In the Fall semester, Integrated Physiology students take the Core Knowledge Course, which is required for students in all University of Colorado School of Medicine graduate programs. This course provides basic background knowledge in molecular biology, genetics, structural and developmental biology, and cellular signaling. In addition, students will take an ethics course. In the Spring semester, students will take Comprehensive Physiology and Histophysiology. Throughout the first year, students also perform three, 11 week long, laboratory rotations. At the end of the first year, students take a preliminary examination covering course materials from all Fall and Spring semester courses, and then choose a thesis laboratory in which to do their doctoral work. All students are required to take part in the biweekly seminar series and the biweekly student-led journal club every semester of their graduate training.
During the second year, students are required to take Biostatistics and one Advanced Topics or Elective course. Second year students will dedicate a significant amount of their time to research as they begin work in their thesis lab. To be admitted to candidacy for the PhD degree, students must pass an oral comprehensive examination during the summer or fall following their 2nd year in the program (it must be taken no later than December of the 3rd year). This exam comprises a public seminar, followed by an oral defense of a written proposal based on the students thesis research. Prior to the Comprehensive Exam, students must have completed at least 30 semester hours in course work (Rotations and Research credits from the first year count as course hours).
In addition to formal courses, students attend and participate in the Integrated Physiology biweekly seminars and the biweekly student-run journal clubs. Students will hone their analytical and didactic skills through informal and formal seminar presentations, laboratory/research group meetings and attendance at regional and national scientific meetings. In addition, the program holds an annual student-led research retreat that provides an important opportunity for students to meet and learn about the work being performed in different laboratories, and to present the results of their work in oral and poster presentations.