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Pharmacology - Masters Program - Curriculum

Registration:

Students are encouraged to register prior to the beginning of each semester, and should be registered for the Fall semester by the time of orientation. Required and elective courses for this program can be found below.

Computer Based Testing

Our graduate curriculum uses computer-based testing for all block exams using ExamSoft software, and NBME software for the Medical Pharmacology final exam. Block exams, which occur approximately every 3 weeks throughout the year, will be taken on student laptops (PC or Mac). Tablets are not supported at this time.

Degree Requirements

Non-Thesis Track: Historically most students have selected a non-thesis track. Students in this track are required to successfully complete a minimum of 30 credit hours of course work, including 4 elective courses (8 credit hours) in the Spring semester. Students can earn up to 32 credit hours for the year by signing up for 2 credit hours in the ePortfolio course during one semester.

Thesis Track: Students are required to complete the requirements for a Master's thesis, and successfully complete a minimum of 26 credit hours of course work, plus a total of 4 credit hours of Pharmacology Masters Research (divided between Fall & Spring semesters), for a total of 30 credit hours. The thesis can be based on either laboratory or library research (the topic to be chosen by the student in consultation with the advisor and the thesis committee). Students can also earn up to 32 credit hours for the year by signing up for 2 credit hours in the ePortfolio course each semester. Students on the thesis track should also sign up for Masters Thesis Research (0 credit hours) which will be included on a student's Transcript as evidence of having written a Thesis.

Community Service: A track record of community or public service has become a prerequisite for admission to most US medical schools. Students must complete a minimum of 1 hour of community service per week, or >12 hours per semester. Documentation & reflection on what students learn from community service activities is a component of the Pharmacology ePortfolio course. Students can also elect to perform 24 hours of community service in a semester for 2 credit hours in the ePortfolio course each semester. This can be used to complete 32 total credit hours at the end of the program.

Curriculum

Fall Semester 2018

Course ID Course Credit
Hours
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 7530 Molecular & Cellular Pharmacology 2 See Schedule Clarkson
GPHR 7520 Pharmacology ePortfolio 1-2 Self Study Clarkson
  GPHR 7230   Pharmacology Seminar   1   Fri 12:00-1:00   Katakam
  GPHR 7190   Principles of Pharmacology   3   See Schedule   Clarkson
 
Research Electives
GPHR 7510 Pharmacology Lab Research 2 Variable Clarkson
  GPHR 7505   Masters Research   0   Variable   Clarkson
 
  Fall Total:   14-15 credit hours  
 
* Courses begin Aug 27th 2018
** Requires concurrent registration for Principles of Pharmacology, or prior completion of Medical Physiology
 

Spring Semester 2019

Course ID Course Credit
Hours
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 7520 Pharmacology ePortfolio 1-2 Variable Clarkson
GPHR 7200 Pharmacology Seminar 1 Fri 12:00-1:00 Katakam
  GPHR 7240   Principles of Pharmacology   2   See Schedule   Clarkson
- Masters students on the non-Thesis Track need to take all 4 electives listed below; Those on the Thesis Track need to take 2 of the 4 electives, and take Pharmacology Lab Research in the Fall & Spring (for 2 credit hours per semester).
 
Spring Electives
GPHR 7040 Neuropharmacology 2 Wed 1:00-3:00 Mostany
GPHR 7160 Environ Signaling in Medicine 2 Fri 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
 
 Research Electives
GPHR 7510 Pharmacology Lab Research 2 Variable Clarkson
GPHR 7505 Masters Research 0 Variable Clarkson
 
  Spring Total:   17-18 credit hours  
 
  Fall & Spring Total:   31-32 credit hours  
Previous 2017-18 Curriculum
Excused Absenses

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 Course Director or 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 a medical school interview.

An excuse for any other event must first be pre-approved by the Department Chair or Director of Graduate Studies. Students wanting to take the MCAT exam are advised to wait until the Winter break, Spring break (Mardi Gras) or late during the Spring Semester since students who have completed the MS program typically end up with higher MCAT scores (by 3.5 points on average). Students will not be excused from block exams to take the MCAT exam.

Excused absences must be approved:

  1. in advance of scheduled events such as medical  school interviews, 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

The students will be assessed in the following manner. Any student receiving a "B-" or less in any course will be placed on probation. A second "B-" will be considered to be grounds for dismissal from the graduate program.

Community Service

Public service is of particular importance to those entering our one year masters program, because providing a track record of significant public or community service has become a prerequisite for admission to most US medical schools. Students are expected to move beyond the scope of academics and work in a community to improve the health of a population. This is "what medicine is all about". 

As a result, a core requirement of our Masters program in Pharmacology is that students provide public or community service averaging at least 1 hour per week, or 12 hours per semester. During the 2017-18 academic year, students in our pharmacology Master's program performed over 2167 hours of public service in the New Orleans area (with an average of 68 hours per student for the academic year). Tulane's Center for Public Service offers a wide variety of opportunities for community service.

Honor Code

Student Conduct:

Tulane University, as a community dedicated to learning and the advancement of knowledge, expects and requires the behavior of all of its students to be compatible with its high standards of scholarship and conduct. Acceptance of admission to the University carries with it an obligation for the welfare of the community.  Freedom to learn can be preserved only through respect for the rights of others, for the free expression of ideas, and for  the law. All individuals and/or groups of the Tulane University community are expected to speak and act with scrupulous respect for the human dignity of others, both within the classroom and outside it, in social and recreational as well as academic activities. Tulane University will not tolerate any form of harassment or intimidation on the basis of  gender, race, color, religion, age, national origin, ethnicity, disability, veteran’s status, sexual orientation or marital status. By accepting admission to Tulane University, a student accepts its regulations and acknowledges the right of the University to take disciplinary action, including suspension or expulsion, for conduct judged unsatisfactory or disruptive. The Code of Professional Conduct is posted at: http://medicine.tulane.edu/student-affairs/t-3-orientation/code-professional-conduct

Academic 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.

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

Course Descriptions

The pharmacology graduate curriculum has a thematic block design, with lectures in different courses covering different aspects of a common theme or system (e.g. inflammation, cardiovascular, pulmonary, renal, endocrine systems) in a logical sequence. Most courses are team taught, involving up to a dozen faculty in each course. Lectures are given in Rm 4700 in the Department of Pharmacology. Lecture dates and times are posted on a departmental Google Calendar.

Advances in Pharmacology

(Fall: 1 hr; Spring: 1 hr)

Each class session consists of the presentation of a recently published research paper with ~3-4 students presenting the work of each assigned paper. The course director will select the papers, which typically reflect topics being covered in the Principles or Med Pharm course. The presenting groups of students must go over the presentation with the course instructor at least 2 days before the presentation. Attendance is required.

ePortfolio

(Fall: 1-2 hrs; Spring 1-2 hrs)

This course is designed for students to document their community service obligation in the form of monthly online blog posts where students document and reflect on their community service activities.

Public service is of particular importance to those entering our one year masters program, because providing a track record of significant public or community service has become a prerequisite for admission to most US medical schools. Students are expected to move beyond the scope of academics and work in a community to improve the health of a population. This is "what medicine is all about". As a result, a core requirement of our Masters program in Pharmacology is that students provide public or community service averaging at least 1 hour per week, or 12 hours per semester. During the 2016-17 academic year, students in our pharmacology Master's program performed over 2110 hours of public service in the New Orleans area (with an average of 68 hours per student for the academic year). Tulane's Center for Public Service offers a wide variety of opportunities for community service.

Medical Pharmacology

(Fall: 6 hrs; Spring: 4 hrs)

This course introduces medical & graduate students to the information and concepts they need to know to become safe and effective prescribers. While the medical and graduate versions of the course are taught separately for logistical reasons, the content covered in both courses is essentially identical, including the exam questions and the NBME customized shelf administered as a final exam. Each lecture, team-based learning or problem based learning session includes a handout covering the content of the lecture or exercise, along with a list of learning objectives. While purchase of a text is not required, for those who wish to purchase one, we recommend the latest edition of Katzung’s “Basic and Clinical Pharmacology” which we consider to be an authoritative reference that can be relied upon for accurate information. We also provide a free “Pharmwiki” online learning resource that meets the needs of most students.

Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology

(Fall: 2 hrs)

Lectures cover concepts and methods in cell & molecular biology, physiology and pharmacology.

Pharmacology Seminar

(Fall: 1 hr; Spring: 1 hr)

Research presentations by faculty from Tulane and outside research institutions. Attendance is required.

Principles of Pharmacology

(Fall: 3 hrs; Spring: 2 hrs)

Provides an introduction to major concepts and principles in cell biology, physiology, pathophysiology and pharmacology using lectures, independent studies and Just-in-Time Teaching sessions. There isn’t a recommended text. Lecture material is presented in class & posted online. Handouts describe the essential concepts and facts to be learned.  Each lecture will also have a list of specific learning objectives that further clarify which major facts and concepts should be addressed in order to master the material. The learning objectives are also posted on Canvas. Some lectures may utilize our Classroom Response System. All graduate students are given a 1 yr site license for Turning Point Cloud at the beginning of the academic year.

Spring Semester Only Courses

Neuropharmacology

(Spring: 2 hrs)

The format for this course is similar to that of Advances in Pharmacology and consists of ~10 class sessions centered on specific topics. At each session there will be a presentation by a group of 3-4 students based on a manuscript selected by the course director. Every student will participate in one presentation for the class. At the first class meeting, students will have the opportunity to sign up for the papers that they wish to present. Student groups must set up an appointment to go over their presentation with the faculty member for their topic at least ONE (1) week before their presentation.

Cell Control Mechanisms

(Spring: 2 hrs)

Lectures will cover concepts and topics involving the regulation and control of cell-associated processes.

Endocrine Pharmacology

(Spring: 2 hrs)

Readings and audio lectures from Dr. Robert Sapolsky's book "Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers: A Guide to Stress, Stress-Related Diseases, and Coping" (3rd Edition, Henry Holt, 2004) is the focus of the course, with special emphasis on corticosteroids. The course involves a series of required small group presentations, class participation, and posting on a Canvas discussion board.

Environmental Signaling in Medicine

(Spring: 2 hrs)

This course is designed to help the participant develop an integrated approach to understanding the mechanisms and outcomes of human interactions with environmental factors. In addition to introducing students to the principles of toxicology, the course introduces students to environmental, complementary and alternative medicine. Case studies of environmental factors ranging from molecular to population levels are emphasized. Connections to public service in lead prevention projects are also made.

Course Policies

Posted on Canvas