2006 - 2007 Site Archive



Graduate Bulletin

Pharmacology/Medicine, Ph.D.


Admission Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadline:

Fall: January 15                           [December 15 for international applicants]

Applications are processed as they are received throughout the year.

Letters of Reference:

Number Required: 3

From Whom: Letters of recommendation should be obtained from college/university faculty members familiar with the applicant's academic competence.

Coursework Required for Admission Consideration:

At a minimum, applicants are expected to have studied the following:

    • Courses in Mathematics through Calculus
    • Chemistry through Organic (Physical Chemistry is advised)
    • Biochemistry/Biology
Master's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline:

Not required.

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline:

A baccalaureate degree in Biology, Biochemistry (or another biological science), Chemistry, or Pharmacy is required.

Statement of Goals:

The Statement of Goals should be approximately 500-1,000 words and should include the following elements: your interest in Temple's program; your research goals; your future career goals; and your academic and research achievements.

Standardized Test Scores:

The GRE is required. Scores are typically in the 60-70% range on the verbal and quantitative sections.

Minimum TOEFL score or range of scores needed to be accepted: 620 paper-based, 260 computer-based, or 105 internet-based.


The top 20% of the applicants will be invited to interview with the Admissions Committee. The Department will schedule individual interviews.

Advanced Standing:

Students who enter the Ph.D. program in Pharmacology may be considered for advanced standing, based on relevant coursework in areas such as Biochemistry, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Physiology. The Pharmacology Admissions Committee recommends the awarding of advanced standing on a case-by-case basis as applications are reviewed. Students who enter the program with a master's degree in an appropriate area may waive, upon review, the core requirements of the program (up to 24 credits) and proceed to advanced study in the discipline. The maximum number of advanced standing credits awarded is 36.

Program Requirements
General Program Requirements:

Number of Credits Required Beyond the Baccalaureate: 45, not inclusive of variable research credits

Required Courses:

In Fall 2006, the Department of Pharmacology began to participate in the "Interdisciplinary Program in Biomedical Sciences" at the Temple University School of Medicine.  The program requires Ph.D. and M.S. students to take a defined set of courses over the first two years:

    • 2 courses from the "Foundations of Biosciences Series" of the Interdisciplinary Program, comprising either a basic or advanced Biochemistry course, and a course in Molecular and Cell Biology.
    • 2 courses from the "Integrated Biosciences Series" from the following list:


    Cancer Biology

    Cell Structure and Function

    Host-Pathogen Interactions

    Molecular Approaches to Research

    Principles of Development

    Principles of Genetics

    Principles of Organ Pathology

    Principles of Pharmacology

    Principles of Physiology

    Proteins and Enzymes

Generally, students of Pharmacology take "Principles of Pharmacology" and "Principles of Physiology" as well as two 1-s.h. courses comprising Scientific Communication, Scientific Integrity, and Bioethics.

In addition, all students take the following required courses offered by the Department of Pharmacology:

    • Cellular Pharmacology
    • Experimental Pharmacology
    • Medical Pharmacology
    • Pharmacology Seminar
    • Pharmacology Journal Club

Elective courses include Advanced Pharmacology, Mathematical Biology, Neuropharmacology, Pharmacology of Drug Abuse, and Special Topics in Pharmacology.

Students must earn the appropriate number of research credits to complete the degree and 6 credits of dissertation research post-candidacy.

Internship: No internship is required.

Language Examination: No language examination is required.

Culminating Events:

Preliminary Examination:

The preliminary examination is generally taken in the summer or fall of the third year, after all requirements for courses and research rotations have been fulfilled.  As currently administered, the student is required to write a grant proposal in the format of an NIH pre-doctoral based on work s/he has performed in the laboratory or in other appropriate endeavors.  The proposal will be evaluated by members of the Examining Committee. During an oral examination, the student will present a short research talk based on the proposal and be questioned orally about the presentation and related aspects of pharmacology.  Each member will vote to pass or fail the student.  In order to pass, a majority of the committee members must agree that the exam has been satisfactorily completed. Evaluators look for: (a) a breadth and depth of understanding of specific research areas; (b) a critical application of that knowledge to specific areas of Pharmacology; and (c) an ability to write technical prose in a manner consistent with pharmacological scientists.

Students who are preparing to take their preliminary examinations should confirm a time and date with the Chair of their Dissertation Advisory Committee and register with the Graduate Secretary. The student and Chair will receive confirmation of the time, date, and room for the examination.

Dissertation Proposal:

The dissertation proposal demonstrates the student's knowledge of and ability to conduct the proposed research. The proposal should consist of the following: (a) the context and background surrounding a particular research problem; (b) an exhaustive survey and review of literature related to the problem; and (c) a detailed methodological plan for investigating the problem. The proposal should be completed and approved as soon as possible after completing coursework. Upon approval, a timeline for completing the investigation and writing process will be established.


The dissertation is an original empirical study that makes a significant contribution to the field of Pharmacology. It should expand the existing knowledge and demonstrate the student's research abilities and mastery of her/his primary area of interest. The dissertation should be rigorously investigated; uphold the ethics and standards of the Pharmacology field; demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the primary area of interest and the broader field of Pharmacology; and be prepared for publication in a professional journal.

The Dissertation Advising Committee is formed to oversee the student's doctoral research and is comprised of at least five Graduate Faculty members. Four members, including the Chair, must be from the Pharmacology Department. Committee compositions must be approved by the department's graduate committee. The Chair is responsible for overseeing and guiding the student's progress, coordinating the responses of the Committee members, and informing the student of her/his academic progress.

The Dissertation Examining Committee evaluates the student's dissertation and oral defense. This committee is comprised of the Doctoral Advising Committee and at least one additional Graduate Faculty member from outside the Pharmacology Department. The Outside Examiner should be identified no later than the beginning of the semester in which the student will defend the dissertation. The committee will evaluate the student's ability to express verbally her/his research question, methodological approach, primary findings, and implications. The committee will vote to pass or fail the dissertation and the defense at the conclusion of the public presentation.

If a student needs to change a member of a committee, the new member must be approved by the department's graduate committee and registered with the Graduate Secretary and the Graduate School.

Students who are preparing to defend their dissertation should confirm a time and date with their Dissertation Advisory Committee and register with the Graduate Secretary at least 15 days before the defense is to be scheduled. The Graduate Secretary will arrange the time, date, and room within two working days, and forward the appropriate forms to the student.  After the Graduate Secretary has arranged the time, date, and room for the defense, the student must send to the Graduate School a completed "Announcement of Dissertation Defense" form at least 10 days before the defense. The Department will post flyers announcing the defense.

Program Contact Information:


Department Information:

Dept. of Pharmacology
Temple University School of Medicine

3420 North Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19140


Department Contacts:


Barrie Ashby, Ph.D.

Program Coordinator:

Barrie Ashby, Ph.D.

Graduate Chairperson:

Barrie Ashby, Ph.D.


Nae Dun, Ph.D.

About the Program

The Ph.D. in Pharmacology offers students advanced and rigorous training in Pharmacology. Training emphasizes the acquisition of competence in the broad field of Pharmacology to conduct research on drug actions and effects in cell-free preparations, cells artificially transfected with molecules of interest, living cells, and cells in animals, ranging from the molecular to the clinical level.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 7 years

Campus Location:

Health Sciences

Full-Time/Part-Time Status:

Full-time study is required. Students must complete the degree program through classes offered before 4:30 p.m.

Department Information:

Dept. of Pharmacology
Temple University School of Medicine

3420 North Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19140


Interdisciplinary Study:

The Department of Pharmacology forms part of the Temple University Neurosciences Program. Students may obtain a Ph.D. in Pharmacology with a concentration in Neuroscience. The Department also is affiliated with the Center for Substance Abuse Research (CSAR) at the School of Medicine.


Not applicable.

Study Abroad:



Not applicable.


Not applicable.

Areas of Specialization:

Faculty members specialize and offer coursework in the following areas: analgesia, cardiovascular pharmacology, cell signaling, drugs of abuse, mathematical pharmacology, molecular pharmacology of receptors, and neuropharmacology.

Job Placement:

The program prepares students for careers in academia or industry. Graduates of the Pharmacology Department are well-represented in both sectors. Some are on the faculty of universities, and others work in the pharmaceuticals industry in positions ranging from CEO to post-doctoral students.


Not applicable.

Non-Degree Student Policy:

Medical Pharmacology courses are restricted to matriculated students.

Financing Opportunities

The Department of Pharmacology does not offer Teaching Assistantships.  Funding is available, however, for qualified applicants through federally funded training grants (U.S. citizenship or Green card required); limited departmental funds; and individual research grants to faculty members. Funding includes a stipend and full tuition remission of up to 9 credits. For more information, contact the Dept. of Pharmacology, Temple University School of Medicine, 3420 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19140.

Updated 3.8 06