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PhD in Pharmacology and Toxicology

IU School of Medicine offers a PhD degree in pharmacology and toxicology that allows students to develop individually tailored programs of study and to pursue research in drug discovery, pharmacology, cancer biology, neurobiology, immunology, microbiology and toxicology.

The pharmacology and toxicology doctoral program develops independent investigators in pharmacology and toxicology. Using molecular biology, biochemistry, chemistry and physiology techniques, students are required by the graduate faculty to demonstrate proficiency in both conceptual and technical facets of modern biomedical research and to perform meritorious original research on a significant problem in pharmacology and toxicology.

The study of pharmacology and toxicology requires a diverse background in biological sciences, including biochemistry, cellular biology, molecular biology, physiology, genetics and neuroscience. This enables medical scientists to integrate the knowledge of biological systems with the effects of pharmacological agents.

Pursue a PhD

Begin work on a PhD degree in Pharmacology and Toxicology to prepare for a career in laboratory research or education.


Training and curriculum

  • Coursework

    All PhD students in pharmacology and in toxicology are required to take 28 hours of coursework; of that, six hours are rotations, and 62 hours are spent on research and in seminars, for a total of 90 hours.

  • Qualifying Examination

    To be eligible for the qualifying exam, students must have completed the required coursework for pharmacology or toxicology with a grade of B or higher (including laboratory rotations and elective courses) and have a minimum GPA of 3.0.

  • Research

    Upon successful completion of the qualifying exam, students must enroll for eight to nine hours of research per semester to acquire the credits required for the PhD.

  • Dissertation Defense

    Pharmacology and Toxicology PhD students at IU School of Medicine are expected to defend their thesis dissertation within four to six years from beginning the IBMG program. Students must also complete two of the following actions prior to conferral of the PhD: apply for a grant, co-author a second research paper or review article, and present a poster or speak at a local, national or international meeting.