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Department Overview

E401 Health Sciences

Pharmacology is the science that deals with the nature of interactions between drugs and biological systems, and with the applications of such interactions to the treatment of disease. Courses in this field are given for medical, dental, pharmacy, nursing, and graduate students.

Graduate Program

Graduate Program Coordinator
E-417 Health Sciences, Box 357280
(206) 685-9252

The Department of Pharmacology offers the Doctor of Philosophy degree.

Doctor of Philosophy

Admission Requirement

A baccalaureate degree with a major in any of the sciences, such as biochemistry, chemistry, pharmacy, physics, physiology, psychology, or zoology. Students are selected from the applicant pool based on several criteria, including academic records, recommendations, and previous research experience.

Graduation Requirements

Minimum 90 credits, to include:

  1. PHCOL 510, PHCOL 511, PHCOL 512, and PHCOL 513 with a minimum 2.7 grade for each class. Enrollment in PHCOL 507 throughout graduate school; PHCOL 514 in the first, second, and third years of graduate study.
  2. PHCOL 519 (laboratory rotations) for autumn, winter, and spring quarters of the first year acquainting the student with various areas of pharmacology and research under investigation within the department. During each quarter, the student carries out a research project in the laboratory of a faculty member. At the end of the quarter, the student gives a presentation on the rotation research project that is evaluated by the faculty, using the criteria of scientific content, delivery, knowledge of the subject, and organization of material. The student receives a grade and academic credit for PHCOL 519. Students entering the PhD program with an MS degree or equivalent may petition to enroll in only one quarter of PHCOL 519 before selecting a laboratory. Rotations may occur outside the department by special permission only.
  3. Four advanced 2-3 credit graded elective courses in pharmacology in addition to the PHCOL 510 through PHCOL 513 series. Nine graded credits (non-seminar) in graduate-level courses in physiology, biochemistry, molecular biology, immunology, cell biology, or other relevant areas. The courses should strengthen the foundation of the student's thesis proposal.
  4. Creditable passage of the general examination consisting of a comprehensive take-home written examination on general pharmacology, taken during summer quarter of the second year, followed by preparation of a grant proposal on the thesis project, and an oral examination, given by the Supervisory Committee during the first quarter of the third year of study. The student is evaluated on the proposed dissertation research and on his or her knowledge of the major disciplines important to the research. Based on the student's performance, the committee recommends approval and candidacy for the PhD degree, further work and subsequent reexamination, or termination.
  5. After successful completion of the general examination, the student devotes most of his or her time to thesis research in the third and subsequent years of study. Students are expected to finish all degree requirements and complete their thesis research within a six-year time period from matriculation.
  6. The research project for the Ph.D. dissertation is chosen by the candidate and faculty sponsor and approved by the candidate's Supervisory Committee. Research must represent a worthy and fundamental contribution showing originality in concept and implementation.

When the candidate has concluded the research project and prepared a complete copy of the dissertation, the sponsor obtains approval of the Graduate School and sets a date for the final examination. The final examination is concerned principally with the subject matter of the dissertation, but may include the background and origins of the dissertation problem as well as its practical applications and extrapolations.

Financial Aid

Financial support is offered to students who maintain satisfactory academic progress. Tuition and stipends are provided by National Institutes of Health training grants, University of Washington teaching assistantships, individual research grants, and fellowships from private sources.