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Physiology and Biophysics, M.A.

  • Application Deadline
  • 24 months
University rank #51 (BCR) Boston, MA, United States
The Department of Physiology and Biophysics at the Boston University School of Medicine offers programs leading to the PhD or MA. Each program stresses laboratory training and original research performed under the direction of a faculty member, as well as satisfactory performance in graduate coursework.


In the first and second years of both the PhD and MA programs, a core curriculum of Foundations in Biomedical Sciences courses is supplemented with biophysics and physiology. The Physiology and Biophysics program at Boston University emphasizes flexibility and individual choice. In the first year, students do research rotations in the laboratories of 2–3 (MA) or 3–4 (PhD) faculty members to gain firsthand knowledge of a variety of research areas.

At the end of the first year, students select a degree advisor and continue research toward the MA or PhD degree. In the second year students continue to take courses and PhD students must pass a qualifying exam. Throughout their training, students also participate in a weekly department seminar series and report their research progress annually at a student seminar day.

Purpose and Background

The Department of Physiology & Biophysics, under the aegis of Dr. David Atkinson as chair, brings together 23 active faculty members to provide excellence in research and graduate education. Research interests in the department span the modern areas of cellular physiology and molecular biophysics, with strong concentrations in structural biology, vision research, muscle physiology, neurophysiology, and the biology and physical chemistry of proteins, lipids, and lipoproteins. Faculty members are nationally and internationally recognized as leaders in their areas of research. The department provides flexible graduate programs with pathways either leading toward a degree in physiology or in biophysics. The department offers these two programs in a strong, collegial environment to encompass and promote the diverse overlapping research of all members of the department.

The goal of our programs in Physiology & Biophysics is to produce graduate students who understand the thermodynamic, chemical, electrical, and structural aspects of biological systems at the atomic level and in the context of the cell and organism. The training across scientific and medical disciplines provides graduates the advantage of learning physiology and biophysics in the context of the regulation of homeostasis and pathogenicity of the cell, and of the organism as a whole. Graduates will be able to communicate and collaborate effectively with a broad range of disciplines ranging from medical personnel to chemists, engineers, and physicists.

A set of required core courses will be taken by the students in the first and/or second year that will lead to a level of understanding of the two disciplines necessary for a degree in physiology or biophysics. After completing the core course requirements, students have flexibility to choose the appropriate additional coursework for their interests, within the guidelines set out below. The courses for first-year students are chosen with the guidance of members of the Student Admissions & Affairs Committee (SAAC), and in the second year with input from their PhD or MA advisor. Students who successfully complete the program are awarded either a PhD or an MA in Physiology or in Biophysics.

Programme Structure

Courses include:

  • Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
  • Experimental Design and Statistical Methods
  • Neurobiology of Aging
  • Clinical Anatomy
  • Professional Skills for Students in the Biomedical Sciences
  • Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience 

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 24 months
  • Credits
    32 alternative credits
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

English Language Requirements

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

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  • Minimum required score:


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General Requirements


  • Application Forms
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • MCAT Test
  • CASPer Test
  • Transcripts


  • International Student Data Form
  • A copy of the biographical page of your passport
  • Copies of all of your immigration documents if you are currently in the U.S.
  • Required financial documentation demonstrating your ability to pay for your expenses at Boston University

Tuition Fee

  • International

    62872 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 62872 USD per year and a duration of 24 months.
  • National

    62872 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 62872 USD per year and a duration of 24 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.

Living costs for Boston

  • 1560 - 3240 USD/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


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