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Our Program

Mehta and Depry

The Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences continues the tradition of graduate education established by The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine at its founding in 1893. The department offers a multidisciplinary program designed to prepare highly qualified individuals to be future leaders in academic and industrial biomedical research.

The focus of this predoctoral training program is on chemical biology, the molecular interactions of living systems, and the application of this knowledge to pharmacology. Within this broad scientific framework, students are encouraged to develop individually tailored programs of study to meet their particular research interests and career objectives.

Our program emphasizes research.  Students begin work in a research laboratory immediately upon their arrival. During the first year, two or three laboratory rotations are completed concurrently with core courses. These rotations provide diverse laboratory experiences in different experimental systems, so that by the end of the first year, students are able to choose a laboratory for their thesis research. 

First Year

Students receive broad and deep formal education in general biomedical sciences during the first year by completing seven core courses: Macromolecular Structure and Analysis, Biochemical and Biophysical Principles, Molecular Biology and Genomics, Cell Structure and Dynamics, Pathways and Regulation, Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, and Organic Mechanisms in Biology.  Students also complete an intensive course in Organ Physiology.

Second Year

Students participate in the required Graduate Pharmacology course offered in the second year of study, as well as a grant writing course. By the end of the second year, all students have completed the formal course requirements, and take the Doctoral Board Oral Qualifying Examination.

Subsequent Years

Rod Nyland

The remaining two to four years are spent performing independent research (leading to a written dissertation), completing two elective courses, and participating in the rich interactive research environment of the department.  In addition to oversight by the thesis research preceptor, an individually chosen thesis advisory committee periodically reviews the progress of the student and offers guidance. 

Each candidate defends his or her thesis research in a formal thesis defense, and also presents their work at a public seminar. Typically, the entire program is completed in four to six years.

Various faculty within the department also participate in four other interdepartmental programs leading to the Ph.D. degree--the Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology Program; the Program in Molecular Biophysics; the Chemical Biology Interface Program; and the Medical Scientist Training Program for M.D./Ph.D. candidates.

Apply to the Program

Visit the Admissions page for more information on how to apply to the Pharmacology Graduate Program.