Applicants must have completed a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, with at least 3 credits in chemistry and 3 credits in biology.  Applicants must have demonstrated proficiency in verbal and written English.  Applicants with prior exposure to fundamental scientific areas such as chemistry, biochemistry, or cellular and molecular biology are particularly encouraged to apply.

Applying to the distance program requires attention to five steps:

  1. Apply to the Distance 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 two (2) Letters of Recommendation, preferably from prior professors or direct supervisors as described below.
  5. Identify a Ph.D. level on-site advisor and ask them to send a letter that outlines their professional relationship to you and their willingness to serve as your mentor. See below for more information.

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.

A. 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).

B. GRE score: Scores can be no more than 3 years old.

C. TOEFL scores for international applicants: A minimum score of 80 is required for admission and scores can be no more than 1 year old.

D. Letters of Academic recommendation:

  • Two 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

E. Letter of Sponsorship:

  • One letter from your on-site sponsor must accompany your application. The sponsor should hold a Ph.D. or related degree and have suitable research background to serve as your scientific on-site advisor. Individuals with B.S./M.S. degrees and experience are not eligible to serve as on-site mentors.
  • The sponsor letter should directly address his/her professional relationship to the applicant and that the individual agrees to serve as your on-site mentor. The letter should address that you have access to suitable lab/clinical/computational facilities to complete your studies and that you will be provided sufficient time to work on your project separate from other duties, should they be your direct supervisor.
  • If your on-site mentor is distinct from your direct supervisor, then an additional letter from your supervisor indicating their knowledge and support of your educational efforts is required. This letter should indicate any contribution they may provide toward facilitating your research progress (research space, time release, reagents, etc.) and any limitations that may be in place. Your direct supervisor need not hold a Ph.D. or equivalent degree if they are not serving as your official on-site mentor.
  • A CV for your on-site mentor should be submitted with your application. Though a CV of your direct supervisor is not required if they are not serving as your on-site mentor for the program, you may submit this information if you feel it is appropriate.
  • Letters can be physically mailed directly to our office at:

Pharmacology and Toxicology Department

5064 Malott Hall
1251 Wescoe Hall Drive, Room 5064
Lawrence, KS 66045-7572

  • Or emailed directly to our Academic Office ( by the authors (they may NOT come through the applicant).
  • Or emailed to the Director of the Distance Master’s Degree Program, Dr. Rick T. Dobrowsky at:

F. Financial Aid

Students who are accepted into the University of Kansas Distance Online 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 rates are $1,000 per credit hr taken.

G. Enrollment Requirements

Continuous enrollment in the program is not required but students must take at least 3 credit hours per calendar year to remain in good standing. Failing to take the minimum credit hours will require re-admittance to the program. If a personal situation renders this problematic, please write the Director of the Distance Learning Program. University rules require the degree to be completed in a maximum of 10 years from initial enrollment. 

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