Doctor of Philosophy Degree

The objectives of the doctoral program are:

  1. To provide an academic foundation for understanding how humans and other animals function at the level of genes, cells, tissues, organs, and systems.
  2. To develop the professional skills required to become a research scientist.

Basic Requirements

  • 30 semester hours of course work at or above 5000 level
    The required courses are:
    • IPHY 5100 (Colloquium - 2 academic year semesters)
    • IPHY 5800 Advanced Statistics and Research in Integrative Physiology
    • IPHY 6830 Professional Skills for the Research Scientist
    Electives must total 30 hours of course work
  • IPHY 8990 30 semester hours of dissertation research

Advisory Committee

The student's Advisory Committee will consist of the student's mentor (Chair of the Committee), a faculty member in the student's interest area, and either the Graduate Coordinator or the Chair of the Department. The committee will assist the student in developing a program of study.

Preliminary Review

After the first academic year, which usually consists of 16-18 hours of course work, the student completes the preliminary review process. The student's Advisory Committee will perform this review. The preliminary evaluation includes an evaluation of the student's academic status (minimum GPA of 3.0 is required), a detailed proposal of the student's program of study, written input from the student's mentor, and other pertinent materials deemed necessary by the Committee.

The outcome of the preliminary review process can be one of three judgments: pass, fail, or probation. A student who passes may continue to pursue the doctoral degree. A student who fails will be dismissed from the doctoral program. A student on probation must complete any deficiencies determined by the Committee before continuing to pursue the doctoral degree. Regardless of the outcome, the Committee will submit a written report to the Graduate Coordinator for filing.

Comprehensive Examination

The comprehensive exam will be administered to the student within four semesters of entry into the doctoral program. The format of the exam, and the composition of the comprehensive exam committee will be determined by the mentor in consultation with the student. The examination will be based on a document that is about 25 pages in length and designed to demonstrate the student's comprehensive knowledge on a topic. The composition of the committee (a minimum of five members) is submitted to the Dean of the Graduate School for approval. Students are given two opportunities to pass the exam. The written portion of the exam is based on the student's course work and requires demonstration of a broad-based knowledge in Integrative Physiology. Specific areas to be examined are determined by the mentor and the student.


Successful completion of the exam advances the student to doctoral candidate status, and the student may then begin a dissertation. All students must complete a formal written dissertation that conforms to the requirements established by the Graduate School at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

Final Examination

After completion of the dissertation, a final examination is scheduled. The exam consists of a written submission of the dissertation work and an oral defense. The final examination committee consists of at least five members, one of whom must be from outside the Department. Three of the members must be Boulder campus resident faculty.