About the Certificate

The graduate certificate in physiology teaching provides a mechanism for students and other professionals to document their competency to teach comprehensive and topical physiology courses. This 15-hour certificate focuses both conceptual and practical understanding of physiology as well as course design, learning science, and classroom management from a foundational science discipline framework. 

Our department has historically placed a high emphasis on both teaching and research. Many of our faculty have been recognized at the local and national level for their teaching contributions. Current and emeritus physiology faculty have authored several textbooks and an extensive list of physiology education-focused articles. Many of our graduates have gone on to careers that incorporate or emphasize teaching in various Universities, Professional schools (medical, allied health, or pharmacy), and 2– and 4–year Colleges.

Learners can apply for the certificate singly or combine it with another graduate degree program.

Graduate Certificate Director

  •  Thad E. Wilson, PhD (Director)

Admission Requirements

Applicants must satisfy the minimum graduate school requirements for admission to a certificate program (which are identical to those for enrollment as a post-baccalaureate graduate student):

  • Students enrolled in (or applying to) a UK graduate degree program or are who of non-degree post-baccalaureate status are eligible to apply for admission.
  • Applicants for admission to the graduate certificate in physiology teaching must be approved by the certificate director, who shall notify the Graduate School of the student’s admission into the program.
  • Admission to or awarding of the graduate certificate does not guarantee admission to another UK degree program.

Graduate Certificate Requirements

As required by the Graduate School, a student must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the set of courses required for completion of the graduate certificate. In addition, no grade of C will be permitted in any of the courses pertaining to this certificate.

Award of the Graduate Certificate in Physiology Teaching

When a student enrolled in the UK Graduate School has successfully completed the last required course, has satisfied the GPA and grade requirements, and has submitted a satisfactory teaching portfolio, the Director shall notify the Graduate School that the student has fulfilled all requirements for the certificate. The Graduate School shall then issue the student’s certificate and officially notify the University Registrar of the awarding of the certificate for posting to the student’s permanent transcript. The UK Graduate School posts dates by which requirements must be completed to be awarded a Graduate Certificate within a given semester.

Curriculum Requirements

Required Courses

*PGY 502 (5) - Principles of Systems, Cellular, and Molecular Physiology
*PGY 602 (3) – Readings in Systems, Cellular and Molecular Physiology
PGY 615 (2) – Seminar in Teaching Medical Sciences
PGY 616 (2) – Practicum in Teaching Medical Science
Elective Course (3 hours) - An advanced Physiology course or another option approved by the Graduate Certificate Director

Examples include:

PGY 401G - Human Reproduction, Technology, and Society
PGY 412G - Principles of Human Physiology
PGY 413G - Critical Thinking in Physiology
PGY 512 - Evolutionary Medicine
PGY 520 - Mechanisms of Disease
PGY 560 – Pathophysiology: Integrative Study Physiology and Medicine
PGY 601 – Mammalian Endocrinology
PGY 604 – Advanced Cardiovascular Physiology
PGY 606 – Advanced Neurophysiology
PGY 608 – Advanced Renal Physiology
PGY 609 – Advanced Respiratory Physiology
PGY 630 – Special topics

*Certain substitutions can be considered, if approved by the Director. For example, medical courses may be substituted for MD/PhD students.

Submission of a Teaching Portfolio

The final requirement for the certificate is the submission of a suitable teaching portfolio to the graduate certificate Director. This portfolio should include most, if not all, of the following components

  1. Teaching/educational philosophy.
  2. Teaching activities and course directing experience.
  3. Course planning materials: course syllabi, lesson plans, and instructional/curricular design items.
  4. Educational materials: lectures, activities, learning objectives, assignments, audio/video recordings, formative and summative assessments.
  5. Evidence of teaching effectiveness: student achievements, peer teaching and educational materials evaluations, student evaluations of teaching, and other educational related feedback.
  6. Teaching honors, awards, and recognition.
  7. Professional development efforts in education and areas of instruction.
  8. Educational scholarship.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Graduates will be able to identify and explain physiological function at the molecular, cellular, organ, and systems levels.
  • Graduates will be able to identify principles and theories of teaching and learning as they relate to physiological education.
  • Graduates will be able to apply learning science and evidence-based teaching practice to physiological education.
  • Graduates will be able to demonstrate physiology education experiences and philosophies by compiling a coherent and reflective educational portfolio.


For Participants

  • Demonstrate comprehensive physiology knowledge.
  • Document educational experience and competency in physiology instruction.
  • Provide practical experience and skill development in educational design and delivery.
  • Develop a teaching/educational philosophy and teaching portfolio.

For Department

  • Improve the academic job placement and opportunities for our graduates.
  • Provide recognition for ongoing efforts of both faculty and students in the areas of medical sciences and physiology education.
  • Provide career opportunities for master’s students in medical science disciplines that may be interested in teaching careers.

For the University of Kentucky and the State of Kentucky

  • Strengthen UK’s reputation as an institution that values and actively fosters quality instruction coupled with basic science knowledge.
  • Enhance our reputation throughout the state as graduates begin or strengthen their teaching careers.
  • Provide a pool of trained physiology educators for universities, colleges, and preparatory high schools throughout the State of Kentucky.