Academic Standards

Candidacy Requirements

Admission to the Ph.D. program in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, and enrollment in graduate courses, does not of itself guarantee acceptance of the student as a candidate for a Ph.D. degree. To advance to doctoral candidacy a student must satisfactorily pass a qualifying examination.

Both the M.S. and Ph.D. curricula are year-round programs that must be undertaken with a full-time commitment. Based on previous experience, we have found that outside employment is incompatible with timely satisfactory progress in the graduate program and is strongly discouraged.

Financial Support

Financial aid is available through West Virginia University. In the third year graduate students are supported from research grants that have been awarded to faculty members. The stipend (approximately $23,000/year) is comparable to those in most other Physiology or Pharmacology graduate programs. In addition, the successful candidate receives health insurance, and a waiver of tuition and most University fees. These stipends are considered fellowships rather than pay for work performed, allowing the students to devote all of their time to the program of study. In the past the majority of Ph.D. students have been financially supported; M.S. students usually do not receive stipends. Applicants for the Ph.D. program are automatically considered for financial aid by the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology; thus a separate application for financial aid is not necessary. Decisions on financial aid are usually made in April so that applications should be complete with supporting materials (GRE scores, official transcripts, and letters of reference) by May 1st.

All Ph.D. students in the biomedical sciences receive financial support during their training, provided that they remain in good academic standing. This support includes:

  • Full tuition
  • Health insurance
  • $23,000 annual stipend

Joint M.D./Ph.D. students also receive stipends, health insurance, and tuition waivers for both medical and graduate training. M.S. students are not eligible for institutional tuition waivers or stipends, but may be supported on a grant if funds are available.

Both Ph.D. and M.S. students may be eligible for loans. Please visit the WVU Financial Aid Office for more information.

In general, students receive their stipend awards from the University for two years. After that, they are typically funded through the grants of their mentors in exchange for laboratory research.

Departmental stipends will generally be awarded to students according to the following order of priority:

  • Continuing Ph.D. students with a GPA of 3.0 or greater
  • Entering Ph.D. students who are not on probation
  • Continuing Ph.D. students with a GPA between 2.75 and 3.0