University of Pittsburgh Pitt Home | Find People | Contact Us

GRADUATE AND PROFESSIONAL BULLETIN < Previous Page | Table of Contents | Next Page >

School of Pharmacy

The Graduate Program in Pharmaceutical Sciences offers Master of Science (MS) and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).

The School also offers a Master of Science (MS) degree in Pharmacy Administration.

 

PhD or MS in Pharmaceutical Sciences

The School of Pharmacy offers training at the graduate level to unique, highly motivated individuals. Our mission is to train the next generation of leaders and decision makers seeking to improve the health of the community through outstanding basic and clinical research. Major strengths include highly accomplished, well funded research faculty, multidisciplinary training opportunities, and cutting edge technologies.

Training consists of a sequence of required core courses, elective courses, journal clubs, faculty-directed research, and an original research project leading to a final thesis or dissertation. Students may select to in one of four Primary Tracks: medicinal chemistry, biochemical pharmacology, pharmaceutics, or clinical pharmaceutical sciences.

 

Medicinal Chemistry

The medicinal chemistry track is a complex scientific discipline whose focus is to develop molecules that can impact human health by discovering, designing, synthesizing and characterizing safe and effective agents for disease therapy and diagnosis. The research involves a multidisciplinary approach encompassing chemistry and biology, and includes organic synthesis, protein and nucleic acid chemistry, natural product chemistry, computational chemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, structural biology, pharmacology and proteomics.

  • You will learn to design, synthesize and characterize new medicinal agents and enhance the biological activity of existing pharmaceutical agents.
  • You will learn to use computational, biophysical, structural biology and cell-based screening technologies to identify natural and synthetic compounds for pharmacological activity and to conduct structure-based drug design.
  • You will isolate, characterize, and synthesize compounds based on natural products, as well as target identification for biologically active natural products.

 

Biochemical Pharmacology

The biochemical pharmacology track focuses on the biochemical mechanisms responsible for drug and other xenobiotic, and gene actions on living systems, both healthy and compromised.

  • You will have the opportunity to study with faculty in multiple areas including behavioral, cardiovascular and endocrine pharmacology, neuropharmacology, immunopharmacology, chemotherapy, toxicology, and metabolic diseases.
  • Your research opportunities include studying the biochemical mechanism of drugs and genes in cell cultures and/or healthy and compromised animal models.
  • You will have the opportunity to create and/or use genetically engineered animals that include transgenic and knockout mice, as well as to integrate disease models into the animal models in order to study the gene function in diseases.
  • You will develop a broad knowledge of the regulation of drug metabolizing enzymes and transporters and the implications of this regulation in drug metabolism.

Pharmaceutics 

The pharmaceutics track is concentrated on the study of the design of pharmaceutical dosage forms and their interaction with the human body.  Topics included are physical pharmacy, bioanalysis, drug delivery and targeting, drug metabolism, drug transport. pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics.

  • You will develop a thorough understanding of how to apply principles of physical pharmacy to dosage form design and optimization of drug product performance.
  • You will develop the fundamentals required for design of both traditional and complex state-of-the-art drug delivery systems and skills essential for the advancement of targeted drug therapies using small molecules, proteins, peptides and other biomolecules, probiotics, and tissue engineered platforms.
  • You will gain knowledge of the human body and the interaction of medications with the human body including metabolism, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics.
  • Your research opportunities include formulation of dosage forms, development of novel delivery systems and development of complex new therapies for site specific action, establishing novel markers for disease, study of metabolic pathways, development of bioanalytical techniques, and evaluation of absorption, distribution, and elimination of drug substances and their regulation.

 

Clinical Pharmaceutical Scientist

The clinical pharmaceutical scientist is a specialty track in which students with expertise in pharmacotherapeutics investigate both the clinical and mechanistic elements of drug therapy issues.

  • You will learn experimental design, experimental methods, data analysis, and data interpretation of human-based research projects.
  • You will study how research discoveries are translated into practices that promote health and prevent disease.
  • You will learn the process required to implement new therapies as standards of care through human-based research projects.

 

Contact Information

Lori Schmotzer

          Graduate Program Coordinator
University of Pittsburgh
          School of Pharmacy
904 Salk Hall
Pittsburgh, PA 15261
412-648-1014
schmotze@pitt.edu

 

Admissions Process

Applications must be submitted electronically. Application to our program requires a $50.00 fee which cannot be waived.  Credit cards are accepted. To apply, go to: http://www.pharmacy.pitt.edu/programs/gradprog/prospectives/application.html; click Apply On-line!

Applications for the fall term must be submitted no later than January 15.  Applications are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis so it is wise to apply as early as possible. No applications are accepted for spring term admission.

It is highly recommended that applicants to the PhD program have research experience. It is also recommended that students mention specific faculty in the Personal Statement.

No students are reviewed unless an application has been completed.  No preliminary assessments are made on individuals applying to the program until all application requirements are complete.  The GRE is required in order to submit your application.  Subject specific tests are not required GRE scores are good for five years; the ETS will not release GRE scores after 5 years from the date of the exam. We do not state a minimum GRE or GPA as we prefer to look at the entire representation of the applicant. The average GRE score for those students admitted for 2012 is 1250.

We require three references that MUST be submitted online. Written references are not accepted.

IMPORTANT: WE DO NOT ACCEPT ANY DOCUMENTS SENT VIA MAIL TO OUR DEPARTMENT.  You will be notified if your application is reviewed and you are invited for an interview. At that time you will need to supply an official copy of your transcript.

International Students

 

For the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), a minimum result of 80 on the iBT (Internet-based test), 550 on the PBT (Paper-based test), or 213 on the CBT (Computer-based test) is required.  For IELTS the minimum acceptable score is 6.5.  You must submit GRE and TOEFL (or IELTS) scores to the University of Pittsburgh, institution code is 2927.  You do not need a department code. TOEFL scores are good for two years; the ETS will not release TOEFL scores after 2 years from the date of the exam. If you have graduated from a U.S. institution OR if English is the official language of your country then proof of English proficiency is not required. 

 

Financial Assistance

Most students accepted to our PhD program are offered full tuition scholarship plus a teaching assistant stipend. Teaching assistant experience is not necessary; you will be trained upon acceptance into the program. For the 2010/2011 academic year we granted scholarships and TA positions to eight applicants (four domestic and four international) from a total pool of over 200 applications. We expect the number to be similar for the 2011/2012 academic year.

No financial assistance is available to MS students. For the MS degree the estimated costs for tuition, fees, REQUIRED health insurance, and living expenses are here (based on 2012-1013 tuition; subject to change):

 

Tuition $22,672.00 (in-state)  $24, 054.00 (out-of state)
Fees $740.00 (in-state and out of state)
Living Expences   $16,000.00
Insurance $3,500.00 (student only)
Total/Year $42,912.00 (in-state)  $44,294.00 (out-of-state)

 

All fees are the same for the PhD program for those students who are not offered a scholarship.

Length of Programs

The MS program requires a minimum of 30 credits.  Most students complete the MS degree in two years. The statute of limitations for completing the MS degree is four consecutive calendar years from the first term of registration.

The PhD Program requires a minimum of 72 credits.  Most students complete the PhD degree within five years. The statute of limitations for completion of  the PhD degree is ten. (See Statute of Limitation/Leaves of Absence in the University bulletin for more information.)

MS Core Curriculum

Students must complete a total of 30 credit hours to fulfill the requirements for the MS. Required courses for all MS students are listed below. Students who have had prior course work or extensive experience in a given area may be exempted from the required course at the discretion of the faculty. The remaining credit requirements are completed through elective courses and thesis research. The specific plan of study is developed by the student and their faculty advisor and committee. Courses should be selected to assure an adequate breadth of knowledge as well as depth in the student's focus area.

 

1st Year: Spring
PHARM 3005 Pharmaceutical Analysis
3 cr.
PHARM 3023 Foundations in Pharmaceutical Science
5 cr.
PHARM 3024 Pharmaceutical Sciences Seminar
1 cr.
PHARM 3027 Topics in Biopharmaceutics/Pharmacokinetics or a Journal Club
1 cr.
PHARM 3042 Research Practicum
2-5 cr.
  Track-Specific and/or Electives.
3-4 cr.
2nd Year: Fall
PHARM 2010 Master of Science Thesis
1-12 cr.
  Track-Specific and/or Electives
3-4 cr.
2nd Year: Spring    
PHARM 2010 Master of Science Thesis
1-12 cr.
  Track-Specific and/or Electives
3-4 cr.

 

MS Comprehensive Exam and Thesis

The thesis for the MS must represent an original research project or a comprehensive and detailed survey of some topic of current interest in the pharmaceutical sciences. It must be defended in an oral examination.

 

PhD Comprehensive Exam and Dissertation

Students must complete a total of 72 credit hours to fulfill the requirements for the PhD. Required courses for all PhD students are listed below. Students who have had prior course work or extensive experience in a given area may be exempted from the required course at the discretion of the faculty. The remaining credit requirements are completed through elective courses and dissertation research. The specific plan of study is developed by the student and their faculty advisor and committee. Courses should be selected to assure an adequate breadth of knowledge as well as depth in the student's focus area. For students interested in the Clinical Pharmaceutical Scientist Track, you may find the curriculum here:

http://www.pharmacy.pitt.edu/programs/gradprog/cstp/curriculum/index.php.

1st Year: Fall
PHARM 3040 Statistics I
3 cr.
PHARM 3024 Pharmaceutical Sciences Seminar
1 cr.
PHARM 3028 Pharmacology and Therapeutics
5 cr.
PHARM 3043 Teach me to Teach You
1 cr.
PHARM 3027 Topics in Biopharmaceutics/Pharmacokinetics or a Journal Club
1 cr.
PHARM 3042 Research Practicum
4 cr.
1st Year: Spring
PHARM 3005 Pharmaceutical Analysis
3 cr.
PHARM 3023 Foundations in Pharmaceutical Science
5 cr.
PHARM 3024 Pharmaceutical Science Seminar
1 cr.
PHARM 3027 Topics in Biopharmaceutics/Pharmacokinetics or a Journal CLub
1 cr.
PHARM 3042 Research Practicum
2-5 cr.
  Track-Specific and/or Electives
3-4 cr.
2nd Year: Fall
PHARM 3028 Grant Writing I
2 cr.
PHARM 3024 Pharmaceutial Science Seminar
1 cr.
PHARM 3027 Topics in Biopharmaceutics/Pharmacokinetics or a Journal Club
1 cr.
PHARM 3042 Research Practicum
8-11 cr.
  Track-Specific and/or Electives
3-4 cr.
2nd Year: Spring
PHARM 3039 Grant Writing II
2 cr.
PHARM 3024 Pharmaceutical Sciences Seminar
1 cr.
PHARM 3027 Topics in Biopharmaceutics/Pharmacokinetics or a Journal Club
1 cr.
PHARM 3042 Research Practicum
8-11 cr.
  Track-Specific and/or Electives
3-4 cr.
3rd Year: Fall
PHARM 3042 Research Practicum
9-12 cr.
  Track-Specific and/or Electives
3-4cr.

 

PhD Comprehensive Exam and Dissertation

Each student follows a program of study developed in conjunction with the major advisor with input from the student's doctoral committee. The program of study must contain all of the program core courses as well as elective courses specific to the student's focus area.

Following completion of course work, students are required to complete a comprehensive examination. To be eligible for the comprehensive examination, students must be in full graduate status and have completed didactic course work with a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.00. To qualify for advancement to candidacy for the Doctor of Philosophy degree the student must pass the comprehensive examination.

Admission to PhD candidacy constitutes a promotion of the student to the most advanced stage of graduate study and provides formal approval to devote essentially exclusive attention to research and writing of the dissertation.

Each PhD student must write a dissertation that presents the results of research carried out by the student. An appropriate research project involves a substantive piece of original and independent research grounded in an appropriate body of literature. It is relevant to an identifiable field as it is currently practiced. It represents a hypothesis tested by collection and analysis of data and provides a significant contribution or advancement to that field.

See Regulations Pertaining to Doctoral Degrees for a full overview of regulations and procedures for PhD candidates.

Further information is available on the School of Pharmacy website: www.pharmacy.pitt.edu/programs/gradprog/default.html.

 

Academic Standards

School of Pharmacy students are responsible for upholding the standards of behavior outlined in the University's Guidelines on Academic Integrity (online at http://www.cfo.pitt.edu/policies/policy/02/02-03-02.html), the University's policy on sexual harassment, and other policies related to student behavior.

Special Academic Opportunities

The School of Pharmacy is home to four research centers that provide unique opportunities to graduate students. These are the Center for Education and Drug Abuse Research (CEDAR), the Center for Pharmacogenetics, the Center for Clinical Pharmaceutical Sciences, and the Center for Outcomes Research. We are also a member of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute at the University of Pittsburgh. Collaborative projects between faculty members doing basic and clinical research provide students with even broader training and education.

NON-Thesis MS

The Graduate Program in Pharmaceutical Sciences is pleased to offer the new Non-Thesis MS degree to qualified students.

Why choose the non-research based thesis?

Students will be able to complete the MS degree in one calendar year.  Our MS in Pharmaceutical Sciences attracts students interested in drug discovery, delivery, and metabolism in addition to pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics. Graduating with the MS in Pharmaceutical Sciences will prepare you for employment in pharmaceutical manufacturing plants and labs. Pharmaceutically-trained professionals are involved in biotechnology, research, synthesizing and testing new compounds, in marketing and sales of pharmaceuticals and biomedical devices, and in pharmaceutical benefit management. Some areas where graduates with degrees in Pharmaceutical Sciences are sought after are Cosmetic Science, Industrial Pharmacy, and University-based laboratory areas.

Non-Thesis MS Academic Requirements for Acceptance

 

 
  • A BS or BA in biochemistry, biology, chemistry, pharmacy, pharmaceutical sciences or a related field is required.
  • Applications must be submitted electronically.
  • We require three references that MUST be submitted online. Written references are not accepted.
  • Successful applicants will be admitted for fall 2012. We do not accept Spring Admissions.
  • The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required and must have been taken within the past three years.  Subject specific tests are not required.
  • International applicants with English as a second language must complete the TOEFL or IELTS.  For TOEFL a minimal score of 80 (Internet-based test), 550 (Paper-based test), or 213 (Computer-based test) is required.  For IELTS the minimum acceptable score is 6.5. 
  • You must submit GRE and TOEFL (or IELTS) scores to the University of Pittsburgh, institution code is 2927.  You do not need a department code. TOEFL scores are good for two years; the ETS will not release TOEFL scores after 2 years from the date of the exam.
  • If you have graduated from a U.S. institution OR if English is the official language of your country then TOEFL or IELTS scores are not required. 
  • IMPORTANT: WE DO NOT ACCEPT ANY DOCUMENTS SENT VIA MAIL TO OUR DEPARTMENT.  You will be notified if your application is reviewed and you are invited for an interview. At that time you will need to supply an official copy of your transcript.
  • Application to our program requires a $50.00 fee which cannot be waived.  Credit cards are accepted. To apply, go to: http://www.pharmacy.pitt.edu/programs/gradprog/prospectives/application.html; click Apply On-line!

Program Requirements for Graduation

  • 30 credits are required for graduation.  A minimum of 10 credits must be taken in any given semester. 
  • In lieu of an original research study the student would complete a written project consisting of a comprehensive literature review of a topic of current interest in pharmaceutical sciences. The student would defend the project as an oral examination before their MS committee and major advisor.
  • The MS committee will consist of the Director of the Graduate Program in Pharmaceutical Sciences, the student’s major advisor and one other member of the faculty chosen by the student and major advisor and approved by the Program Director and Senior Associate Dean.
  • Students would be required to attend the training courses offered by the University.
    • Small Animal Training
    • Bloodborne Pathogens Training
    • Chemical Hygiene Plan & Formaldehyde Awareness
    • Radiation Safety Course
     

     

Sample Curriculum for Non-Thesis MS

 

Fall Term
PHARM 3040     Statistics I        
3 cr.
PHARM 3024        Pharmaceutical Sciences Seminar  
1 cr.
PHARM 3028 Pharmacology and Therapeutics
4 cr.
PHARM 3027 Topics in Biopharmaceutics/Pharmacokinetics or other Journal Club        
1 cr.
PHARM 3042 Research Practicum   
1-6 cr.
     Optional Electives          
0-4 cr.
Spring Term
PHARM 3005 Pharmaceutical Analysis      
3 cr.
PHARM 3023 Foundations in Pharmaceutical Science   
5 cr.
PHARM 3024 Pharmaceutical Sciences Seminar
1 cr.
PHARM 3027 Topics in Biopharmaceutics/Pharmacokinetics          
1 cr.
PHARM 3042 Research Practicum      
0-5 cr.
  Optional Electives     
0-4 cr
Summer Term
PHARM 3042 Research practicum             
3-12 cr.
  Optional Electives   
0-9 cr.

 

Tuition and Fees

The estimated costs for tuition, fees, health insurance (required for international students), and living expenses (based on 2012-2013 tuition; subject to change) are listed here:

 

*Tuition per term

$11,336.00 (in-state); $12,027. 00 (out-of-state)
Fees per term $370.00
Estimated Living Expenses per term 8.000.00
Estimated Health Insurance per year:  3,500.00 (student only)

                                       

*The non-thesis MS is a three term program.

 

Contact Information

Lori Schmotzer

Graduate Program Coordinator
University of Pittsburgh
School of Pharmacy
904 Salk Hall
Pittsburgh, PA 15261
Phone:  412-648-1014

E-Mail:  schmotze@pitt.edu

 

School of Pharmacy Graduate Faculty


 
GRADUATE AND PROFESSIONAL BULLETIN < Previous Page | Table of Contents | Next Page >

 Home | Top of Page | Last Updated: Pitt Home | Find People | Contact Us