Pharmacology and Toxicology (PhD)

Doctor of Philosophy in Pharmacology and Toxicology
Unit: School of Medicine (GM)
Department:  Pharmacology and Toxicology 

Program Information

The Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology is committed to academic excellence and to the attainment of regional, national, and international recognition for the quality of its educational, research, and service activities. The Department Strategic Plan focuses accomplishment of five broad objectives:

  • Providing instruction in pharmacology and toxicology of the highest quality for the education and preparation of medical, dental, nursing, and other health care professional students. Emphasis will be placed on the fundamental principles necessary for life-long learning and the essential knowledge required for rational, effective, and safe use of drug therapy.
  • Advancing biomedical knowledge through active contribution to high-quality research and other scholarly activities, particularly in pharmacology and toxicology and other areas of focus within the University of Louisville 2020 Strategic Plan.
  • Providing high-quality research and educational experiences in pharmacology and toxicology for the education and training of future biomedical scientists who can provide and advance biomedical education, research, and service.
  • Providing instruction of the highest quality in pharmacology and toxicology that is appropriate for students at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels.
  • Providing high-quality service to the School of Medicine, the Health Sciences Center, the University, the people of Louisville and the surrounding region, the Commonwealth of Kentucky, professional organizations, the nation, and the world.

Goals of the Program

The Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology is dedicated to advancing biomedical knowledge through active contribution to high-quality research in pharmacology and toxicology and to providing high-quality research and educational experiences for the education and training of future biomedical scientists who advance biomedical education, research, and service.

Student Financial Support

Students accepted into the PhD program will be considered for an IPIBS graduate student fellowship. The fellowship pays an annual stipend of $25,000 in addition to payment of student tuition and health insurance. The Department also houses a NIEHS-funded T32 environmental health sciences training program which provides stipend support for selected students.

Since all PhD students and candidates are considered to be full-time students, they generally are not permitted to seek outside employment while enrolled in the doctoral program. In cases where financial aid is limited and additional support is essential, students needing outside employment must apply in writing for departmental faculty approval. The faculty must also approve any change in employment, as well as approving continued outside employment on an annual basis.

The University of Louisville reserves the right to change programs of study, academic requirements, fees, schedules of courses, the announced academic calendar and deadlines without prior notice.

Admission Requirements

For the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology complete guidelines are given below:

  1. Application forms. All candidates for admission to graduate programs at the University of Louisville must complete the online application form

    Applications are received at any time for starting dates of approximately August 1, however, for full consideration for IPIBS fellowships, applications should be received by December 1 of the prior calendar year. All credentials and/or communications should be submitted to the Graduate School, Graduate Admissions and should contain the student's full name and Social Security Number or University of Louisville issued student ID. Lack of Social Security Number may cause processing to be delayed. Admission on a conditional basis is a possibility in rare, special cases, even though application materials are incomplete. Please contact the department for additional information.
  2. Application Fee. An application will not be forwarded to the department until this fee is paid. A check or money order should be made payable to the "University of Louisville."
  3. Transcripts. Applicants for admission to a degree program must submit an official transcript from each college attended. All University of Louisville transcripts will automatically be submitted with completion of an application. All applications are considered on an individual basis. Normally, a successful applicant will have an undergraduate GPA of 3.00 or higher and will have successfully completed sufficient coursework in biology, chemistry and mathematics.
  4. Test Scores. Applicants normally must take the general section of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). There is no absolute cutoff score for acceptance. However, competitive applicants usually score above the 50th percentile. Each case is decided on the totality of its merits. At the discretion of the department, MCAT or other entrance examination scores may be accepted in place of the GRE. Information can be obtained from:
    • University of Louisville Testing Center, or
    • Graduate Record Examination Educational Testing Service Box 955 Princeton, NJ 08541, or

      The GRE Advanced Test in a discipline is not required, but if available will be used in admissions and placement decisions.
      Note: GRE Institution Code is R1838-University of Louisville. The GRE major codes are 0216 - Pharmacology or 0219 - Toxicology.
  5. Statement of Experience and Professional Goals. At the time of application, a two to three page typed statement should be sent to introduce the student to the faculty of the Department, describing past educational, laboratory and relevant life experiences, as well as outlining professional goals after the degree program. This statement can be sent electronically to or via mail to:

    Graduate School
    Graduate Admissions

    Houchens Building, Suite 105
    University of Louisville
    Louisville, KY 40292
    United States of America
  6. English Proficiency. All applicants for whom English is a second language must also submit official TOEFL scores of 79 or higher on the internet-based test or 550 or higher on the paper-based test for verification of English proficiency. Students holding a bachelor's or advanced degree from an accredited institution in the United States are exempt from this requirement. Information concerning the TOEFL exam can be obtained from: University Testing Center, or Test of English as a Foreign Language PO Box 6151 Princeton, NJ 08541 USA or The institutional code of UofL for TOEFL is 1838. The TOEFL department code is 30 (other biological sciences.)
  7. Personal Interview. Whenever possible, a personal interview, either in person or via telephone will be held before final offer and acceptance of a position in the PhD program.
  8. Letters of Recommendation. Three letters of recommendation from persons familiar with the applicant's research and/or academic work are required. These recommendations will ideally include a letter attached to the recommendation form or may be completed electronically via the online application.
  9. International Student Applicants. In addition to satisfying the appropriate credential requirements, applicants may be required to provide the following documents.
    • Applicants who attended college outside the US must submit verbatim notarized English translations of all academic records and credentials.
    • Transcripts must be evaluated by a credential evaluation service such as World Education Services ( or Educational Credential Evaluators ( for admission.
    • If on a Visa that requires an I-20 or IAP-66, the applicant is required to complete an Application Supplement/Financial Declaration form and submit appropriate financial documentation.
  10. Financial Aid. All applicants to the PhD program of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology are automatically considered for financial aid upon admission. Typically, such aid consists of a stipend, tuition remission, and a health insurance benefit.
  11. Residency Policy. Residency status for students is determined by the Graduate School, Graduate Admissions. The status is determined according to the policy on classification of students for fee assessment purposes at state-supported institutions of higher education. Except as provided in the guidelines, it is presumed that a resident has remained in the state in a non-student status for the twelve months immediately preceding the last date for enrollment in the institution.

The domicile of an unemancipated person, as defined in the guidelines, is that of his/her parent. The domicile of a married person is determined by the provisions of the guidelines independent of the residence of the spouse. Copies of the guidelines and appropriate forms for requesting a change of residence classification may be obtained from the Office of Student Services.

Indiana Tuition Reciprocity

The University of Louisville is participating in an Indiana Tuition Reciprocity Program for residents of Clark, Crawford, Floyd, Harrison or Scott Counties who have been admitted directly into an approved graduate program. Eligible participants are required to notify the Admissions Office prior to their first enrollment and the Registrar's Office after their first enrollment of any changes in residency status. [e.g. if they no longer live in one of the eligible counties, or are no longer in an eligible program.] The University reserves the right to further investigate and require documentation of eligibility for tuition reciprocity.

For Military Personnel

If an applicant, spouse or parent (if dependent) is currently stationed in Kentucky on military active duty for one or more years, please attach a copy of the military orders, a lease or mortgage showing Kentucky address and a military dependent identification card if appropriate. If the applicant is a Kentucky resident but has been in the military and has been recently discharged, please send a copy of the military discharge papers (DD-214).

International Students on Immigrant/ Permanent Resident Status

If currently on an immigrant/ permanent resident status, it will be necessary to submit a copy of an immigration/ permanent resident card, both sides, for review of possible residency classification for tuition purposes.

Program Requirements

Plan of Study Grid
Year 1
PHTX 641 Pharmacology I 3
PHTX 643 Toxicology I 3
BIOC 645 Advanced Biochemistry I 4
PHZB 602 Physiological Concepts for General Life Sciences 2
PHTX 617 Laboratory Rotation Research 1
PHTX 606 Seminar 1
Written qualifying exam 1 (end of semester)  
PHTX 642 Pharmacology II 3
PHTX 644 Toxicology II 3
BIOC 667 Cell Biology 3
PHTX 619 Research 1
PHTX 606 Seminar 1
BIOC 630 Responsible Conduct of Research: Survival Skills and Research Ethics 1
Written qualifying exam 2 (end of semester)  
PHTX 632 Analysis of Parametric & Non-parametric Data 2
PHTX 619 Research 4
Year 2
PHTX 625 Scientific Writing 2
Students may take 1-3 elective courses for enrichment 0-8
PHTX 619 Research 4
PHTX 606 Seminar 1
Written qualifying exam 3 (end of semester)  
Students may take 1-3 elective courses for enrichment (Master's Candidacy) 0-9
Submission, presentation, and defense of PhD proposal (NIH grant format) and MS thesis.  
Awarding of MS degree and transition to PhD candidacy.  
 Minimum Total Hours40