Areas of Concentration

Because the Department of Pharmacology & Physiology has significant areas of strength, including research, natural products, and neuropharmacology, students in the MS program in Pharmacology can either have a varied set of electives or can concentrate their elective credits in one of these areas. The MS degree requires 30 credits for completion and, of those, 23 credits are specified requirements. Thus, there are seven elective credits in the program.  Upon entering the MS program the student would choose one of four areas, General, Research, Natural Products, or Neuropharmacology. At the end of the fall semester, the student can continue, and complete, the concentration in the spring semester, or can choose to move into the General program. 
Thus, the options in our MS Program are:

General - Completing the M.S. degree in pharmacology does not require choosing an area of concentration. A more general curriculum can be chosen for the seven elective credits required for the M.S. degree and, in this case, the student can explore more than one topic of interest. The advantage of this approach is an increase in the breadth of the education.

If the student desires to focus elective credits in one area, the Program offers three Areas of Concentration. Each of these concentrations can be achieved by completing seven, or more, credits in a single area.

Laboratory Research - For those students interested in furthering their interest in a career in research, this area of concentration allows approximately 6 to 10 (fall) to 15 to 20 (spring) hours per week in a research laboratory in the fall and spring semesters. This is an especially good choice if the student's eventual goal is to complete a Ph.D. degree, or if the goal is to do research in a biotech, government, or big Pharma lab. Choosing the Research Option means that the elective credit in the M.S. Program will be Research (PHAR906 & PHAR907).   Mentors for MS research are listed on (click MS Mentors at the top of the page).   If you wish to work in labs that are not on the list you need permission from the program director in advance.
PHAR906 - Research (2 credits fall - faculty) 
PHAR907 - Research (5 credits spring - faculty)

Regulatory Science - Understanding the principles of pharmacology are important to develop a new medical product, but once a pharmacological agent has been developed, it is important to understand how experimental therapeutics are reviewed by the FDA and approved for use by the general public. Students who are interested in developing a broad understanding of regulatory science applications to drug or biologic discovery and development should concentrate in this area. Students will learn about clinical trial design, analytical approaches necessary to generate data for evidence-based decision-making, and the behavioral or social science skills that are needed to communicate to the public about both risks and benefits of pharmacological agents, among other topics. Knowledge gained in this concentration will be useful for students interested in careers in research, government regulatory agencies, clinical practice, pharmacy, public policy, or industry.  The Regulatory Science concentration is appropriate for students who are interested in developing (1) broad understanding of regulatory science applications to public health, (2) enhanced analytic skills and methods for evidence-based decision-making, (3) an understanding of the role of novel technologies, tools, and approaches to assessing safety and quality of medical, food, or tobacco products, and (4) behavioral and social science skills in communicating risk and benefit. The Regulatory Science concentration includes didactic instruction, student-led and mentored exercises, experiential learning opportunities, and discussion in carefully structured courses. Students may pursue the Regulatory Science concentration by taking 7 or more credits from among the following courses:
Required (2 credits)
PHAR620  Introduction to Regulatory Science (2 credits - Wednesday, 6:00 pm-8:00 pm)
Elective (5 or more credits)

Natural Products - Herbs were once the core of medicine and pharmacology, and about a quarter of drugs are derived from chemical entities in medicinal plants. Herbs, vitamins, minerals, and other dietary supplements are very popular, pharmacologically-active products. Students will be introduced to pharmacognosy (the pharmacology of natural products), nutrition, the risks and benefits of dietary supplements, and the role of natural products in healthcare. Knowledge gained in this concentration will be useful for students interested in careers in research, clinical practice, pharmacy, public policy or industry. Seven credits can be obtained by taking PHAR604, PHAR605, & PHAR607. 

PHAR604 - Medicinal Plants and Pharmacognosy (3 credits fall - Fugh-Berman) 
PHAR605 - Advanced Topics in Nutrition (3 credits spring - Sherman & Fugh-Berman) 
PHAR607 - Nutraceuticals, Herbs, and Health Care (1 credit spring - Fugh-Berman & Sherman)

Neuropharmacology - The Department of Pharmacology & Physiology at Georgetown University is especially strong in the field of neuropharmacology. Most of the research in the Department is in this specialization. Because of this, we offer several courses in this area that can be used to generate a concentration. Seven credits chosen from PHAR510, PHAR588, PHAR589,  NSCI701, NSCI702 can be used to fulfill this area. 
PHAR510 - Neuropsychopharmacology (2 credits spring - Kellar) 
PHAR588 - Drugs, Brains, and Behavior I (3 credits fall) 
PHAR589 - Drugs, Brains, and Behavior II (3 credits spring)  
NSCI701 - Seminars in Neuroscience (1 credit fall & spring) 
NSCI702 - Research Presentations in Neuroscience (1 credit fall & spring)