Curriculum

Overview

The MIP PhD Program is very flexible and each student's experience is individually tailored. The first two semesters of the program are designed to provide students with a broad background in the basics of biomedical research and physiology, including exposure to molecular, cellular and integrative approaches, research ethics and practice at oral communication. 

Physiology PhD students are required to take courses in Cell Signaling, Cell Physiology and Systems and Integrative Physiology; beyond that we invite you to select courses from a wide array offered at the Medical School and throughout the University. Our only requirement is that the course helps you meet your educational goals. Also during the first two terms, you’ll take student seminar to learn how to effectively present your research, and attend small group discussions on the responsible conduct of research and rigor and reproducibility in research. Finally, you will select at least two labs in which to perform research rotations; these can last either a half (7wk) or full term, giving you opportunity to sample several research areas and mentoring styles. Course requirements for the PhD in Physiology can be finished in the first academic year; certain training grants may have additional requirements and students often take additional electives later in their training (for example statistics is important but usually more fun once you have your own data to play with!).

At the end of your second term, you’ll choose a dissertation mentor and lab. This usually occurs in May of the first year. You’ll work with your mentor to develop a research proposal in the form of an NIH NRSA application that is presented as your preliminary exam before the end of your first year.

After prelims, you’ll devote most of your time to research and career development, as well as complete your teaching requirements and any additional courses of interest. Many students choose to enhance their rigorous research training with one of several Certificate Programs offered through the Rackham Graduate School. These programs are designed to dovetail with graduate education and provide specialized training in a variety of career paths, such as education, translational research, public policy and entrepreneurship.

Our student handbook details all the requirements and other aspects of the program and is available for anyone to download.  For more information, please feel free to contact the program director.