MS in Human Physiology

The Master of Science in Human Physiology program provides a dynamic and flexible environment for students interested in pursuing careers in biomedical research. The degree typically leads to a research or clinical career in hospital, pharmaceutical, or biotechnology settings. The program also provides a strong foundation for doctoral-level studies in biology, physiology, or neuroscience.

Admission Requirements

Applications for the combined program are accepted after the student has completed two years of undergraduate study.

The primary requirement for admission is a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university. The undergraduate program should have included study in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. The following coursework is required for admission:

A minimum of:

  • Three courses in the biological sciences
  • Two courses in chemistry
  • One course in math, statistics, or computer science

An applicant must submit scores on the general test of the Graduate Record Examination (institution code 3028), and three letters of reference, two of which should be academic references. Scores of 150 or more on the verbal and quantitative portions of the GRE are strongly recommended for a successful application.

Application Deadline

Application Deadline: The review of applications begins February 1.

Applications received after February 1 will be reviewed on a space-available basis, and financial aid availability may be limited.

Degree Requirements

A candidate must take at least 33 credits of graduate-level coursework. At least 20 of the 33 credits must be in courses offered by the Department of Health Sciences. Candidates for the master’s degree can complete the MS degree requirements by choosing to do either a scholarly paper (can be completed in one year) or a thesis (usually completed in two years) in addition to coursework. Those students electing to complete a scholarly paper to fulfill their degree requirements must determine a topic area with their advisor. Specific details regarding the scholarly paper are addressed in the graduate student manual. Those students electing to complete a master’s thesis to fulfill their degree requirements must formulate a mutual agreement with a departmental research advisor with the expertise and willingness to closely supervise their effort.

An overall grade point average of B or higher is required for graduation. No more than 8 credits of any C grades will be counted toward the degree. No grade below C is acceptable for inclusion in the 33-credit requirement.

Up to 8 credits of graduate coursework may be transferred, with departmental approval.


The following is the required curriculum for the Master of Science in Human Physiology program. Each course carries 4 credits unless otherwise indicated. The specific course requirements are intentionally left broad to allow students to concentrate on areas related to their career goals.

Core Courses (17 credits)

  • SPH BS 704 Biostatistics (3 cr)
  • SAR HS 750 Analysis of Physiological Literature (2 cr)

Plus three of the following:

  • SAR HS 542 Exercise Physiology
  • SAR HS 560 Muscle Biology
  • SAR HS 581 Gross Human Anatomy
  • SAR HS 582 Neuroanatomy/Neurophysiology
  • SAR HS 575 Cardiopulmonary Pathophysiology
  • CAS BI 552 Molecular Biology I
  • CAS BI 553 Molecular Biology II

In addition, students take either 4 credits of SAR HS 793 (scholarly paper) and 12 credits of electives or 16 credits of SAR HS 791 (thesis research). Electives, selected in consultation with the academic advisor, may be chosen from the list of core requirements or selected from other courses in the department as well as from courses in other departments in Sargent College and other colleges within Boston University.

A Selection of Elective/Specialization Courses

  • SAR HS 550 Neural Systems
  • SAR HS 710 Graduate Affiliation (var. cr.)
  • SAR HS 745 Advanced Regional Anatomy (var. cr.)
  • SAR HS 755 Readings in Neuroscience
  • SAR HS 776 Nutrition Epidemiology
  • SAR HP 565 Biomechanics
  • SAR HP 771 Foundations of Motor Control
  • SAR HP 782 Advanced Human Movement
  • SAR PT 520 Functional Anatomy
  • SAR RS 650 Philosophy of Science
  • GRS CH 621 Biochemistry I
  • GRS CH 622 Biochemistry II
  • GRS BI 655 Developmental Neurobiology
  • GRS BI 755 Cellular and Systems Neuroscience
  • GRS BI 756 Systems and Cognitive Neuroscience
  • CAS BB 522 Molecular Biology Laboratory
  • CAS BI 544 Cell Motility and Cytoskeleton
  • CAS BI 555 Techniques in Cell Biology
  • CAS BI 575 Techniques in Cellular and Molecular Biology
  • CAS CN 580 Introduction to Computational Neuroscience
  • GMS AN 702 Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
  • GMS AN 707 Neurobiology of Aging
  • GMS AN 808 Neuroanatomical Basis of Neurologic Disease
  • SPH EP 713 Introduction to Epidemiology