M.S. Program Course of Study

The core course sequence for the M.S. Program consists of Physiological Science 270ABC, which features critical analysis of the primary research literature in various topics in physiology. A general didactic knowledge of the field of physiology is gained through prior or concurrent completion of the undergraduate core course sequence (Physiological Science 111ABC) or equivalent prior coursework. The degree requires completion of 36 units including the Physiological Science 270 series, a four-unit graduate-level didactic course in molecular biology, and a second level statistics or research design course. A minimum of 24 units must be graduate level (200 series) courses, toward which two, letter-graded Physiological Science 596 courses (Individual Studies) may be applied. The student and the student's research mentor select elective coursework with approval by the faculty Graduate Affairs Committee. All coursework must be completed by the end of the second year. Physiological Science 598 (Research for and Preparation of the M.S. Thesis) may not be applied toward any of the course requirements for the degree. There is no limit on the number of times a master's student may enroll in course 598. For course lists and further information, see

Students complete a master's thesis based on original laboratory research in a specific area of physiology. If students have made a good faith effort to complete a laboratory research project but are unable to do so because of circumstances beyond their control, they may petition the Graduate Affairs Committee for approval to submit a non-laboratory research thesis. Approval is granted only under exceptional circumstances. Non-laboratory theses are based on the study of the primary research literature in a current question in modern physiology. Students who are granted approval to submit a non-laboratory thesis are required to make an oral presentation of the thesis topic to the advisory (thesis) committee.