Programs by Campus


Musculoskeletal Health Sciences

School of Medicine 

Department e-mail: 
Departmental URL:  



Degrees Offered

Doctor of Philosophy

Doctor of Philosophy Degree

The Musculoskeletal Health (MSHS) PhD Program participates in the Indiana Biomedical Gateway (IBMG) Program. he IBMG Program provides a shared first year experience for all of the School of Medicine biomedical science pre-doctoral (Ph.D. program) students. The link for the IBMG program is: The MSHS PhD program also accepts students that enter the doctoral programs in the School of Health and Human Sciences or through the Biomedical Engineering doctoral degree program. Eligible faculty mentors are members of the Indiana Center for Musculoskeletal Health (ICMH) who are members of the IU Graduate Faculty. Students may arrange to work with a mentor working in range of muscle and skeletal-related research projects.

Students will form an Advisory Committee upon acceptance into the MSHS PhD Program.

Course Requirements

Requirements for a doctoral degree include completion of 90 credits of which at least 30 are from coursework and 45-60 are research (MSHS B815). The minimum 30 course credit hours required for the Ph.D. degree are composed of 14 credits from courses required for the major, 4 credits of approved electives and 12 credits that comprise an approved minor.

Required Major Core Courses (14 cr)

G505 Responsible Conduct of Research (1 cr)
G507 Reagent Validation as a Means for Enhanced Research Reproducibility (1 cr)
G801 Cell Biology of the Neuromusculoskeletal System (3 cr)
G819 Basic Bone Biology (3 cr) G655 Research Communication Seminar (1 cr) G505 Responsible Conduct of Research (1 cr)
G855 Experimental Design and Biostatistics (1 cr)
MSHS B842 Musculoskeletal Disease and Injury (3 cr)

Science Communication requirement - Students will complete one of the following:

  • COMM-C524 Distilling Your Message (1 cr)
  • COMM-C533 Improvisation for Scientists (1 cr)
  • ENG-W533 Science Writing (1 cr)

Electives (4 cr*) - additional courses are likely to be added to this list

D501 Human Gross Anatomy (5 cr)
D502 Basic Histology (4 cr)
D851 Histology (4 cr)
F503 Human Physiology (5 cr)
G700 Translating Foundational Science to Contemporary Knowledge (1 cr)
G702 Entering Biomedical Research (1 cr)
G715 Biomedical Science I (2 cr)
G716 Biomedical Science II (2 cr)
G717 Biomedical Science III (2 cr)
G720 Stem Cell Biology (2 cr)
G725 Gene Therapy (1 cr)
G727 Animal Models of Human Disease (1 cr)
G734 Advanced Molecular Imaging (1 cr)
G737 Introduction to Histology (1 cr)
G747 Principles of Pharmacology (1 cr)
G749 Introduction to Structural Biology (1 cr)
G817 Molecular Basis of Cell Structure and Function (2 cr)
G848 Bioinformatics, Genomics, Proteomics and Systems Biology (2 cr)

*4 credits minimum, student make select more elective course credits, but at least 45 credits must be research (MSHS B815)


GRDM G718, IBMG Students take 6 cr of Laboratory Research Rotation (3 rotations of 8 weeks, 2 cr each)
G817 Molecular Basis of Cell Structure and Function (2 cr) G848 Bioinformatics, Genomics, Proteomics and Systems Biology (2 cr)


Students will select a minor consisting of 12 credit hours in a related field, e.g., bioinformatics, biostatistics, business of biomedical science, cancer biology, cardiovascular sciences, clinical research, diabetes and obesity, health informatics, translational science, or in life science. These credits must be in lecture or laboratory courses other than research and must meet the requirements of the department in which the minor is taken. For the life sciences minor, a minimum of 6 credit hours must be obtained in one department.

Qualifying Examination

Within the first two years following entry into the Musculoskeletal Health PhD program, the student will submit a written research proposal in the form of a grant application to their advisory committee. The student then has an oral examination administered by the advisory committee and based on the written research proposal and the coursework taken by the student. With consent of the advisory committee, the student can request an extension of up to six months to take the qualifying examination. Doctoral studies are continued if the qualifying examination and other work, including research, are deemed satisfactory by the majority of the advisory and research committees.

Final Examination

Oral defense of the written dissertation.

Other Requirements

It is expected that the student’s dissertation research will be of sufficient quality to be published in a primary peer-reviewed journal appropriate for the student’s research area.

It is the policy of the Musculoskeletal Health PhD program that all the requirements of the PhD degree program must be completed and the final, approved dissertation thesis deposited with the University Graduate School within 5 years of the date of passing the Qualifying Examination. Failure to complete the degree within 5 years of passing the Qualifying Examination will result in dismissal of the program.

Program Level Student Learning Outcomes

Doctor of Philosophy in Musculoskeletal Health Sciences (Ph.D.)

Graduate students earning a Ph.D. in Musculoskeletal Health Sciences from Indiana University on the IUPUI campus will at the completion of their degree be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of key theories, concepts, and approaches in basic, translational, or clinical musculoskeletal health sciences.
  2. Apply knowledge from various scientific disciplines (e.g., anatomy, biochemistry, biomedical engineering, cell biology, kinesiology, molecular biology, physics, physiology, etc.) to research questions relevant to musculoskeletal health sciences.
  3. Employ rigorous approaches to experimental design and data collection in the musculoskeletal health sciences, including the inclusion of appropriate controls, validation of resources and reagents needed for research, reproducibility of experimental results, and organization of raw data.
  4. Demonstrate critical and creative thinking to generate insight, develop strategies, and solve problems in the musculoskeletal health sciences.
  5. Conduct novel, independent research under the supervision of a research advisor to design, test and analyze original laboratory or field-based experiments in an ethical and responsible manner.
  6. Effectively communicate expert level concepts and research results in the musculoskeletal health sciences through written reports, oral presentations (i.e., lab meetings and/or journal clubs), and both formal and informal discussions.
  7. Document an original contribution to the musculoskeletal health sciences field through independent experimental design, peer-reviewed publication of experimental results, and presentation and defense of a dissertation.

Academic Bulletins

PDF Version

Click here for the PDF version.