2008 - 2009 Site Archive



Graduate Bulletin

Physiology, M.S.


Admission Requirements and Deadlines
Application Deadline:

Fall: May 1

Applications are processed through the deadline.

APPLY ONLINE to this graduate program.

Letters of Reference:

Number Required: 3

From Whom: Letters of recommendation should be obtained from college/university faculty members familiar with the student's academic performance and employers and supervisors who can attest to an applicant's maturity and ability to do graduate school work.

Coursework Required for Admission Consideration:

Coursework in Biology and Chemistry is required.

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline:

A baccalaureate degree in Biochemistry, Biology, Biophysics, Chemistry, Engineering, Physics, or Zoology is required.

Statement of Goals:

The Statement of Goals should be approximately 500-1,000 words and should include the following elements: your specific interest in Temple's program; your research goals; your future career goals; and your academic and research achievements.

Standardized Test Scores:

The GRE is required. Typical applicants have verbal and quantitative scores greater than 600.

Minimum TOEFL score needed to be accepted: 550 paper-based, 213 computer-based, or 79 internet-based.


The top 50% of the applicants will be invited to interview with the Admissions Committee. The Department will schedule individual interviews. Alternate arrangements can be made for extenuating circumstances which preclude on-site interviews.


A resume is required.

Test Waivers:

Test waivers are considered on an individual basis, but are typically granted when transferring from another graduate program or professional school.

Program Requirements
General Program Requirements:

Number of Didactic Credits Required Beyond the Baccalaureate: 36

Required Courses:

Anatomy/Cell Biology 5151:  Cell Structure and Function

Medical Biochemistry, including the Molecular Biology and Endocrinology modules

Physiology 5851:  Principles of Physiology

Physiology 9801:  Physiology

Physiology 9802:  Molecular and Cellular Physiology

Physiology 9804:  Pulmonary Physiology

Physiology 9805:  Cardiovascular Physiology

Physiology 9810:  Physiology Journal Club

Physiology 9814:  Experimental Physiology

Physiology 9819:  Gastrointestinal Function

Statistics (at the School of Medicine)

View all COURSE OFFERINGS in Physiology.

Internship: No internship is required.

Language Examination: No language examination is required.

Additional Requirements:

The student must complete a suitable research project under the supervision of a faculty member, leading to a master's thesis. The master's thesis should be a significant piece of research in Physiology that is suitable, in the opinion of the student's advisory committee, for publication in a peer-reviewed Physiology journal. The acceptability of the thesis is determined by the committee. The actual submission to a peer-reviewed journal is encouraged but not a requirement for the M.S. degree. The student must present the research to the department as an oral seminar.

Culminating Events:

Comprehensive Examination:

The written comprehensive exam tests the retention and integration of physiological facts and concepts obtained through the student's didactic coursework. It covers the material from Physiology courses. (Material from courses taken outside the department is not tested.)

The exam is divided into four separate components. Four hours are allowed to complete each of the four components. Two of the components consist of multiple-choice questions covering the formal coursework. The other two components are comprised of essay-type questions that include calculations and problem solving wherein the student is expected to explicitly describe the underlying logic of the answer. The Graduate Faculty in the Physiology program write the questions.

Comprehensive examinations are administered once a year, in April. The examination runs for two days, from 8 a.m. to 12 noon, and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. It is proctored by a faculty member. The student takes the exam in the Spring semester of the second year, after the required formal coursework is completed.

In grading the exam, the evaluators look for an understanding of core concepts, adequate knowledge of facts, and the application of physiological principles and problem-solving skills. Students must achieve a score of 80% on the written preliminary exam to qualify as satisfactorily completing this requirement.


The master's thesis is a description of the original scientific research carried out by the student. The thesis should demonstrate the student's knowledge of both research methods and a mastery of her/his primary area of interest. It should be a significant piece of research in Physiology that is suitable, in the opinion of the student's advisory committee, for publication in a peer-reviewed Physiology journal. The acceptability of the thesis is determined by the committee, and the actual submission to, and acceptance by, a peer-reviewed journal is encouraged but not a requirement for the M.S. degree. Students are required to present their master's theses publicly to the academic community in the form of an oral seminar, and to answer all questions from the audience. The oral seminar is not a formal defense, however.

A student preparing to present a thesis should confirm a time and date with the Master's Committee and register with the Graduate Secretary. After the time, date, and room are approved, the student will post flyers announcing the thesis presentation.

The student's Master's Committee is responsible for evaluating the thesis. The Committee will evaluate the student's ability to express in writing her/his research question, methodological approach, primary findings, and implications. The Committee will vote to pass or fail the thesis. If the student must make revisions, those changes must be approved as arranged by the Committee.

Program Contact Information:


Department Information:

Dept. of Physiology
School of Medicine
Philadelphia, PA 19140


Department Contacts:


Steven P. Driska, Ph.D.


Graduate Program Director:

Michael Autieri, Ph.D.




Steven R. Houser, Ph.D.



About the Program

Graduate students may pursue their research interests in Physiology using a wide variety of techniques from the molecular to the systemic level. The Physiology Department has faculty members conducting research and publishing in the areas of cardiac, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, smooth muscle, platelets, and pulmonary physiology. Graduate programs with an emphasis on exercise physiology are provided in collaboration with the research faculty of the Kinesiology Department. Generally 2 years are required for completion of the M.S. program. Graduates pursue research, corporate, or academic positions.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 3 years

Campus Location:

Health Sciences

Full-Time/Part-Time Status:

Students are required to complete the degree program through classes offered before 4:30 p.m.

Department Information:

Dept. of Physiology
School of Medicine
Philadelphia, PA 19140


Interdisciplinary Study:

Members of the department affiliated with the Sol Sherry Thrombosis Research Center provide opportunities for students to do interdisciplinary research in thrombosis. Likewise, members of the department affiliated with the Cardiovascular Research Center allow students to do interdisciplinary research in a broad range of cardiovascular areas, both basic and clinical.


Not applicable.

Study Abroad:



Not applicable.


Not applicable.

Areas of Specialization:

Research specialties of the faculty include cardiac electrophysiology, heart failure, cardiovascular physiology, pulmonary physiology (including the use of perfluorochemicals for liquid breathing and cryoablation), neonatal development of the pulmonary system, airway and gastrointestinal smooth muscle physiology, inflammation, platelet physiology, and G-protein coupled receptors.

Job Placement:

Graduates with the M.S. degree typically find employment in research institutions, the pharmaceutical industry, secondary education, and the government. Some students with the M.S. degree go on to professional education in medicine, dentistry, and veterinary medicine. The M.S. degree provides excellent preparation for all these pursuits.


Not applicable.

Non-Degree Student Policy:

The department allows non-matriculated students to take selected graduate courses such as Principles of Physiology. If the student matriculates in a degree program, some of these credits may be transferred to meet program requirements, consistent with Graduate School guidelines and regulations.

Financing Opportunities

Funding is typically reserved for doctoral students.

Updated 2.4.09