Student in lab coat and protective eyewear works on lab computer

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Pharmacology & Toxicology

The Ph.D. in pharmacology and toxicology typically takes five years to complete. Students work alongside faculty mentors and begin lab research training as soon as they enter the program.

Apply for Ph.D.

Program Overview

Lab training begins immediately, but much of the first two years is devoted to coursework. At the end of the program, students must successfully complete an oral comprehensive exam and dissertation with guidance from their advisor and committee.

See the KU PharmTox Student Handbook for complete details.

Standard KU Graduate Admission Requirements

Students must meet all requirements for Graduate Admissions.

Important Dates 

  • Application Deadline: February 1
  • Admission Decisions: January/February


Previous Degree Requirement

B.S. or M.S. degree in chemistry, pharmacy, the biological sciences, material sciences, chemical engineering or related disciplines.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 to be considered for the program and, once enrolled, students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better to remain in good academic standing. While maintaining a minimum GPA of 3.0, they may not receive a grade of C or lower in any more than two courses. If they receive a C in a third course, students must retake the course at their own expense.

English Proficiency Requirements

Students who are non-native English speakers must demonstrate proficiency in reading, writing and listening via English Proficiency Scores from the TOEFL, IELTS or PTE test.

  • See KU's English Proficiency Requirements for detailed information, including minimum score requirements.
  • Request that the testing agency send your official scores directly to KU (Code: 6871-30)

Applicant Background

Incoming students are expected to be competent in basic principles of physical/organic chemistry and mathematics. These requirements are typically satisfied with most degrees in the STEM disciplines.


The program typically takes five years to complete. Students attend year-round with time off for holidays and vacations.

Free Tuition and Living Expenses

Students admitted to the Ph.D. program receive paid tuition and financial support to cover living expenses for the duration of study, as long as they remain in good academic standing.


Ph.D. students are eligible to apply for the following fellowships:


See Ph.D. Course Offerings for a complete list of required and elective courses for the Ph.D. in Pharmacology & Toxicology.

Lab Work

Students begin lab rotations immediately with a focus on learning how to ask good research questions, design and carry out experiments to answer those questions and write up the results of the experimental work in a clear and concise manner. After coursework and exams are completed, students devote all of their time to research projects and the preparation of papers describing their work.


Students develop excellent communication skills and confidence by presenting lectures and describing their research in undergraduate classes and formal seminars.