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We enable students with backgrounds in fundamental sciences to become leaders in pharmaceutical sciences

Located in the vibrant and multicultural city of Chicago, UIC's PhD Program in Pharmaceutical Sciences is one of the strongest and largest of its type in the United States. Our college is consistently ranked in the top ten in terms of funds secured annually from the National Institutes of Health and by US News and World Report. We pride ourselves on giving students from all types of backgrounds the tools they need to become independent researchers. Students in the program select one of five concentrations, described below.

Welcome from the Director of Graduate Studies Heading link

We are so pleased you are considering graduate studies in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago! Although Pharmaceutical Sciences is one of the best graduate programs of its kind in the country, our real pride is mentoring students into independent researchers who become leaders in our field. The program has some unique strengths, including providing flexibility to carry out internships in your later years. Have a look around our website. If you have questions, feel free to reach out to us at psci-program@uic.edu. We look forward to reading your application!

Terry Moore, PhD  |  Associate Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences

Program Coursework Heading link

All students in the Pharmaceutical Sciences program take the following courses. Additional concentration coursework is also required and is shown in each of the concentration tabs.

  • Drug Discovery, Design, and Development (PSCI 501, 3 credit hours)
  • Training in Research Presentation (PSCI 502, 1 credit hour)
  • Biostatistics (1 credit hour required). Requirement may  be met by
    • PSCI 503: Biostatistics for Pharmaceutical Scientists (2 credit hours)
    • BSTT 400: Biostatistics I (4 credit hours) [Note: BSTT 400 is required for the Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery concentration]
  • Scientific Ethics and the Responsible Conduct of Research (GC 501, 1 credit hour)
  • Research Rotation (PSCI 592; 3-4 credit hours)

Program Concentrations Heading link

Five concentrations comprise the PhD program in Pharmaceutical Sciences. Click on the tabs below to learn more about each of them. To see the faculty mentors for each concentration, visit the Faculty Mentors page.

Concentration Description

Faculty in the Chemistry in Drug Discovery concentration use the tools and techniques of chemistry to discover and develop new chemical probes and potential therapeutics. Students in this concentration learn how to design, synthesize, characterize and analyze small molecules, peptides, and proteins.

Concentration Coursework

Students in the Chemistry in Drug Discovery Concentration take the following courses:

  • Fundamental of Drug Action I (PHAR 422, 4 credit hours)
  • Principles of Medicinal Chemistry (PSCI 530, 5 credit hours)
  • Electives (9 credit hours)

Concentration Coordinator

Prof. Terry Moore (twmoore@uic.edu)

Concentration Description

The faculty of the Forensic Science concentration prepare students to take part in the field of forensic science as possible educators in the field or active practicing forensic scientists with futures in management. Students are instructed in the use of the tools and procedures utilized in two major fields of study: DNA analysis and Drug Chemistry/Toxicology.

Concentration Coursework

Students in the Forensics Concentration take the following courses:

  • Forensic Science: Survey and Foundations (PSCI 580, 2 credit hours)
  • Forensic Analysis of Biological Evidence (PSCI 581, 4 credit hours)
  • Forensic Chemistry and Trace Evidence Analysis (PSCI 582, 4 credit hours)
  • Physical Pattern Evidence Analysis (PSCI 583, 4 credit hours)
  • Forensic Drug Analysis and Toxicology (PSCI 584, 4 credit hours)
  • Forensic Science Seminar (PSCI 587, at least 2 semesters; 2 credit hours 1 credit hour x 2 semesters)
  • Expert Witness Testimony and Courtroom Demeanor (PSCI 588, 2 credit hours)

Concentration Coordinator

Prof. Karl Larsen (larsena@uic.edu)

Concentration Description

The Molecular Mechanisms and Therapeutics concentration is designed to provide advanced understanding of fundamental causes of diseases, strategies that identify new drug targets, and mechanistic explanations of how drugs work (or fail) from the perspective of the target and systems they impact. Faculty affiliated with MMT integrate a wide variety of molecular, biochemical, genetic, bioinformatic, and bioengineering approaches to study mechanisms of pathogenesis ranging from infectious diseases to cancer. Students will enroll in fundamental molecular and cellular biology courses and select elective courses in areas of their focused research.

Concentration Coursework

Students in the Molecular Mechanisms and Therapeutics Concentration take the following courses:

  • Biochemistry (e.g., GEMS 501 or equivalent graduate-level biochemistry course, 3 credit hours)
  • Molecular Biology (e.g., GEMS 502 or equivalent molecular biology course, 3 credit hours)
  • A minimum of 3 credit hours in the following courses:
    • Biostatistics I (BSTT 400, 4 credit hours)
    • Molecular Genetics (GEMS 511, 3 credit hours)
    • Receptor Pharmacology and Cell Signaling (GEMS 515, 3 credit hours)
    • Microbial Pathogenesis (MIM 560, 3 credit hours)
    • Cancer Biology and Therapeutics (PSCI 540, 3 credit hours)
  • Electives (9 credit hours)

Concentration Coordinator

Prof. Michael Federle (mfederle@uic.edu)

Concentration Description

Faculty in the Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery concentration use the tools and techniques of physical and biologic sciences and engineering to understand and develop delivery systems and formulations for therapeutic molecules and control the biodistribution of therapeutic molecules. Students in this concentration learn how to design, synthesize, characterize and analyze novel materials and drug delivery systems and design and develop technologies related to therapeutic distribution in the body.

Concentration Coursework

Students in the Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery Concentration take the following courses:

  • Biostatistics I (BSTT 400)*
    • *This 4 credit hour course will count 1 hour toward the program core statistics requirement and 3 hours toward the Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery concentration requirements. Students will not receive credit for two introductory statistics courses.
  • Essentials for Animal Research (GC 470, 1 credit hour)
  • Experimental Animal Techniques (GC 471, 2 credit hours)
  • Principles of Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery (PSCI 510, 3 credit hours)
  • Electives (9 credit hours)

Concentration Coordinator

Prof. Richard Gemeinhart (rag@uic.edu)

Concentration Description

Faculty research programs in the Pharmacognosy concentration aim to develop therapeutics from natural products and to study the mechanisms of pain, cancers, and a wide array of infectious and tropical diseases. Students of this concentration are trained in a combination of bioinformatics, synthetic biology, genetic engineering, chromatography, and spectroscopy to achieve these goals.

Concentration Coursework

Students in the Pharmacognosy Concentration take the following courses:

  • Research Techniques in Pharmacognosy (PSCI 520 or equivalent; 3 credit hours)
  • Structure Elucidation of Natural Products (PSCI 521 or equivalent; 3 credit hours)
  • Advanced Pharmacognosy (PSCI 522 or equivalent; 3 credit hours)
  • Electives (9 credit hours)

Concentration Coordinator

Prof. Brian Murphy (btmurphy@uic.edu)

PharmD/PhD Joint Program Heading link

Pharmaceutical Sciences participates in the joint PharmD/PhD program, which trains students for careers in academic pharmacy and bench science research. Students admitted to this joint program participate in the PharmD curriculum and pursue original doctoral research projects in the laboratories of the university’s graduate faculty in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

The joint program offers the potential of reducing the time of earning both degrees in sequence (9 or more years) by approximately two years. The trade-off is that both degrees are awarded at the end of the training period and neither degree can be received before the other is completed.

The PharmD/PhD program is for exceptional, highly motivated and achieving students ready to meet the challenge of increased academic load and independent research project.

Program coordinator: Dr. Lindsay McQuade (lmcquade@uic.edu)

  • $ 32,667 annual graduate stipend for students on teaching assistantship or research assistantship

  • 33 internships completed by department graduate students in the last five years

  • 14 students currently on training grant or fellowship

  • # 7 nationally ranked College of Pharmacy according to US News

  • # 7 nationally ranked total research funding among Colleges of Pharmacy according to AACP

Start your application Heading link

The Pharmaceutical Sciences Program at UIC offers a supportive, inclusive environment and rigorous academic preparation for students who are interested in careers in pharmaceutical sciences. If you have any questions about the program or about your application, please contact psci-program@uic.edu.

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