PhD in Pharmacology & Physiology

5–6 years
to complete

33 Credits

3 Lab Rotations
during Year 1

Mentorship is a key component to our PhD program in Pharmacology & Physiology. Our students are mentored by world-renowned Georgetown University faculty, who are experts in the field. Through the program and their mentors, students will learn to use molecular, biochemical, and physiological approaches to pharmacology, which is conducted in cultured cells, isolated organs, intact animals, and humans.

Our faculty have a broad spectrum of research areas, but the most concentrated research area is 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, particularly, the Tumor Biology Program at Georgetown is very strong.

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

Degree Requirements

The program has an early focus on didactic learning with an overall emphasis on research. The first year consists of a set of required courses and rotations.

Thesis research typically begins in the second year along with any elective courses important to the student’s research topic.

Throughout the program, students present their research to the program in post-rotational talks and annual seminars. Upon completion of the research project, a thesis is written and defended and a PhD degree is awarded.

Transfer Credit/Advanced Standing: A PhD student may make a written request for the transfer of credit for specific applicable courses or apply for advanced standing. Please speak with program leadership and review the policy on transfer credit and advanced standing.


☐ 31 credits of Required Courses

☐ 2 credits of Electives

☐ 3 Rotations

☐ Comprehensive Written & Oral Exams

☐ Annual Seminar Presentations

☐ Thesis Research

☐ Thesis Defense