Graduate Program in Pharmacology

Triptych of lab images representing the graduate program

Since its inception, the Graduate Program in Pharmacology (GPP) has conferred over 350 Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and 75 Master of Science (MS) degrees in Pharmacology, with most graduates applying their training to successful careers in academic, medical, industry, government, and regulatory agency settings. Among our notable alumni is Dr. Louis Ignarro (PhD, 1966; advisor: Dr. Frederick E. Shideman), who received the 1998 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his pioneering work showing that nitric oxide is the gaseous second messenger that promotes vasodilation, the process underlying the beneficial therapeutic efficacy of drugs like nitroglycerin and sildenafil (Viagra). The GPP currently offers MS and PhD degree programs in Pharmacology, and participates in joint degree (MD/PhD and JD/PhD) programs offered in partnership with the University of Minnesota Medical School and Law School.

Statement on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The Graduate Program in Pharmacology (GPP) acknowledges that systemic inequality and discrimination has plagued our society and that academic institutions, including graduate programs, are not immune. Consequently, the GPP aims to identify and eliminate bias and inequity as they exist in our environment, creating a climate that recognizes and celebrates the distinctiveness and importance of each member of our learning community.

The GPP commits to creating a vibrant and compassionate environment where diversity is championed, and all students, faculty, and staff feel welcome and supported. Diversity in experience and thought is necessary for the success of an academic training program. Diverse perspectives enhance all aspects of graduate education including research, teaching, and the creation and dissemination of new knowledge. Diverse teams facilitate empathy and understanding of others and, importantly, contribute to innovation in our research mission. Diversity also prepares trainees for successful careers in a complex and pluralistic global economy.

How large is the Graduate Program in Pharmacology?

At any given time, we have between 45 and 60 students enrolled in our degree programs. In an average year, we admit 5-10 PhD students and 12-20 MS students. You can view our current graduate trainee cohort here.

Where do our graduate students come from?

While the majority of our students come from the upper midwest, in recent years we have had students from Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Washington. International students comprise about 30% of the student pool, coming from countries including Canada, China, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand.

What were the undergraduate majors of our graduate students?

Most of our students earned Bachelor of Science (BS) or Bachelor of Arts (BA) degrees from a life sciences major program such as Biology, Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Genetics, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Neuroscience, or Physiology. Students with undergraduate degrees in Chemistry or Physics have also done well in our program.

How long does it take for students in the GPP to earn their degree?

Based on data from our 25 most recent graduates, PhD students earn their degree on average in four years and nine months. MS students typically complete their degree in three semesters or one full academic year, while students who elect the MS Plan A (thesis) track can expect to earn their degree in five to six semesters.