PhD Programs

The department offers PhD programs in Pharmaceutical Science. Increasingly, scientific work is becoming interdisciplinary. In response to this trend, we allow the student to focus on more than one area in biomedical science. The concept is appropriate for both those entering as well as those currently employed in the field, including research technicians, clinical laboratory workers, science teachers and science administrators. For those currently employed, the flexibility of our program can enhance their performance in a present position or open up new employment opportunities. Graduates of the program will be well prepared to enter related PhD programs at the University.

PhD in Biomedical Science

The department of pharmaceutical sciences offers a PhD program in Biomedical Science that focuses on the cross-disciplinary integration of human biology and pathology with drug action, invention, and clinical utility. The biomedical sciences curriculum involves coursework and original research in areas including drug design and profiling; toxicology; and pharmaceutical biochemistry/cell biology aimed at increasing our understanding of how unsolved medical needs may be addressed by novel therapeutic approaches. The biomedical sciences program is appropriate for those entering the field as well as persons currently employed as research technicians, clinical laboratory workers, science teachers, and science administrators. The flexibility of the biomedical science program and its interdisciplinary nature can enhance job performance in a present position or invite new employment opportunities.

PhD in Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Discovery

The PhD program in Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Discovery educates and trains students in the design and synthesis of novel, biologically active compounds and in delineating their mechanisms of action using biochemical, biophysical, and pharmacological approaches. Research specializations are available in synthetic, biochemical/pharmacological, and biophysical aspects of medicinal chemistry. Doctoral research in these specializations will relate to faculty areas of research, which currently include: substance use disorders and addiction; neuropathic pain; obesity and metabolic disorders; neuropsychiatric disorders (psychoses, ADHD, depression, anxiety, eating disorders); and neurodegenerative diseases.

PhD in Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery

Students studying pharmaceutical sciences will be thoroughly exposed to the fundamentals of physical pharmacy and pharmaceutics and trained in several specialized areas, including:


  • Novel Drug Delivery Systems
  • Nanomedical Technologies
  • Physical Pharmacy
  • Biopharmaceutics and Pharmacokinetics


With exposure to these facets of the pharmaceutical sciences, successful graduates are poised to understand and assimilate the field of modern pharmaceutics. A PhD degree in Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery is a research degree. While coursework plays an important role, students become active participants in the science of pharmaceutics in the laboratory. Faculty research in pharmaceutical sciences covers a broad range of scientific interests, including: pharmacokinetic toxicodynamics of anticancer agents; use of novel biomaterials and synthetic polymeric systems in designing small-molecule drug delivery systems for small molecules, proteins, and nucleic acids; passive and active targeting of therapeutic agents for cancer and cardiovascular diseases; novel delivery systems for immuno-stimulating purposes; and mathematical modeling of endogenous compounds.

PhD in Pharmacology

The pharmacology PhD enables students to specialize in the study of the actions of drugs and their effects in living systems. In addition to developing a sound knowledge base through coursework and seminars, the program is designed to strengthen students’ ability to understand and critically evaluate current pharmacology literature, informing the students’ independent laboratory research that advances our understanding of drugs, their actions, and their pharmacotherapeutic applications. Recent graduates with a PhD in pharmacology have found employment in academic and industrial research positions.

Non-Traditional PhD

Non-traditional PhD Policies as of 9/17/2013:


  1. Prospective PhD student entering through the non-traditional pathway will first require a faculty sponsor/mentor.
  2. There will be no departmental financial aid available to PhD students who enter through the non-traditional pathway.
  3. Transcripts and other application material need to be submitted by the candidate and will be reviewed by the Graduate Committee. The Graduate Committee will serve as a primary screen for eligibility of the candidate into our doctoral program.
  4. A prior MS degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences or a related field (as determined by the Graduate Committee) is required. If the degree is awarded from Northeastern University, the candidate will be exempt from didactic courses. If the degree is awarded from another institution, the Graduate Committee will review the transcripts to evaluate any deficiencies and proper coursework for progress. All students will take the following Ph.D. Courses – 12 SH minimum:
    • PHSC 6300 Pharmaceutical Science Seminar 1 SH (must be taken more than once)
    • PHSC 8940 Doctoral Training and Research 1 SH
    • PHSC 9681 Doctoral Proposal 2 SH
    • PHSC 6810 Pharmaceutical Science Colloquium 1 SH
    • PHSC 9990 Dissertation 3 SH (must be taken at least twice, no more than 3 times)
  5. If the candidate meets our admission requirements, he/she will be asked to visit the campus and meet with the faculty mentor. The supervisor/sponsor from the company will also join this meeting.
  6. At this meeting, the candidate and sponsor from industry will work with the faculty mentor to develop a student progression plan and preliminary dissertation research proposal. Tuition and research expenses will be included in the student progression plan.
  7. The progression plan and dissertation proposal will be formally presented to the University through the Technology Transfer Office. Any confidentiality/IP issues will be addressed through the Technology Transfer Office and the company lawyer(s). The dissertation work must be open to publication and presentation.
  8. Upon completion of the agreement between the University and the company, the progression plan and the dissertation proposal will be submitted to the Graduate Committee.
  9. The student will be formally accepted into the doctoral program.
  10. The candidate will be expected to meet the departmental requirements and pass the qualifying exam, defend the dissertation research proposal, attend departmental seminars, provide progress reports, and successfully defend the dissertation preferably within a period of 3 years but no more than 5 years after the qualifying exam.
  11. Every 6 months, the Graduate Committee will request that the faculty mentor provide a written status of the candidate’s progress towards PhD.

Curriculum subject to change.


Dec 6, 2021

Apply to a PhD Program