The Ph.D. in Molecular and Integrative Physiology prepares the student for a career in independent research in the broad are of Physiology.  The Ph.D. is most often followed by one or more years of postdoctoral training in a specific area of research.  Acquisition of a Ph.D. in Molecular and Integrative Physiology allows the individual to pursue positions in industry or government and following postdoctoral experience opportunities are available at the college or university level.

Upon acceptance into the graduate program in Molecular and Integrative Physiology, the student will select a research track for their subsequent studies.  Three different tracks are available to the student:

  • Cellular & Integrative Physiology
  • Neuroscience
  • Reproduction & Development

Each track has specialized curriculum requirements that must be followed for degree completion.

The application process is an online process. Application to this graduate program is facilitated through the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences (IGPBS). Detailed instructions on how to apply and the application deadlines are posted on the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences website

Admission requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution documented by submission of official transcript indicating the degree has been conferred before entering the program. Official transcripts from institutions attended post-baccalaureate are also required.
    Students with degrees from outside the U.S. may be subject to transcript evaluation indicating the degree is equivalent to a U.S. degree and meets the minimum cumulative GPA requirements.
  • A cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of at least a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for the bachelor’s degree.
  • Applicants who are not native speakers of English, whether domestic or international, must demonstrate they meet the Minimum English Proficiency Requirement.
  • A background check is required during the admission process; it may affect the student's eligibility to enter the program.
  • An official copy of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score sent from Educational Testing Service (ETS) to University of Kansas Medical Center - ETS institutional code 6895.
  • Three letters of recommendation.
  • Prerequisite coursework:
    • One year of general chemistry
    • One year of organic chemistry or one semester of organic chemistry and one semester of biochemistry
    • One year of biological sciences
    • One semester of calculus
    • One semester of physics
  • Research experience (beyond labs associated with lecture courses) is strongly suggested.
  • Interview - the most qualified applicants will receive an invitation for an interview.

Applicants will be assessed based on a combination of GPA, research experience, interview and GRE scores. Students not meeting the above requirements may be eligible for provisional admission.  After an applicant has been admitted, a program may defer an applicant's admission for one year after which time the applicant must submit a new application.

Admission requirements are subject to change. In most cases, use the catalog of the year student entered the program. Other years’ catalogs».


The program consists of coursework, research experience, and the successful completion of a doctoral dissertation. Dissertation research culminates in a final dissertation examination consisting of an oral presentation by the candidate and an examination by the faculty. Relevant prior graduate work is taken into consideration in setting up individual programs of study leading to the Ph.D.

Degree Requirements:

  • Degree requirements are normally completed within 6 years of admission to the program although a maximum of 8 years is allowed.
  • Cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of at least a 3.0 for all KU graduate coursework.
  • Successful completion of the University’s Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship requirement prior to the semester the Oral Comprehensive Examination is scheduled.
    • Successful completion of GSMC 857 Biographics, GSMC 852 Introduction to Biomedical Research I and GSMC 855 Introduction to Biomedical Research II (or equivalent) meets the Research Skills requirement.
    • Successful completion of GSMC 856 Introduction to Research Ethics (or equivalent) meets the Responsible Scholarship requirement.
  • Successful completion of the Residence Requirement by enrollment in full-time status a minimum of two semesters prior to the semester the Oral Comprehensive Examination is scheduled.
  • Successful completion of the Oral Comprehensive Examination.  Students are recognized as formal doctoral candidates after they have passed the comprehensive examination.
  • Successful completion of the Post-Comprehensive Enrollment requirement.
  • Enrollment in a minimum of one (1) credit hour of PHSL 999 Doctoral Dissertation the semester the student will defend dissertation and graduate.
  • Successful completion of the Final Oral Examination (dissertation defense.)
  • Successful Dissertation Submission and Publication (according to Office of Graduate Studies policy.)
  • Successful completion of the following Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Biomedical Science (IGPBS) courses (or their equivalent):
    GSMC 850Proteins and Metabolism2
    GSMC 851Molecular Genetics2
    GSMC 852Introduction to Biomedical Research I2
    GSMC 853Cellular Structure2
    GSMC 854Cell Communication2
    GSMC 855Introduction to Biomedical Research II2
    GSMC 856Introduction to Research Ethics1
    GSMC 857Biographics1
    GSMC 858Introduction to Faculty Research1
    GSMC 859Research Rotations1-4
  • Successful completion of the following core Physiology courses:
    PHSL 842Comprehensive Human Physiology (or equivalent)5
    PHSL 843Physiology of Disease3
    PHSL 850Research1-10
    PHSL 851Seminar1
    PHSL 999Doctoral Dissertation1-10
  • Successful completion of track-specific requirements.  Choose from one of the three tracks: Cellular & Integrative Physiology, Neuroscience or Reproduction & Development in consultation with the student's advisor.
    • Cellular & Integrative Physiology
      • Minimum of three (3) credit hours of electives.  Choose from the following courses:
        PHSL 835Integrative Physiology of Exercise3
        or PHSL 838 Advanced Topics
        or PHSL 840 Advanced Genetic Analysis
        or CBIO 800 Mechanisms of Tumor Development and Progression: Colloquium Format
        or CBIO 900 Carcinogenesis and Cancer Biology
        or other electives with approval by Graduate Director
  • Neuroscience
    • Minimum of three (3) credit hours of electives. Choose from the following courses:
      PHSL 844Neurophysiology3
      or PHSL 846 Advanced Neuroscience
      or PHSL 847 Developmental Neurobiology
      or PHSL 848 Molecular Mechanisms of Neurological Disorders
      or other electives with approval by Graduate Director
  • Reproduction & Development
    • Minimum of three (3) credit hours of electives. Choose from the following courses:
      PHSL 834Reproductive Physiology5
      and other electives with approval by Graduate Director

Students enrolled in the MD-PhD Physician Scientist Training Program should review the Degree Requirements section of this catalog for that program

Degree requirements and course descriptions are subject to change. Any courses taken as an equivalent must be approved by the Graduate Director and the Office of Graduate Studies. In most cases, use the catalog of the year student entered the program. Other years’ catalogs».


Typical Plan of Study

Year 1
GSMC 8502GSMC 8532GSMC 8591-4
GSMC 8512GSMC 8542May take an elective course from the student's chosen degree program in consultation with the student's advisor.1-3
GSMC 8522GSMC 8552 
GSMC 8561GSMC 8591-4 
GSMC 8571  
GSMC 8581  
GSMC 8591-4  
 10-13 7-10 2-7
Total Hours: 19-30
Year 2
PHSL 8425PHSL 8433PHSL 8501-6
PHSL 8501-6PHSL 8501-6Track-specific course when available1-6
 Track-specific course when available1-6 
 6-11 5-15 2-12
Year 3
PHSL 8501-6PHSL 8501-6PHSL 8501-6
Track-specific course when available1-6PHSL 8511Track-specific course when available1-6
Oral Comprehensive Exam scheduled during this semester if approved by committee to proceed. Track-specific course when available1-6 
 2-12 3-13 2-12
Year 4
PHSL 8501-6PHSL 8501-6PHSL 8501-3
PHSL 8511PHSL 8511 
 2-7 2-7 1-3
Year 5
PHSL 8501-6PHSL 8501-6PHSL 8501-3
PHSL 8511PHSL 8511 
 2-7 2-7 1-3
Year 6
PHSL 9991PHSL 9991PHSL 9991
Final Oral Exam (dissertation defense) scheduled semester approved by committee to defend and graduate.   
 1 1 1
Total Hours: 33-112