The Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences provides graduate training in pharmacology leading to a PhD degree as well as a Pharmacology Minor.

PhD Program:

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.

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)
Cardiovascular system (Cassis, F. Despa, S. Despa, Lee, Loria, Yiannikouris)
Metabolic diseases (Cassis, F. Despa, S. Despa, Loria, Nikolajczyk, Yiannikouris)

The faculty's specific research interests are described on their individual web pages. 

Tuition and Financial Aid

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

For further information contact: 

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