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.

Learning Outcomes

  • Foundation in physiology: Students will demonstrate knowledge of theory and existing research in physiology and/or neuroscience.
  • Evaluation of research: Students will identify and access appropriate resources, synthesize existing knowledge, and critically analyze and evaluate others’ findings.
  • Effective communication: All graduates will be able to communicate scientific results in a manner appropriate to the audience.
  • Professional behavior: Students will demonstrate responsible, professional behavior.
  • Prepared for a biomedical career: Students will have acquired the knowledge, skills, and experience to successfully enter biomedical/biotech careers or graduate programs.

Admission Requirements

Applicants should refer to the program website for the most up-to-date admission requirements and application deadlines.

Degree Requirements

Two 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

Students in the Preclinical Accelerated track must determine a topic area for their critical literature review (SAR HS 793, 4 cr) with their academic advisor in the Human Physiology program.

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 both the Research track and Preclinical Accelerated track, 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 or 18 credits)

  • SAR HS 750 The Physiologist’s Toolbox (2 cr)
  • SPH BS 704 Biostatistics (3 cr); or MET CS 546 Introduction to Probability and Statistics (4 cr); or CAS MA 415 Data Science in R (4 cr)

Plus three of the following:

  • CAS BI 552 Molecular Biology I (offered fall semester)
  • CAS BI 553 Molecular Biology II (offered spring semester)
  • SAR HS 534 Physiology of Sex (offered spring semester)
  • SAR HS 541 Physiology Across the Lifespan (offered fall semester)
  • SAR HS 542 Exercise Physiology (offered fall and spring semesters)
  • SAR HS 572 Pulmonary Pathophysiology (offered spring semester)
  • SAR HS 575 Cardiovascular Pathophysiology (offered fall semester)
  • SAR HS 581 Gross Human Anatomy (offered fall and spring semesters)
  • SAR HS 582 Neuroanatomy/Neurophysiology (offered spring semester)
  • SAR HS 592 Muscle Physiology (offered spring semester)

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

  • 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
  • GRS BI 655 Developmental Neurobiology
  • GRS BI 755 Cellular and Systems Neuroscience
  • GRS BI 756 Systems and Behavioral Neuroscience
  • GRS CH 621 Biochemistry I
  • GRS CH 622 Biochemistry II
  • SAR HP 532 Clinical Medicine
  • SAR HP 565 Biomechanics of Human Movement
  • SAR HP 771 Foundations of Motor Control
  • SAR HP 782 Advanced Human Movement
  • SAR HS 534 Physiology of Sex
  • SAR HS 541 Physiology Across the Lifespan
  • SAR HS 542 Exercise Physiology
  • SAR HS 550 Neural Systems
  • SAR HS 572 Pulmonary Pathophysiology (offered spring semester)
  • SAR HS 575 Cardiovascular Pathophysiology
  • SAR HS 581 Gross Human Anatomy (offered fall and spring semesters)
  • SAR HS 582 Neuroanatomy and Neurophysiology
  • SAR HS 592 Muscle Physiology
  • 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 PT 520 Functional Anatomy
  • SAR PT 634 Diagnostic Procedures for Rehabilitation Professionals
  • SAR RS 790 Teaching Skills
  • SPH PH 717 Quantitative Methods for Public Health
  • SPH PM 702 Introduction to Health Policy, Delivery, and Management

    NOTE: Students are encouraged to explore other elective/specialization courses that can be found throughout Sargent College as well as other colleges within Boston University (e.g., the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences (GRS), College of Engineering (ENG), School of Medicine (MED), Graduate Medical Sciences (GMS), and School of Public Health (SPH)). Students must discuss their course selection with their MS HP faculty advisor or the HP Program Director prior to registering for the courses.