StudyQA — PhD: Pharmacology — Georgetown University



Study mode:On campus Study type:Full-time Languages: English
Local:$ 49.8 k / Year(s) Foreign:$ 49.8 k / Year(s) Deadline: Dec 1, 2022
120 place StudyQA ranking:2370 Duration:5 years

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The Department of Pharmacology & Physiology offers a comprehensive and rigorous graduate program leading to the Ph.D. degree in Pharmacology. Pharmacology is the study of the effects of drugs and chemicals on living organisms. Modern pharmacology is inherently interdisciplinary and builds on the strengths of biochemistry, physiology, cell biology, neuroscience, and molecular biology to explore and understand these effects.

But just as importantly, drugs and chemicals are powerful tools that allow researchers to probe the molecular machinery of living systems. For this reason, much of the research in pharmacology is directed toward understanding how cellular and organ systems function and how they are regulated.

In their research, faculty at Georgetown use molecular, biochemical, and physiological approaches to pharmacology, which is conducted in cultured cells, isolated organs, intact animals, and humans. Although the research areas covered by the participating faculty are broad, the most concentrated area of research strength is in neuropharmacology and signal transduction.

Although there is a strong didactic component to the Ph.D. program, it is inherently a research degree. Thus, the first year of study is divided between research in various laboratories and course work. the following years are devoted, almost exclusively, to a novel research project culminating in publications in international journals and an original Ph.D. dissertation. On average, our students complete the program in approximately 5 years.

The program of study for the Ph.D. in Pharmacology degree has an early focus on didactic learning but, overall, emphasizes research. The first year consists of a set of core courses and laboratory rotations. Thesis research is typically begun in the second year along with any elective courses deemed to be important to the student's research topic. By the end of this period, a thesis mentor and an area of thesis research are identified. Throughout the program, students present their current research to the program in post-rotational talks and annual seminars. Upon completion of the research project, a thesis is written and defended, and a Ph.D. degree is awarded.

The Program requires a minimum of 24 credits of graduate coursework which gives a working knowledge of biochemistry, physiology, and pharmacology. Electives can be taken in the first and second year, but are not required.

The training of Ph.D. students in the Pharmacology Program involves an integrated approach to learning. In addition to course work and thesis research, formal and informal learning situations are integrated into the course of study in the form of journal clubs, seminars, and other student-student and student-faculty interactions.

The basic requirements of the program are:

  • One year of core courses
  • Three research rotations
  • Comprehensive oral exam
  • Annual seminar presentations
  • Thesis research (beginning in the second year)
  • Thesis defense


The course work in the first year focuses on pharmacology and physiology. Knowledge of biochemistry is also expected and a placement exam is given in August. If needed, a biochemistry course should be taken during the first year. A minimum of 24 graduate level credits are required to advance to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree. Electives can be taken in the first three semesters of the program, but are not required. 


  • Med Center Orientation (July 6)
  • Lab Safety and Radiation Safety Orientation (July 7)
  • ​​Summer Rotation


  • PHAR-611    Principles of Pharmacology (4) MW 3-5
  • PBIO-534    Cell & Molecular Physiology (4) - Biochemistry (can be tested out of) MW 1-3
  • PBIO-501     Graduate Physiology (5) MWF 10-12
  • NSCI-505     Neuroscience Survey (2) F 4-5
  • PHAR-986     Fall Rotation


  • PHAR-504    Graduate Pharmacology (10) M-F 9:40-12:00
  • NSCI-532      Survival Skills & Ethics for Scientists (2) W 5-7
  • PHAR-987      Spring Rotation


  • PHAR-505    Advanced Pharmacology (3)
  • NSCI-599     Practical Data Analysis and Experimental Design (3)
  • Electives, if needed
  • PHAR-986     Makes you a full-time student


  • Electives, if needed
  • PHAR-987     Makes you a full-time student


  • PHAR-999-01     Makes you a full-time student


  • PHAR-999-01    BGE will do this for you automatically until you graduate



  • PHAR528  Modern Methods in Molecular Biology (3 credits - Thursday, 10:30 am-12:00 pm)
  • PHAR584  Introduction to Pharmacology (1 credit - Thursday, 8:45 am - 9:50 am)
  • PHAR588  Drugs, the Brain, and Behavior I (3 credits - Thursday, 5:00 pm - 6:45 pm)
  • PHAR604  Medicinal Plants and Pharmacognosy (3 credits - Thursday, 1:30 pm-2:50 pm)
  • PHAR620  Introduction to Regulatory Science (2 credits - Wednesday, 6:00 pm-8:00 pm)
  • PHAR630  Redox Signaling & Free Radical Biology (2 credits - not offered Fall 2015)
  • PHAR901  Tutorial in Pharmacology (1-3 credits - TBA)
  • PHAR906  Research in Pharmacology (variable credits)
  • PBIO534   Cell and Molecular Physiology (4 credits - Monday/Wednesday, 1:00 pm-3:00pm)
  • PBIO566   Fund. Mol. Biol. & Genetics (1 credit - Monday/Wednesday/Friday 10:00 am-11:50 am)
  • BCHB523  Intellectual Property (1 credit - TBA)
  • MICB606  Public Policy for Scientists (4 credits - Tuesday/Thursday, 6:00 pm-7:30 pm)
  • MICB670  Role of Philanthropy in Advancing Biomedical Research  (1 credit - W 6pm) 
  • NSCI505   Neuroscience Survey  (2 credits - check Schedule of Classes)
  • NSCI521   Elements of Imaging  (2 credits - check Schedule of Classes)
  • NSCI558   Molecular Mechanisms of Neurodegeneration  (3 credits)
  • TBIO508   Cellular and Molecular aspects of the Transformed Cell (4 credits - TRF, 3:30 pm-4:30 pm)
  • TBIO523  Epigenetics I: Mechanisms and Human Diseases (3 credits - Thursday, 1:00 pm-2:40 pm)
  • TBIO525   Cancer Genetics (3 credits - Thursday, 10:30 am-11:50 am)


  • PHAR510  Neuropsychopharmacology (2 credits - offered on demand - speak with Dr. Kellar)
  • PHAR589  Drugs, the Brain, and Behavior II (3 credits - Tuesday/Thursday, 5:15 pm-6:45 pm)
  • PHAR592  Introduction to Toxicology (1 credit - Thursday, 5:15 pm-6:30 pm)
  • PHAR593  Topics in Epilepsy (2 credits - Tuesday, 3:00 - 4:50)
  • PHAR605  Advanced Topics in Nutrition (3 credits - Tue/Thu, 1:00 pm-2:20 pm, SW107 Med/Dent)
  • PHAR607  Dietary Supplements in Health Care (1 credit - Tuesday, 2:30 pm-3:30 pm)
  • PHAR840  Systems Concepts and Drug Safety (2 credits - Tuesday, 5:00 pm-7:00 pm)
  • PHAR842  Regulatory Pharmacokinetics (3 credits - Thursday, 1:00 pm-3:00 pm)
  • PHAR907  Research in Pharmacology (variable credits)
  • CLTR900  Analytical Approaches for Regulatory Science (3 credits - Tuesday, 4:00 pm-6:30 pm)
  • CLTR904  Approaches for Assessing Safety, Quality & Benefit (3 credits - Wednesday, 3:00 pm-6:00 pm)
  • CLTR905  Communicating Risk & Benefit for Public Health (2 credits - Thursday, 3:00 pm-5:00 pm)
  • BCHB515  Intro to Bioinformatics (1 credit - Wednesday, 10:00 am-11:30 am)
  • BCHB522  Drug Targets/Drug Design (2 credits - Wednesday, 5:00 pm-7:00 pm)
  • MICB705   Science Policy and World Health  (2 credits - Friday, 2:30 pm-4:30 pm) 
  • TBIO535   Cancer Pharmacology I & II (2 or 4 credits - Thursday, 1:00 pm-2:50 pm)
  • TBIO588   Preparing a Scientific Paper (2 credits - Wednesday, 4:00 pm-5:40 pm)

Fall and Spring  -  The first two courses are restricted to MS students in the Pharmacology or Physiology programs.

  • NSCI701     Seminars in Neuroscience (1 credit - Tuesday, 12:00 pm-12:50 pm)
  • NSCI702     Research Presentations in Neuroscience (1 credit - Wednesday, 12:00 pm-1:00pm)
  • PHAR534    Ethical Issues in Scientific Research (2 credits - Monday, 3:00 pm-5:00 pm)


  • PHAR606  Human Nutrition & Obesity (2 credits - Monday/Wednesday/Friday, 1:00pm-3:00pm)

For PhD students only

  • PHAR901 & 902  Tutorial in Pharmacology  (variable credit - Fall & Spring)
  • NSCI533 & 534  Neurobiology of Disease  (1 credit - TBA - Fall & Spring)
  • NSCI501   Cell. and Mol. Neuroscience (6 credits - Fall)
  • NSCI502   Cell. and Mol. Neuroscience/In Depth (3 credits - Fall)
  • NSCI601   Topics in Synaptic Transmission (2 credits - Spring)
  • NSCI599  Practical Data Analysis and Experimental Design (3 credits - Fall)
  • Application fee
  • Personal statement
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Official transcript(s) (sent via snail mail)
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test
  • TOEFL is required for applicants who have or will be receiving an international degree. All applicants must provide proof of English language proficiency to be eligible for admission. The requirements are outlined by the Graduate School, including minimum scores on the TOEFL or IELTS exams. Note: the TOEFL code for Biomedical Graduate Education at Georgetown University is B191.
  • We require to have international school transcripts evaluated for equivalency with U.S. standards. The preferred place for this evaluation is the World Education Services (WES). WES charges a fee and requires an original transcript sent directly by the school. Please have WES send their evaluation directly to the Office of Biomedical Graduate Education at the address listed below.
  • Transcripts are the only thing not submitted electronically. Please send your official transcript to Office of Biomedical Graduate Education
  • Pharmacology PhD Supplemental Application (online); this must be completed in order for your application to be reviewed by the department.


All Ph.D. students who maintain normal progress are supported with:

  • Stipend ($29,000 for 2015-2016)
  • Full tuition
  • Health insurance
  • Required fees
  • Books for required courses are online at Georgetown Library
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