Your browser is unsupported

We recommend using the latest version of IE11, Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

In this section

Pharmacognosy Program


The Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy offers studies leading to degrees in Pharmacognosy at both the masters and doctoral levels. Major research areas concern the isolation, structure elucidation, bioassay and mechanism of action of plant constituents having biological activity. Studies in biomolecular interactions and structural biology are also pursued. Individual faculty profiles should be consulted for their specific areas of research interest.

The department also offers a graduate program in Medicinal Chemistry; consult the appropriate heading in the UIC Graduate catalog for more information on that program or contact the DGS for  Medicinal Chemistry, Dr. Douglas Thomas -


Applicants are considered on an individual basis. In addition to the Graduate College minimum requirements, applicants must meet the following program requirements:

Baccalaureate Field: Pharmacy, chemistry, or the biological sciences. Prior academic work should include a year each of biology and organic chemistry.
Grade Point Average: At least 3.00 (A=4.00) for the final 60 semester (90 quarter) hours of undergraduate study.
Tests Required: GRE general.
Minimum English Competency Test Score:

  • TOEFL: 550 (paper-based); 213 (computer-based) or 80, with subscores of Reading 19, Listening 17, Speaking 20, and Writing 21 (iBT Internet-based), OR,
  • IELTS 6.5, with subscores of 6.0 for all four subscores, OR,
  • PTE-Academic 54, with subscores of Reading 51, Listening 47, Speaking 53, and Writing 56.

GRE and TOEFL submission code: 1851
Letters of Recommendation: Three required.
Personal Statement: Required.
Other Requirements: PhD applicants strongly preferred.


In addition to the Graduate College minimum requirements, students must meet the following program requirements:

Master of Science

Minimum Semester Hours Required: 32.
Course work:
 At least 16 hours must be in didactic courses.
Required Courses: PMPG 480, 510, and one hour of 595.
Comprehensive Examination: None.
Thesis or Project: Thesis required. No other options available.
Other Requirements: Candidates must assist in one or more of the courses offered by the college or the department.

Doctor of Philosophy

Minimum Semester Hours Required: 96 from the baccalaureate.
Course work: At least 26 semester hours must be in didactic courses.
Required Courses: PMPG 480, 510, and two hours of PMPG 595.
Electives: Vary by student’s area of research interest; PMPG 521, GCLS 501, MDCH 560, and 562 are recommended. At least 4 hours must be in 500-level courses outside the program.
Qualifying Examination: None, incorporated into Preliminary Examination.
Preliminary Examination: Required; written and oral.
Dissertation: Required, with an oral defense.
Other Requirements: Candidates must assist in one or more of the courses offered by the college or the department.

Program Specializations

The Graduate Program in Pharmacognosy has four tracks. Students select from one of the following specializations:

  1. Natural Products Drug Discovery
  2. Medical Ethnobotany
  3. Biochemical and Molecular Toxicology
  4. Biomolecular Sciences

Individual tracks may have additional didactic course requirements.


First you must apply online:

PLEASE NOTE: Waiting to submit a complete application for Fall semester after January 1st of that calendar year will substantially reduce the chances of being admitted with an offer of financial support.

The process for the submission of documents has changed.

Beginning with Summer/Fall 2013 applications, applicants no longer submit paper credentials. All applicants are required to upload their documents and academic credentials electronically to satisfy both program-specific requirements and admission/institutional requirements. Please visit the Graduate Admissions website for more details on the document upload process:

Also fill out and send the request for graduate appointment form, which includes space for your personal statement, to Dr. Orjala:


Most students in the program receive financial support as a Teaching or Research Assistant, or as University Fellow.


For additional information about Graduate Studies in Pharmacognosy, please visit the Information Hub for Applicants and Students first, then if you have additional questions, contact:

Dr. Jimmy Orjala
Director of Graduate Studies in Pharmacognosy
College of Pharmacy
University of Illinois, Chicago
833 South Wood Street 
539 PHARM, MC 781
Chicago, IL 60612-7231
Phone: (312) 996-5583
Fax: (312) 996-7107