Education

Master's Program

Admission requirements for the Master of Science (M.S.) Program in Physiology and Biophysics

Master of Science Degree

All prospective students for the Master of Science must enter through the Certificate Program. A minimum of two semesters in residence is required for the MS. This requirement can be waived by the Director of Graduate studies or the Chairman of the Thesis Committee. Although in principle it is possible to complete the work in one year, it is most unusual for a student to do so in less than two years. A typical curriculum for the first year, including required CERT and elective MS courses, is given below:

First Year

Fall Semester

  • Physiology (PHIS 501), 5 credits
  • Cell Physiology (PHIS 604), 4 credits
  • Biochemistry/Microbiology (BIOC 503), 5 credits
  • Seminar (PHIS 690), 1 credit
  • Special Topics in Physiology and Biophysics (PHIS 691-803), 1 credit
  • Special Topics in Physiology and Biophysics (PHIS 691-806), 1 credit
  • Research (PHIS 697), 3 credits

Spring Semester

  • Biochemistry/Microbiology (MICR 504), 5 credits
  • Seminar (PHIS 690), 1 credit
  • Research (PHIS 697), 4 credits

Research is done in the laboratory of the chosen advisor or a candidate may rotate through several labs before deciding on a lab in which to do a thesis. Students are required to register for the Departmental Seminar (1 credit) each semester and Student Seminar (1 credit) for two semesters. They may take elective courses, but after the first year should devote as much effort as possible to research and preparation of the thesis. It is strongly recommended that masters degree candidates take Scientific Integrity (MICR 510) as an elective.

Thesis and Final Examination

The thesis must be submitted to the Graduate Advisory Committee at least three weeks prior to the Final Examination. The Final Examination is an oral examination covering formal course work as well as being a defense of the thesis. Students must have a grade point average of at least 3.0 overall and in courses within the Department of Physiology and Biophysics in order to take this examination. The examiners are the Graduate Advisory Committee and the Dean of Medicine or his representative. The examination is open to the faculty but only the examiners may vote. Their unanimous approval of the thesis with no more than one negative vote on the candidate’s performance on the examination is required. Upon successful completion of the examination, the candidate is recommended to the Graduate Faculty, General Faculty, and President for awarding of the degree.

VCU Department of Physiology and BiophysicsVirginia Commonwealth UniversityVCU Medical Center
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