Dept. Code:  PHS

The Department offers training leading to the Ph.D. degree in Physiology and Biophysics.

Inquiries are also invited from those wishing to pursue a dual, M.D./Ph.D., degree program.

The M.S. degree is normally bypassed in the Department.

Physiology and Biophysics studies the molecular basis for fundamental processes related to life such as:

How does the brain work?
How do we remember?
How does the heart beat?
How do we breathe?
How do we see?
How do we move?

Research facilities and guidance for graduate and postdoctoral work are available in developmental neurobiology, sensory receptor mechanisms, axonal electrophysiology, ionic mechanism of the nerve impulse, electrophysiological and molecular aspects of synaptic and neuromuscular transmission, ion channels in nerve and muscle cell membranes, metabolic aspects of nervous function, molecular neuroscience, neuroimmunology, protein structure-function studies, molecular recognition, ligand-receptor interactions, neuropeptides, axonal growth, neurotrophic factors, cytokines, gene targeting, transgenic mice, neuronal apoptosis, nerve regeneration, molecular adhesion, and regulation of muscle contraction.

As described below, entrance into all graduate programs at the Miller School of Medicine is now through the Program in Biomedical Sciences (PIBS).

After entry into the Physiology and Biophysics program students take courses PHS 510, 511, 512, 641, and 642 unless they have mastered the equivalent of these. In planning their programs, students should take advantage not only of courses given by this Department but also of pertinent course offerings of other departments. Once the student has a sponsor, who, in consultation with a supervisory committee appointed when the dissertation project is chosen, provides guidance.

Since the Department aims to prepare its graduates for careers in research and teaching, all students in the Department are expected to participate in some teaching. Fellowships are general awarded to accepted students. Traineeships are also available under an NIH supported Training Grant.


All students are admitted through the Program in Biomedical Sciences (PIBS) for the PhD programs in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Cancer Biology, Human Genetics & Genomics, Microbiology & Immunology, Molecular Cell & Developmental Biology, Molecular & Cellular Pharmacology, Neuroscience, and Physiology & Biophysics. The PIBS Admissions Committee will review and make decisions on applications after December 15th.

Applicants should have a bachelor’s degree in a biological or related discipline (e.g., psychology, chemistry, engineering, physics). Although there are no absolute prerequisites, courses in general biology, cell/molecular biology, calculus, general physics, organic chemistry, physical chemistry, and biochemistry are encouraged.
Strong candidates will have research experience in a laboratory setting (including publications of abstracts and/or papers), an excellent academic record and GRE scores, excellent letters of recommendation from scientists who know the candidate well, and the motivation to pursue state-of-the-art biomedical research.

In the first year all students take a common curriculum to build a solid foundation in biomedical science. The core coursework in the fall ranges from molecules to cells to systems of human physiology. Lectures are balanced by breakout sessions, in which faculty members discuss the primary literature with students in small groups. The core curriculum also offers critical learning opportunities in biostatistics and in using genomic and other databases, as well as education in ethics. Students also meet several times in small groups with experienced faculty mentors to discuss important issues of faculty development. Specific coursework relating to the individual graduate programs is done largely in the second and third semesters of study.

• Students should apply online at:

The first year is also focused on choosing a program and a dissertation mentor. All students are initially mentored by a senior student and a faculty member to facilitate this process. In the 1st year, students rotate through at least 3 laboratories chosen from any of the biomedical sciences graduate faculty. At the end of the 1st year students choose mentors and formally enter individual graduate programs.


36 graduate credits in courses and seminars and an additional 24 credits in dissertation research.

Satisfactory performance on both written and oral parts of a qualifying examination that will require demonstrating mastery of relevant physiological principles and methods. The examination must be passed not later than 24 months after enrollment in the Department. Up to 12 transfer credits earned elsewhere may be acceptable toward Ph.D. requirements.

The Ph.D. dissertation research must be original work of a quality acceptable for publication in a first-rate scientific journal.

For further details on requirements, the general information sections of this Bulletin should be consulted.
Prospective applicants are urged to write early to the Department for further information on the Department’s activities, training resources, requirements, and financial aids.

Address inquiries to:

Dr.  D. Landowne, Chair
Graduate Studies Committee
Department of Physiology and Biophysics
P. O. Box 016430
Miami, FL 33101
305/243-5931 (fax)
email to  or visit


Students interested in pursuing careers in academic medicine or, more generally, in medically-related research may wish to enter a dual (M.D./Ph.D.) degree program. Details about this program and application procedures are obtainable from the Graduate Studies Committee Chairman at the address given above.