All schools & programs > School of Pharmacy > Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology >

Doctor of Philosophy in Pharmacology and Toxicology

Visit their website » Print...

Ph.D. Degree Requirements

Course Work

Students must earn credit in the following courses or their equivalents:

  • P&TX 700 Professional Issues in the Biomedical Sciences
  • Students must complete 8 credit hours of Advanced Pharmacology (P&TX 730-P&TX 735) consisting of four 2-credit-hour modules.
    P&TX 730 Advanced Pharmacology I: Central Nervous System and Autonomic Nervous System (required)
    P&TX 731 Advanced Pharmacology II: Cardiovascular and Renal System (required)
    P&TX 732 Advanced Pharmacology III: Hematology and Cancer Biology (elective)
    P&TX 733 Advanced Pharmacology IV: Infectious and Respiratory Diseases (required)
    P&TX 734 Advanced Pharmacology V: Endocrinology (elective)
    P&TX 735 Advanced Pharmacology VI: Metabolism and GI (elective)
  • P&TX 740 Advanced Biotechnology
  • P&TX 742 Experimental Pharmacology
  • P&TX 747 Molecular Toxicology
  • P&TX 799 Pharmacology and Toxicology Seminar
  • P&TX 800 Pharmacology and Toxicology Teaching Principles
  • P&TX 801 Issues in Scientific Integrity
  • P&TX 803 Pharmacology Literature Review I
  • P&TX 805 Pharmacology Literature Review II
  • BIOL 841 Biometry I

Students also must complete 3 credit hours of advanced graduate work in an elective course.

On passing the comprehensive oral examination, an aspirant for the Ph.D. degree becomes a candidate, and a dissertation committee is appointed, in accordance with KU general regulations. The dissertation committee normally consists of 5 members of the Graduate Faculty. 3 members of the committee must be pharmacology and toxicology faculty members.

Research Skills Requirement

In consultation with the adviser, each student develops research skills relevant to the chosen research program. A great deal of flexibility is allowed in selecting the research skills. All graduate students must complete training in an area that can become useful in future research design and data analysis. Representative areas are computer science; statistical methodology; cellular imaging techniques; histochemistry and cytochemistry; tissue culture methods; radioisotope techniques; methods in immunology, molecular biology, or protein chemistry; bioinformatics; and molecular modeling procedures.

Note: Contact your department or program for more information about research skills and responsible scholarship, and the current requirements for doctoral students. Current Lawrence and Edwards Campus policies on Doctoral Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship are listed in the KU Policy Library.

Comprehensive Examinations

The Ph.D. aspirant takes the comprehensive examination after completing most of the course work and fulfilling the research skills requirement. The comprehensive examination is composed of 3 parts:

  1. Written Comprehensive Examination: Each student must complete two written examinations to complete P&TX 803 and P&TX 805.
  2. Preparation of a Literature Review and Research Proposal: Each student must prepare a literature review and a research proposal on a current topic in pharmacology or toxicology.
  3. Oral Comprehensive Examination: After approval of the literature review/research proposal by the student’s advisory committee, each student, in consultation with the adviser, takes an oral examination covering the student’s major field.


Shortly after entering the program, the student, with the adviser’s assistance, selects a dissertation project. After the oral comprehensive examination, the student presents the dissertation research project to the advisory committee and receives periodic advice from this committee throughout the project. Upon acceptance of the dissertation by the advisory committee, the candidate must pass a final oral examination, including a defense of the dissertation before the dissertation committee and any other interested members of the Graduate Faculty.

The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender identity, gender expression and genetic information in the University’s programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Director of the Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access,, 1246 W. Campus Road, Room 153A, Lawrence, KS, 66045, (785)864-6414, 711 TTY.