Learning Outcomes

Graduates will:

  • demonstrate understanding and critical evaluation of the scholarly literature in the area of specialization within human physiology and/or health promotion;
  • formulate testable research questions and hypotheses resulting in proper experimental study design and analysis plan;
  • conduct quantitative or qualitative research including data collection, analysis, and interpretation of results in the context of current scientific knowledge;
  • present research results in oral, poster, and/or written format to the scientific community;
  • prepare a research grant or fellowship for an extramural federal, state, or private funding agency; and
  • prepare original research manuscript(s) as first author for submission to a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

The Doctor of Philosophy program in health and human physiology requires a minimum of 72 s.h. of graduate credit.

Doctoral students should have a strong background in the natural sciences and/or health promotion, and a working knowledge of statistics and research methodology. Students may acquire additional knowledge of statistics and research methodology after entering the program.

All Ph.D. students complete a common core of courses, elective courses, 10 s.h. of independent research in HHP:6000 Research, and a 12 s.h. dissertation requirement in HHP:7900 Thesis: Ph.D. They must complete a dissertation in their specialization area.

Some courses in the program are offered by other departments. Faculty members from those departments frequently serve on comprehensive examination committees and on dissertation committees for the initial presentation of a candidate's prospectus. They also participate in the final examination.

The Ph.D. with a major in health and human physiology requires the following coursework.

Core Courses

All of these:
HHP:6020Advanced Research Methods and Ethics3
HHP:7000Practicum in College Teaching (only for students without a teaching assistantship)arr.
HHP:7900Thesis: Ph.D.arr.

Introductory Statistics Course

One of these:
BIOS:4120Introduction to Biostatistics3
PSQF:6242Selected Applications of Statistics3
STAT:4143/PSQF:4143Introduction to Statistical Methods3

Advanced Statistics Courses

Two advanced statistics courses, such as the following (consult advisor):
BIOS:5120/IGPI:5120/STAT:5610Regression Modeling and ANOVA in the Health Sciences3
STAT:6513/PSQF:6243Intermediate Statistical Methods3

Seminar Courses

Four enrollments (1 s.h. each) from the following:
HHP:6300Motor Control Seminar1
HHP:6400Integrative Physiology Seminar1
HHP:6500Seminar in Health Promotion1

General Electives

Students are expected to obtain broad-based knowledge in their specialization area. This normally entails approximately 30 s.h. of coursework. Students choose specialization electives with guidance from their advisor/mentor. Electives may include any of the following.

HHP:3050Obesity: Causes, Consequences, Prevention, and Treatment3
HHP:3440Physical Activity Interventions3
HHP:3450Immunology in Health and Disease3
HHP:4020Health Communication and Coaching Strategies3
HHP:4320Nutrition Interventions3
HHP:4390Understanding Human Disease3
HHP:4450Human Genetics and Disease3-4
HHP:5200Epidemiology of Physical Activity3
HHP:6030Physical Activity and Dietary Behavior Change3
HHP:6050Advanced Topics in Obesity3
HHP:6130Advanced Skeletal Muscle Physiology1,3
HHP:6150Advanced Clinical Exercise Physiology1,3
HHP:6200Instruction in Metabolic Exercise Testing and Prescription1,4
HHP:6260Advanced Respiratory Pathophysiology1,3
HHP:6310Advanced Sport and Exercise Nutrition3
HHP:6410Advanced Exercise Physiology1,3
HHP:6460Advanced Cardiovascular Physiology1,3
HHP:6470Advanced Physiology of Aging1,3
HHP:6510Advanced Energetics in Health and Disease1,3
HHP:7300Advanced Sensorimotor Neurophysiology1,3
ACB:5203Gross Human Anatomy for Graduate Students5-6
BMB:3120Biochemistry and Molecular Biology I3
BMB:3130Biochemistry and Molecular Biology II3
EPID:4400Epidemiology I: Principles3
EPID:5241Statistical Methods in Epidemiology4
EPID:6350Nutritional Epidemiology2
EPID:6400Epidemiology II: Advanced Methods4
EPID:6600Epidemiology of Chronic Diseases3
FRRB:7000Redox Biology and Medicine4
MMED:6230Pathogenesis of Metabolic and Cardiovascular Disorders3
MPB:5153Graduate Physiology4
NSCI:4353/BIOL:4353Neurophysiology: Cells and Systems3-4
NSCI:7235/NEUR:7235Neurobiology of Disease3
OEH:4310Occupational Ergonomics: Principles3
PCOL:3101Pharmacology I: A Drug's Fantastic Journey3
PCOL:3102Pharmacology II: Mechanisms of Drug Action3
PTRS:5210Kinesiology and Pathomechanics4
PTRS:6224Activity-Based Neural and Musculoskeletal Plasticity in Health Care4
PTRS:7812Biomedical Instrumentation and Measurement3
PTRS:7875Analysis of Activity-Based Neural and Musculoskeletal Plasticity3

Independent Research

Students must enroll in the independent research course.

This course:


Students working on a dissertation register for the following course.

HHP:7900Thesis: Ph.D.12

Admission to the graduate program is based on grade-point average, and score on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). International students also can submit acceptable scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the Duolingo English Test (DET).

Applicants to the Ph.D. program must have a g.p.a. of at least 3.00 on undergraduate work and previous graduate work. They also must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate College; see the Manual of Rules and Regulations on the Graduate College website.

Application deadline is February 1 for admission the following fall.

The Pomerantz Career Center offers multiple resources to help students find internships and jobs.

Sample Plan of Study

Sample plans represent one way to complete a program of study. Actual course selection and sequence will vary and should be discussed with an academic advisor. For additional sample plans, see MyUI.

Health and Human Physiology, Ph.D.

Plan of Study Grid (Manual)
Academic Career
Any SemesterHours
72 s.h. of graduate level coursework must be completed; graduate transfer credits allowed upon approval. More information is included in the General Catalog and on department website. a
First Year
HHP:6020 Advanced Research Methods and Ethics 3
Specialization Area elective b 4
Introductory Statistics course c 3
Seminar course d 1
HHP:6000 Research 3
Advanced Statistics course e 3
Specialization Area elective b 4
Seminar course d 1
Second Year
HHP:6000 Research 3
Advanced Statistics course e 3
Specialization Area elective b 3
Seminar course d 1
HHP:6000 Research 4
Specialization Area elective b 3
Specialization Area elective b 4
Comprehensive Exam f
Third Year
Specialization Area elective or HHP:6000 Research b 3
Specialization Area elective or HHP:6000 Research b 3
HHP:7900 Thesis: Ph.D. 3
Seminar course d 1
Specialization Area elective or HHP:6000 Research b 3
Specialization Area elective or HHP:6000 Research b 4
HHP:7900 Thesis: Ph.D. b 3
Comprehensive Exam g
Fourth Year
Specialization Area elective or HHP:6000 Research b 3
HHP:7900 Thesis: Ph.D. 3
HHP:7900 Thesis: Ph.D. 3
Final Exam: Dissertation Defense
 Total Hours72
Students must complete specific requirements in the University of Iowa Graduate College after program admission. Refer to the Graduate College website and the Manual of Rules and Regulations for more information.
Work with faculty advisor to determine appropriate graduate coursework and sequence.
Choose one course from BIOS:4120, PSQF:6242, STAT:3510/IGPI:3510, STAT:4143/PSQF:4143.
Choose from HHP:6300, HHP:6400, HHP:6500; enroll four times for 1 s.h. each.
Choose two courses from BIOS:5120/IGPI:5120/STAT:5610, STAT:6513/PSQF:6243.
For students entering with an MA or MS degree.
For students entering with a BA or BS degree.