The University of South Alabama College of Medicine's Ph.D. program in the Basic Medical Sciences started in 1978 and a total of 130 Ph.D's have been awarded since the program's inception. These predoctoral students were selected from a large national and international pool of applicants.

The advanced program in physiology represents an integrated approach to graduate training that focuses upon cardiovascular and pulmonary research. Research in the Department of Physiology is well funded from a number of extramural sources. Our faculty published approximately 100 papers and abstracts per year and have authored or edited a number of textbooks and monographs over the last 5 years. Our faculty have international reputation for leadership and excellence in this field, and are routinely invited to speak at many national and international symposia last year, many of which they organized and chaired. In addition, several faculty serve as officers and committee members of national and international societies, as well as on review committees for funding agencies such as the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association.

The Curriculum

The advanced program in Physiology provides the student with a didactic training not only in Physiology but also in related areas. Our intent is to equip the student with an integrated understanding of physiology from the whole organ to the cellular and molecular level, in order to prepare students for research positions in academic and industry in the 21st century.

All students are required to satisfactorily complete the interdisciplinary core curriculum in the Basic Medical Sciences Graduate Program during the first year. Research and the focus on Physiology begins in the second year. Students are expected to attend seminars and journal clubs. The advanced course work and dissertation research is usually completed within five years. Our graduates have obtained outstanding postdoctoral positions and subsequent employment in universities and laboratories throughout the United States.

Year 1

Interdisciplinary Core Curriculum

Years 2- 3

Required Advanced Coursework

  • Medical Physiology PHS 550, 8 cr
  • Advanced Cardiovascular Physiology PHS 651, 5cr
    Lung Biology IDL 630, 4cr
  • Advanced Signal Transduction IDL 635, 4cr

Electives (minimum 1 course)

  • Transport Across Physiological Barriers PHS 654, 3cr
  • Lung Pathobiology IDL 631, 4cr
  • Molecular Biology BCH 622, 3cr
  • Special Topics in Physiology PHS 590, 1-3 cr
  • Other COM courses, as approved


  • Directed Studies PHS 557
  • Pertinent Journal Club

Qualifying Exam

  • Should be completed by the end of the third year in the Graduate Program

Years 4-5

Dissertation Research
  • Research / Dissertation PHS 799
  • Pertinent Journal Club

Non-didactic Requirements

  • Cell Signaling Seminar Series
  • Distinguished Scientist Seminar Series


We are recruiting students trained in biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics or related disciplines to fill predoctoral positions beginning each August. The basic requirements for entrance into the Graduate Program are:

  1. A bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university.
  2. A grade-point average of B or better (3.0 on a 4.0 scale).
  3. Satisfactory performance on the Graduate Record Examination (Minimum 1000 composite in Verbal + Quantitative)
  4. Courses in biology, physics, organic chemistry, and mathematics through calculus. Other courses which are recommended include statistics, physical chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, cell physiology, etc.

Financial Aid

Financial support allows students to devote their full-time efforts toward graduate studies. Starting Fall 2003, all students receive a stipend of $20,000 per year. Tuition is waived for each year of enrollment and health insurance is provided. In addition, students enrolled in our graduate training program will be eligible to compete for predoctoral fellowships from various funding agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and a variety of private foundations.

Application Information

Phone: (251) 460-7004

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