NYMC > Graduate School of Basic Medical Sciences (GSBMS) > GSBMS Academics > Degrees & Programs > Doctor of Philosophy > Physiology > Program overview

Program Overview

Doctor of Philosophy

Specific Program Requirements (Hegis Code 0410)

Students may enter the Ph.D. program in one of three ways: (1) via our Integrated Ph.D. Program (IPP), which does not require a declaration of a major until the second year of study, (2) with advanced standing following the completion of one of the Graduate School’s Master’s programs, or (3) highly motivated and talented students from NYMC’s School of Medicine may be admitted to the dual-degree M.D./Ph.D. program.

Students must achieve an overall “B” average in physiology courses (core and elective) (GPA ≥ 3.00). Elective credits are normally earned only through advanced physiology courses (catalog #s 2000-7999), but upper level courses offered by other departments may qualify for elective credit with the approval of the physiology program director. Only didactic (lettergraded) courses may be used to fulfill elective credit requirements. PHYM 8300 (Practical Laboratory) must be taken each Spring and PHYM 8010 (Journal Club) and PHYM 8020 (Seminar / Research Rounds) each semester in residence. Research rotations (BMSM 9110 or PHYM 9110) are required in each track, as specified below. Following selection of a dissertation sponsor, students register for PHYM 9200 (Research Techniques) each semester until achieving candidacy, and PHYM 9900 (Doctoral Dissertation Research) each semester thereafter until the dissertation research is completed.

Entry through the Integrated Ph.D. Program

The Integrated Ph.D. program overview can be found in the IPP section of our website.

Entry with Advanced Standing

Required Courses  
Mammalian Physiology I & II (PHYM 1010, 1020) 8 credits
General Biochemistry I & II (BCHM 1010, 1020)
  OR Pharmacology I and II (PHRM 1010, 1020)
8 credits
8 credits
Lectures in Histology (CBAM 1320) *
  OR Cell Biology (CBAM 1360)
  OR Biochemistry of Gene Expression (BCHM 1250)
3 credits
3 credits
4 credits
Life in Biomedical Rresearch I and II (BMSM 3510, 3520) * 4 credits
Responsible Conduct of Research (BMSM 2020) 2 credits
Statistics for Basic Medical Sciences (BMSM 1200) 2 credits
Electives (didactic credits only) 8-10 credits

37 credits

* If Histology (CBAM 1320) is taken, then Histology Laboratory (CBAM 1330) may be counted towards fulfillment of degree requirements. During their first year, students undertake at least two research rotations (PHYM 9110) in different laboratories in order to gain an appreciation of different areas and strategies of investigation and to determine a suitable dissertation advisor. The number of rotations may be reduced based on the student’s prior laboratory experience.These courses may be taken multiple times, but only the indicated number of credits may be applied to Ph.D. credit requirements.

Entry as an M.D./Ph.D. 

The M.D./Ph.D.  program overview can be found in the M.D./Ph.D. section of our website.

Qualifying Examination

This exam consists of two parts.

Part 1: Ph.D. students must take a Preliminary Exam after the first year of study. This exam consists of essay questions on topics in all aspects of cellular and systems physiology. The written exam is followed by an oral examination on selected topics.

Part 2: After the second year, the candidate's are tested for in-depth knowledge of their field of specialization and their capacity for critical analysis. This involves preparation of a written scholarly review of an assigned topic, followed by a formal oral presentation of the topic and oral examination by the faculty.


The student is eligible to enter doctoral candidacy after successful completion of both parts of the Qualifying Exam, the accumulation of at least 30 didactic credits including all the required courses, and the recommendation of the program faculty. M.D./Ph.D. students are eligible for candidacy under the same conditions except that the credit requirement consists only of the required graduate courses and the Qualifying Exam consists of the modified version described above.

Dissertation Committee

The dissertation committee must comprise at least 5 members, including the sponsor, at least three members of the Physiology Graduate Faculty and one graduate faculty member from another program. One member may be from another institution. The research sponsor serves as chair of the committee.