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Physiological Sciences (MS) 
Program Description

Physiologists are at the frontier of biomedical research and many of our discoveries and techniques are rapidly translated into clinical breakthroughs for diseases. Physiology is the study of all molecular, cellular and organ level processes that support the life of an organism. 

In the Physiological Sciences Program at the University of Arizona, graduate students work side-by-side with the faculty investigators addressing disease processes in diabetes, cardiovascular disease, neuroscience, cancer, and asthma. Our faculty use innovative research techniques and experimental approaches from molecular to human studies.

Physiology PhD graduates can enter careers in academia, industry, and government. Our faculty are nationally recognized scientists, with expertize in professional development and nationally recognized mentoring awards. We have an ethnically and educationally diverse student body, and offer both a PhD and a Research based Masters program (with funded Teaching Assistanships). Our program includes 60 faculty members from 19 departments, across 6 Colleges at the University of Arizona, and students have opportunities to work with scientists in clincial departments in the College of Medicine.

Department/Academic Unit(s)

Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs -

The Graduate College sponsors several Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs (GIDPs) in addition to the many interdisciplinary possibilities available through regular graduate degree programs. GIDPs transcend departmental boundaries by facilitating cutting edge teaching and research at the nexus of traditional disciplines. The high value placed on interdisciplinary research and education is indicative of The University of Arizona's enthusiasm and commitment to fostering innovation and creativity among its faculty and students.


Graduate College/GIDP  
Campus where offered
Main Campus - Tucson  
Admissions Contact
Mary K Quinlan
Graduate Program Coordinator
Mary K Quinlan
Director of Graduate Studies
John P Konhilas
Graduate College Degree Counselor
Christina M Inocencio
Tuition and Fees
Please refer to the UA Bursar's Office Tuition and Fees Calculator for up-to-date information about tuition and fees. 
Please refer to the UA Registrar's's Office Special Course Fees for up-to-date information about special course fees. 

Admissions Information

Admissions Requirements

Prior to applying to the Physiological Sciences Program at the University of Arizona, please ensure that you have the following: 

A bachelor's degree from a college or university that grants degrees recognized by the University of Arizona.
A minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.000 for the most recently completed 60 units of coursework.
Undergraduate courses in the basic sciences, however deficits in one area can be made up during the early phase of training if they are offset by strengths in other areas. Undergraduate coursework in the following is recommended:

2 semesters of coursework in the life sciences
2 semesters of inorganic chemistry with labs (biochemistry is strongly recommended)
1 semester of mathematics (preferably calculus)
2 semesters of physics with lab

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) standardized aptitutde test. The average cumulative GRE score of admitted students over the past two years was 1170.
Prior experience in a research laboratory is highly desirable althought not required.
International applicants must also provide official scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

Standardized Tests

Required test(s):

General GRE

Toefl required for International Applicants.

Financial Aid

There are three possible avenues of financial support for the Masters students:

Teaching assistantship
The teaching assistant administrative coordinator for the Department of Physiology will identify applicants who are qualified, based on experience and prior course work, to serve as teaching assistants in undergraduate courses. In addition to a commitment to teaching for at least one year, this option will also require research experience, which can be gained either as a research assistant in the second year or by enrolling for academic credit in an independent study or research rotation at any time.
Research assistantship
This option is available to students that have identified a faculty sponsor who can guarantee two years of financial support for the student (at 50% time) at the time of the student's application to the program. Applicants interested in this option should contact faculty members of interest directly or make their research interests known on their application form. The faculty sponsor must indicate that support will be provided if the student is accepted. Teaching will not be required.
Self support
Students must state in this circumstance that they can reasonably expect to have an independent means of support for 2 years, such as a 2 year fellowship, personal income from a job, or other options. The Physiological Sciences Program and the Dept. of Physiology have no responsibility for financial support for these Masters students. Teaching will not be required but the students must engage in laboratory research, which can be gained by enrolling for academic credit in an independent study or research rotation at any time.

In some cases, combinations of partial teaching assistantships and partial research assistantships may be arranged. Regardless of the avenue of support, all Masters applicants are held to the same minimum academic requirements for admission into the program.

Applicants to the program should mark their preference for which form of financial support they would prefer, however, the ultimate avenue of a student's financial support will be determined by the Physiological Sciences program upon acceptance.

Current TA/RA Support (2016-2017)

Annual Stipend (living expenses) $18,878 (Academic Appointment, August to May)
Benefit: Registration Fee Remission (tuition) up to $11,040
Benefit: Health Insurance $  2,308
Benefit: Out of State Tuition (if applicable) $18,322

Total Salary and Benefits  $50,548

Consider:  Cost of Living in Tucson


Admissions Deadlines

Domestic Applicants:

  • Fall: March 9
  • Spring: No Spring Admission

International Applicants:

  • Fall: March 9
  • Spring: No Spring Admission
International Conditional Admission
International applicants will not be considered for conditional admission by this program.
Other Information
The GRE Institution Code for The University of Arizona is 4832

Completion Requirements

Degree Requirements

Historically, the Master of Science degree signifies that the recipient has completed an integrated course of study and has taken the opportunity to become involved in research activities.


The M.S. degree requires a minimum of 30 units of graduate work, which includes required foundational coursework, additional coursework as determined on an individualized basis by the student's Master's Committee, and research units. Typically, students are able to attain their Master's degree in two years, barring exceptional circumstances.

Upon completion of the student's graduate units and with approval from the student's Master's Committee, the student will choose one of three options as the final requirement for the M.S. degree. The three options are:

a master's thesis,
a "1st author" research publication ready for submission to a peer reviewed journal,
a comprehensive oral examination administered by the student's Master's Committee.


Part of the student's course requirements consist of the following courses, in which the student must attain a "B" letter grade or better:

PSIO 503 - Cellular and Molecular Physiology
(6 units, Fall Semester)
PSIO 603 - Systems Physiology
(6 units, Spring semester)
PS 696c/PSIO 696a - Student Forum/Physiology Seminar
(2 units, taken each academic semester until graduation)

Student Forum meets every two weeks. It is an opportunity for graduate students to give talks and receive peer evaluation from Physiology students and faculty to improve their public speaking skills.

PS 700 or PSIO610 - Laboratory Rotation
(3 units, must be taken at least once)  

Students will select additional courses in consultation with their Master's Committee, with a goal of developing a study plan that is individually tailored to the student's particular interests and that will satisfy Graduate College requirements.

Research Units

Participation in research, under the supervision and guidance of a faculty member, allows students to learn valuable skills, to gain experience in the research "process", and to organize and present research results in both written and oral formats.

All Master's Students in the Master's program are expected to participate in research and are encouraged to take advantage of the excellent opportunities to experience the research process in the variety of different labs associated with the Physiological Sciences program.


Minor Requirements


Student Handbook  
Persistent link:
Last revised 29 Oct 2017