PhD Degree

The curriculum leading to a doctor of philosophy degree in pharmacology at the University of Minnesota is designed to provide a solid understanding of basic pharmacology and to prepare our graduates to pursue careers as independent scientists and pharmacologists.

There is a strong focus on research throughout the program, and students who find the best fit have a background in research and a strong interest in research at a doctoral level. Most graduates of the program take positions in academic or research settings.

The Ph.D. Program is on-site and full-time with most students completing the program in around five years.

Research focus areas

All of the Pharmacology Program's Graduate Faculty focus on one or more of the department's four primary research focus areas. The following links go in to more detail regarding each topic and contain a list of the graduate faculty involved in that area:


Students enter the program in the fall. The academic year at the University of Minnesota is divided into two semesters (fall and spring) and one summer term. Students usually take courses in all semesters and summer terms, with a lighter load during the summer to allow more time for research. During their first year, most students rotate through three laboratories within the department. The purpose of these 8 week rotations is two-fold; first to permit the student to acquire practical experience in several different pharmacology laboratories and second, to assist the student in choosing a Ph.D. adviser, in whose laboratory the student will spend the bulk of his/her graduate training.

Major curriculum components include coursework, lab rotations, examinations, student seminars, and research/publications. Students will also often pick up a minor during their time here to enrich their learning.

Degree requirements and expectations

A high level of academic performance is expected of pharmacology graduate students. Only grades of A or B are acceptable in the major. Although the grade of C in minor or supporting program subjects is acceptable to the Graduate School, students are expected to maintain an overall GPA of at least 3.0 (B).

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 succpessful academic experiences, and cultivate the leaders of the next generation. ALL applicants to the pharmacology graduate program 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.