The Program in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Michigan is an interdisciplinary gateway program that coordinates admissions and the first year of Ph.D. studies for 14 department programs, including Pharmacology. PIBS offers you the flexibility and convenience of applying to any of our participating programs through one application. We invite you to thoroughly explore Pharmacology and the other 13 programs before selecting your top preferences when you apply.
Established in 1891 as the first Pharmacology Department in the United States, Pharmacology at the University of Michigan has over a 110-year history of scientific discovery and in the training of students. Forty-one years after the University of Michigan Medical School began, the University established the Department of Pharmacology as one of its first basic science departments. Its founder and first chair was John Jacob Abel, regarded as the Father of American Pharmacology.
Since that time, our department has awarded more Ph.D. degrees in pharmacology than any other American university. Our graduates have made a major impact on the field of pharmacology. Among our alums are many pharmaceutical company executives, research directors and senior scientists; directors of government research labs; and recognized chairs and faculty in academia with reputations for both excellent research and teaching. A part of our tradition and a major strength of our department are the quality of our trainees and the continued commitment of our faculty to this training mission.
Our department includes more than 50 faculty who are recognized nationally and internationally for their research and instructional accomplishments. Their research interests are as diverse as are their techniques and expertise, ranging from crystallography to systems and integrated pharmacology. The high ratio of faculty to students provides excellent personal training opportunities.
Since the inception of NIH-sponsored Training Grants, the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Michigan has been funded to provide educational and research training in the pharmacological sciences. Research in our department is both interdisciplinary and translational, providing a broad range of opportunities to study:
- Signal transduction
- Addiction research
- Drug metabolism
- Cardiovascular medicine
- Cancer research
- Endocrine pharmacology
Pharmacology offers a broad-based training curriculum that encompasses all fields of biomedicine including coursework and training in basic science and translational pharmacology.
In addition to the core course requirements for the PIBS program our students take modular courses in specific areas of pharmacology including topics in autonomic, endocrine, neural, cancer, and cardiovascular pharmacology. We provide instruction in both written and oral communication through our Biomedical Science Seminars and Introduction to Scientific Writing courses. Coursework in Research ethics is also provided.
By the beginning of the third academic year, students must have chosen a dissertation (thesis) committee to guide and support each student during their research and writing. This comprehensive curriculum will prepare students for career opportunities in academic, governmental, and industrial organizations.
The preliminary examination for advancement to doctoral candidacy in Pharmacology is an oral exam based on a short research proposal chosen by the student. The exam is given in May of the student's second year.
During the third year of study, the candidate will be expected to assist in the teaching of pharmacology in the department and will be encouraged to take coursework that will complement the chosen field of specialization.
Expected Length of Program
The usual time to degree is approximately 5 to 5 1/2 years.
The Pharmacology graduate class includes on average 30 students and is diverse in its population profile. Our students publish numerous papers in prestigious journals and have received many awards from industry, private foundations, and professional societies.
Over 250 students have graduated with their doctoral degrees in Pharmacology at the University of Michigan. Among our alums are many pharmaceutical company executives, research directors and senior scientists; directors of government research labs; and chairs and faculty at Universities and colleges with reputations for both excellent research and teaching. This success and the number of our Alumni provide an extensive network of contacts within the University of Michigan Pharmacology Family.