Master's Program

Master of Science in Pharmacology

The M.S. degree program is designed to be flexible and to serve a variety of career objectives. Sample next steps for our alumni include:

  • Medical, dental, and pharmacy programs
  • PhD programs
  • Pharmaceutical industry
  • Government agencies


Applicants are expected to have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 in major science courses (i.e. Biology, Biochemistry, Physiology, Chemistry, Physics).  Applicants must submit a completed online application and fee, official transcripts from previous academic records, three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and a personal statement.  The GRE is not required. Applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate English proficiency in accordance with Rackham Graduate School requirements.

Application deadlines for Fall 2020:

  • International Applicants - March 15
  • Domestic Applicants (U.S. Citizens & Permanent Residents) - Extended to June 1 (for Fall 2020 only)

Apply at

Course Requirements

The M.S. degree involves a mixture of coursework and independent research. Much of the coursework is the same as that taken by our Ph.D. students. The research component can be satisfied by either an independent laboratory research project or an in-depth literature survey of a topic of current pharmacological significance.

If pursued full-time, the program takes twelve months.  The 33-credit course load includes:

  • Principles of Pharmacology
  • Autonomic Pharmacology
  • Endocrine Pharmacology
  • Molecular Neuropharmacology
  • Cancer and Antimicrobial Pharmacology
  • Cardiovascular Pharmacology
  • Translational Pharmacology
  • Data Processing and Analysis for Biomedical Scientists
  • Electives (Biochemical Regulatory Mechanisms, Translational Research and Biomedical Innovation & Entrepreneurship)
  • 12 credits of independent research

Fall Semester

  • PIBS 503 – Research Responsibility and Ethics (1 credit)
  • PHARMACOL 605 – MS Research (4 credits)
  • PHARMACOL 646 – Seminar (1 credit)
  • PHARMACOL 601 – Basic Quantitative Principles of Pharmacology (3 credits)
  • PHARMACOL 603 – Data Processing and Analysis for Biomedical Scientists (2 credits)
  • PHARMACOL 614 –Autonomic Pharmacology (2 credits)
  • PHARMACOL 621 – Translational Pharmacology (2 credits)
  • Electives (2 credits)

Winter Semester

  • PHARMACOL 605 – MS Research (8 credits)
  • PHARMACOL 646 – Seminar (1 credit)
  • PHARMACOL 612 – Antimicrobial & Cancer Pharmacology (2 credits)
  • PHARMACOL 615 – Molecular Neuropharmacology (2 credits)
  • PHARMACOL 616 – Cardiovascular Pharmacology (2 credits)
  • PHARMACOL 617 – Endocrine Pharmacology (2 credits)

Spring/Summer Semester

  • Continue research and write thesis
  • Defend your thesis

Elective Choices

  • PHARMACOL 622 - Translational Research (2 credits)
  • BIOLCHEM 690 - Biochemical Regulatory Mechanisms (2 credits)
  • PIBS 550 - Biomedical Innovation & Entrepreneurship (2 credits)


The laboratory choice is most appropriate for students who wish to enter a PhD program or obtain a laboratory position in Academia or Industry.  Students opting for a laboratory research project must demonstrate prior relevant research experience.  The in-depth literature survey might be most appropriate choice for those students whose ultimate goal is to enter a professional school (MD, DDS or PharmD) or other career paths that may not require a laboratory experience.  Under specified circumstances, students who are engaged in scientific research outside the University and whose supervisor has an active collaboration with a faculty member within the Department of Pharmacology may be permitted to conduct the research component of the M.S. degree off-campus.


The tuition schedule is updated by the Registrar. This program is outlined under School of Medicine - Rackham. To complete the program in one year, plan to register for one full-time fall semester and one full-time winter semester. No registration is required for the Spring/Summer semester, but students are expected to fully participate in the completion of their thesis research. Financial aid for graduate students is limited compared with what is available for undergraduates, however the U-M Office of Financial Aid can help navigate available options. Note that the GSRA appointment option does not apply to independent study research conducted under PHRMACOL 605, because it is an educational requirement of this M.S. degree.

Rackham Graduate School offers further information on internal funding opportunities for Master's students. Students can apply directly for most opportunities. Please note that the Rackham Master's Award requires an early application as the department nominates admitted students to Rackham prior to March 15.   

Health Benefits

U-M offers a low-cost, comprehensive, voluntary health insurance to students. Please refer to University Health Services for details.