Program goal

The master’s program in physiology and biophysics s designed to provide students with the skills required to advance to positions as physiology and bioscience researchers and trainers in a broad spectrum of positions. The structure of the program provides a framework for the progressive development of a mastery of the current state of the subject matter of physiology and bioscience, as well as an ability to synthesize this information and apply this foundation to the identification of key areas of investigation and experimentation in bioscience. The program relates the above framework to the development of the ability to design, implement and interpret experimental approaches which address the questions identified. In addition, students will develop skills in the various means of communicating both the core of bioscience knowledge and the expression of experimental design, results and interpretation to a variety of potential audiences.

Student learning outcomes

  1. Problem-solving and analytical skills: Degree candidates will demonstrate an appropriate level of skill to identify and address scientific questions and utilize appropriate analytical methods and tools.
    1. Problem-solving skills include the ability to: (1) define and state the hypotheses to be tested and their significance; (2) execute experimental and analytical methods to address the research questions; and (3) appropriately maintain complete records of experimental protocols, experimental data and working results of data analysis in order to document the accuracy and reproducibility of the studies and scientific publications.
    2. Analytical skills include the ability to: (1) interpret information and quantitative data relevant to studies and apply appropriate statistical tests to ensure data are robust; (2) connect rationales to experimental approaches; (3) draw reasonable conclusions from the evidence obtained; and (4) identify limitations in the experimental design and interpretation.
  2. General knowledge of sciences and integration skills: Students will demonstrate an appropriate level of knowledge in their individual area of scholarship and related disciplines, including an appropriate familiarity with and understanding of the relevant research literature.
  3. Communication skills: Degree candidates will demonstrate that an appropriate level of oral, written and visual communication skills have been acquired.
    1. Oral communication skills include selection of content, organization and logical flow of ideas, and development of clear and professional presentations using appropriate language and incorporating appropriate visual aids.
    2. Written communication skills include an appropriate use of grammar, syntax, spelling and vocabulary to effectively present written information in scientific style, including the use of figures, tables and citations.

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

Degree candidacy requirements

A graduate student admitted to a program or concentration requiring a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation, must qualify for continuing master’s or doctoral status according to the degree candidacy requirements of the student’s graduate program. Admission to degree candidacy, if applicable, is a formal statement by the graduate student’s faculty regarding the student’s academic achievements and the student’s readiness to proceed to the final research phase of the degree program.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following degree candidacy policy as published in the VCU Graduate Bulletin for complete information and instructions.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on degree candidacy requirements.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on graduation requirements.

Other information

School of Medicine graduate program policies

The School of Medicine provides policies applicable to all programs administratively housed in the school. Information on master’s programs is available elsewhere in this chapter of the Graduate Bulletin.