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Department Overview

The Department of Pharmaceutics offers a program of study leading to the Doctor of Philosophy degree.

Program Description

The doctoral degree program in pharmaceutics trains research scholars in the fundamental aspects of drug delivery, drug disposition, and drug action in animals and man. Drug disposition includes the facets of drug absorption, distribution, and elimination. Pharmacokinetics is the study of the time course of these processes and the time course of pharmacological effects. Drug delivery includes targeting of drugs and modulation of xenobiotic and drug transporters to tissues or specific cell types to improve their therapeutic effect. For further information, visit:

Typically graduates interact with clinicians, medicinal chemists, biochemists, pharmacologists, analytical chemists, and physiologists.This is possible because their training is highly interdisciplinary at the didactic and research levels.

A wide range of career paths is available to graduates.Opportunities include research in the pharmaceutical industry; research in hospitals, institutes, and foundations; teaching and research in academic institutions; and positions with government regulatory agencies.

Graduate Program

Graduate Program Coordinator
H272 Health Sciences, Box 357610
(206) 543-9434

Doctor of Philosophy

Admission Requirements

  1. One copy of official transcripts in a sealed envelope from each college attended
  2. Official GRE score report
  3. All foreign students must take the TOEFL and TSE test and send in the official score report
  4. Statement of personal goals describing applicant's background, academic interests, and career objectives
  5. A resume; or curriculum vitae listing educational and employment history
  6. Three letters of recommendation from persons in a position to evaluate the applicant's potential for graduate school.

Degree Requirements

Minimum 90 credits of coursework, to include:

  1. Credits and Scholarship: Minimum 41 credits of coursework, exclusive of thesis and non thesis research. 3.00 GPA in all numerically graded courses numbered 400 and 500. Minimum passing grade in any given course is 2.7, except required pharmaceutics courses (PCEUT 501, PCEUT 502, PCEUT 503, PCEUT 506) in which a passing grade is 3.0. Credits earned for a master's degree may apply towards the doctoral degree.
  2. Teaching Experience: Minimum two quarters of teaching assistant experience.Students are not asked to assist more than one class an academic quarter (less than 12 contact hours/week). Most students complete this requirement during the first three years in the program.
  3. Examinations and Progress Evaluation: A series of preliminary, cumulative (written) examinations; a general examination (oral) for advancement to PhD candidacy; a final examination (defense of the thesis).See Appendix A, "Progression Steps in Relation to the Doctoral Degree," for an overview. Appendix B describes the cumulative examination, which precedes the general exam. Appendix C provides details about formation of a doctoral Supervisory Committee and its role in the general exam and thesis defense. Appendix D provides details about the structure and conduct of the general exam.
  4. Master's Degree Bypass: Students who qualify for continuation to the PhD degree may be allowed to bypass the M.S. degree. See Appendix A for petition procedure.
  5. Seminars: All students must present a minimum of two and a maximum of four seminars while in the doctoral program (PCEUT 520). In addition, a presentation of papers from current literature is required twice a year, starting at the beginning of the second year until defense of the thesis (PCEUT 583). See Appendix E, "Training in Oral Communication through Seminars and Journal Club" for additional details.
  6. Didactic: Coursework for the doctoral program is divided into four components: (a) prerequisites which define the level of entry into the program; (b) a required core program which is analogous to the major; (c) elective courses, which are not required but are encouraged; (d) seminars and literature review.
    1. Prerequisites:
      • MATH 124
      • MEDCH 400

      Applicants with a PharmD degree should have fulfilled the medicinal chemistry requirement. MEDCH 400 can be taken in autumn quarter of the first year. Candidates are accepted on condition that any deficiencies in course requirements are rectified by the end of the first academic year.

    2. Core Program:
      • PCEUT 506
      • PCEUT 501
      • PCEUT 502
      • PCEUT 503
      • PCEUT 510, PHCOL 511, PHCOL 512, PHCOL 513
      • BIOST 511
      • BIOST 512
      • HCDE 509
      • PCEUT 600, PCEUT 800

      Students entering with previous graduate-level coursework in the required areas may have some of the above courses waived. In addition, all students must attend the following training sessions, preferably during the first academic year: chemical safety, biological safety, and bioethics training. Radiation safety and animal care may also be required, if relevant to the student's thesis research.

    3. Directed Electives:

      Electives are not required. However, students are encouraged to take elective courses that might benefit their thesis project and career goals. Courses that might be of interest can be found in the disciplines of biotransformation/biochemistry, biologics/drug delivery, pharmacology/cell biology, and physiological modeling/biostatistics.

    4. Seminars and Literature Review:
      • PCEUT 520 (1 credit/quarter; 3 quarters/year until graduation)

      Beginning the second year, students make one presentation each year, with a maximum of four presentations. A general topic seminar is presented in the second year; research presentations in subsequent years.

      • PCEUT 583 (1 credit/quarter; 3 quarters/year until graduation)

      Beginning the second year, students make two presentations each year until graduation. Journal club presentation is waived in the quarter during which the student is scheduled to make a PCEUT 520 seminar presentation.

  7. Research:
    • PCEUT 600, PCEUT 800

    Students complete three research laboratory rotations (PCEUT 600), one per quarter, starting autumn quarter of their first year. A student may opt to complete a rotation in summer quarter, before the initiation of classes. This involves an early appointment in the department and, thus, decisions must be made at the time they accept the offer to enroll. Matching of available labs with each incoming student is facilitated by the first year graduate adviser. Student preferences are given due consideration.

    Students must choose a thesis adviser by the end of spring quarter in their first academic year (See Appendix A for additional details).

    Students must begin research in the lab of their adviser by summer quarter at the end of their first academic year (PCEUT 600). Most students may find that after-class and off-hours are the best and most productive time for laboratory research (See Appendix A1b for additional details).

    After successful completion of the master's bypass requirements (see Appendix A for details), students sign up for PCEUT 800, until the defense of their thesis.

  8. Cumulative Examination

    Students begin taking cumulative exams in autumn quarter of their second academic year, and continue taking them at every offering until completion of pass requirements or until they take the maximum of eight exams. A total of eight exams are offered, two each in autumn, winter, spring, and summer quarters. For each exam, there two questions. Students must pass four of eight exams to complete the cumulative requirement. Students who do not achieve this goal are given the option of completing requirements for a terminal master's degree or withdrawal from the program.

Financial Aid

All students in the program receive financial support in the form of research assistantships, Public Health Service predoctoral training fellowships, and other fellowships such as the William E. Bradley Graduate Fellowship or those from the American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education or from several pharmaceutical companies.