Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology Curriculum

Find information for MCP Program Course Requirements and all courses in The Guide.
See below for sample timeline of courses.

The MCP Program is designed as an interdepartmental and interdisciplinary program consisting of over 80 trainers. Participating faculty members are from the Departments of Biochemistry, Biomolecular Cell & Regenerative Biology, Chemistry, Dermatology, Integrative Biology, Genetics, Neuroscience, Oncology, Medical Microbiology, Pathology, Psychiatry, Medicine, the School of Pharmacy, the College of Engineering, and more. The interdepartmental nature of the Graduate Program results in a flexible yet rigorous set of degree requirements and training opportunities. The diversity of the research faculty encourages the graduate students to build upon the fundamentals of molecular and cellular biology and the principles of modern pharmacology in designing their focus of advanced studies and research.

The faculty encourage each student to develop an independent and creative approach to science. The first and second years of the Program emphasize formal course work with focus on advanced Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Molecular Biology, Genetics, Statistics, and Pharmacology. These courses provide the foundation for a more specialized set of studies, which is defined by the students with the advice of their research mentors and their Thesis Committees. The Thesis Committee consists of the student, his or her research advisor, and at least three other faculty members. Students begin research in the laboratories of their mentors in their first year.

Seminars and annual progress reports are part of the formal training. A preliminary examination is completed by the beginning of the third year; it is a research proposal in combination with an oral examination. At the end of their studies and research, graduate students defend their thesis, which is based on the students’ original research in the form of a final seminar and oral examination. The Thesis Committee meets with each student on a annual basis, providing a source of encouragement and a formal opportunity for the exchange of research ideas. Students and faculty enjoy weekly seminars and informal social events, establishing scientific and social interactions which create an atmosphere of cohesive scientific communication.

Sample Timeline of Courses:

1st Year, Fall


  • Pharmacology 739 (1 cr): Rigor and Reproducibility
  • Statistics 571 (4 cr): Statistics for Bioscience
  • Pharmacology 901 (1 cr): Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology Seminar Series
  • Pharmacology 990 (3 cr): Rotations (three rotations required)
  • Ob/Gyn 955 (2 cr): Responsible Conduct in Research for Biomedical Research

1st Year, Spring


  • Pharmacology 781 (4 cr): Molecular and Cellular Principles in Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology 901 (1 cr): Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology Seminar Series
  • Pharamcology 990 (3 cr): Research

1st Year, Summer


  • Pharmacology 990 (2 cr): Research (Every Summer – every graduate student)

2nd Year, Fall


  • Pharmacology 901 (1 cr): Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology Seminar Series
  • Pharmacology 990: Research

2nd Year, Spring


  • Pharmacology 901 (1 cr): Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology Seminar Series
  • Pharmacology 990: Research


  • Pharmacology 715 (1 cr): Grant Writing (Special Topics in Pharmacology)

4th Year, Spring


  • Ob/Gyn 956 (1 cr):  Advanced Responsible Conduct of Research for Biomedical Graduate Students (required for students funded by NIH Training Grants and recommended for all MCP students)

Selected Elective Courses to Consider:

  • Pharmacology 625 (3 cr): Toxicology I
  • Pathology 750 (3 cr): Cell and Molecular Biology
  • Pharmacology 626 (3 cr): Molecular and Environmental Toxicology
  • Medical Microbiology and Immunology 677 (1-3 cr): Advanced Topics in Medical Microbiology
  • Physiology 435 (3-5 cr): Fundamentals of Human Physiology
  • Pharmacology 620 (2 cr): Eukaryotic Molecular Biology
  • Biochem/NS 619 (3 cr): Intermediary Metabolism of Macronutrients
  • Biochemistry 601 (2-3 cr): Enzyme Structure and Function OR other advanced biochemistry course (3 cr)
  • Oncology 675 (2 cr): Protein Purification (taught odd years)
  • Pharm Sci 768 (3 cr): Pharmacokinetics