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Department of Pharmacology & Systems Physiology

Special Master’s Program in Physiology


The application period for the 2020–21 academic year
is now closed.

The application portal for the 2021–22 academic year will open on October 1, 2020. Review of applications for admission will begin on December 1, 2020. Applications must be completed by June 30, 2021.


New in 2018–19: Guaranteed Interview at UC College Medicine

Beginning with the Class of 2019, UC SMP graduates who submit a medical-school application to the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine will be invited for interview provided that their performance in the SMP has met certain academic criteria and their conduct satisfies our high standards of professionalism. Students who meet these criteria upon graduating will be automatically invited for an interview during course of the following UC Medical School admissions cycle.

About the Program

The Special Master's Program (SMP) in Physiology is a one-year program designed to help college graduates strengthen their academic credentials in preparation for application to U.S. medical schools (please see our success rate table). The cornerstone of the MS program curriculum provides our students with a significant integrated experience with first-year medical students (M1) at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. Additionally, students are paired with faculty and peer mentors who help guide each student throughout the year.

Our master's program is approximately 10 months in duration (it begins in mid-August and ends in early-June). Participants can only enroll in the program as full-time students.

The master's program provides credentials that allow for direct comparison of our graduates to current medical school students at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.

What sets the University of Cincinnati SMP apart?

In recent years, many programs across the country have been initiated with the intent of preparing students for medical school and enhancing their credentials for admissions. Though many of these programs are valuable, very few offer our authentic side-by side experiences that provide medical school admissions committees the proof that you can succeed in medical school. Since 2007, over 90% of our graduating students have gained admission to medical school (see chart). This is an extraordinary success rate for programs of this type that distinguishes us from other similar programs. This success rate can be attributed to a number of unique features that set us apart from other similarly designed programs across the country.

  • Over half of the SMP curriculum takes the form of courses taken side-by-side with medical students. You will sit in the same classrooms (at the same time), have the same laboratory experiences (including gross anatomy) and take the same exams as medical students. The medical students will be your colleagues. Your grades in these medical school courses will provide a direct comparison to medical student scores that medical school admissions committees regard as invaluable benchmarks.
  • Our small class size (32 students) allows us to devote significant resources and individual attention to each and every student. Every student is assigned a faculty academic adviser and a student peer adviser from the first or second year medical school class (alumni of the program). You will study with and learn from students who have been through the program before.
  • Students who graduate from our program have consistently demonstrated that they perform at a high level and become class leaders throughout their medical school careers. Our graduates are consistently rated as very competitive for highly-sought residency placements.
  • The Program Director writes periodic updates on each student to provide to the school(s) of your choosing. Your first set of grades are available as early as September.
  • Our curriculum also serves as excellent preparation for the MCAT, for those students seeking to improve their scores.
  • The University of Cincinnati College of Medicine is a consistently highly ranked, well-respected medical school, and is the second oldest public medical school in the country (founded 1819).
  • Cincinnati is an affordable and dynamic city to live in, with a plethora of beautiful parks and diverse social offerings (read more).
  • We are the only program of this type that openly publishes its success rate and destination of its graduates

Latest News in the UC College of Medicine

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Recent News from the Master’s Program

Special Master’s Program in Physiology offers a pathway for medical school admission

February 2019. UC News features the SMP with testimonials from former graduates. Read more

White Coat Ceremony welcomes Alumni from the UC Physiology SMP

August 2018.  The UC College of Medicine welcomed the class of 2022 at the twenty-third annual White Coat Ceremony held at Cincinnati Music Hall in downtown Cincinnati.  Ten students from the SMP Classes of 2017 and 2018 were accepted into this year’s medical school class at the University of Cincinnati.  In total, over 20 graduates from the UC SMP began medical school in the fall of 2018 (see photo above).  Read more

UC Physiology SMP Alumini Graduate from the UC College of Medicine

May 2019.  Honors day for the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine was held on Saturday, May 18, 2019 in downtown Cincinnati at the Aronoff Center for the Arts.  Among the 182 graduates receiving their M.D. degrees were 15 alumni of the Special Master’s Program in Physiology.  Graduates will be moving on to residencies across the country in specialties such as Pediatrics, Anesthesiology and Internal Medicine.  Alex Wilson (SMP Class of 2014, pictured below, left) was inducted into Alpha Omega Alpha National Medical Honor Society (AOA), and Rachel Tonnis (SMP Class of 2015) was inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society. Read more

Honors 2019A