Cell and Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology Ph.D. Assessment Plan

Mission Statement

The Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology (CMPP) program is an interdisciplinary graduate program that offers graduate studies culminating in the Doctor of Philosophy degree and prepares the students for careers in basic biological and biomedical research, industry, and teaching. Research emphasis encompasses areas such as molecular pharmacology, molecular biology of ion channels, cell physiology, developmental and reproductive biology, cardiovascular pharmacology, autonomic pharmacology and neuropharmacology. The program is designed to prepare the student for a competitive research and teaching career in pharmacology or physiology. A flexible, multidisciplinary basic sciences curriculum, combined with advanced pharmacology and physiology courses, provides the foundation of knowledge needed for subsequent research activities. Individual laboratory attention by the faculty allows the student to develop skills in experimental design, execution, and analysis; statistics; literature searching; grant writing; manuscript preparation; oral presentations; and laboratory management. The focus of the doctoral research may be tailored to the student's interests, goals, and abilities. The program typically requires four full years to complete.

Student Learning Outcomes

1. Students will be able to demonstrate knowledge of principles of physiology and pharmacology and integrate this information in problem solving scenarios.

Student Performance Indicators
  • 70% Fully meeting expectations
  • 20% Substantially meeting expectations
  • 10% Substantially failing expectations
Assessment Method
  • Performance when taking tests in physiology and pharmacology given to medical students
  • Ability to answer general background questions during scientific research rounds, journal clubs, comprehensive exam and final defense
  • Evaluation by Thesis Committee

2. Students will be able to demonstrate effective oral communication skills. 

Student Performance Indicators
  • 80% Substantially meeting expectations
  • 20% Fully meeting expectations
  • 0% Substantially failing expectations
Assessment Method
  • Oral scientific presentations at research rounds on an annual basis which are mandatory for all senior graduate students
  • At least one presentation per year at a journal club for all students
  • Scientific presentations (posters and/or oral communications) at meetings held locally (Bierkamper Symposium, Granlibakken), or nationally and internationally (Biophysical Society Meeting, Faseb, AHA, Neuroscience Meeting, and several others)
  • Attendance to in-house and visiting speaker seminars
  • Evaluation by Thesis Committee

3. Students will be able to demonstrate effective writing skills. 

Student Performance Indicators
  • 30% Substantially meeting expectations
  • 70% Substantially failing expectations
  • 0% Fully meeting expectations
Assessment Method
  • Exam essay questions
  • Written assignments and laboratory reports
  • Manuscript writing
  • Evaluation by Thesis Committee

4. Students will be able to demonstrate independent and critical thinking abilities which will enable them to contribute significantly to the advancement of knowledge in physiology and pharmacology.

Student Performance Indicators

  • 10% Fully meeting expectations
  • 40% Substantially meeting expectations
  • 50% Substantially failing expectations
Assessment Method
  • Performance at research rounds where students have to present an account of the state of knowledge in their field, a summary of their experimental work and interpretation of the results obtained
  • Abstract and manuscript writing
  • Ability to design experimental protocols independently
  • Evaluation by Thesis Committee