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Doctor of Philosophy in Pharmaceutical Chemistry

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Ph.D. Degree Requirements

Entering Background

Students entering the program are expected to be competent in basic principles of physical/organic chemistry and mathematics. These requirements are typically satisfied by most degrees in the basic or pharmaceutical sciences.

Core Courses

Each student must complete 7 core courses with grades of B or higher to be eligible to take the comprehensive core curriculum examination (offered after the spring semester of the first year in the program):

First Year, Fall Semester   First Year, Spring Semester  
CHEM 740 Principles of Organic Reactions 3 CHEM 742 Physical Organic Chemistry I 3
PHCH 804 Interdisciplinary Seminar on Ethics in Science and Engineering 1 PHCH 920 Chemical Kinetics 2
PHCH 862 Pharmaceutical Equilibrium 3 PHCH 972 Mechanisms of Drug Deterioration and Stabilization 3
PHCH 976 Advanced Topics in Biopharmaceutics and Pharmacokinetics I 3    

Specialized Areas of Emphasis (Tracks)

Upon successful completion of the core curriculum, students should select a specialized area of emphasis or track. Students may select either the pharmaceutical biotechnology track or the physical/analytical pharmaceutical chemistry track. The student must take the two courses for each track listed below. With the consent of his or her adviser and the department graduate studies adviser, a student with a cross-disciplinary research project may be able to replace a required course from a track with a suitable alternative course.

Pharmaceutical Biotechnology Track

Required Courses

PHCH 870 Advanced Pharmaceutical Biotechnology
(offered every other spring semester, even-numbered years)
PHCH 725 Molecular Cell Biology (offered every other fall semester, even-numbered years) 3

Physical/Analytical Pharmaceutical Chemistry Track

Required Courses

PHCH 864 Pharmaceutical Analysis (offered every other fall semester, odd-numbered years) 4
PHCH 850 Solid State Stability and Formulation (offered every other spring, even-numbered years) 3

Electives and Foreign Language or Other Research Skills Requirement

Graduate students must take one elective course in addition to the previously listed courses. This may be from the courses offered by the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry (see below) or from any other department on campus with prior approval from the student’s research adviser.

Examples of additional courses offered by this department are

  • PHCH 866 Pharmaceutical Mass Transport
    (2 hours, offered every other spring semester, even-numbered years)
  • PHCH 977 Advanced Topics in Biopharmaceutics and Pharmacokinetics II
    (2 hours, offered every other fall semester, even-numbered years)
  • PHCH 715 Drug Delivery (3 hours, offered every other fall semester, odd-numbered years)
  • PHCH 865 Pharmaceutical Analysis II (2 hours, offered every other fall semester, even-numbered years)

To complete the didactic component, the student must complete the FLORS (foreign language or other research skill) requirement. This may be met by successfully completing an acceptable skills development course. Courses that have been accepted to fulfill the FLORS requirement are as follows (other courses may be permissible upon approval of the pharmaceutical chemistry FLORS committee):

  • BIOL 672 Gene Expression (3)
  • BIOL 688 The Molecular Biology of Cancer (3)
  • BIOL 702 Laboratory Practice: Radiation Safety Procedures (0.75) and
    BIOL 703 Radioisotopes in Radiation Safety in Research (1.25) (must be taken together)
  • BIOL 704 Research Animal Methods (3)
  • BIOL 718 Laboratory in Molecular Biology (3)
  • BIOL 756 Cell and Tissue Culture Laboratory (3)
  • BIOL 841 Biometry I (5)
  • BIOL 918 Modern Biochemical and Biophysical Methods (4)
  • CHEM 711 Applied Electronics for Scientists (4)
  • CHEM 766 Spectroscopic Identification of Organic Compounds (3)
  • CHEM 959 Advanced Topics in Analytical Chemistry: _____ (3)
  • CHEM 966 Physical Organic Chemistry II (3)
  • MDCM 860 Drug Metabolism (2)
  • C&PE 121 Introduction to Computers in Engineering (3)
  • PHCH 725 Molecular Cell Biology (3)

Note: Responsible scholarship requirements were approved after this catalog was finalized. Contact your department or program for more information about this requirement for doctoral students.

Seminar Requirements

All graduate students must attend the weekly departmental seminar. Seminars consist of presentations by guest speakers, faculty members, and students. Typically, graduate students are required to present at least two departmental seminars during their time in the program. The seminar may be based on progress in their research or on a literature review of work related to their research.


Each Ph.D. candidate must submit and defend a dissertation resulting from research of sufficient originality and quality for publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals. The research is conducted under the supervision and guidance of the student’s adviser, with input from the dissertation committee as needed. The median time for students to complete the Ph.D. degree is 5.3 years.

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