Program Description
The objective of our graduate program is to provide a stimulating and supportive environment enabling graduate students to acquire fundamental training in physiology, cellular and molecular biology and biophysics while participating in the rich intellectual life of Columbia University While the graduate program is administered by the Dept. of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics, it is part of the Coordinated Doctoral Program in the Basic Sciences at Columbia University Medical Center, within the Program, The Graduate Program in Molecular Basis of Health and Disease. Columbia University provides a superb intellectual and physical environment in which to work and learn. And the close interaction between graduate students and fac-ulty that occurs in graduate courses, laboratory rotations and thesis research helps us to tailor each student’s ed-ucational program to his or her professional and personal goals. Program Directors: Ellen Lumpkin and Jane Dodd.

Physiology Group
     2013 Physiology Retreat | Helen Mills Theater, New York, N.Y.

student quotes

Areas of Research
Research in the Physiology & Cellular Biophysics Department is grouped in to 5 main categories

General Timeline
Year One:
Fall Semester
- Mechanisms of Human Disease
- Biochemistry/Molecular Biology & Cell Biology I
- 1st Laboratory Rotation

Spring Semester
- Responsible Conduct of Research
- Biochemistry, Molecular, & Cell Biology II
- Elective Course
- 2nd
Laboratory Rotation

Summer Semester
- 3rd Laboratory Rotation

Year Two:
Fall Semester
- Begin Dissertation Research
- Biostatistics
- Elective Course

Spring Semester
- Elective Course
- Qualifying Exam

Year Three & Subsequent Years:
- Continue Dissertation Research
- Present at National Meetings, Data Clubs & Journal Clubs
- Journal Clubs
- Thesis Defense

When applying on-line, please select under
: Molecular Basis of Health and Disease and under Specialization: Cellular Physiology and Biophysics


Course Work
"Students are required to take 5 core courses and at least 3 elective courses”. Many graduate courses within a variety of disciplines are available to Physiology students. Most are conducted in small groups, providing excellent opportunities for in-depth interactions between students and faculty.

Financial Support
All students making adequate progress toward the degree and registered as a full-time student will receive full financial support including tuition and fees plus a stipend for living expenses throughout their entire graduate career. The annual stipend for all CUMC graduate students for the 2014–2015 academic year is $35,088.

Laboratory rotations provide an opportunity for each student to participate actively in ongoing research projects at Columbia, allowing the student to become familiar with techniques, literature and current questions in a variety of research areas. Rotations also provide the opportunity to explore and identify a mentor with whom to pursue thesis work. Each graduate student will undertake three laboratory rotations (3–4 months in duration) during his or her first year. At the beginning of their second year, students chose research mentors and begin planning their thesis topics.

Seminars, Journal Club & Departmental Retreat
Students attend the weekly Departmental seminar series. All other departments at Columbia University Medical Center also hold weekly seminars at which our students are welcome. A Physiology graduate student-led Journal/Data Club meets monthly and provides students with a forum for informal discussion of the literature and of one another's work.

At the annual Departmental Retreat, each student delivers a platform or poster presentation. This all-day event provides opportunities for scientific feedback, informal interactions and fun for all faculty, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students in the Department of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics.