Academics / Academic Programs

Master of Science in Human Physiology

Program Director:

Judith Schotland, PhD617-353-2718

In the master of science degree in Human Physiology program, you’ll select a specialized area for research and study. Cardiopulmonary disease. The neurobiology of memory. Regulating gene expression. The effects of aging on muscle physiology. The interaction of cognitive and emotional processes in the nervous system. There are dozens to choose from, including an athletic training track for those students interested in enhancing their credentials in the field.

But whatever you study, the program is really about you.

You design the curriculum, based on your own academic background, professional experience, and career objectives. Working with a faculty advisor, you schedule the required courses, pick your electives, and decide on directed study, research, and professional or teaching experiences. You choose a project that fascinates you for your scholarly paper (for those selecting the one year master’s option) or thesis (part of the two year degree requirements for those planning a career in research).

Sound like a lot of work and responsibility? It is. It’s also one of the most dynamic, flexible, and exciting environments anywhere to prepare for further study in biology, physiology, or neuroscience. If you want to pursue a career in biomedical research or follow a clinical career path in a hospital, pharmaceutical, or the biotech industry setting, the MS in Human Physiology is a great way to get there. And for licensed athletic trainers who want additional expertise using evidence to guide their athletic training practice, our athletic training concentration may be for you.

In addition to flexibility, the Sargent College program offers another major advantage: Boston University. At one of the world’s great research institutions, you’ll be surrounded by a rare variety of cutting-edge research—much of it interdisciplinary. Sargent College alone receives more than $10 million in outside funding, making it among the most highly funded colleges at BU.

Faculty Advisors

Your advisor will evaluate transcripts for courses to be transferred for credit from other educational institutions and, where applicable, set up dates for examinations and thesis defense. A faculty advisor will be assigned to you on the basis of your academic and scientific interests. But you may request reassignment if the expertise of another faculty member is more suitable.


Options for specialized study or research are virtually unlimited. Here are some examples:

  • Cellular and molecular physiology
  • Cytoskeletal biology
  • Protein-protein interactions
  • Mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases and preterm labor
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Regulation of skeletal muscle gene expression by alterations in physical activity patterns
  • Effects of aging on muscle physiology and function
  • Cardiovascular and stress responses to environmental challenges
  • Cognition and neural information processing
  • Organization of the frontal cortex
  • Interaction of cognitive and emotional processes in the nervous system