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PhD in Physiology & Health

This online PhD in Physiology & Health is a research program that is designed for graduate health professionals or those with a master’s in physiology, master of science in Maharishi AyurVeda and Integrative Medicine, or the equivalent, to conduct original research on the clinical effects and basic mechanisms of Maharishi AyurVeda, the Transcendental Meditation® technique, and other prevention-oriented, natural health care programs.

The objectives of the PhD in Physiology & Health program are:

  • To give students training in research design and implementation at the doctoral level, leading to publication
  • To provide a program for advanced original research on the effects of modalities of Maharishi AyurVeda, including Transcendental Meditation and other natural health care programs. Examples of topics with faculty expertise available for research thesis include:
    • Aging
    • Applied molecular biology
    • Cardiovascular health
    • Neuroscience applications in health
    • Stress-related mental health disorders
    • Evidence-based Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine

In our PhD in Physiology & Health program, you will:

  • Receive training in research design and implementation at the doctoral level, leading to the publication of your discoveries
  • Perform specialized research on how Transcendental Meditation and Maharishi AyurVeda impact specific areas and conditions such as aging, cardiovascular health, and PTSD
  • Enjoy the support of a community of bright minds and fellow researchers who are dedicated to studying natural cures and treatments

What is Maharishi AyurVeda?

Ayurveda — which means “science of life” — is a traditional system of medicine originating in ancient India. Ayurveda is a comprehensive, prevention-oriented system of natural health that addresses the body, mind, and environment to provide a holistic cure.

MIU teaches Maharishi AyurVeda, a unique form of Ayurveda that has been re-evaluated from a scientific perspective for modern-day use. Our PhD program integrates Maharishi AyurVeda with modern scientific understanding to take an integrated approach to medicine.

Moving science forward

MIU faculty and graduate students continue to advance the scientific understanding of the mechanisms and applications of natural, prevention-oriented methods for the health of the individual and society.

When you become part of our PhD program, you’ll specialize your research in one area of health — examples include neuroscience, stress-related mental disorders, and applied molecular biology — and discover how regular meditation practice and ayurvedic techniques impact that area.

A supportive community

During your time at our university, you will be surrounded by an online community of people who are passionate about researching natural and integrative cures for today’s illnesses.

In addition to studying under some of the greatest modern minds in natural medicine, you’ll meet supportive friends who share your values and are committed to making the world a better, healthier place.


Get started by contacting Noreen

Noreen Dillman, admissions counselorNoreen Dillman is this program’s admissions counselor for US students. Noreen will provide you with all the details of becoming a student, including connecting you with program faculty when you have questions. International students may connect with their admissions counselor through our contact form.

Noreen Dillman, admissions counselor

Contact Noreen >

Program directors

Robert Schneider

Robert Schneider

Robert Schneider

Robert Schneider, MD, FACC, is Dean of the College of Integrative Medicine, Director of the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention, and Professor of Physiology and Health. He is an internationally recognized physician-scientist-educator and leader in evidence-based integrative medicine. Dr. Schneider achieved his postgraduate training in internal medicine and hypertension at the University of Michigan Medical School. He is a specialist in preventive medicine and clinical hypertension and an elected Fellow of the American College of Cardiology.

Over the past 30 years, Dr. Schneider has directed or co-directed more than $25 million in grant support from the US National Institutes of Health and other government agencies for clinical research on integrative medicine, aging, and cardiovascular disease. The results of these studies have been published in more than 150 peer-reviewed articles and abstracts. Based on his groundbreaking research and clinical experience, he authored the popular book: Total Heart Health: How to Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease with the Maharishi Vedic Approach to Health.

sanford nidich

Keith Wallace

sanford nidich

Sanford Nidich, EdD, is Director of the Center for Social-Emotional Health and Consciousness, Professor of Physiology and Health, Professor of Education, and Senior Investigator at the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention at Maharishi International University. He has been a pioneering researcher in the field of complementary and integrative medicine for several decades. He has been a principal investigator or co-investigator on research projects funded by the Department of Defense, the National Institutes of Health, and private foundations in the areas of mental health, rehabilitation, cardiovascular disease, and cancer, totaling over $20 million.

Dr. Wallace was the founding President of Maharishi International University and established the first Maharishi AyurVeda Clinics in the United States. He has traveled worldwide, giving lectures at major universities and institutes on Maharishi’s consciousness-based health programs. Dr. Wallace is the author of a number of books, including Gut Crisis, The Rest and Repair Diet, The Coherence Code, and Total Brain Coaching.

All Department Faculty

Courses & degree requirements

The following is projected for students entering the university in 2023-24 and is subject to change.

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

  • All general requirements for a PhD degree
  • Core curriculum, qualifying exam, dissertation proposal, and dissertation research

The PhD degree will be awarded 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.

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. (4 credits)

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. (4 credits)

This course will delve deeply into the physiology of selected organ systems involved in the thesis research themes of the program with highlights of advances relevant to evidence-based integrative medicine research. Examples of these include the cardiovascular system, nervous system, endocrine system, and immune system. (8 credits)

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) This course may be waived or equivalent coursework or experience substituted with permission of the program director.

This course explores the theoretical foundation for higher states of consciousness available through the practice of the Transcendental Meditation program. Students study the full range of consciousness from individual experience to a fundamental field of intelligence that underlies all of life and how this is unfolded through ConsciousnessBased education. Scientific research on the benefits of the practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique complements theory from Maharishi’s Science of Creative Intelligence. Topics include: the nature of mind and body, the qualities and development of creative intelligence, enlightenment and higher states of consciousness, and collective consciousness, and the Maharishi Effect. (4 credits)
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 (4 credits)
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 up to 24 credits. Prerequisites: PhD candidate status and consent of the dissertation advisor.

PhD Researcher status

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. Prerequisites: approval of the dissertation proposal and consent of the dissertation committee. (8 credits per semester; minimum 24 credits)

Entrance requirements

The entrance requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy in Physiology are:

  • MS in Physiology or equivalent degree; MS in Maharishi AyurVeda and Integrative Medicine; MD, DO, or ND degree; or certification as a nurse practitioner, physician assistant, or equivalent health-professional training
  • Satisfaction of entrance requirements must be approved by the department’s graduate faculty and receive approval by the director of the program and the dean of the graduate school.

English language verification

International applicants must submit official English proficiency test scores within the past 2 years of at least 110 on Duolingo, 6.5 on IELTS Academic, 90 on TOEFL iBT or 58 on PTE.

Before your first class

All MIU students practice the Transcendental Meditation® technique. If you have not learned it yet:

  • Once accepted as a US student, the cost of TM instruction is covered through a grant offered by MIU
  • Students can either learn TM upon arrival or prior to enrolling
  • Contact your admissions counselor for details
  • Find information on the TM technique or search for a TM teacher at TM.org

Cost & Aid, 2023-24

US Online PhD

IMPORTANT: PhD entry-level lasts one to two years. After passing comprehensive exams, the PhD Candidate may be eligible to apply for a teaching position that provides a waiver of tuition while working on the dissertation proposal. After the proposal is approved, the PhD Researcher with a teaching position would continue to have a waiver of tuition. The tuition listed here is for one academic year (two semesters) at the current year rate, subject to change in future years.

Annual Tuition
Entry Level$16,000
Candidate Level$8,000
Researcher Level$5,000
Additional Costs
Housing, meals, books, and personal expenses$14,000

Tuition, other fees, scholarships, and financial policies are subject to change prior to the entry date. For more information, contact us at finaid@miu.edu for a quick reply — normally one business day — or see more about financial aid.

International Online PhD

-PhD entry-level lasts one to two years. After passing comprehensive exams, the PhD Candidate may be eligible to apply for a teaching position that provides a waiver of tuition while working on the dissertation proposal. After the proposal is approved, the PhD Researcher with a teaching position would continue to have a waiver of tuition. The tuition listed here is for one academic year (two semesters) at the current year rate, subject to change in future years.

Annual Tuition
Entry Level$16,000
Candidate Level$8,000
Researcher Level$5,000

Tuition, other fees, scholarships, and financial policies are subject to change prior to the entry date.

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Our next entries:
Aug 2022 and Feb 2023

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