Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q. Should I take the MCAT before applying to this master’s program?

A. Although a standardized exam score is not required for admission to our program, this information adds another data point that might be beneficial as we review your application. If you have ever taken the MCAT, we request that scores from all attempts be self-reported on the application, and official score(s) submitted to the program.

Q. I am a non-traditional student. Will I still be eligible for this program?

A. Yes, as long as you have fulfilled the same prerequisites that are required for entry into professional school (see the Application Requirements page). 

Q. Does this program have any linkages to the UM or other Medical Schools?

A. No. Our alumni represent themselves well in their health profession’s programs, and, through their successes, this program has developed a strong reputation.

Q. Where have M.S. Program in Physiology alumni been accepted?

A. Our alumni have been accepted to more than 100 programs: Please see Map of Post-Program Acceptances. Many of our recent alumni are currently applying to additional health professional programs.

Q. What is the cost of the program?

M.S. Program estimated cost of attendance based on 2022-2023

Michigan Resident Master's Student Tuition and mandatory fees $30,746.48 

Michigan Nonresident Master’s Student Tuition and mandatory fees $61,419.48

Please visit the Registrar’s Office page for additional information. 

Q. Is financial aid available? When should I submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

The program does not provide any direct financial aid; however, prospective and accepted students will have access to the information and resources at the University of Michigan Office of Financial Aid. 

It is recommended that you submit a FAFSA at the same time as, or before, submitting your program application. 

Q. Would I be able to work or attend school on a part-time basis? Is there flexibility in terms of credits/semester or time to completion?

A. This M.S. program is full-time; attending part-time is not an option. While we have no control over student work or extracurricular schedules, taking on too many extracurricular activities is strongly discouraged. This program is designed to be highly-intensive and demanding, so our graduates can demonstrate to professional school admissions committees their ability to handle challenging biomedical material in the context of a high workload. Furthermore, students accepted to the Research Track will likely be expected to spend some evening and weekend hours in the laboratory since biomedical research rarely fits neatly into an 8-5 schedule.

Due to the rigorous nature of the M.S. Program curriculum, we do not recommend being employed more than 10 hours a week. Employment or research commitments cannot interfere with attendance in any scheduled class. Likewise, employment cannot interfere with time in laboratory or class attendance for Research Track students. 

Q. Are there tips to strengthen my application?

A. It is very important that you follow the specific instructions by adhering to the checklist of required application materials for the M.S. Program in Physiology. Select your letter of reference writers wisely. The writers should explain their relationship with you within the context of your educational/employment/volunteer endeavors. If applicable, letter writers should address how you overcame or showed resilience in personal or academic challenges.

The Statement of Purpose should be a concise, well-written statement about your academic background and research background, if applicable; your career goals; and, specifically, how the University of Michigan’s M.S. Program in Physiology will help you to meet your professional and educational objectives. Please include an explanation for all incompletes, withdrawals, and grades of C- or below on any transcript in this essay, as this information is very helpful when reviewing your application. 

Your Personal Statement should be concise and well-written, and provide how your unique background and life experiences, including cultural, geographical, financial, educational, or other opportunities and/or challenges, etc. have motivated and confirmed your decision to pursue your intended profession. If you are still deciding between two or more professions, please share that information within this essay.

Your optional essay should answer the following questions:
Have you overcome or are you currently impacted by challenges or obstacles in your life that you would like to describe in more detail? These opportunities for personal and/or professional growth might include lived experiences related to your family background, financial background, community setting, educational experiences, and/or other life circumstances. Since we find context to be particularly helpful in evaluating your application materials, please share any facets of your lived experiences that you feel might provide relevant insights for our application review committee members.

Q. When do classes begin and end? 

Office of the Registrar’s Academic Calendars
Coursework Track: In order to be awarded an M.S. degree in Physiology, Coursework Track students register for Fall and Winter full-terms and the Spring half-term. All Coursework Track students begin the program in the Fall term. Students must complete the Capstone Project in the Spring half-term, which ends in June. Planning to enter a program that begins prior to the end of June will require communication with the M.S. Program Directors, if you desire to complete the M.S. degree requirements. We will work with students whose graduate programs begin in June. Students MUST successfully complete the Capstone Project in order to earn their M.S. Degree.

Research Track: In order to be awarded an M.S. degree in Physiology, Research Track students typically register for Fall and Winter terms and Summer half-term, which ends in late August. Students work in the laboratory during the Spring half-term, but do not pay tuition for that half-term. Research students must complete a minimum of 10-11 months in a laboratory (with typically 1 additional month to write and present the final project) to be awarded the M.S. degree. If a student arranges to start in their laboratory prior to the Fall term, they may be able to finish the program earlier. Examples of early start dates for research are July 1 (may then be finished by mid-June) or August 1 (may then be finished by mid-July).

Q. What is the class size? 

A. Class size typically ranges between 25-30 students in each cohort in order to provide individualized attention, ensure access to laboratory space and research resources, and build an interactive, collegial community.

Q. What is the composition of the class? How many students do you take from UM? What is the average GPA of accepted students, etc.?

A. We strive for a class size between 25-30 students.
Of our current and previous students:

  • 42% have been graduates of the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor.
  • 67% have been Michigan residents. (No preference is given to Michigan residents.)

The average incoming metrics have been:

  • undergraduate GPA is 3.45
  • undergraduate science GPA is 3.30

*We review applications based on a holistic model and give significant weight to statements/essays, letters of evaluation, and curriculum vitae (CV). 

Q. What is the difference between the Academic Statement of Purpose and Personal Statement?

A. The academic Statement of Purpose should cover prior work and academic experiences that speak to why you are interested in applying to our program, how you have prepared for it, and how our program will help you to achieve your future goals. Discrepancies in the work or academic record should be directly addressed, notable successes or failures should be mentioned, and other relevant experiences should be shared. The Personal Statement should address your important non-academic qualities (although, yes, there is some overlap) - creativity, work ethic, group and team experiences, seminal life experiences, personality traits, and outside interests/hobbies, and reason(s) for your short- and long-term goals such as why medicine? why a PhD? why dentistry? why PA? why healthcare if you are currently unsure as to which career path in the health professions or research you aspire to pursue?

Q. May I submit letters of reference evaluation that were written for medical school or other health professional schools?

A. Yes, you may submit letters that were written for Medical or other health professional school admission. Please review the instructions on how to submit letters of recommendation on the Rackham website: If you submit a committee letter, please direct the individual who uploads this type of letter to include/upload ALL individual letters they received on your behalf.

Q. I want to improve my science GPA; is it possible to maintain a strong GPA while in the program?

A. We cannot answer whether it is possible for you, specifically, to achieve a strong GPA in our program, since we cannot accurately predict how challenging this program will be for you or how academically successful you will be if you are accepted. We can say that we have many students applying, and we will accept only those students we think can succeed. It is anticipated that if those students work hard and adapt their time management and study strategies, when applicable, then strong grades will follow. We will assist you to further your education and help you prepare for a place in the professional workforce.

Q. How will medical and other professional schools view this program?

A. The University of Michigan Molecular & Physiology Department is among the top 2 Physiology programs in the nation. This rigorous 1-year program offers a challenging curriculum that is taught by medical school faculty. Based on the schools and programs where our current M.S. students and alumni have been accepted, our program is positively viewed by admissions team members at health professions schools and PhD programs. 

Q. Does the program accept transfer credits?

A. No, we do not.