M.S. in Pharmacology

We offer research-intensive program that leads to a Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Molecular Pharmacology & Therapeutics. After successful completion of their formal course work, students will propose and complete a research project under the direction of a selected faculty mentor. Master's students will graduate with broad training in the biomedical sciences and focused training in Pharmacology. Our training will lead to a solid foundation for successful scientific careers in many areas, including government and the pharmaceutical industry.


In the first semester, students will join the other incoming graduate students from all other medical school based graduate programs to take the Core Curriculum in Biomedical Sciences for the first semester.  This is designed to broaden the student's understanding of Biomedical Sciences with introductory courses in Molecular Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Methods in Biomedical Sciences, and Systems Biology (Physiology).  This course work is complemented with training in ethics and statistics.  In the second half of the first year and during the entirety of the second year students receive specialized training in Pharmacology.  At the end of the formal coursework, students will demonstrate their comprehension through completion of a comprehensive examination.  The comprehensive examination will consist of a uniform written examination covering a broad range of pharmacological topics.  Exam questions will be composed by members of the Department of Pharmacology Graduate Faculty and coordinated by the Comprehensive Exam Committee.


M.S. students are required to complete two research rotations within the first year of the program, after which they will elect their thesis advisor. Major areas of research emphasis within the Program are: Cell Surface Receptors; Signal Transduction Mechanisms; Neuropharmacology; Cancer Pharmacology; Cardiovascular Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. Student research is performed in close collaboration with their advisor. The Graduate Program Director facilitates all aspects of the student’s progress through the program, including course and rotation selection. Once students have selected a thesis advisor, their mentor helps them prepare for the comprehensive examinations, plan a written research proposal, and establish a thesis committee. Throughout the duration of the student’s tenure, their mentor provides advice and direction on the research project, monitors their progress through the various program requirements, and provides counseling needed for successful completion of the program. The research will culminate in the preparation of a thesis and a final oral examination conducted by the student's M.S. Thesis Committee.  Course work is completed within the first year and the research thesis is typically completed within 1-2 additional years.


Applicants should have a Bachelor's degree with an emphasis on the sciences. (Foreign applicants should have the equivalent of a 4-year U.S. Bachelor's degree as verified by the Educational Credential Evaluators.) Some business coursework is desirable, but not required. Applicants should have strong letters of recommendation, grades, and GRE scores. Accepted students typically have a GPA ≥ 3.0 and a GRE composite score of >300 (verbal > 148). Foreign students should also have a TOEFL iBT score > 100 (or written score > 600). The admissions committee focuses on the overall strength of the application, and not just on one criterion.

Selected applicants who live in the United States may be invited to interview at the Medical Center Campus, and to tour the facilities and meet with students. Overseas applicants will be interviewed by telephone.


Students assume responsibility for tuition and fees. Current tuition and fees are determined by the Loyola University Graduate School.  Tuition for the 2020-2021 year is $1,140 per credit. Additional fees may apply. These can be found here.  


We believe that students must be able to communicate effectively, whether writing an article that describes their analysis and interpretation of their research results, writing a grant proposal, or presenting a seminar or research article. We help students develop the skills necessary to express their thoughts in a clear, organized, and concise manner. Our Program offers many opportunities to enhance the student’s oral and written skills through a number of formal and informal sessions described below. 


An important element of our program is participation in seminars and journal clubs. The Pharmacology seminar series is held bi-monthly and is attended by faculty, students and post-doctoral researchers. Nationally and internationally known scientists from a range of disciplines present the latest developments in their research. The seminar series serves to bring new ideas and challenges to the attention of members of the department and to increase our knowledge and awareness of research activities outside our department and university. Students will have the opportunity to meet informally with the speakers by joining them for lunch, describing their research, and exchanging points of view.

Journal club is held every week during the fall semester and is attended by graduate students. Students present a recently published article from cutting edge scientific journals. Journal club provides an excellent opportunity for students to learn from each other, while developing their communication and presentation skills.


Every Spring semester, M.S. students will present a seminar to the department on their own research projects. This is an excellent opportunity for students to provide the department with an update about the latest developments in their projects. At the same time students have an opportunity to improve their presentation skills. In the first year, they describe their mini project conducted during one of their rotations.  After joining a laboratory, MS students use the opportunity to describe the progress in their research


The department also holds a bi-annual Pharmacology retreat. The goals of the retreat are to welcome and integrate new students into the department, and further promote collaboration and interaction between research groups and to develop new avenues of translational research. The format of the retreat program changes to keep the event fresh and exciting.  Past retreats have included short research presentations by faculty, followed by and a poster session featuring the work of students and post-doctoral fellows. Our next retreat will focus on trainees and will feature several talks by post-doctoral fellows and senior students.  The retreats are held at venues that allow attendees to spend down time relaxing and enjoying the amenities.  A recent retreat held at the Chicago Zoo in Brookfield included an opportunity for attendees to visit the exhibits and ended with a social in the “Bear Cave”.  


Though we are serious about our research, we also like to engage in fun activities. Our yearly summer picnic is an excellent example.  The Department members and friends gather in a nearby park to grill out, and engage in several fun games and activities. The students have also organized bowling and bocce ball nights that include friendly faculty vs. student competitions.    Of course when anyone graduates, all members of the department join in the celebration.


The University requires all students to have health insurance coverage. Health insurance is not included in the tuition and fees described above. 


We encourage international students with a sincere interest in Pharmacology to apply for the MS in Molecular Pharmacology and Therapeutics.   Please note that our program starts at the end of August.  As such, international students must begin the process of obtaining their visa early in the year.  We encourage international students to finish their application as soon as possible to ensure that all necessary paper work is completed in time to allow them to travel and be in attendance at the start of the semester.  Additional financial and administrative information for international students can be found at http://ssom.luc.edu/indiri/graduate-program/international-students/.