Physiology & Biophysics

Post-Baccalaureate Program: MS in Medical Physiology


The Department of Physiology and Biophysics at Case Western Reserve University offers a 32 credit hour, post-baccalaureate program leading to an MS degree in Medical Physiology (MSMP) for students who would like to advance their biomedical studies. The program can be completed in 12 months (3 semesters), although we highly recommend that students take 2 academic years to complete the program in order to take advantage of the Enrichment Curriculum and optimize their chances of achieving their career goals.  Earning the MSMP degree does not guarantee any outcome.  However, students who have done well in our program have had great success attaining their goals, gaining admission to professional schools throughout the country and abroad  and having successful careers in biotechnology or teaching.

All students apply to the Plan B MSMP program.  The program can begin any semester (Fall, Spring, or Summer), although starting Fall semester is optimal.  Students may take the program part time or full time.  Because not all students are able to relocate to Cleveland, students may take the full program as a non-resident, Internet student.

All full time students take the mandatory 20 credit hours of letter-graded, core physiology courses their first two semesters in the program (Medical Physiology I and II – 6 credit hours each, Translational Physiology I and II – 3 credit hours each, and Physiology Seminar I and II – 1 credit hour each). Part time students may take these courses at a decelerated rate.

Students who do well their first semester in the program and who wish to complete the program in 12 months, take an additional 3 credit hour elective their second semester in the program and 9 credit hours of electives their third semester in order to graduate at the end of 3 semesters.

After students have completed the first two semesters of required core physiology courses, they have a number of options:

  1. The majority of the students take 2 academic years to complete the program.  After the first two semesters of required core physiology courses, they take the required 12 hours of electives over the next two semesters and take advantage of the Enrichment Curriculum to prepare themselves for their future careers.
  2. Students particularly interested in research (especially those wanting to apply to a Ph.D. program) can elect to switch to the MSMP Plan A program. Unlike the Plan B program where the degree requirements are only to take a total of 30 credit hours of course work, the Plan A requires that the student takes 10 hours of Thesis Research where they work with a research faculty member anywhere in the university, develop an original research project, carry out the research in the laboratory of their research advisor, and write and defend a thesis to their research advisory committee.  Students interested in this Plan A option should acquire a faculty research advisor during their first two semesters in the program, petition the MSMP Administration Committee by the first of May to enter the program, and be prepared to start their thesis research summer semester.
  3. Students who have a particular area of interest may petition the MSMP Administration Committee by May 1st to concentrate their 12 hours of electives in one of the following Elective Areas of Concentration (AOC’s): Bioethics, Clinical Investigation (earning a Certificate), Clinical Neuroscience, Evolutionary Medicine, and Physiologic Research.
  4. Those students who are interested in earning a dual MS/MBA degree, can petition the MSMP Administration Committee to do so by May 1st.  After completing the required 20 hours of core physiology courses, students enter this program fall semester and complete the 51 hours of MBA courses in 3 semesters.

To earn the MSMP degree, students must satisfy the following requirements:

  1. Take at least 32 credit hours of graduate course work (20 hours of required core physiology courses and 12 hours of electives).  Six of these hours may be transferred from other institutions if the courses were not used to satisfy the requirements of another degree. Students must earn a CWRU GPA GREATER than 3.0;
  2. Take and pass the comprehensive exam (taken by all students after completing the required core physiology courses – typically the first week of May).