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Graduate Program

The department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology offers graduate education through the combined Program in Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS). Students in the BBS program are admitted via 1 of 7 tracks, based on areas of research interest. Students within the BBS program are eligible to perform their dissertation research with any of the more than 200 BBS-affiliated faculty, including all those affiliated with the Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology. All faculty within the department participate in the Molecular Medicine, Pharmacology and Physiology (MMPP) track and many are affiliated with the other tracks of the BBS.

Students enter the Cellular and Molecular Physiology graduate program after they have completed their first year of studies in the BBS program and have selected a faculty adviser under which they will perform their dissertation research. The goal of our graduate program is to prepare doctoral students for research careers in integrated biological function. Students develop and pursue individually tailored course curricula to provide them with a broad knowledge of biomedical sciences as well as to focus on areas of particular interest. The department expects students to acquire coherent knowledge of interrelated biophysical-physiological problems at several distinct levels: organ system function, cell and tissue behavior, and subcellular-molecular processes.


Students enrolled in the Cellular and Molecular Physiology Graduate Program are required to pass at least six graduate-level courses in the first year and a half to two years. Three courses are mandatory, two other advanced courses are selected from a recommended list, and one is fully elective. The courses should form a coherent background for the expected area of dissertation research. In addition, teaching is an important component of graduate training in the department and students are required to assist in teaching at least two semester-long courses.

In the second year, students must pass a qualifying examination. The examination consists of a written proposal, followed by a public presentation of the proposal by the student and an oral examination session by a Qualifying Examination Committee. After successful passage of the qualifying examination and required coursework, students submit a dissertation prospectus and are admitted to candidacy for the PhD degree. Completion of the degree requires the submission and oral defense of a dissertation describing original research under the supervision of the research advisor.

Admissions and Financial Aid

Students interested in joining the Cellular and Molecular Physiology program should apply to the combined graduate program in Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS), and specifically select the Molecular Medicine, Pharmacology, and Physiology (MMPP) track.

All students joining the BBS program are guaranteed funding for the duration of their Ph.D. research. Outside fellowships are also available through the NIH National Research Service Awards (NRSA) and NSF.

More information financial support available to graduate students is available on the BBS website.

Director of Graduate Studies for Cellular and Molecular Physiology