520  Translational Neuroscience * (2cr) (Permission of Instructor required)

* This course has historically had a direct time conflict with our core courses in the fall and therefore is only available to our part-time students.


Note: Each elective below is offered at the instructor’s discretion and could be offered in a different semester than where it is listed below.

  • PBIO529  Human Nutrition and Health (2cr)
  • PBIO906  Research in Physiology (2-4cr) (students must be approved by the program director)
  • PHAR592  Introduction to Toxicology (1cr)
  • PHAR604  Medicinal Plants and Pharmacognosy (3cr)
  • PHAR605  Advanced Topics in Nutrition (3cr)
  • NSCI558  Molecular Mechanisms of Neurodegeneration (3cr, permission of instructor required, must have strong background in Neuroscience)
  • CLTR506  Study and Clinical Trial Design (2cr)
  • CLTR507  Epidemiologic Methods (3cr)
  • CLTR700  Aspects of Drug Development (3cr) (permission of CLTR department required)
  • BCHB515  Intro to Bioinformatics (1cr)
  • BCHB522  Drug Targets/Drug Design (2cr)
  • MICB705  Science Diplomacy and World Health (2cr)
  • TBIO536  Cancer Pharmacology (4cr)


  • PBIO529  Human Nutrition & Health
  • PBIO550 Evolutionary Medicine

Class Sizes

Below you’ll find the number of registered students in each of the core courses for the 2020-2021 academic year, as well as class sizes for electives taken by our current MS in Physiology students.

For elective courses that are not on the pre-approved list above, individual permission is required from the program director. Previous permission for a student to take a certain elective course does not guarantee future permission for a future student to take that same elective course.

* Not a pre-approved elective; requires permission from program director and may additionally require permission of instructor.
Fall 2020 Course NameClass Size
PBIO501: Fundamentals of Human Physiology
PBIO504: Intro to Biostatistics
PBIO534: Cellular & Molecular Physiology
[Elective] PBIO602: Biomedical Career Pathways (1cr)
[Elective] MICB606: Public Policy for Scientists (3cr)
[Elective] MICB708: Immunogenetics in Health & Disease* (2cr)
[Elective] NSCI425: Topics in Neuroscience (3cr)
[Elective] NURS761: Health Care Issues & the Law* (2cr)
[Elective] PHAR584: Intro to Pharmacology (1cr)
[Elective] PHAR604: Medicinal Plants (3cr)
[Elective] TBIO523: Cancer Epigenetics (3cr)

* Not a pre-approved elective; requires permission from program director and may additionally require permission of instructor.
Spring 2021 Course NameClass Size
PBIO568: Advanced Pathophysiology
PBIO569: Intro to Neurophysiology
[Elective] PBIO529/PHAR605 Nutrition (2/3cr)
[Elective] PHAR592  Introduction to Toxicology (1cr)
[Elective] HESY460 Healthcare Management Consulting* (3cr)
[Elective] BCHB522  Drug Targets/Drug Design (2cr)
[Elective] BCHB540 Molecular Basis of Carcinogenesis* (3cr)
[Elective] CLTR506 Study and Clinical Trial Design (2cr)
[Elective] CLTR507 Epidemiological Methods (3cr)
[Elective] GLID502 Perspectives in Infectious Disease* (3cr)
[Elective] GLOH640 Reproductive & Maternal Health* (3cr)
[Elective] GLOH650  Combatting Non-Communicative Diseases* (3cr)
[Elective] GLOH708 Access to Pharmaceuticals* (3cr)
[Elective] MICB562 Shaping National Science Policy* (3cr)
[Elective] MICB660 Concepts of Immunotherapy* (3cr)
[Elective] MICB705 Science Diplomacy & World Health (2cr)
[Elective] MICB803 Biosafety, Biosecurity, & Biodefense* (2cr)
[Elective] NSCI558 Molecular Mechanisms of Neurodegeneration* (3cr)