Graduate Division

Pharmacological Sciences Ph.D.

Section 1

Overview

The UCI Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences provides unparalleled training for future careers in academia and the biomedical industry. Our rigorous, yet flexible, curriculum allows you to tailor your coursework to your particular research and professional interests and prepares you for the rapidly changing field of drug discovery and development. The Pharmacological Sciences PhD program provides a unique opportunity for those interested in any scientific discipline represented by the Pharmaceutical Sciences faculty to have a year of broad, interdisciplinary training followed by focused doctoral research in the Pharmaceutical Sciences research group of your choice. Applicants will choose a concentration in one of the following areas:

  • Pharmaceutical Sciences,
  • Pharmacology, or
  • Medicinal Chemistry

What Sets Us Apart?

  • Friendly environment where every student matters
  • High-profile, well-funded research yet an excellent student-to-faculty ratio
  • Our goal is your success, so we partner with GPS-BIOMED and other professional development programs to help you get where you want to go, not just traditional academic careers
  • Cutting edge research at the interface of chemistry, biology, drug discovery, and the computational sciences
  • Diverse faculty with world experts spanning from basic discovery to the clinic, allowing you to make connections with every area of research
  • Flexible coursework to allow ample opportunity for electives and focused research
  • High success rates for fellowship applications; most students supported by grants or fellowships

Quick Facts

Program Type

Doctoral Program

Normative Time to Degree

5 years

Capstone Type

Dissertation

Accordion Section

Admissions Requirements

Pharmacology Concentration

A strong background in the physical and biological sciences is required for admission, including courses in mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biochemistry, with laboratory experience. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and Subject Test in Biology or Chemistry are required for direct admission into the Pharmacology Concentration. The Pharmaceutical Sciences Concentrations requires the GRE test and recommends a Subject Test in Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, or Cell & Molecular Biology.


Pharmaceutical Sciences Concentration

A strong background in the physical and biological sciences is required for admission, including courses in mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biochemistry, with laboratory experience. The Graduate Record Examination is required and a Subject Test in Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, or Cell and Molecular Biology is recommended for direct admission into the Pharmaceutical Sciences concentration.


Medicinal Chemistry Concentration

A strong background in the physical and biological sciences is required for admission, including courses in mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biochemistry, with laboratory experience. The Graduate Record Examination is required a Subject Test in Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, or Celle and Molecular Biology is recommended for direct admission into the concentration.


Application Instructions

Complete the Online Application which is submitted to the UCI Graduate Division. When completing the “Degree Program” section of the online application for admission, please make the following selections:

  • School/Department: Interdisciplinary Programs
  • Major/Degree: Pharmacological Sciences-PhD – Concentration in Pharmaceutical Sciences, Pharmacology, OR Medicinal Chemistry


Students are admitted to the Pharmacological Sciences PhD program on an annual basis in the fall quarter only. The admissions committee and the graduate advisor screen applications immediately after the application deadline. First round applicants selected to interview will be notified by early January. Admitted applicants can expect to receive an offer of admission in late January through mid-March.


Submit applications by December 1 for full consideration

The online application and supporting materials should be received by December 1 for full consideration, but submissions received up until to January 5 may be considered.

Applicants are required to submit:

  • An official online application including the application fee ($105 for domestic applicants, i.e. US citizens and permanent residents and $125 for international applicants)
  • For application review purposes only, scan and upload copies of transcripts for all institutions attended since high school. In the online application, you will be prompted to upload your scanned documents. Please upload both the front and back sides of the transcript. Uploaded transcripts should be recent and include the following: your name, dates of attendance, grades/marks received, credits and grading legend. Official transcripts will be requested by the Graduate Division if and when you are admitted and decide to attend UCI. Do not send official transcripts until this time.
  • Three letters of recommendation – uploaded to the online application by your recommender.
  • Official General GRE test scores that are less than 5 years old (Code: 4859)
  • International students are also required to submit TOEFL scores (Code: 4859)


Applicants are encouraged to upload the following in their application:

  • Current curriculum vitae or resume
  • List of publications


Admissions Prerequisites

  • An MS degree is not required for consideration. However, research experience (laboratory or fieldwork) is a primary criterion for acceptance into our graduate programs.
  • Some biology and chemistry courses are required. However, because we are an interdisciplinary program, we admit students from various academic backgrounds, so there are no specific course requirements. Applicants recently admitted to our program have undergraduate degrees in a wide range of disciplines, including molecular biology, psychology, and chemical engineering, as well as chemistry and biology.
  • Minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0.


Admission Statistics

The acceptance rate for the Pharmacological Sciences program is approximately 23%, and admitted applicants from previous cycles had the below characteristics:

  • Average undergraduate GPA: 3.32
  • Average GRE scores: 153 Verbal; 155 Quantitative; 4.0 Analytical

International Students

TOEFL scores are required for all international applicants

  • If your undergraduate degree was obtained in a country where English was the primary language, the TOEFL exam is not required. For more information regarding admissions requirements for international students, visit the Academic Qualifications webpage.
  • Please note: Though the university may waive the TOEFL for admissions purposes, you still must show English language proficiency in order to TA at UCI.  Unless you have received your high diploma in the US, the department still requires the TOEFL or IELTS speaking scores in order to assess your TA eligibility (see below).
  • Teaching Assistant (TA) Eligibility International applicants who are eligible to serve as teaching assistants will be considered more favorably in the admission review process. The following test scores will qualify students to be a teaching assistant at the University:
    • A score of 26 or higher on the speaking component of the TOEFL ibt
    • A score of 8 or higher on the speaking module of the IELTS, or
    • A score of 50 or higher on UCI’s SPEAK test.
  • For more information about the English language requirements for TA’s, please visit the English Language Proficiency Requirements for TAs webpage. For additional information about graduate study at UC Irvine, please visit the UCI Graduate Division website.
  • Information regarding visas, student employment, and any other services to help international students transition into life at UCI is overseen by the UCI International Center.

Financial Support

Admitted applicants receive funding for tuition, health insurance, and a monthly stipend/salary through a combination departmental or university fellowships and/or teaching assistant (TA) and graduate student researcher (GSR) positions in their first year. In years two through five, students are generally funding by their faculty advisor as GSRs, as well as through a combination of university fellowships, extramural grants/fellowships, and/or TA positions.

UCI is committed to the recruitment, admission, and retention of a high quality and diverse graduate student population and has several diversity fellowships for new and returning students who qualify.  If you have overcome socioeconomic or educational challenges, please indicate that you are a diversity candidate and describe your experience in detail within the Personal History section of the application.

Tuition & Fees

Graduate/Credential Student Fees 2018-19

  Fall 2018 Winter 2019 Spring 2019 Annual
Student Services Fee 376.00 376.00 376.00 1,128.00
Tuition 3,814.00 3,814.00 3,814.00 11,442.00
Assoc. Grad Students Fee 9.00 9.00 9.00 27.00
Student Center Fee 137.88 137.88 137.87 413.63
Bren Events Center Fee 23.00 23.00 23.00 69.00
Recreation Center Fee 88.00 88.00 88.00 264.00
eTech Fee * 60.00 60.00 60.00 180.00
Document Fee † 80.00 0.00 0.00 80.00
Student Health Insurance 1,348.00 1,347.00 1,347.00 4,042.00
Total California Resident $5,795.88 $5,794.88 $5,794.87 $17,385.63
Nonresident Supplemental Tuition 5,034.00 5,034.00 5,034.00 15,102.00
Total Nonresident $10,829.88 $10,828.88 $10,828.87 $32,487.63

Posted 10 August 2018 at http://reg.uci.edu/fees/2018-2019/graduate.html

The tuition, fees, and charges posted to your billing statement or account are estimates based on currently approved amounts. These figures may not be final. Actual tuition, fees, and charges are subject to change by the Regents of the University of California and could be affected by increases or reductions in State funding, or other developments. Accordingly, final approved levels (and thus your final balance due) may differ from the amounts shown.

The non-refundable eTech Fee is required of all students and is used to support the maintenance and improvement of existing education technology, and new services and capabilities. The eTech fee is listed separately as the charged amount varies based on the amount of undergraduate units the student is enrolled in and is assessed later in the term than the other fees listed. The fee is $4 per unit of undergraduate lecture course, up to a maximum amount of $60 (or 15 units) per quarter. It will be assessed after the third week of instruction. The $60 eTech Fee included on this chart reflects the maximum possible fee.

† The Document Fee provides lifetime access to official transcripts and academic verifications without a fee for in-person pickup or delivery by USPS. In addition, there is no fee for mailing the initial diploma. Effective Fall 2018, new undergraduate, professional, and graduate students are assessed the one-time document fee. Eligible students are able to use financial aid to cover the Document Fee.

Core Faculty

Geoffrey W. Abbott, Ph.D. University of London, Professor of Pharmacology; Physiology and Biophysics


Amal Alachkar, Ph.D. University of Manchester, Associate Adjunct Professor of Pharmacology


James D. Belluzzi, Ph.D. University of Chicago, Adjunct Professor of Pharmacology


Claudia Benavente, Ph.D. University of Arizona, Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences; Developmental and Cell Biology (genetics, epigenetics, cancer, pediatric cancer, retinoblastoma, osteosarcoma)


Stephen C. Bondy, Ph.D. University of Birmingham, Professor of Medicine; Environmental Health Sciences; Pharmacology; Program in Public Health


Emiliana Borrelli, Ph.D. University of Strasbourg, Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics; Pharmacology


Catherine M. Cahill, Ph.D. Dalhousie University, Acting Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Care; Anesthesiology and Perioperative Care; Pharmacology


A. Richard Chamberlin, Ph.D. University of California, San Diego, Department Chair and Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences; Chemistry (chemical biology, organic and synthetic)


John Charles Chaput, Ph.D. University of California, Riverside, Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences; Molecular Biology and Biochemistry (chemical and synthetic biology)


Olivier Civelli, Ph.D. Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Department Chair and Eric L. and Lila D. Nelson Chair in Neuropharmacology and Professor of Pharmacology; Developmental and Cell Biology; Pharmaceutical Sciences (novel neuroactive molecules)


Sue P. Duckles, Ph.D. University of California, San Francisco, Professor Emerita of Pharmacology


Frederick J. Ehlert, Ph.D. University of California, Irvine, Professor of Pharmacology


Pietro R. Galassetti, Ph.D. Vanderbilt University, Associate Professor of Pediatrics; Pharmacology


Kelvin W. Gee, Ph.D. University of California, Davis, Professor of Pharmacology


Daniel W. Gil, Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania, Associate Adjunct Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences


Celia Goulding, Ph.D. King's College London, Professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry; Pharmaceutical Sciences


Stephen Hanessian, Ph.D. Ohio State University, Director of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacology Graduate Program and Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences; Chemistry; Pharmacology (organic chemistry)


Naoto Hoshi, Ph.D. Kanazawa University, Assistant Professor of Pharmacology; Physiology and Biophysics


Mahtab F. Jafari, Pharm.D. University of California, San Francisco, Vice Chair and Director of the Center for Healthspan Pharmacology and Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences; Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; Pharmacology (anti-aging pharmacology and preventive medicine)


Diana N. Krause, Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles, Adjunct Professor of Pharmacology


Young Jik Kwon, Ph.D. University of Southern California, Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences; Biomedical Engineering; Chemical Engineering and Materials Science; Molecular Biology and Biochemistry (gene therapy, drug delivery, cancer-targeted therapeutics, combined molecular imaging and therapy, cancer vaccine)


Arthur D. Lander, Ph.D. University of California, San Francisco, Donald Bren Professor and Professor of Developmental and Cell Biology; Biomedical Engineering; Logic and Philosophy of Science; Pharmacology (systems biology of development, pattern formation, growth control)


Frances L. Leslie, Ph.D. University of Aberdeen, Professor of Pharmacology; Anatomy and Neurobiology


Ellis Levin, M.D. Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College, Professor in Residence of Medicine; Biological Chemistry; Pharmacology


John C. Longhurst, Ph.D. University of California, Davis, Susan Samueli Chair in Integrative Medicine and Professor of Medicine; Pharmacology; Physiology and Biophysics


Shahrdad Lotfipour, Ph.D. University of California, Irvine, Assistant Professor of Pharmacology


Sandra E. Loughlin-Burkhead, B.A. University of California, San Diego, Specialist of Pharmacology


Zhigang D. Luo, Ph.D. State University of New York at Buffalo, Professor of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Care; Pharmacology


Andrej Luptak, Ph.D. Yale University, Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences; Chemistry; Molecular Biology and Biochemistry (chemical biology)


David L. Mobley, Ph.D. University of California, Davis, Vice Chair and Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences; Chemistry (chemical biology, physical chemistry and chemical physics, theoretical and computational)


Daniele Piomelli, Ph.D. Columbia University, Louise Turner Arnold Chair in the Neurosciences and Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology; Biological Chemistry; Pharmacology


Lawrence Plon, Pharm.D. M.A. University of Southern California, Assistant Adjunct Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences


Thomas L. Poulos, Ph.D. University of California, San Diego, UCI Distinguished Professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry; Chemistry; Pharmaceutical Sciences; Physiology and Biophysics (chemical biology)


Ralph E. Purdy, Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles, Professor Emeritus of Pharmacology


Samuel E. Schriner, Ph.D. University of Washington, Lecturer with Potential Security of Employment of Pharmaceutical Sciences


Stefano Sensi, M.D. Gabriele D'Annunzio University of Chieti Pescara, Associate Adjunct Professor of Neurology; Pharmacology


Robert Spitale, Ph.D. University of Rochester, Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences; Molecular Biology and Biochemistry (chemistry, chemical biology, RNA biology)


Larry Stein, Ph.D. University of Iowa, Professor Emeritus of Pharmacology


Jeffrey R. Suchard, M.D. University of California, Los Angeles, Professor of Emergency Medicine; Pharmacology


Weian Zhao, Ph.D. McMaster University, Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences; Biomedical Engineering (stem cell therapy, diagnostics, biosensors, nano- and microtechnology, aptamers)


Qun-Yong Zhou, Ph.D. Oregon Health & Science University, Professor of Pharmacology


Xiaolin Zi, Ph.D. Shanghai University, Associate Professor of Urology; Pharmacology

Academic Data

academic data

Please click here for data accessible to a screen reader.

Career Outcomes

Coming soon.

Students & Alumni