FAQs

What kind of insurance is available for PhD and Masters students?
Ph.D. students receive full health insurance coverage provided by the University as long as they remain in good academic standing. Masters students may purchase health insurance through the University (currently $1515/semester) or they must provide evidence that they are insured through another source. 



Is there safe affordable housing near campus?
Yes. Our campus is located in Maywood, a Western suburb located 16 miles directly West of the Chicago city center. The Western suburbs of Chicago are small and easily accessible to one another. Students typically find safe affordable accommodations at a number of suburbs surrounding Maywood including Broadview, Oak Park, Forest Park, River Forest, Riverside, Brookfield and La Grange Park. The most popular suburbs include Oak Park and Forest Park, primarily because of their direct transit connections to Chicago and their abundance of shops, restaurants and movie theaters. Some students opt to live in the downtown area and commute to school. However, housing is considerably more expensive in Chicago and commute times can be quite long and unpredictable. 

What kind of career options are available for someone with a degree in pharmacology? 
Our graduates pursue a diverse array of careers that include the more traditional careers of research scientist in academia and industry, as well as less traditional career options such as scientific consultant to a patent law office, technical expert for pharmaceutical and medical device companies or technical writers for industry, academia or professional journals.

What are the advantages of getting a degree at a private medical school?
Successful funding of medical research is largely dependent on the potential of research outcomes to have a significant positive impact on the practice of medicine. The close interactions between clinicians and research scientists fostered at Loyola helps to ensure that research goals are highly relevant to the advancement of human health. Students who complete their graduate training at our medical school have ample opportunity to meet and discuss their research with clinicians, and in so doing, learn how to better hone their research questions to address important questions in medical practice.



Is it necessary to be of the Catholic faith to gain admission?
No. Admission is open to applicants of all faiths, and faith is not considered in the admissions process.



How many students do you admit each year?
The number of students we admit is dependent upon the number of faculty members with sufficient funds and laboratory space to accommodate new students, as well as the quality of the applications that we receive. In general we accommodate between 3 and 5 PhD applicants and 1 or 2 Masters applicants each year.


Are my GRE scores and grades sufficient for admission?
There are no absolute minimum requirements for GRE and GPA scores. However, the average PhD applicant admitted to the program typically has GRE scores of 1200 or more. Over the past several years, the average GPA of PhD students who matriculate in to the program has risen to over 3.5 based on a 4.0 scale. However, students with lower GPA and GRE scores are encouraged to apply since scores are always considered in light of additional information such as research experience, letters of recommendation and the "fit" between the applicants desired goals and the research emphasis of the department. Most all PhD students admitted to the program have some research experience in an active laboratory. Masters students that matriculate to our program typically have similar scores as the PhD students. However, Masters students without prior research experience are given the same consideration as those with research experience.

Do I need to take the GRE exam?
Yes, but only the general test; the subject test is NOT required. GRE scores should be sent directly to Loyola using the GRE institutional code: 1412.

Do you accept foreign applicants? 
Yes. The Loyola University of Chicago Graduate School requires that all foreign applicants score at least 600 on the written test, 250 on the computer based test, or 100 on the internet test for admission to the university.

Does the Program interview foreign applicants?
If selected by the admissions committee, foreign applicants currently residing in the US will be eligible for in-person interviews. In contrast, those foreign applicants that reside outside the US may be interviewed by phone.

Do you accept applicants for entrance in the spring semester?

No. Our first year students take their core courses in the fall semester. The core courses, which are only offered during the fall semester, are prerequisites for the classes taught in the spring semester. As such, we only admit new students in the fall each year.



What's the difference between the study of pharmacology and pharmacy?
Pharmacology is the study of how drugs or endogenous substances interact with their receptors to mediate cellular events. Pharmacy is a profession concerned with the safe and effective use of medications by patients. Loyola currently does not have a school of pharmacy.



How do students choose their mentors?
During the first semester, students meet individually with all primary pharmacology faculty members and any adjunct faculty members who have expressed an interest in having a pharmacology student join their lab. Potential research projects are discussed at these meetings in an effort to help the student choose labs in which to complete research rotations. The students select 3-4 laboratories in which to perform 6-8 week research rotations during the second semester. Masters students are only required to complete 2 rotations. After completion of the rotations the students rank their choices. The mentor and student are then matched with the help of the chairman and graduate program director.



How many professors will take students the year that I have applied?
This answer depends on the amount of research funds available to the individual faculty members of the department. However, our faculty has historically had a very high rate of extramural funding. All of our faculty members are research intensive and currently have active research programs. Almost all are currently funded through external sources. This past year we had 9 faculty willing to accept students into their laboratories. 



If I am admitted can I start working in a laboratory before the first semester starts?
In the past, we have given students accepted into the PhD program the opportunity to do research during the summer prior to their admission. This opportunity is dependent upon the availability of funds. Students are typically provided with a stipend of $3500 for the summer. This is a highly competitive program and may not be available for all accepted applicants.



When do courses start?
The course schedule for graduate students coincides with that for the medical students. At Loyola, the fall semester begins much earlier than most schools. Our students typically attend orientation during the last week of July and begin attending classes the first week of August.


What prerequisite courses are required for admission?
We require that students have a basic understanding of biology and chemistry as well as some math proficiency. This typically requires a full year of college level biology and 2 years of college level chemistry including general and organic chemistry. While calculus is not required for admission, it highly advisable that students take at least one semester of calculus prior to matriculation into our program. 


Can I take organic chemistry over the summer prior to starting classes in order to satisfy the course prerequisites? 

Yes. We have in the past allowed promising students to take organic chemistry during the summer prior to matriculation. However, this option is usually reserved for outstanding students who may not have had time to take organic chemistry during the course of their college education due to scheduling conflicts or other mitigating circumstances. 



What is the average length of time it takes to graduate from the Pharmacology Department? 

The length of time students require to graduate is primarily dependent on the amount of time they devote to their research. However, the success of their project is also an important factor. PhD students typically graduate in 5-6 years. Masters students typically require 2-3 years to finish 



What kind of support does the university provide for student health?
PhD students receive full health insurance coverage provided by the University as long as they remain in good academic standing. This coverage is for health care beyond the level provided by the Student Health Services fee ($131/semester). 



What kinds of opportunities are there for participation in collaborative efforts outside the university?
Several of our faculty pursue scientific collaborations with investigators from different universities. It is possible that students may spend some time in another university learning a new technique or completing necessary work that cannot be performed in their home institution. This option is entirely dependent upon the student's mentor and their collaborators. 



What courses will I be required to take to finish?
Required courses for the PhD curriculum include a Core Curriculum (4 introductory courses offered in the first semester). Courses in Statistics and Ethics are also required along with introductory and advanced courses in Pharmacology (Principles of Pharmacology, Medical Therapeutics, and Receptor Pharmacology), and 2-3 advanced elective courses in areas relevant to the specific area of the student's dissertation research. In addition, a Journal Club course is required each semester and a course in Teaching Pharmacology is required for advanced students (Year 3 or later). The curriculum is described in more detail under the Curriculum tab.