PhD in Medical Pharmacology and Physiology

Degree Requirements

The PhD requires satisfactory completion of at least 72 credit hours of coursework and defense of dissertation.  This includes at least two years of basic and advanced courses in physiology and/or pharmacology, as well as courses in cell and molecular biology. Included in course requirements is a minimum of 15 hours of 8000-9000 level courses, not including research courses (8090 or 9090). Students will also be trained in conducting physiological and pharmacological research in the laboratory of individual faculty members during the first year, including three 4-week laboratory rotations before the end of the first semester. The student will choose a dissertation mentor at or before the end of the first year and decide whether they wish to pursue the doctoral program in Pharmacology or Physiology. PhD students must serve as a teaching assistant for at least two semesters. Students are also required to present at the annual departmental student research update day each year that they are enrolled in the program. The doctoral program normally requires four to five years beyond the baccalaureate degree.

Required Courses
STAT 7070Statistical Methods for Research3
or STAT 7530 Analysis of Variance
or STAT 7510 Applied Statistical Models I
MPP 7422Medical Physiology4
MPP 7424Medical Pharmacology4
MPP 8412Seminar in Medical Pharmacology and Physiology (every semester)1
MPP 8415Responsible Conduct of Research thru Engagement, Enactment and Empowerment NIH and other Federal Age2
MPP 8420Skills in Biomedical Research2
MPP 9422Medical Pharmacology and Physiology Journal Club (every semester)1
MPP 9426Transmembrane Signaling4
BIOCHM 7270Biochemistry3
BIOCHM 7272Biochemistry3
Electives (must choose at least two)
MPP 9437Neural Cardiorespiratory Control3
MPP 9430Cardiovascular Physiology3
MPP 9431Control of Energy Metabolism3
MPP 9432Mammalian Membrane Physiology1-3
MPP 9434Microvascular Physiology4
MPP 9435Molecular Exercise Biology1-3
V_BSCI 8420Veterinary Physiology5
V_BSCI 5100Veterinary Neuroscience2

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Qualifying Examination Policy

The department does not require a formal qualifying examination. Successful completion of the core curriculum and satisfactory performance in conducting scientific research and teaching will qualify students for continuation in the PhD program.

Comprehensive Examination

All PhD program students must pass a comprehensive examination before the end of the first semester of the third year of enrollment. The usual format of the comprehensive exam includes the writing and oral defense of a research proposal outside of the student’s dissertation research area.


Each student must then carry out a dissertation research project, original in nature, which is expected to contribute significant new knowledge to the area of study. To facilitate this process, each student submits a dissertation research proposal within six months of passing the comprehensive examination.

Oral Defense

Finally, all PhD candidates must pass an oral defense of the dissertation and comply with all university and departmental regulations governing the PhD degree.


Application Deadlines

Fall deadline: December 15

Admission Criteria

  • Minimum GPA: 3.0 in the last 60 hours
  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college
  • Background in biology and chemistry and an understanding of mathematics and physics
  • Course work in biochemistry and physiology is highly recommended
  • Previous lab or research experience preferred
  • Minimum English proficiency scores, one of the following (International applicants only):
    • TOEFL Test Of English as Foreign Language (internet based) = 80
    • IELTS International English Language Testing System (overall academic score) = 6.5
    • PTE Pearson Test of English = 59
    • C1A Cambridge C1Advanced = 180
    • Duolingo English Test = 105

Students are usually admitted to begin their program in the Fall semester. 

Students with an appropriate educational background are encouraged to apply for entrance into the PhD program. A master’s degree is not a prerequisite for admission to the doctoral program. Deficiencies in course work may be remedied during the first years of the graduate program.

An application submitted through the University of Missouri Graduate School. The application will include the following:

  1. Copies or official copies of transcripts from all colleges and universities attended.
  2. Three letters of recommendation - written by individuals with knowledge of the student's academic capability
  3. Statement of Purpose - Provide in 400 words or less a brief description of research experience (abstract and paper citations preferred) and a statement of how the (M.S./Ph.D.) program will facilitate your career goals. 
  4. International students must submit copies or official copies of English proficiency test scores from either the TOEFL, IELTS, PTE, Cambridge C1 Advanced, or Duolingo examinations.  MU's minimum test scores are: 
    • TOEFL 80 (internet-based)
    • IELTS 6.5 (academic)
    • PTE 59
    • Cambridge C1 Advanced 180
    • Duolingo 105

Admission Contact Information
Lisa Putting
MA415 Medical Sciences Bldg, DCO63.00
Columbia, MO 65212

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