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Pharmacology - PhD Program - Curriculum


PhD Tracking Process

The School of Medicine's BMS steering committee has developed a tracking system to ensure that all doctoral students continue to make adequate forward progress while enrolled in the program. To monitor student progress, a pharmacology-specific tracking sheet should be downloaded, completed and turned into the BMS office at the end of each academic year. Both students and their thesis advisers are responsible for both completing and signing the tracking sheet.

Computer Based Testing

Exams during the 2nd year pharmacology curriculum are computer-based. Block exams, which occur approximately every 3 weeks throughout the year, will be taken on student laptops (PC or Mac) that meet the following specifications.


Teaching is very important for our students, even more so, if they later go to a career in an academic department of pharmacology. Students develop teaching skills through presentations and seminars; assisting in the Medical Pharmacology PBL (problem based learning) sessions, and presentations at local and national meetings.

Graduate Student Seminars

Each graduate student working for the Ph.D. degree will be required to present 2 seminars related to his/her thesis problem to the staff and students as a part of the regular departmental seminar series. 

Seminar I

A review of the pertinent background literature and an outline of the research problem. A design of the proposed work and how the results may fit in with the hypothesis which serves as the basis for the thesis. This seminar must be given prior to a student's submission of their doctoral prospectus. 

Seminar II

A presentation of the major points included in the thesis after most of the research data has been accumulated and the thesis is almost completed. This seminar should typically be given within a few months before the final defense.

Recommended Courses

Fall Semester
Course ID Course Credit
MCBP 6070 Advanced Cell Biology 3    
GBCH 6010 Graduate Biochemistry 4    
MCBP 7120 Research Methods 2 or 4    
MCBP 7140 Seminar 1    
MCBP 7100 Workshop 1    
  Fall Total:   11-13 credit hours  
Spring Semester
Course ID Course Credit
GBCH 7250 Biostatistics 2    
EPID 7810 Human Molecular Genetics 3    
MCBP 7130 Research Methods 4    
BMSP 7770 Systems Biology 3    
MCBP 7150 Seminar 1    
MCBP 7110 Workshop 1    
  Spring Total:   14 credit hours  
Summer Semester (if needed to complete Research Methods credits)
MCBP 7130 Research Methods 2    
  First Year Total:  27 credit hours  
Second Year Pharmacology Emphasis

Fall Semester *
Course ID Course Credit
Days / Time Course Director
GPHR 7210 Advances in Pharmacology 1 Wed 12:00-1:00 Katakam
GPHR 7250** Medical Pharmacology 6 See Schedule Clarkson
GPHR 7190 Principles of Pharmacology 3 See Schedule Clarkson
GPHR 7055 Practicing Professionalism 1 See Schedule Clarkson
GPHR 7230 Pharmacology Seminar 1 Fri 12:00-1:00 Katakam
  Fall Total:   12 credit hours  
* Courses begin Aug 26th 2019
** Requires concurrent registration for Principles of Pharmacology, or prior completion of Medical Physiology
Spring Semester
Course ID Course Credit
Days / Time Course Director
GPHR 7220 Advances in Pharmacology 1 Wed 12:00-1:00 Katakam
GPHR 7260** Medical Pharmacology 4 See Schedule Clarkson
GPHR 7240 Principles of Pharmacology 2 See Schedule Clarkson
GPHR 7055 Practicing Professionalism 1 See Schedule Clarkson
GPHR 7200 Pharmacology Seminar 1 Fri 12:00-1:00 Katakam
- Doctoral students need to take 2 of the 4 electives listed immediately below (Pharmacology ePortfolio is optional)
Spring Electives
GPHR 7040 Neuropharmacology 2 Wed 1:00-3:00 Mostany
GPHR 7160 Environ Signaling in Medicine 2 Mon 1:00-3:00 McLachlan/Mielke
GPHR 7050 Cellular Control Mechanisms 2 Tues 1:00-3:00 Bunnell
GPHR 7060 Endocrine Pharmacology  2 Thurs 2:00-3:00 Lindsey
  Spring Total:   13 credit hours  
  Second Year Total:   25 credit hours  
Additional (Thesis Research) Years

Third Year

Preliminary / Qualifying Exam (Fall Semester):
Preliminary Exam Guidelines

Prelim Exam Guidelines

Dissertation Research (GHPR 999)

Fourth Year

Dissertation Research (GHPR 999)

Fifth Year (if needed)

Dissertation Research (GHPR 999)

Excused Absences

Attendance at all graduate lectures, exams, small group sessions, advances in pharmacology & departmental seminars is mandatory. If for some reason you are unable to attend a required class or session, you must obtain an excused absence from the Director of Graduate Studies (Dr. Clarkson). An official excuse is defined as:

  1. personal illness (verification may be required)  
  2. family emergency such as a serious illness or death in the immediate family 
  3. sanctioned events such as the annual BMS retreat, BMS Research Day presentation, or attending a scientific meeting.

An excuse for any other event must first be pre-approved by the Department Chair or Director of Graduate Studies.

Excused absences must be approved:

  1. in advance of scheduled events, or
  2. as soon as possible following an illness or another emergency.  Excused absences should not be submitted for approval at a much later date.

Any excessive unexcused absences can be penalized by a reduction in a course grade.  

Academic Performance

Doctoral students will be assessed in the following manner:

  1. Any student receiving a "B-" or less in any course will be placed on probation.
  2. A second "B-" will be considered to be grounds for dismissal from the graduate program.
  3. A grade of "C" or less will result in loss of credits for that course.  
Honor Code

General Violations:

  1. It shall be a violation of this Honor Code for a student to cheat.
  2. It shall be a violation of this Honor Code for a student to steal.
  3. It shall be a violation for a student to knowingly deceive another student, faculty member, or professional associate with the intent to gain advantage, academic or otherwise, for said student or for any other student.
  4. It shall be a violation for any student to fail to report any infraction of the Honor System to an appropriate representative or the Chairman of the Department of Pharmacology.


When a complaint is received, the Chairman of the Department will set up an ad hoc committee to investigate and adjudicate.