Physiology — M.S., Ph.D.

Program coordinator
John H. Zhang

The School of Medicine's Division of Physiology offers curricula leading to the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. The core curriculum provides a broad background in physiology.  In this Christian environment in which students pursue study oriented to their specific interests, individual attention is assured by maintenance of a small student/faculty ratio.

The research-oriented curriculum leading to the Ph.D. degree is designed to provide students with the information and tools needed to succeed as independent, lifelong learners and investigators in careers that include independent research and teaching in university, clinical, biotechnological, or government environments. The program offers cutting-edge opportunities in areas of research excellence that are supported by nationally competitive extramural funding. These areas include perinatal biology, health disparities, neurosciences, and cardiovascular science.  Doctoral degree students are expected to develop creativity and independence, in addition to technical skills.

The goal of the thesis or research Master of Science degree is to provide training opportunities for individuals who will pursue technical jobs in biomedical research laboratories either in universities or in biotechnology industry; or for students who will continue education in other professional schools, including medicine or dentistry.

Program student learning outcomes

  1. Students will demonstrate a broad knowledge of the biomedical sciences.
  2. Students will demonstrate subject mastery in molecular, cellular, and integrative aspects of physiology.
  3. Students will interpret the current literature in physiology.
  4. Students will make original contributions to the body of biomedical knowledge.
  5. Students will demonstrate an understanding of the principles of scientific and professional ethics.
  6. Students will understand the process of applying for external funding.*
*

This objective is not applicable to M.S. degree students. 

In addition to Loma Linda University application requirements, the applicant must also complete the following prerequisites:

  • a bachelor's degree from an accredited U.S. college or the equivalent from an international university.
  • results of the general test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE): A total (verbal plus quantitative) score of no less than the sum of the scores corresponding to the 50th percentile of each, with neither score less than the 35th percentile; analytical writing 4.0. GRE scores older than 5 years from the date of matriculation are not considered.
  • a full year of each of the following undergraduate courses:
    • general biology
    • general chemistry
    • organic chemistry
    • general physics
    • biochemistry (a minimum of one quarter/semester)

Strongly Recommended:

  • upper division biology (such as cell and molecular biology) 
  • a full year of biochemistry with labs
  • research experience
  • calculus

PLEASE NOTE: CLEP (College-Level  Examination Program), pass/fail performances, and online classes are not acceptable for the science required courses. Additionally, science credits earned in professional schools (e.g., allied health professions, business, dentistry, nursing or pharmacy) do not fulfill requirements for admissions to the graduate program.

The program reserves the right to decide on the equivalence of courses presented by the applicant.

A minimum of 45 units is required for the M.S. degree, as detailed in the table below. Two options, a research track and a course work track, are available. Students must maintain a G.P.A. of at least 3.0. Students must adhere to all University and program policies as published in the Student Handbook, University CATALOG, or "Student Guide." Policies and requirements are subject to change.

Basic science core
IBGS 501Biomedical Communication and Integrity2
IBGS 502Biomedical Information and Statistics2
IBGS 511Cellular Mechanisms and Integrated Systems I6
IBGS 512Cellular Mechanisms and Integrated Systems II6
IBGS 522Cellular Mechanisms and Integrated Systems II Journal Club2
IBGS 523Cellular Mechanisms and Integrated Systems III Journal Club2
Major
PHSL ___ Physiology specific elective courses12
Seminars
IBGS 604Introduction to Integrative Biology Presentation Seminar1
IBGS 607Integrated Biomedical Graduate Studies Seminar 10
Religion
RELE 525Ethics for Scientists 33
Degree completion options9
Coursework track:
PHSL___
Graduate physiology electives (and/or statistics courses to equal 6 units) (9 units)
Research track:
Integrative Biology Presentation Seminar (1 unit)
Research (6 units) 2
PHSL___
Graduate Physiology Elective (and/or statistics courses) (2 units)
Total Units45
1

Registration and attendance required every quarter in residence, but units do not count toward total required for graduation.

2

Multiple registrations required to fulfill total units required.

3

May substitute with another religion course at the 500-level or greater.

Noncourse requirements

Course work track: a comprehensive written examination over the graduate course work in lieu of preparing a thesis.

Research track: pass an oral examination given by his/her graduate guidance committee after the thesis has been completed.

Normal time to complete the program

2 years — based on full-time enrollment; part time permitted

Comparison

See the comparison of the M.S. Course work, M.S. Research and Ph.D. tracks of this program.

For the Ph.D. degree, students must complete a minimum of 73 units, as detailed in the table below, and must maintain a G.P.A. of at least 3.0. In addition, doctoral students are required to pass both written and oral comprehensive examinations in order to advance to candidacy. They must successfully defend the dissertation before their guidance committee prior to being awarded the Ph.D. degree. Students must adhere to all University and program policies as published in the Student Handbook, University CATALOG, or "Student Guide." Policies and requirements are subject to change.

Basic science core
IBGS 501Biomedical Communication and Integrity2
IBGS 502Biomedical Information and Statistics2
IBGS 503Biomedical Grant Writing2
IBGS 511Cellular Mechanisms and Integrated Systems I6
IBGS 512Cellular Mechanisms and Integrated Systems II6
IBGS 522Cellular Mechanisms and Integrated Systems II Journal Club2
IBGS 523Cellular Mechanisms and Integrated Systems III Journal Club2
Major12
Medical Physiology
PHSL___
Graduate physiology elective (and/or statistics courses)
Seminars
IBGS 604Introduction to Integrative Biology Presentation Seminar1
IBGS 605Integrative Biology Presentation Seminar 22
IBGS 607Integrated Biomedical Graduate Studies Seminar 10
Religion
RELE 525Ethics for Scientists 33
RELR 588Personal and Family Wholeness 33
RELT 617Seminar in Religion and the Sciences 33
Research/Dissertation or Thesis
IBGS 696Research Rotations 22
PHSL 697Research 212
Total Units60
1

Registration and attendance required every quarter in residence, but units do not count toward total required for graduation.

2

Multiple registrations required to fulfill total units required.

3

May substitute with another graduate religion course with the same prefix and numbered 500 or above. 

Noncourse requirements

  • pass both written and oral comprehensive examinations in order to advance to candidacy.
  • successfully defend the dissertation before their guidance committee prior to being awarded the Ph.D. degree.

Normal time to complete the program

4 years — based on full-time enrollment; part-time permitted

Comparison

See the comparison of the M.S. Course work, M.S. Research and Ph.D. tracks of this program.

Courses

PHSL 503. Biochemical Foundations of Physiology. 4 Units.

Engenders an appreciation of the molecular processes as a foundation for adequate understanding of physiology. Reviews biomolecules, enzymology, and metabolism. Introduces regulatory motifs, genetic principles, and expression of genetic information by employing examples relevant to dentistry.

PHSL 504. Physiological Systems of the Human Body. 5 Units.

Physiological bases of normal function. Lectures and laboratory demonstrations illustrating the physiological principles and systems in man.

PHSL 505. Homeostatic Mechanisms of the Human Body. 5 Units.

Physiological basis of homeostatic control mechanisms. Lectures and laboratory demonstrations illustrating how the various systems of the body are controlled.

PHSL 506. Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology for Nurse Anesthetist I. 5 Units.

Overview of physiology and pathophysiology (cell, neuro, cardiovascular, pulmonary, GI, renal, endocrine, and reproductive systems).

PHSL 507. Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology for Nurse Anesthetist II. 4 Units.

Part II of physiology and pathophysiology (cell, neuro, cardiovascular, pulmonary, GI, renal, endocrine, and reproductive systems). Prerequisites: PHSL 506.

PHSL 519. Medical Physiology. 7.5 Units.

Physiological basis of normal and selected pathological conditions, modern concepts of homeostasis, and negative feedback control systems.

PHSL 526. Medical Physiology. 7.5 Units.

Supports the organ system curriculum in the first year. Examines the physiological function and regulation of major organ systems, as well as the integration and interaction of these systems with one another. Discussions include cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, renal, endocrine, reproductive, and exercise physiology. Presents essential concepts at various levels of organization, ranging from cellular and molecular to tissue and organ system levels. Emphasizes mechanistic and integrative functions that enable adaption and survival in the face of changing needs and resources—a process accomplished through formal didactic instruction; self-directed learning activities; and laboratory sessions using student volunteers, simulation, and case studies.

PHSL 537. Neuroscience. 4 Units.

Integrated approach to the fundamentals of neuroanatomy and neurophysiology, with applications to clinical neurology.

PHSL 541. Cell and Molecular Biology. 4 Units.

Prerequisite: Organic chemistry and one of the following: biochemistry, molecular biology, or cell biology. Physics desirable. Physics desirable.
Prerequisite: Organic chemistry and one of the following: biochemistry, molecular biology, or cell biology.

PHSL 560. Bone Physiology. 3 Units.

Studies bone cells and bone as an organ. Lectures and discussions include functions of bone cells, effects of growth factors, hormones and physical forces on bone, growth and repair of bone, osteoporosis, and other clinical conditions involving bone. Reviews current literature.

PHSL 587. Physiology of Reproduction. 2 Units.

Studies the development of the male and female reproductive systems, neural and hormonal control of reproductive function, fetal development, and parturition. Offered alternate years.
Prerequisite or concurrent: PHSL 511, PHSL 512 or PHSL 521, PHSL 522.

PHSL 588. Pathophysiology. 4 Units.

Provides graduate students with an integrated understanding of normal human physiology and the most common pathological changes that occur throughout the lifespan. Focuses on using pathophysiological concepts to explain clinical observations and management.

PHSL 595. Readings in Physiology. 1-4 Units.

Assigned reading and conferences on special problems in physiology.

PHSL 694. Special Problems in Physiology. 2-4 Units.

PHSL 697. Research. 1-8 Units.

PHSL 699. Dissertation. 2-4 Units.

PHSL 891. Physiology Elective. 1.5-24 Units.

Offers fourth-year medical students the opportunity to explore various areas of physiology, including research.