PhD in Pharmacology & Physiology

Our department offers a comprehensive and rigorous PhD program. Pharmacology, the study of the effects of drugs and chemicals on living organisms, is inherently interdisciplinary and builds on the strengths of physiology, biochemistry, cell biology, neuroscience, and molecular biology. Our faculty and students, using drugs and chemicals as tools, probe the molecular machinery of living systems in order to understand how cellular and organ systems function and how they are regulated.

Although the research areas covered by the participating faculty are broad, the most concentrated areas of research strength are in neuropharmacology and signal transduction. Because of our strong focus on neuropharmacology, students interested in clinical pharmacology or cancer pharmacology may wish to apply elsewhere. In particular, the Tumor Biology Program at Georgetown is very strong.

There is a strong didactic component to the Ph.D. program, however it is inherently a research degree and the first year of study is divided between research in various laboratories (rotations) and course work. The following years are devoted, almost exclusively, to a novel research project culminating in publications in international journals and an original Ph.D. dissertation. On average, our students complete the program in approximately 5 years.

Applicants selected for interview living in the contiguous 48 US states will be flown to Washington DC for in-person interview; most travel expenses, including airfare and hotel, will be reimbursed by our department. Applicants selected for interview who live outside the contiguous 48 US states will be interviewed by Zoom.

Accepted students receive financial support from the university including full tuition scholarship, health insurance, and an annual stipend of $35,500, unless supplanted by external funding (ie, foreign government scholarship, NIH fellowship, Gates Millennium Scholars, and others).


Learn about the application process and requirements. Our application deadline is December 1st every year.



Find the degree requirements here. On average, our students complete the program in approximately 5 years.


Meet our PhD Thesis Mentors

Faculty Mentors

Meet our Current Students & Alumni

Students & Alumni

Healy Fellowship

The Ph.D. Program in Pharmacology is deeply committed to diversity within our community. We particularly encourage applications from individuals from historically under-represented groups in science (including but not limited to individuals from under-represented racial/ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds). A diverse scientific community produces stronger science. Students from diverse backgrounds may be considered for the Patrick Healy Graduate Fellowship:

Named in honor of Georgetown’s 28th President, Patrick Healy, the first African-American to earn a doctorate degree, and the first African-American President of Georgetown University (1874–1882), the Healy Fellowship is intended to further Georgetown’s commitment to creating a diverse community composed of the most qualified students. The Program is designed to help recruit and retain graduate students who are talented individuals of the highest caliber and who might otherwise find it difficult or impossible to successfully pursue a doctoral degree.

Healy Fellowships will be awarded to students whose background or experience, when evaluated holistically, suggests they are uniquely able to contribute to the diversity of the Georgetown community and to the academic profession as a whole. Support will be provided to Patrick Healy Fellows for twelve months per year for up to five years, assuming satisfactory progress toward the Ph.D.