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Courses / Degree Requirements for the PhD in Physiology & Health

The following is projected for students entering the university in 2021-22 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 as follows:

Core curriculum

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)

Qualifying exam

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)

PhD Candidate status

Upon successful completion of the core curriculum and qualifying exam, students will be advanced to PhD Candidate status. Students will then write their dissertation proposal.

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

Upon successful completion of PH 700, which culminates with the approval of a written proposal, students will advance to the PhD Researcher status and then enroll in:

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)

Awarding of PhD degree

The PhD degree will be awarded to a PhD Researcher 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.