Pharmacology and Toxicology both require an understanding of basic properties and actions of chemicals and the biological systems they affect.  Pharmacology though, focuses more on the therapeutic actions of chemicals (particularly drugs) in the health sciences, the use of drugs as therapeutic agents in medicine or as tools in scientific research, and the development and regulation of pharmaceuticals.  Pharmacologists perform many different duties including research and teaching in academic, nonprofit and industrial settings, and in consulting and public service.

The Master of Science (M.S.) in Pharmacology degree program provides an academic experience that emphasizes research skills and prepares students for a range of careers in varied employment settings or more advanced academic study.  The M.S. curriculum provides a foundation of core concepts and skills through required coursework, but allows considerable flexibility for individualization through advanced electives and mentored research experiences.

The application process is an online process. Application to this graduate program is facilitated through the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences (IGPBS). Detailed instructions on how to apply and the application deadlines are posted on the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences website

Admission requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution documented by submission of official transcript indicating the degree has been conferred before entering the program. Official transcripts from institutions attended post-baccalaureate are also required.
    Students with degrees from outside the U.S. may be subject to transcript evaluation indicating the degree is equivalent to a U.S. degree and meets the minimum cumulative GPA requirements.
  • A cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of at least a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for the bachelor’s degree.
  • Applicants who are not native speakers of English, whether domestic or international, must demonstrate they meet the Minimum English Proficiency Requirement.
  • A background check is required during the admission process; it may affect the student's eligibility to enter the program.
  • An official copy of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score sent from Educational Testing Service (ETS) to University of Kansas Medical Center - ETS institutional code 6895.
  • Three letters of recommendation.
  • Prerequisite coursework:
    • One year of general chemistry
    • One year of organic chemistry or one semester of organic chemistry and one semester of biochemistry
    • One year of biological sciences
    • One semester of calculus
    • One semester of physics
  • Research experience (beyond labs associated with lecture courses) is strongly suggested.
  • Interview - the most qualified applicants will receive an invitation for an interview.

Applicants will be assessed based on a combination of GPA, research experience, interview and GRE scores. Students not meeting the above requirements may be eligible for provisional admission.  After an applicant has been admitted, a program may defer an applicant's admission for one year after which time the applicant must submit a new application.

Admission requirements are subject to change. In most cases, use the catalog of the year student entered the program. Other years’ catalogs».

Degree Requirements:

  • Degree requirements are normally completed within 3 years of admission to the degree program although a maximum of 7 years is allowed.
  • Cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of at least a 3.0 for all KU graduate coursework.
  • Completion of a minimum of 30 credit hours.
  • Enrollment in a minimum of one (1) credit hour the semester the student will graduate.
  • Successful completion of the following Pharmacology courses:
    PHCL 890Research in Pharmacology1-10
    PHCL 898Principles of Pharmacology1
    PHCL 899Thesis in Pharmacology (if thesis option chosen)1-10
  • Successful completion of elective coursework as determined in consultation with the student's advisor.

Degree requirements and course descriptions are subject to change. Any courses taken as an equivalent must be approved by the Graduate Director and the Office of Graduate Studies. In most cases, use the catalog of the year student entered the program. Other years’ catalogs».


Typical Plan of Study

Year 1
GSMC 8502GSMC 8532GSMC 8591-4
GSMC 8512GSMC 8542May take an elective course from the student's chosen degree program in consultation with the student's advisor.1-3
GSMC 8522GSMC 8552 
GSMC 8561GSMC 8591-4 
GSMC 8571  
GSMC 8581  
GSMC 8591-4  
 10-13 7-10 2-7
Total Hours: 19-30
Year 2
PHCL 8901-6PHCL 8901-6PHCL 8901-3
PHCL 8981  
 2-7 1-6 1-3
Year 3
PHCL 899 or 8901-6PHCL 899 or 8901-6PHCL 899 or 8901-3
PHCL 899 if thesis option chosen, otherwise PHCL 890 PHCL 899 if thesis option chosen, otherwise PHCL 890 PHCL 899 if thesis option chosen, otherwise PHCL 890 
Thesis defense or general examination scheduled semester approved by committee to graduate.   
 1-6 1-6 1-3
Total Hours: 7-31