Teaching of Physiology Graduate Certificate

The graduate certificate in physiology teaching provides a mechanism for students to document their competency in the basic skills necessary to teach a comprehensive physiology course. The Certificate will be accessible to participants enrolled in a wide range of biomedical disciplines, but it will be especially valuable to medical science graduate students that anticipate a career in academic physiology.

This 15-hour certificate is significant in that many doctoral programs in the medical sciences emphasize preparation for a research-oriented career but do very little formal instruction related to education and teaching.  Our department has historically placed a high emphasis on the training of graduate students for both research and teaching careers. Many of our faculty have been recognized at the local and national level for their teaching contributions. This certificate will recognize and document that emphasis for the students that choose to complete the certificate requirements.

As research in physiology becomes more specialized, utilizing molecular and cellular approaches, there is a very real and distinct demand for physiology instructors that have experience in all levels of physiology teaching, especially systems physiology.  Many of our graduates have gone on to careers that emphasized teaching and this certificate provides tangible evidence of appropriate preparation.

Participants who are pursuing graduate degrees may apply for admission to the Certificate and complete their requirements concurrently.

Graduate Certificate Associates 
Thad Wilson, PhD (Director)
Dexter F. Speck, PhD
Ok-Kyong Park-Sarge, PhD

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 postbaccalaureate graduate student):
-Students enrolled in (or applying to) a graduate degree program or postbaccalaureate status in order to complete the certificate 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 in writing of the student’s admission.
-Admission to the graduate certificate curriculum or award of the graduate certificate does not guarantee admission to any degree program.
-Admission to the Graduate Certificate in Physiology Teaching may be limited so that the faculty and resources are not overwhelmed.

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 submitted a satisfactory Teaching Portfolio, the Director shall send a completed, signed Graduate Certificate Completion Form to the Dean of the Graduate School verifying that the student has fulfilled all requirements for the certificate and requesting award thereof. 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.

For Participants
-Document educational experience and competency in physiology instruction.
-Provide practical experience and skill development.
-Develop a Teaching Portfolio

For Department
-Improve the job placement and opportunities for our graduates.
-Provide recognition for ongoing efforts of both faculty and students in the area of medical sciences education.
-Provide career opportunities for masters students in medical science disciplines that may be interested in teaching careers.
-Assist in the training of qualified teaching faculty for our undergraduate courses (PGY 207).

For the University of Kentucky
-Strengthen UK’s reputation as an institution that values and actively fosters quality instruction.
-Enhance our reputation throughout the state as graduates begin their teaching careers.
-Provide a pool of trained physiology educators for colleges throughout the state of Kentucky.

Curriculum Requirements
-Prepare students for the teaching of medical sciences with a special emphasis on physiology.
-Provide students with a practical, hands-on teaching opportunity to develop their teaching skills and their teaching portfolio.
-Provide students with both theoretical and practical information related to teaching and learning styles.

Required Courses
PGY 502 (5) - Principles of Systems, Cellular, and Molecular Physiology
Medical Physiology courses may be substituted. This will be important for potential MD/PhD students.
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 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

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.  a statement of teaching philosophy
2.  a description of teaching experience (responsibilities)
3.  course planning artifacts such as sample course syllabi, lesson plans, assignments, exams
4.  evidence of teaching effectiveness: summary of student feedback, department evaluations
5.  teaching awards and recognition
6.  professional development efforts

Previous Recipients


Cassi Friday
Danielle Lyons


Kathleen Schoch


Laura Gilliam


Miranda Byse