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Graduate Degrees

The department offers a PhD degree in pharmacology and toxicology that allows students to develop individually tailored programs of study and to pursue research in drug discovery, pharmacology, cancer biology, neurobiology, immunology, microbiology and toxicology. The department also offers a Master of Science degree, to which interested students are admitted on a limited basis.

The pharmacology and toxicology doctoral programs at IU School of Medicine develop independent investigators in pharmacology and toxicology. Using molecular biology, biochemistry, chemistry and physiology techniques, students are required by the graduate faculty to demonstrate proficiency in both conceptual and technical facets of modern biomedical research and to perform meritorious original research on a significant problem in pharmacology and toxicology.

The study of pharmacology and toxicology requires a diverse background in biological sciences, including biochemistry, cellular biology, molecular biology, physiology, genetics and neuroscience. This enables medical scientists to integrate the knowledge of biological systems with the effects of pharmacological agents.

Pursue a Graduate Degree

Begin work on a Master’s or PhD degree in Pharmacology and Toxicology to prepare for a career in laboratory research or education.


Pharmacology and Toxicology Master of Science (MS)Master of Science (MS)

Master of Science students studying pharmacology and toxicology are admitted to the IU School of Medicine program on a very limited basis. These degree offerings are mostly reserved for students who have started on the PhD course of study and who, for a variety of reasons, find they must end their studies before they complete their Doctorate. Students desiring only a master’s-level program must find a faculty member in the department who is willing to act as mentor and provide financial support. The student’s application is evaluated only after the student obtains this consent from a faculty member in the department, and the faculty sponsor notifies the Graduate Advisor for the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology.

Pharmacology and Toxicology Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Students can pursue a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in pharmacology and toxicology at IU School of Medicine. All ten of the school’s biomedical science PhD programs, including pharmacology and toxicology, participate in an open enrollment system that’s part of the Indiana BioMedical Gateway (IBMG) Program for PhD Study. To earn a Pharmacology and Toxicology PhD, students must attain success in each of the following four areas:


  • Coursework
    All PhD students in pharmacology and in toxicology are required to take 28 hours of coursework; of that, six hours are rotations, and 62 hours are spent on research and in seminars, for a total of 90 hours.
  • Dissertation Defense
    Pharmacology and Toxicology PhD students at IU School of Medicine are expected to defend their thesis dissertation within four to six years from beginning the IBMG program. Students must also complete two of the following actions prior to conferral of the PhD: apply for a grant, co-author a second research paper or review article, and present a poster or speak at a local, national or international meeting.
  • Qualifying Examination
    To be eligible for the qualifying exam, students must have completed the required coursework for pharmacology or toxicology with a grade of B or higher (including laboratory rotations and elective courses) and have a minimum GPA of 3.0.
  • Research
    Upon successful completion of the qualifying exam, students must enroll for eight to nine hours of research per semester to acquire the credits required for the PhD.