Program Goals

The goal of the Graduate Program of the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics is to prepare students for careers in physiology through providing:

  • A basic knowledge of physiology and biophysics that will serve as the foundation for the student's academic, scholarly, and research endeavors.
  • The necessary practical, methodological, and technical expertise to perform original experimental work in an area of physiological research.
  • Professional skills required for successful academic or research-based careers, including skills in publishing, grant writing, presentation, and teaching.
  • Knowledge and respect for principles of biomedical research ethics. 


Thank you for your interest in the Molecular Physiology and Biophysics Graduate Program. Our program participates in the Biomedical Science Program (BSP) that oversees admissions and first-year graduate studies for 7 doctoral programs.

APPLY NOWApplication fee waivers are available. Also, the cost to apply is reimbursed by the Carver College of Medicine for all applicants who receive an interview invitation and complete the interview.

Students that apply through the BSP enjoy the flexibility of investigating several disciplines prior to affiliating with a specific subprogram by performing three research rotations in the laboratories of any of the BSP faculty, regardless of the faculty person’s program affiliation(s). The BSP has organized its first-year curriculum in order to meet the dual goals of: A) providing all students with an integrated, core foundation in modern molecular and cellular biology, biochemistry, genetics, quantitative literacy, and critical thinking; and B) providing maximum flexibility to accommodate students' individual interests.

With existing support of an identified faculty mentor, students may also apply for admission directly to the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics. Because direct admission has no mechanism for performing research rotations, it is only appropriate for students who have identified an exact faculty member in the department willing and able to serve as their thesis advisor. Candidates for this mechanism will typically have existing research experience with the faculty member who will be supporting them (for example, through undergraduate research, summer research, work as a Research Associate, research collaborations, etc.).

Students earn a Ph.D. degree in Biomedical Science (Name of Subprogram).

Questions about admissions procedures can be directed to BSP staff at or call 1-319-335-8306.

Registration Procedures

Students preregister for Fall terms in April and the Spring term in November. Students only register for the summer semester if they are completing their comprehensive exam or thesis defense. Each student meets with the director of graduate studies to determine his/her schedule for the upcoming term and to complete a departmental registration form which must be signed by the student and advisor. Once completed, it is the student’s responsibility to officially register MyUI.

Once the registration process has been completed, any changes (drops/adds) in courses must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies and completed before the official University deadline using the Change of Registration form.

Training Program

Graduate Appointment

All full time doctoral students receive stipend support and tuition is paid for the entire period while enrolled in the doctoral degree program contingent on the student maintaining satisfactory progress and on the availability of funds. The University of Iowa contributes funds for the purchase of health insurance for graduate students. All students are encouraged to submit Fellowship applications to appropriate external funding agencies to help support these costs. If either a pre- or post-comprehensive student chooses to leave the University with his/her advisor, all subsequent stipend, tuition and related expenses are no longer the responsibility of the department. 

Director of Graduate Studies (DGS)

The Director of Graduate Studies is appointed by the chair and DEO of the department. In addition to coordinating student registration and curriculum planning, the director of graduate studies acts as the official advisor for students until the student has passed the comprehensive examination. At that time the student's research advisor and thesis committee assume responsibility for advising and research training.

Contribution and Participation

All graduate students are expected to be active contributors to the scientific environment of the department. All graduate students are required to regularly attend and participate in departmental workshops, seminars, thesis defense presentations, and symposia during the entirety of their graduate training.