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Courses / Degree Requirements for the PhD in Physiology

To graduate with a PhD in Physiology, students must successfully complete:

  • All general requirements for a PhD degree
  • Core curriculum, elective courses, qualifying exam, dissertation proposal, and dissertation research as follows:

Core curriculum

Students will learn study designs most applicable to evidence-based integrative medicine and biomedical research. These include prospective vs retrospective studies, observational vs experimental studies, case-control, cross-sectional, cohort, quasi-randomized trials, randomized controlled trials, pragmatic clinical trials, systematic reviews, meta-analysis, and whole systems research. Particular emphasis will be placed on understanding each design in terms of internal and external threats to validity and how to choose an appropriate research design for a corresponding research question. Students will gain practice in critically reviewing biomedical research literature. Students will work on a research project throughout the course and submit a written paper at its conclusion.

Students will learn introductory and intermediate-level statistics applicable to evidence-based integrative medicine research. These include dependent and independent t-tests, chi squared tests, general linear models (analysis of variance, analysis of covariance, and repeated-measures), survival analysis, and non-parametric statistics for one and two group designs. Students will work on a research project throughout the course and submit a written paper at its conclusion.

During this course, PhD students will work with the supervision of one of the doctoral program senior faculty on an active research project, e.g. original research paper, review article or grant proposal. Each student will produce a deliverable that is suitable for submission for publication or peer-review. The will offer an opportunity for students to develop research skills from the beginning of the program through hands-on experience in research activities such as literature review, data collection, data analysis, interpretation, report writing and the peer review process. (2 credits per semester, 4 credits required as part of core curriculum) This course may be waived or equivalent coursework or experience substituted with permission of the program director.

Elective courses

In this course, students learn how the brain is designed to be a perfect reflector of total natural law. They see how consciousness structures the physiology and how the innumerable connections among the ten billion brain cells enable a person to live in higher states of consciousness. Students measure their own growth of consciousness as part of the course. (2–4 credits)

PH 520: This course presents the foundations of natural, prevention-oriented health care, including ayurvedic anatomy, physiology, digestion and metabolism, ayurvedic herbology, pulse assessment, mental health, and clinical approach to basic common disorders. (4 credits) Prerequisite: Acceptance to MS MAV program

PH 521: In this course students will continue to study digestive balance and imbalance, Ayurvedic herbology, diagnosis, and pulse. New topics include Ayurvedic internal medicine (Kaya Chikitsa), Yoga Asanas, rejuvenation and purification therapies (Pancha Karma), Vedic architecture, biorhythms and Vedic prediction (Jyotish), women’s health, and introduction to the Total Heart Health program. The course also provides an introduction to Traditional Chinese medicine and homeopathy. (4 credits) Prerequisite: PH 520 or qualifying exam

(course description coming soon)
(course description coming soon)
(course description coming soon)

Qualifying Exam

Students will take oral exams in research methods, biostatistics, and a substantive area related to their proposed dissertation research. A written paper will be submitted to the department faculty that further will show competencies in the above three areas. Prerequisite: successful completion of the core curriculum

PhD Candidate status

Upon successful completion of this core curriculum, students will be advanced to PhD Candidate status. Students will then write their dissertation proposal.

Each student selects a dissertation committee and submits a dissertation topic to the graduate faculty for approval. Following acceptance of the dissertation topic, the student prepares the dissertation research proposal, which is evaluated by the dissertation committee. (8 credits per semester—may be repeated for credit until dissertation is completed). Prerequisites: PhD candidate status and consent of the dissertation advisor.

PhD Researcher status

Upon successful completion of PH 700, which culminates with the written proposal, students will advance to the PhD Researcher status and then enroll in:

Students conduct original research and prepare their dissertations during their third and fourth years in the program. Any changes in dissertation topic must be approved by the dissertation committee. (8 credits per semester—may be repeated for credit until dissertation is completed) Prerequisites: approval of the dissertation proposal and consent of the dissertation committee.

Awarding of PhD degree

The PhD degree will be awarded to a PhD Researcher once the following steps have been completed:

  • Presentation of the dissertation findings in a formal lecture with an open public forum for discussion.
  • Acceptance of the dissertation by the Graduate School and the Library.