Doctor of Philosophy

A student's first year is devoted primarily to graduate courses and laboratory rotations. In subsequent years, the student continue coursework, identify the study area of greatest interest, and arranges to pursue research under the direction of a faculty.

Candidates for the PhD degree, must pass a qualifying examination to demonstrate overall proficiency in the discipline. The student must then identify a group of faculty to serve as a dissertation committee and gain approval of a proposed research program. A dissertation and its public defense are required before the student can be nominated for the PhD degree.


Time limitation: 7 years
Credit minimum: 60 credits

PhD Program Divisions

Graduate Program in Physiology

This program trains integrative physiologist who can conduct whole animal research and teach systems physiology required for educating health professionals. This priority coincides with the explosion of physiological genomics. Attaching function to genes will occupy our students for much of their careers. Our objective is to teach the mechanisms which underlie circulatory, renal, pulmonary and smooth muscle function in health and disease. Our faculty is often associated with MCW Centers, fostering collaborations between basic science and clinical departments. Our curriculum stresses interdisciplinary training. During the first year, students have brief rotations with all primary faculty members; and subsequently chose three faculty to do complete their 9 week rotations. During the first two years, each student creates a program based on his/her interests, and then focusses on research experience with a mentor.

Participating Faculty

Areas of Focus: Cardiovascular Physiology, Computational Biology & Bioinformatics, Genetics & Genomics, Metabolism, Molecular & Cellular Physiology, Neurophysiology, Renal Physiology, and Respiratory Physiology.

Interdisciplinary Program (IDP) in Biomedical Sciences

The IDP in Biomedical Sciences is committed to preparing graduate students for research careers through an integrated approach to cutting-edge scientific problems. The core curriculum provides a strong foundation in molecular and cell biology, biochemistry, cell signaling and genetics. During their first year, students perform four lab rotations with faculty drawn from five departments, gaining insight into a breadth of research topics and experimental approaches. There are over 100 participating faculty in IDP.

p> Participating Faculty

Areas of Focus: Bacterial Pathogenesis, Cancer Biology, Cardiovascular Biology, Cell Biology, Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience, Developmental Biology, Enzymology & Metabolism, Free Radical Biology, Immunology, Molecular Genetics, Molecular Pharmacology, Signaling & Gene Expression, Structural Biology, and Virology.

Interdisciplinary Program in Biomedical Sciences Web site

Neuroscience Doctoral Program (NDP)

The NDP is devoted to training the next generation of neuroscience researchers. A diverse group of neuroscientists with an impressive record of predoctoral training, research and extramural funding form the core faculty for this doctoral training program. During their first year, students complete graduate coursework and short research experience in the laboratories of the neuroscience faculty. The program recommends at least three rotations to gain valuable insight into the breadth of research, but three rotations currently is not mandatory. During the subsequent years, emphasis is placed on advanced training in neuroscience together with dissertation research on a problem of current importance in the neuroscience. Throughout their training, students interact with many faculty engaged in cutting-edge, neuroscience research.

Participating Faculty

Areas of Focus: Cellular & Molecular Neurobiology, Neurophysiology, Neuropharmacology, Neuropathology & Toxicology, and Sensation, Perception & Cognition.

Neuroscience Doctoral Program Web site

Master of Public Health

This is a web-based program designed for those with an interest in public health or occupational health and medicine. The curriculum involves a combination of core, concentration-specific and elective courses, a field experience, and a capstone project. The program can be completed full or part-time.


Time limitation: 5 years
Credit minimum: 42 credits

Master of Science

The coursework for the MS degree is rigorous but less extensive than that required of PhD candidates, and the thesis research is narrower in scope. This program accommodates accelerated or part-time schedules. 30-credit minimum, average 2 year completion with a limit of 4 years.


Time limitation: 4 years
Credit minimum: 30 credits

Master of Arts

The MA degree is awarded in the field of Bioethics. Coursework for the degree is a combination of classes, seminars, and clinical and teaching practicums. A project may be either applied or theoretical in nature and is conducted under the supervision of a faculty member and overseen by a thesis committee.


Time limitation: 4 years
Credit minimum: 30 credits

Master’s in Medical Physiology

The Master’s Program in Medical Physiology at MCW is a one-year program designed to help college graduates strengthen their academic credentials in preparation for application to U.S. medical schools. The program is closely integrated with the first year medical student (M1) curriculum at the Medical College of Wisconsin, thereby providing our students with a comparable experience encountered as a medical student, including examinations. The program is geared towards student primarily interested in attending medical school, not graduate school. The curriculum provides a combination of medical school and graduate school training.


Time limitation: 1 year
Credit minimum: 30.5 credits

Graduate Certificates


Clinical Bioethics
This program is designed for individuals interested in gaining an essential introduction to the philosophical, legal, and clinical foundations of bioethics with the Certificate in Clinical Bioethics program. This program consists of four courses (12 credits) that are offered through an innovative, web-based format. All credits earned in the program may be applicable to the Master of Arts degree program in Bioethics within one year of certificate completion.

Research Ethics
Within this program, students build an understanding of human subjects research regulations and their historical foundations, and explore current topics in research ethics through the Certificate in Research Ethics program. This program consists of four courses (12 credits) that are offered through the internet. All credits earned in the program may be applicable to the Master of Arts degree program in Bioethics within one year of certificate completion.

Public Health

The certificate program in Public Health is designed for individuals interested in pursuing or further developing a career in public health in order to contribute to a competent public health workforce. Coursework consists of each of the five major disciplines of public health (15 credits) offered in an online format. All credits offered in the program are applicable to the Master of Public Health degree program within one year of certificate completion.

Clinical and Translational Science

This unique certificate program is offered at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) in conjunction with the Master of Science Program in Clinical and Translational Science and the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI). View more information on the Graduate Certificate in Clinical and Translational Science.

Certificate Seeking Application Procedure

  1. A completed Certificate Seeking Application form and the application fee of $50.00
  2. Provide official Transcripts for an earned baccalaureate degree. Official transcripts are sent directly from the institution(s) to the Graduate School Office.
  3. Provide two letters of recommendation and recommendation forms to the Graduate School.
    Note: Applicants to the Public Health Certificate must provide three letters of recommendation and recommendation forms.

Contact Us

Graduate School
(414) 955-8218

Get more information!

Apply online!

Medical College of Wisconsin
Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
8701 Watertown Plank Road
Milwaukee, WI 53226-0509

Medical College of Wisconsin
8701 Watertown Plank Road
Milwaukee, WI 53226
(414) 955-8296
Directions & Maps
© 2015

Page Updated 09/09/2015