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Education / Graduate Education / PhD Programs / Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology / Students / Student Handbook / Program for Masters Degree in Pharmacology or Physiology

Program for Masters Degree in Pharmacology or Physiology

The Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology program also accepts students seeking a Master’s Degree in Pharmacology or Physiology. Master’s students can complete either a Plan A (research focus) or Plan B (academic/literature focus) master’s program. Plan A students may, at their discretion, identify a Master’s thesis advisor prior to entry into the program, or complete 2-3 research rotations prior to selecting a laboratory in which to complete their thesis. However, a thesis advisor must be identified and approved prior to the second year of study. Once a thesis advisor is selected, Plan A students will work in the laboratory to complete their thesis project. Depending on whether rotations are performed, total time to completion of degree for Plan A is expected to be 2 ½ -3 years.

Plan B students must, at the end of their first year of study, identify an advisor for their Master’s Essay, typically a faculty member with expertise in the field. Students typically take at least one semester to write their Master’s Essay. Total time to completion of degree for Plan B is expected to be 2 years.

General Requirements

Both Plan A and Plan B students must complete the following:

  1. All “required courses” as outlined for the Ph.D. program in Section A, including four credits of seminar (PHP 502).
  2. Complete 5 additional credit hours of elective course credit from the list outlined for the Ph.D. program in Section A.
  3. A minimum of 30 hours of graduate credit.

In addition, Plan A students must

  1. Prepare a dissertation based in part on original material that displays thorough acquaintance with a limited subject. This dissertation will be similar in format to a Ph.D. dissertation, but more limited in scope.
  2. Successfully complete a final oral examination that focuses on the thesis defense, but may include examination of general competency in pharmacology or physiology. Students preparing for this examination should review the description of the qualifying examination for Ph.D. candidates, as their exam will be similar in format, if not in scope.

In addition, Plan B students must

  1. Complete a Master's Essay that presents a critical review of a topic of current pharmacologic or physiologic relevance. Minimum length of 10 pages, excluding references. Format: single-spaced, 12pt font, < 1 inch margin, figures included as appropriate. The Master’s Essay should be similar in scope and organization to a review article published in any peer-reviewed journal, including in-depth analysis and critical evaluation of the current literature in the field.
  2. Successfully complete a comprehensive oral examination in pharmacology and physiology. The Program Director will appoint an examination committee who will oversee the exam. This committee will consist of 2-3 department faculty plus the student’s advisor. The student is responsible for scheduling the oral exam at least 30 days in advance of the exam date. In addition, the student must provide the committee members with their completed Master’s Essay at least 10 business days prior to the exam. The exam will consist of an approximately 20 minute presentation by the student of their critical review, followed by questioning by the committee.