Physiology and Biophysics

Research opportunities in the College of Medicine are rapidly expanding, and this situation creates a stimulating environment for potential investigators.

The Department of Physiology and Biophysics conducts programs of teaching and research in physiology and neuroscience that contribute to the training of medical practitioners and graduate (M.A., M.S. Ph.D., M.D./Ph.D.) level research scientists. The development of problem solving skills is a major emphasis. In addition, the Department provides appropriate instruction of physiology to dental, allied health pharmacy and graduate students. 

The Department serves as a resource to the University and the larger community by providing research on basic science and health related problems. It teaches the fundamentals of research and endeavors to stimulate an appreciation for and use of the scientific method in its graduate training program. Individual scholarship of the faculty is encouraged. The discovery, preservation and communication of new knowledge are major objectives. The department also serves as a resource to the community by providing leadership in health related matters.

The program consists of a curriculum of required and elective courses, seminars, and research on the functions, regulation, and interrelationships of physiological systems. Courses are designed to develop abroad and profound knowledge of all major areas of physiology, stimulate independent research, and to enable the student to interpret and evaluate issues and problems at the frontiers of knowledge.

The major areas of research are

  • cardiovascular physiology,
  • pulmonary physiology,
  • renal physiology,
  • neurophysiology,
  • endocrinology and cell metabolism, and
  • membrane biophysics.

The program requires a minimum of three years for completion of the degree.

Admission Requirements

New students are admitted to the program only in the fall semester. The minimum requirements for admission are a baccalaureate degree with:

  • 2 semesters of mathematics,
  • 2 semesters of organic chemistry,
  • 3 semesters of biology, and
  • 2 semesters of physics.

Applicants are required to have at least a B average in these sciences.

Degree Requirements

Students must complete a minimum of 72 credit hours beyond the baccalaureate degree, and develop an acceptable dissertation. There is no foreign language requirement.

Before graduation, the student is required to have published one research paper in a scientific journal.

Admission to Candidacy

A student should file for admission to candidacy after 12 hours of work has been completed and this student has satisfied the GSAS writing proficiency requirement.

Forms provided by the dean should be filed a semester before graduation and approved by the student's thesis committee and the Executive Committee of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciencec.

Residence Requirements

Students in the Ph.D. program are required to spend at least three semesters in full-time residence, two of which must be consecutive.

Caution to Prospective Students

The Board of Trustees of Howard University on September 24, 1983, adopted the following policy statement regarding applications for admission: "Applicants seeking admission to Howard University are required to submit accurate and complete credentials and accurate and complete information requested by the University. Applicants who fail to do so shall be denied admission. Enrolled students who as applicants failed to submit accurate and complete credentials or accurate and complete information on their application for admission shall be subject to dismissal when the same is made known, regardless of classification."

All credentials must be sent to:

Howard University Graduate School 
Office of Graduate Recruitment and Admissions
2400 Sixth Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20059

Kebreten F. Manaye, MD

Department Chair


Joanne Allard, PhD

Director of Graduate Studies