On-Campus Master of Science Program


1. Overview

The On-campus Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Pharmacology and Toxicology is a program designed to train individuals in molecular, cellular and organ systems pharmacology and toxicology and scientific writing.  The program provides advanced scientific knowledge in pharmacology and toxicology and is designed for individuals that are seeking additional academic qualifications that will increase their competitiveness for admission to Ph.D programs. This program is suited to students who can matriculate to the University and support their tuition and living expenses. Students for whom this option may not be economically feasible may consider the Laboratory-based distance M.S. degree if you have access to some research facilities at your home site to complete a bench or computational based project.

1a- Didactic Courses

Our on-campus M.S. program has a core of 18 credit hours of didactic courses in pharmacology, toxicology, statistics and scientific ethics. An additional 12 credit hours focus on preparing a research proposal, completing the research project and preparing the final thesis for faculty acceptance.

1b- Research Activities

Original laboratory, clinical or computational research is an essential component of the on-campus M.S. program.  The research activity comprises 12 credit hours toward the degree and is conducted in the laboratory of your faculty mentor that will be assigned based on mutual agreement and your interest in their research. Students may request a specific faculty member based upon research interests. Your faculty mentor can help with general questions you may have, but their main responsibility is to help guide your research. A M.S. thesis committee will be formed, and in conjunction with your advisor, will monitor the progression of your research project and its final presentation as a M.S. thesis. Students should plan on drafting and presenting a research proposal by the end of their second semester that outlines the overall hypothesis of your work and the goals needed to complete your research project.

1c- Time Frame for Completing the on-Campus Program

The normal time frame for completing the program in 2 years. All didactic courses should be completed within 3 semesters to permit a total focus on completing your research project and preparing your M.S. thesis in the spring of year 2. Defense of your submitted M.S. thesis typically occurs in May-June of your 4th semester of enrollment in the program.


Candidates with a Bachelor's or Master's degree in chemistry, biology, pharmacology, toxicology, or other related disciplines are invited to apply.

Applying to the on-campus program requires attention to five steps:

  1. Apply to the on-Campus Master’s Degree Program via the on-line application form at the KU Pharmacology and Toxicology website or by clicking here.
  2. Compose an up to one page “Purpose Statement” that outlines why you want to pursue a M.S. degree and how you envision this effort contributing to your professional goals.
  3. Request transcripts from all previous educational institutions and send GRE scores. TOFEL scores must be submitted if you are an international applicant.
  4. Supply three (3) Letters of Recommendation, preferably from prior professors or direct supervisors as described below.
  5. Peruse the department web page and identify a faculty member or members whose research is of interest to you and mention this in your personal statement.

Materials submitted for application to the program will be reviewed by an admissions committee composed of faculty from the department. If accepted, a faculty member in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology will serve as the student’s academic adviser and the program executive committee will oversee academic progress of each student. The advisor will assist the student in planning the program of study that is related to the student’s interests and professional goals, and fulfills college and university requirements.

2a- Overall grade point average (GPA):

A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required. Special attention is given to the grades achieved in science courses relevant to the program (e.g., cellular and molecular biology, biochemistry, pharmacology, toxicology, or statistics).

2b- GRE score: Scores can be no more than 4 years old.

2c- TOEFL scores for international applicants: Applicants who are non-native speakers of English must demonstrate proficiency in reading, writing, and listening to English.  Ways of demonstrating proficiency are listed here.  Applicants submitting standardized test scores will need to meet the minimum criteria for online admission:

TOEFL/IELTS scores for international applicants

TOFEL-A minimum score of 80 with Reading, Listening, and Writing part scores at least 20 is required for admission.

IELTS-Academic requirement: minimum overall score 6.0 with no part score below 5.5.

2d- Letters of Academic recommendation:

  • Three letters of recommendation describing the student's ability and capability are required. 
  • It is preferable that these letters be obtained from faculty members, a direct supervisor or instructors well-acquainted with your research and/or academic work. 
  • These letters should provide a thorough assessment of the student's experience in laboratory research, ability to communicate in verbal and written English, motivation and creativity, and other qualities in the student's academic performance.
  • Current or former professors, employers (supervisory level) and other professionals who can objectively assess your academic background/performance, critical thinking, analytical and writing skills should write the letter.
  • Plan ahead:
    • Allow your referees at least one month to prepare and compose their letter
    • Don’t rush them, and be sure to provide them with the application deadline
  • Be organized and pro-active:
    • Consider providing each author with a folder that includes information about you that will allow them to compose a detailed letter
    • Items to consider including for their resource:
      • Your CV / resume
      • Unofficial transcripts
      • A copy of your purpose statement

2e- Financial Aid:

Students who are accepted into the University of Kansas on-Campus Master of Science Degree in Pharmacology and Toxicology are not eligible for institutional financial aid and are responsible for the costs associated with enrollment in the program. Current credit hour rates can be found on the Graduate School web page. Students pay the in-state credit hour rates for graduate study. Awarding of the M.S. degree requires completion of 30 credit hours with a grade of C or better while maintaining an overall GPA of at least 3.0.

Satisfactory performance in graduate school is achieved by maintaining a GPA of 3.0 or greater, which is achieved by receiving an “A” or a “B” in any given course. Receiving a “C” or “D” in a course will not necessarily result in dismissal if your overall GPA remains at 3.0 or above. However, a D cannot be counted for credit toward the degree and the course must be retaken at the student’s expense. Failing any course in the curriculum or earning a GPA that falls below 3.0 will result in dismissal from the program. Please follow the links below for additional information on the University’s policies on graduate credit , good academic standing  and academic probation.

2f- Enrollment Requirements:

Continuous enrollment in the program for 4 semesters and 1 summer session is required. Full time enrollment is 6-9 credit hours per semester and 3 credit hours in the summer.  Failing to take the minimum credit hours will require re-admittance to the program.


3. Required Classes for on-Campus M.S. Program


Biol 626: Biochemistry. 4 credits.

An introduction to the basic principles of biochemistry and molecular biology

Prerequisite: Graduate standing in M.S. Program in Pharmacology and Toxicology.


P&TX 742: Experimental Pharmacology. 4 credits

This course will introduce students to elements of experimental design and analysis of the primary literature through lectures and assigned readings. Extensive classroom participation and discussion is expected from students

Prerequisite: Graduate standing in the M.S. Program in Pharmacology and Toxicology.


BIOS 720. Analysis of Variance. 3 credits.

Methods for designed experiments including one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA), two-way ANOVA, repeated measures ANOVA, and analysis of covariance are emphasized. Post- ANOVA tests, power and testing assumptions required in NOVA are discussed and applied. Outlier detection using robust estimators also are incorporated. Boxplots, histograms and scatterplots are used to display data.

Prerequisite: Graduate standing in M.S. Program in Pharmacology and Toxicology. Knowledge of statistical software, basic statistical plotting methods, p-values, two-sample t-test and simple linear regression is assumed.


P&TX 799: Pharmacology and Toxicology Seminar. 4 credits

This is the graduate seminar course that is offered every semester for 1 credit hour. Students will prepare and present one seminar per year and are expected to participate in question and answer sessions.  

Prerequisite: Graduate standing in the M.S. Program in Pharmacology and Toxicology.


Any two (2) of the following course in Pharmacology or Toxicology


P&TX 730: Pharmacology III- Central and Autonomic Nervous Systems 2 credits.

A detailed study of the fundamental concepts of the central and autonomic nervous systems and select diseases of the CNS and their pharmacologic treatment.  

Prerequisite: Graduate standing M.S. Program in Pharmacology and Toxicology.


P&TX 731: Pharmacology IV- Cardiovascular and Renal Systems.  2 credits.

A detailed study of the fundamental principles of the cardiovascular system, renal system and their associated pharmacology.

Prerequisite: Graduate standing M.S. Program in Pharmacology and Toxicology.


P&TX 732: Pharmacology V- Immunopharmacology, Infectious Diseases and Gastrointestinal Pharmacology. 2 credits.

This course is a detailed study of the fundamental concepts of immunology, inflammatory-related diseases and immunopharmacology, infectious diseases and gastrointestinal pharmacology.

Prerequisite: Graduate standing M.S. Program in Pharmacology and Toxicology.


P&TX 733: Pharmacology II- Endocrine Pharmacology. 2 credits.

A detailed study of the fundamental concepts of endocrinology with an emphasis on the pathophysiologic details of diabetes and the pharmacology of treatment. Brief discussions on hypothalamic/pituitary, reproductive, thyroid and adrenal endocrinology and pharmacology will be presented.

Prerequisite: Graduate standing M.S. Program in Pharmacology and Toxicology.


P&TX 747: Molecular Toxicology. 2 credits.

A detailed study of the fundamentals of the toxicology, drug transformations and the mode of toxicity of various drug classes.

Prerequisite: Graduate standing M.S. Program in Pharmacology and Toxicology.




P&TX 825: Research in Pharmacology and Toxicology.  (variable but typically up to 3 credits per semester).

Original, advanced investigations in pharmacology, toxicology or related fields. This research will be performed by students at their research site in collaboration with their on-site and faculty mentor.

Prerequisite: Graduate standing in M.S. Program in Pharmacology and Toxicology.


P&TX 899: Master's Thesis. (variable but typically up to 3 credits per semester).

Process of written preparation of the research forming the student’s Master’s Degree thesis.

Prerequisite: Graduate standing in M.S. Program in Pharmacology and Toxicology.


Master’s Thesis

Enrollment in P&TX 825 should continue until a thesis proposal is approved by your thesis committee. Then, enrollment in Master's Thesis must continue until a total of 12 credit hours for research are earned. Credits from didactic coursework and research/thesis supervision will add up for a total of 30 hours of graduate coursework.

You must write a thesis proposal in the form of a Specific Aims page and defend the proposal to your thesis committee before the start of the fall semester of your second year. The thesis committee is composed of three faculty members in the department, your mentor and two additional faculty agreed upon by you and your mentor. You will be required to submit and defend a thesis resulting from research of sufficient originality and quality for publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. The research will be conducted under the supervision and guidance from your advisor, with input from your thesis committee as needed. Once the date for your oral defense has been scheduled, contact the department office or Graduate director at least three weeks prior to the defense date to request that your progress to degree form (PtD) be completed.

3c. Changing Laboratories. M.S. students may transfer labs within the first semester. Requests to transfer laboratories must be made in writing and will be reviewed and decided on by a faculty committee.

4. Transfer into Ph.D. Program

Top graduates, if interested and invited, may transfer into the Ph.D. program in Pharmacology and Toxicology offered in the department. Students accepted into the Ph.D. program will receive a stipend and tuition support supplied by their faculty sponsor.

4a. Additional Requirements for the Ph.D for students who complete the Pharmacology & Toxicology M.S.

P&TX 700: Professional Issues in the Biomedical Sciences (2)

P&TX 800: Pharmacology and Toxicology Teaching Principles (2)

P&TX 801: Issues in Scientific Integrity (1)

P&TX 804: Pharmacology Literature Review II (1)

P&TX 799: Pharmacology and Toxicology Seminar (1 or 2 credits, taken every semester prior to passing the comprehensive exam)

Advanced Pharmacology and Toxicology courses not completed for the M.S. degree.

The Ph.D. will take a minimum of 3-4 years to complete after completion of the M.S. in Pharmacology and Toxicology.


Calendar of Events
Follow Us on Facebook!


KU Today
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
5th nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets: Colleges," Military Times
KU Weather

Find more about Weather in Lawrence, KS