The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree program in Molecular Pharmacology and Therapeutics (MPaT) is a full-time research-intensive academic program that provides students with a highly individualized training platform in pharmacology that can help them achieve their career goals. The vast majority of our graduates progress to careers in academia, education, medicine, government, regulatory agencies, or the pharmaceutical industry. Students enter this program in the fall, at the beginning of a new academic year. Students take core courses in the fall and spring of the first year, and the fall of year 2. To tailor the experience to individual interests, elective courses are encouraged. 

PhD Admissions

Admissions Requirements

Candidates for admission are evaluated on the basis of undergraduate record, previous research experience, and letters of recommendation. See the How to Apply tab for more information. 

General Requirements for Admission

  • Four-year BA or BS degree (or equivalent) in life or physical sciences
  • Personal statement
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Optional Diversity Statement: Supporting the development of a diverse student body is central to the University of Minnesota's mission. This mission is enacted by the inclusion of academically excellent students with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and/or a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Please write a statement that identifies the distinctive characteristics and/or life experiences, such as successfully overcoming obstacles or hardships, that you would bring to your graduate program and how that could contribute to the education and enhanced perspective of fellow students at the University of Minnesota.

Research Experience 

While previous research experience is not formally required for admission to the Molecular Pharmacology and Therapeutics (MPaT) Graduate Program, our most competitive applicants have moderate-to-extensive research experience. Please note that we do not require additional documentation beyond the CV/Resume and Narrative Statement (also referred to as the Personal Statement or Statement of Purpose). If you wish, you may upload a Research Description of Extenuating Circumstances to explain a particular aspect of your application, but these documents are not required and will neither help nor hinder your application if submitted.

Additional International Applicant Requirements

A test of English-language proficiency (TOEFL or IELTS) is required for most applicants whose first language is not English, regardless of country of citizenship. Please review the guidelines here for more information about test exemptions. We do not require WES certification or other validation of international transcripts.

Minimum Scores


  • Internet: 100
  • Paper: 600
  • Computer: 250

IELTS: 7.0 band score 

GPA: the average GPA of matriculating students is 3.5/4.0

GRE: the GRE is no longer required, and we ask that students do not provide this information 


Candidates for admission are evaluated on the basis of their undergraduate record, letters of recommendation, statement of goals and interests, previous research experience, perceived program fit, and results of an English-language proficiency test (where applicable).


How to Apply

Applications for the 2025-26 academic year will open on September 1, 2024. Applications must be submitted by December 4, 2024, for admission the following year. The Molecular Pharmacology and Therapeutics (MPaT) Graduate Program only admits students in the fall term. All application requirements, including payment of the application fee, must be fulfilled before applications are reviewed.

Please read and follow the instructions below to prepare your application, and note that the Graduate School now requires that all materials are submitted electronically. The application and more detailed information can be found here.


Required fields: Personal Information, Application Information, Educational Background, Languages, Awards and Activities, Residence Information, Financial Support, Application Statement, and Recommendations. 

Optional fields: All other fields are optional but will be taken into consideration if submitted. Please do not submit a Writing Sample. The citation of your publications on your Resume or Curriculum Vitae will suffice.

Letters of recommendation

The Molecular Pharmacology and Therapeutics (MPaT) Graduate Program requires three letters of recommendation supporting your application. Individuals providing these letters should be familiar with your academic/professional work and they should be able to appraise your probability of success in our program. Enter the names and email addresses of your references into the application. The system will automatically email your references, requesting that they upload their recommendations.

Personal statement

Please provide a “personal statement of goals” explaining your interest in pharmacology and MPaT in the context of your immediate and long-range career goals. We recommend that you comment on your specific area(s) of research interest, whether you have any specific graduate training plans, and if you have identified specific advisors whose work appeals to you. The personal statement is a 1-2 page single-spaced document.

Resume or curriculum vitae

Please upload an up-to-date resume or curriculum vitae that includes your work history, list of academic honors and awards, and research and/or teaching experience to the “Program Supplemental Information” section of the application.

Application fee

Applications are not complete and will not be reviewed until the fee is paid. Instructions for payment options are included as part of the online Graduate School Application process. The application fee is $75 for US citizens and permanent residents and $95 for international applicants.


Unofficial transcripts or academic records should be uploaded directly to the online application. International students should also upload an English translation if the transcript is not in English. Please do not mail in paper copies of your transcripts; there is no need for official transcripts or academic records for initial review. If you are admitted, the University will then request official copies of this material. View tips and instructions for uploading your transcript.

English language test scores (TOEFL, IELTS)

In most cases, official scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) are required if English is not your native language. ETS should send your official TOEFL score to institution code: 6874. There is no department code. Note that if you have taken the IELTS, your scores must be mailed to the Graduate School. More information on the English-language requirement may be found here. You are required to report your scores on your application but are not required to submit your official scores until after admission has been offered.

Other information

Describe current registration information if you are currently enrolled at an academic institution. List all courses you expect to complete as part of your present program. Include department, course number, descriptive title, and number of credits for each course.

Additional supporting documents

Other supporting documents may include articles or other publications of any research, inventions, or creative work you have done.

Financial Support & Benefits


The standard financial benefit offered to doctoral students includes a yearly stipend of $34,000.

Tuition Benefits

A full tuition scholarship is given to all accepted doctoral students. 

Health Care

PhD students have the option to enroll in the Graduate Assistant Health Plan and receive healthcare insurance/benefit, covered at 95%. Students are also eligible to enroll their dependents under the same plan with the University subsidizing a portion of the cost of the dependent premiums as well. *Plan design and premiums are subject to change from year to year. For more information, view the 2023-2024 GAHP Enrollment Brochure.

Dental Care

The Boynton Health Service Dental Clinic provides dental care for students on the Graduate Assistant Health Plan. Please identify yourself as a Graduate Assistant Health Benefit Plan member and have your student ID number ready when making appointments for yourself or your dependents to ensure that you receive appropriate discounts on services. 

Wellness Services

As a Graduate Assistant Health Plan member, you have access to several resources to support your overall health and well-being. These services include online healthcare and well-being resources, mental health resources, and a RecWell Gym Discount.

Student Fees

The Department of Pharmacology pays student academic fees for the first 5 semesters of the doctoral program. At the start of Year 3, student fees are reduced drastically due to students being eligible for 1 FTE (full-time status equivalence) and tuition being greatly reduced.  

These benefits will be provided to you throughout your tenure as a graduate student in our program, subject to your good academic standing.

Career outcomes PhD


Director of Graduate Studies
Dr. Anna Lee
3-136 Nils Hasselmo Hall 

Associate Director of Graduate Studies
Dr. Steven Graves
3-106 Nils Hasselmo Hall

Director of Master's StudiesDr. Ezequiel Marron
2-104 Nils Hasselmo Hall

Graduate Program Coordinator
Marie Lindloff, MS
2-108 Nils Hasselmo Hall

HR Payroll Specialist 
Amy Ram