M.S. in Pharmacology and Therapeutics

We offer a research-intensive program that leads to a Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Molecular Pharmacology and Therapeutics. After successful completion of formal course work, students develop and complete a research thesis project under the direction of a faculty mentor.  The successful Molecular Pharmacology and Therapeutics Master's student will graduate with a broad base of knowledge in the biomedical sciences and a more focused understanding of pharmacology.  The goal of our graduate program is to prepare students for advanced training in the biomedical sciences, or higher paying jobs in academia, the pharmaceutical industry, or consulting. 

Course Work

In the first semester, pharmacology students will join first year graduate students from all other biomedical graduate programs to participate in the Biomedical Sciences Core Curriculum (BMSC).  The BMSC is designed to develop the student's fundamental knowledge of topics relevant to biomedical research.  The BMSC includes courses in Molecular Biochemistry, Cell Biology, and Methods in the Biomedical Sciences.  The first semester curriculum is further complemented with courses in Biomedical Ethics, and weekly journal club sessions relevant to Pharmacology.  In the second semester, students take Systems Biology (Physiology) and Statistical Methods in Biomedical Sciences.  Additional advanced courses in Pharmacology are taken in the second, third or fourth semesters.  At the end of the formal coursework, students demonstrate their biomedical and pharmacology knowledge by successful completion of a written comprehensive examination.

Year 1


Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
(BMSC 410, 4h)
Statistical Methods in Biomedical Sciences
(BMSC 402, 3h)


Cell Biology
(BMSC 412, 4h)
Principles of Pharmacology
(Phar 409, 3h)


Methods in Biomedical Science
(BMSC 416, 1h)
Systems Biology
(BMSC 414, 3h)


Ethics in Biomedical Sciences
(BMSC 405, 1h)
Pharmacology Journal Club
(Phar 405, 0h)


Pharmacology Journal Club
(Phar 405, 0h)
(Phar 499, 1h)


Two 6-week research rotations
Year 2


Pharmacology Elective
Pharmacology Journal Club
(Phar 405, 0h)


Pharmacology Journal Club
(Pharm 405, 0h)
Thesis Supervision
(Phar 595, 0h)


(Phar 499, 1h)



Masters students are required to complete two research rotations within the first year of the program.  Once rotations are complete, students can select their thesis advisor. Major areas of research emphasis within the Program are: Signal Transduction Mechanisms; Neuropharmacology; Cancer Pharmacology; Cardiovascular Pharmacology, and Experimental Therapeutics. Students perform their research 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 until the student selects their adviser.  Once selected, the adviser helps the student to develop a written research proposal, and to establish a Thesis Committee.  The adviser serves as the student’s primary mentor throughout the remainder of the student’s tenure in the program.  The mentor provides the student with direction on the research project, advice on how to progress through the various program requirements, and counseling for successful completion of the program.  The degree program is complete once the student gains approval of their written thesis document by their Thesis Committee, and after a successful oral defense of the thesis.  The program takes approximately 2 years of full time effort though some students may take longer depending on the complexity of their project.

Oral and written communication

Our students are taught effective communication skills.  These skills are taught as students participate in various activities during pursuit of their degree such as writing primary research publications that describe analyses and interpretation of research results, writing a grant proposal, or presenting a seminar or research article. Students are taught to express their thoughts in a clear, organized, and concise manner.  The student’s oral presentation skills are enhanced through mentored participation in formal and informal seminars, journal clubs, and lab meetings. 

Seminars and Journal Club

An important element of our program includes student participation in seminars and journal clubs. Faculty, students and post-doctoral fellows attend our bi-monthly Pharmacology seminar series in which nationally and internationally known scientists are invited to present their latest findings.  Students and other trainees are also invited to meet informally with the speakers during lunch. 

Student Pharmacology Journal Club is held weekly during the fall semester.  Each week a student presents a recently published, high impact journal article.  Journal club provides an excellent opportunity for students to learn from each other, while developing their communication and presentation skills.

Research in Progress

During the Spring semester each Pharmacology student presents their research to members of the department.  The Research in Progress Seminar Series provides students with an excellent opportunity to hone their communication skills and demonstrate their research progress.  First year students describe one of the mini projects conducted during their research rotations, while more advanced students discuss their thesis and dissertation projects.

Department Retreat

The department also holds a bi-annual Pharmacology retreat. The goals of the retreat are to welcome and integrate new students into the department, 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 a poster session featuring the work of students and post-doctoral fellows.  Retreats are held at venues that allow attendees to spend downtime 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 gathering in the “Bear Cave”. 

Other Activities

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 food, play games, socialize, and relax.  Throughout the year, students organize additional departmental activities.  These have included bowling and bocce ball nights, outings to baseball and hockey games, as well as trips to the local brewpub.  Student graduation is also an important time to celebrate.

Academic Requirments

Applicants should have a Bachelor's degree or equivalent with an emphasis on the basic sciences. (International applicants should have the equivalent of a 4-year U.S. Bachelor's degree as verified by the Educational Credential Evaluators.  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 > 90 (or written score > 600). The admissions committee focuses on the overall strength of the application, and not just on any one criterion.

Promising applicants who live in the Chicago area may have an opportunity to interview at the Medical Center Campus, tour our facilities and meet with students.  Promising applicants living overseas will be asked to participate in a video conference or telephone interview with the admissions committee as part of the application process.

Tuition and Fees

Students in the M.S. program are responsible for paying all tuition and fees.   Loyola University Graduate School determines current tuition and fees.  These are found here.  We do not offer work study on the Health Sciences Campus.  Master’s students are not paid to complete their thesis research.  Paid employment on the Health Sciences Campus must occur outside the MS student’s thesis research laboratory.

Health Insurance

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

International Students

We encourage international students with a sincere interest in Pharmacology to apply for the M.S. in Molecular Pharmacology and Therapeutics.   Please note that our program starts in 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 to the US in time for the start of the semester.  We also encourage international students to contact the Graduate Program Director at kscrogi@luc.edu to confirm their eligibility for the program prior to the start of the application process.