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

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. Applicants for the Athletic Training track must be eligible for a Massachusetts state athletic trainer license.

Application Deadline

Application Deadline: The review of applications begins January 15.

Applications received after January 15 will be reviewed on a space-available basis, and financial aid availability may be limited.

Degree Requirements

Three tracks are available for the master’s degree in Human Physiology:

  1. Research track: 33 credits, research-based thesis, usually completed in two years
  2. Preclinical Accelerated track: 33 credits, critical literature review, can be completed in one year
  3. Athletic Training track: 30 credits, critical literature review, ½ time study and ½ time athletic training graduate assistantship, usually completed in two years

Students in the Athletic Training and Preclinical Accelerated tracks must determine a topic area for their critical literature review with their advisor. Students in the Research track must formulate a mutual agreement with a departmental research advisor with the expertise and willingness to closely supervise their research project. Specific details regarding the research-based thesis and critical literature review are addressed in the Graduate Student Manual available on our website.

For all three tracks, at least 20 credits must be in courses offered by the Department of Health Sciences. 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.

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


Research and Preclinical Accelerated Tracks

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 Critical Analysis of Physiological Information Sources (2 cr)

Plus three of the following:

  • SAR HS 542 Exercise Physiology
  • 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 (Critical Literature Review) and 12 credits of electives or 16 credits of SAR HS 791 (Directed Study and 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 or schools 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
  • 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 Behavioral Neuroscience
  • CAS BB 522 Molecular Biology Laboratory
  • CAS BI 525 Biology of Neurodegenerative Diseases
  • CAS BI 545 Neurobiology of Motivated Behavior
  • CAS BI 556 Membrane Biochemistry and Cell Signaling
  • CAS BI 560 Systems Biology
  • CAS CN 500 Computational Methods in Cognitive and Neural Systems
  • GMS AN 702 Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
  • GMS AN 707 Neurobiology of Aging
  • GMS AN 709 Neural Development and Plasticity
  • GMS AN 716 Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
  • GMS AN 718 Methods in Neuroscience
  • GMS AN 777 Fundamentals of Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • GMS AN 811 Cognitive Neuroscience
  • SPH PH 717 Quantitative Methods for Public Health
Athletic Training Track

Year 1

  • Fall: SPH BS 704 Introduction to Biostatistics (3 cr)
  • Spring: SAR HP 572 Principles of Evidence-Based Practice (3 cr)

Year 2

  • Fall: SAR AT 672 Patient-Oriented Evidence for Athletic Trainers (4 cr)
  • Spring: SAR HS 793 Critical Literature Review (4 cr)*

Each semester you will also take one of the following courses (16 credits total):

  • SAR HS 581 Gross Anatomy
  • SAR HS 582 Neuroanatomy and Neurophysiology
  • SAR HS 575 Cardiopulmonary Pathophysiology
  • SAR HP 532 Clinical Medicine
  • SAR HP 565 Biomechanics of Human Movement
  • SAR PT 520 Functional Anatomy
  • SAR PT 634 Diagnostic Procedures for Rehabilitation Professionals
  • SAR RS 790 Teaching Skills
  • SPH PM 702 Introduction to Health Policy, Delivery, and Management

*Students in the MS-AT track will register for 4 credits of Critical Literature Review (SAR HS 793) in their last semester. The student, in consultation with a mentor from the Athletic Training program, will write an in-depth review, analysis, and synthesis of a research-related topic of scientific and/or professional relevance.