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Program of Study

The Department of Pharmacology offers a program leading to a PhD in pharmacological sciences. A combined MD/PhD program is also available to students interested in pursuing medical careers that include basic research.

The PhD programs are flexible and tailored to the needs of individual students. Training consists of an initial sequence of courses and seminars that provide a strong basic foundation in pharmacology and related biomedical science. Students primarily select courses in:

  • molecular biology
  • neurobiology
  • biochemistry
  • physiology
  • fundamental and applied pharmacology
  • behavioral science

Students are actively engaged in research throughout their training: In the first year, laboratory rotations ensure exposure to a variety of techniques and research problems. At the end of the second year, students are considered for advancement to PhD candidacy on the basis of academic standing, laboratory performance and a qualifying examination. After advancement to candidacy, students devote their time to completion of an original research thesis.

Students typically complete their graduate education in four to five years. Candidates for the MD/PhD degree normally begin by completing the first two years of the medical school curriculum. Advanced graduate training, dissertation research and clinical training occupy the next four to five years. Students are eligible for both the MD and PhD degrees at the end of seven years provided the degree requirements for both the School of Medicine and the graduate school have been fulfilled.