How to Apply

PhD in Pharmacology & Physiology

2020 PhD Application is Closed

We are no longer accepting applications for the 2020 cohort of the PhD in Pharmacology & Physiology.

We welcome you to apply for our 2021 cohort. The application deadline is December 1st every year and the program starts on July 1st every year. The 2021 application will open in August.

Admissions Events for 2021

For prospective 2021 applicants, we will be hosting online chats starting next October 2020; you can RSVP here to receive an invitation to our online admissions chats.

Please note: This degree program does NOT lead to a PharmD and will NOT allow you to be a practicing pharmacist.

Application Timeline

  • August: Application Opens
  • December 1st: Application Deadline
  • January – March: Interviews
  • April: Final Admissions Decisions
  • July 1st: Program Starts

GU/NIH Partnership

The PhD in Pharmacology & Physiology at Georgetown participates in the GU/NIH partnership program (GPP). If interested, please apply directly to NIH for this partnership.

GU/NIH Partnership

Eligibility & Application Requirements

At a minimum, applicants should have a Bachelors degree in a science field (e.g. chemistry, biology, pharmacy, neuroscience, physiological psychology) and a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Research experience in the sciences is required.

The PhD Program in Pharmacology & Physiology requires an online application to be submitted to the Biomedical Graduate Education through the Georgetown Graduate School of Arts and Sciences application portal that includes all of the materials on the application checklist. See below for important guidelines and instructions for these materials.

We expect all application materials to be submitted and received by the December 1st deadline, including all transcripts, letters of recommendation, TOEFL/IELTS score reports (when applicable) and WES evaluations (for all international degree transcripts).  International applicants are especially encouraged to start the application process early to allow plenty of time for transcript evaluation by WES; these evaluations are required as part of the application.


   Academic Statement of Purpose

   3 Letters of Recommendation

  Supplemental Documents

   Unofficial Transcripts for degrees earned in the US

   WES evaluations for degrees earned outside the US are required at the time of application. (Please select “Biomedical Graduate Education” as recipient.)

   TOEFL/IELTS Score (if applicable) Georgetown Code: 5244

   Non-Refundable Application Fee

Note: GRE scores are not accepted for the application.

Application Guidelines & Instructions

Please upload Part 1 and Part 2 into the Supplemental Information section of the Online Application.

Part 1 – Essay answering the following prompt, maximum one page: Please tell us about an incident in your research where you experienced failure. Include what you did about it and what you learned from the experience.  Note: This essay is separate from the Statement of Purpose.

Part 2 – A simple rank-ordered list of six faculty members in our department with whom you would be interested in doing research. The list should be ranked 1 through 6, with “1” being the faculty member with whom you are the most interested in doing research in our department.
Important note: 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, applicants interested in clinical pharmacology or cancer pharmacology may wish to apply elsewhere. In particular, the Tumor Biology Program at Georgetown is very strong.

The program requests that applicants forward the following instructions to letter writers:

  • Rate the applicant as: Exceptional, Outstanding, Very Good, Above Average, or Below Average.
  • Comment on the applicant’s ranking compared to other students you have mentored. E.g., The student is in the top 5 students of the 50 students I mentored over the last 30 years.
  • Comment on the applicant’s drive, creativity, independence, and resilience

Effective starting the 2017-2018 application cycle, we have decided to remove GREs from our PhD application process for Pharmacology & Physiology.  A growing literature makes it abundantly clear that GREs are poor predictors of graduate student success (see: Hall et al. (new window) and Moneta-Koeler et al.).  Moreover, GRE scores consistently disadvantage women and individuals from underrepresented groups in science.  Thus, given the poor predictive value of the GRE, we feel it only serves as an access barrier to applications as significant time and money are required for the examination and subsequent score reporting. If you submit GRE scores with your application, they will be removed/redacted from the file circulated to our admissions committee.

Unofficial transcripts are required from every US institution where you have earned credits and grades, including both degree and non-degree coursework. This allows the admissions committee to have a more complete picture of your academic preparation for graduate study.

Do not send electronic or paper copies of your official transcripts before receiving an offer of admission.

An acceptable transcript upload is a photocopy or electronic copy of an official transcript produced by the institution. This includes:

  • Scanned copies of paper transcripts issued by the institution
  • Electronic (PDF) transcripts issued by the institution

An unofficial transcript we do not accept includes the following:

  • We do not accept screenshots or photos
  • We do not accept downloads of the “student’s view” from your institution’s website

NOTE: Applicants who are offered admission will be required at that time to submit official transcripts directly from each institution for verification prior to enrolling. 

If you have any transcripts from outside the US (any undergraduate or graduate institution attended or currently attending where you received a degree), we require it to be evaluated for equivalency with U.S. standards and submitted with your application by December 1st.

The preferred place for this evaluation is the World Education Services (WES). WES charges a fee and requires an original transcript sent directly by the school. Please have WES send their evaluation(s) directly to the Office of Admissions at Biomedical Graduate Education.

English translations of international transcripts cannot substitute for transcript evaluations.  Degrees earned in English-speaking countries or at institutions abroad where English is the primary language of instruction are also required to be evaluated for equivalency with US standards, preferably by WES.

Due to processing time, applicants with degrees earned abroad are strongly encouraged to submit their transcripts to WES by October 15th to best ensure delivery to us by the December 1st deadline. If your WES evaluations will arrive more than a few days after our December 1st deadline, we do not recommend that you submit an application this year.

TOEFL: Georgetown University Code is 5244. The minimum TOEFL score for admission is 80 (Internet-based test) and 550 (paper test).

IELTS: Select “Georgetown University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.” The minimum IELTS score for admission is 7.0.

All applicants are required to demonstrate a level of proficiency in the English language sufficient to meet the admission requirement of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Proficiency can be demonstrated by the receipt of a bachelor’s or advanced degree from an accredited institution of higher education in the United States or from a university where English is the primary language of instruction (please note that applicants receiving degrees at universities in U.S. territories, such as Puerto Rico, are required to submit the TOEFL or IELTS unless the primary language of instruction at the institution is English).

Applicants with external (third-party) funding sources guaranteed for the entirety of their PhD program (ie, scholarships, sponsorships, or fellowships through governments, employers, or any organization) should include a copy of their award/sponsorship letter with their application.  If the sponsorship is awarded after submitting your application, please send a PDF copy of the letter to Mary Wells at to be added to your application file.

Note: All students admitted to the PhD in Pharmacology are offered tuition scholarship, annual stipend of $31,000 and health insurance, unless they have guaranteed external funding as described above. There is no separate application for our internal funding from the university.