The Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences provides graduate training in pharmacology leading to a Ph.D. degree. Almost all graduate students in the College of Medicine are admitted into a joint Integrated Biomedical Sciences (IBS) program rather than being admitted into a specific department. Students take courses in the IBS program throughout their first year, and rotate through four laboratories to identify their dissertation advisor. Students enter the department and laboratory of their choice during the summer following their first year of graduate school.

Laboratory research is begun and additional coursework is taken during the second year, following which students take their qualifying examination. Students carry out dissertation research in the third and subsequent years of graduate school. Students most often defend their dissertation in their fifth year of graduate study.


Most Pharmacology students are admitted through the IBS program, and begin study in the fall semester. The IBS admissions committee evaluates applications based on academic preparation, research experience, interviews, and performance on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Undergraduate coursework in organic chemistry, calculus, physics, and the biological sciences is strongly recommended. Instructions for students wishing to enter the IBS program are given here. 

“Prospective IBS students must submit their application directly to the Graduate School.  When applying via the Graduate School Online Application, make sure to select Integrated Biomedical Sciences from the dropdown menu.”

Tuition and Financial Aid 

Beginning graduate students will receive a stipend of $23,500 per annum in 2013-2014. Tuition and various University fees are paid by the Department. Health insurance coverage is provided by the Graduate School. 


IBS students take four didatic courses in the Fall and Spring semesters of their first year, in addition to their laboratory rotations and attendance at research seminars. The IBS web site has a full description of the first-year curriculum

After transferring to the Pharmacology program, students are expected to take courses in Principles of Drug Action, and Molecular Drug Targets & Therapeutics. 

Training Opportunities 

In addition to formal coursework, students have opportunities to learn about research by attending research seminars, by discussing current research issues in various journal clubs, and by traveling to national conferences to present their research data.

Research That Matters 

Our faculty's research programs can be grouped into areas critical to human health: cancer/cell growth (G. Chen, Craven, Huang, Kilgore, Luo, Plattner, She, Swanson, Wu, Xu and Yang), neuroscience (Blalock, G. Chen, K. Chen, Head, Landfield, Luo, Norris, Porter and Thibault), the cardiovascular system (Cassis, F. Despa, S. Despa, Lee, Loria, Yiannikouris), and metabolic diseases (Cassis, F. Despa, S. Despa, Loria, Nikolajczyk, Yiannikouris). The faculty's specific research interests are described on their individual web pages. 

Detailed Description of the Graduate Program 


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NOTICE: Although every effort is made to ensure that this material [Pharmacology Graduate Handbook] is accurate and up to date, it is provided for the convenience of the user and should not be considered the official version. The official version of this material is available in the Pharmacology administrative offices. The user is advised to refer to and rely upon the official version of this material when making significant decisions or judgments. 

For further information contact: 

Rolf Craven, Ph.D., Director of Graduate Studies
Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences
University of Kentucky College of Medicine
Lexington, KY 40536-0298
Phone: (859) 257-4773