Graduate Program in Pharmacology

Triptych of lab images representing the graduate program

Since its inception in 1913, 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.

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.

Diversity Statement

The Graduate School embraces the University of Minnesota's position that promoting and supporting diversity among the student body is central to the academic mission of the University. We define diversity to encompass many characteristics including economic disadvantage, special talents, evidence of leadership qualities, race or ethnicity, a strong work record, and disability. A diverse student body enriches graduate education by providing a multiplicity of views and perspectives that enhance research, teaching, and the development of new knowledge. A diverse mix of students promotes respect for, and opportunities to learn from, others with the broad range of backgrounds and experiences that constitute modern society. Higher education trains the next generation of leaders of academia and society in general, and such opportunities for leadership should be accessible to all members of society. The Graduate School and its constituent graduate programs are therefore committed to providing equal access to educational opportunities through recruitment, admission, and support programs that promote diversity, foster successful academic experiences, and cultivate the leaders of the next generation. ALL applicants to the Graduate Program in Pharmacology are invited to consider including in their personal statements a brief discussion of how their presence as a graduate student in our program would contribute to the University of Minnesota's objective of promoting excellence through diversity.