Pharmacovigilance Certificate

Pharmacovigilance is the science of collecting, detecting, assessing, and monitoring data of marketed drugs in order to minimize or prevent adverse effects. Pharmacovigilance, a modernization and evolution of safety pharmacology, employs sophisticated state of the art approaches in the collection and analyses of data for marketed pharmaceutical products.  Pharmacovigilance offers the promise of significant beneficial improvements in human health by providing more safe, effective and individually tailored therapeutics.

Loyola’s Department of Molecular Pharmacology & Neuroscience offers a 12-credit certificate program in Pharmacovigilance which can be completed in 1-year (full-time) or 2-years (part-time).  This program is especially well suited for individuals who are planning careers in the pharmaceutical industry, public health sciences, or biomedical research. The certificate program is also suited for physicians, nurses, and scientists in epidemiology or therapeutic-related fields.

All courses consist of Asynchronous lectures and synchronous course meetings (early evening) and are flexible to allow students to take the courses from home and around daytime obligations.   Application deadline: January 3, 2022.

Upon completion of the program our graduates will be knowledgeable in the latest cutting-edge methods and techniques used by pharmacovigilance groups to detect and assess adverse events of drugs and pharmaceutical products. They will also be knowledgeable of the means by which these data can be employed to improve human health.

Academic Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent*, with an emphasis on the sciences
  • Please ask Director – Dr. W. Keith Jones, Ph.D. at email address
  • GPA of 2.7 or higher
  • TOEFL required for foreign students
  • Official transcripts from the highest degree obtained

Curriculum Organization


Fall Semester
Drug Discovery and Development       (Ph407; 3 credits)
Current Topics in Pharmacology
And Epidemiology of Diseases            (Ph415; 2 credits)


Spring Semester
A Practical Approach                           (Ph420, 4 credits)


Principles of Pharmacology                 (Ph409; 3 credits),
Molecular Basis of Disease
and Therapeutics                                (Ph408; 3 credits)
Tuition for 2022-2023 academic year is $1,195 per credit hour (12 credits are needed).  The total cost of Pharmacovigilance Certificate is $14,340.



  • What kinds of jobs are available in Pharmacovigilance? 

The certificate will prepare students to be competitive for jobs in academic, medical, industrial and regulatory settings. Pharmacovigilance is critical for the Pharmaceutical industry, an active topic among academics and is part of the regulatory environment including the United States Food and Drug Administration, United States Department of Agriculture, Centers for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization. Jobs in pharmacovigilance are expected to grow at higher than average rates (National BLS Projections). 

  • What other training might I need for a career in Pharmacovigilance?

The certificate and your undergraduate degree are sufficient for entry level jobs (e.g., Drug Safety Associate). Graduates who also have a Ph.D., M.S., M.D., RN or other advanced degrees in health sciences have more diverse job options at higher levels of management.  For example, a graduate with Pharmacovigilance certificate and Master in Public Health will be very competitive for a pharmacovigilance career at the Center for  Disease Control  and Prevention or the World Health Organization. While graduates with PV certificate and an MD degree might work as Medical Directors in Pharmacovigilance, graduates with a Ph.D. degree might be the best choice for a high level career in academic Pharmacovigilance.  

  • What is the average salary of graduates with PV certificate?

The salary will depend whether the graduate student has any higher professional degree in health sciences or not.  For graduates with a bachelor’s degree and PV certificate, at the level of Drug Safety Associate, one can expect an annual salary in the range of $55K-$95K (according to Glassdoor). Graduates that have an M.D. degree and PV certificate at the level of Medical Director/Senior Medical Director in Pharmacovigilance can earn annually between $200K-$300K (according to Paysa).

  • What are the application dates?

Admission is continuous with start dates in the second week of August or January for Fall and Spring semesters, respectively (application deadline August 1st or January 3). Please apply early as it takes up to six weeks to get official documents for transcripts and transcript evaluations.  Contact the Director if there are any issues.


Joanna Bakowska, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Neuroscience

Course Director of Current Topics in Pharmacology and Epidemiology of Diseases

Research in my laboratory focuses on examining the function of spartin protein, which gene mutation results in a hereditary spastic  paraplegia  type 20, a neurological disorder. Thus far, we discovered that spartin protein is an important component in the intracellular trafficking of receptors and has a role in homeostasis of levels of calcium in mitochondria.  Dr. Bakowska has been teaching graduate and medical students at Loyola University Chicago for the last 10 years.






George Battaglia, PhD

Professor, Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Neuroscience

Course Director of Principles of Pharmacology

Course Director of Molecular Basis of Disease and Therapeutics

Dr. Battaglia’s research has focused on the long-term developmental consequences of drugs of abuse and clinically prescribed psychoactive drugs on brain function when drug administration occurs prior to maturation.  He has worked with former Directors of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Dr. Battaglia’s research and teaching career which spans over 40 years has resulted in over 100 scientific publications, extensive NIH funding and the mentoring of numerous undergraduate, graduate and medical students as well as postdoctoral fellows.     


ImageThao Doan, M.D.

Affiliate Professor, Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Neuroscience

Course Director of Pharmacovigilance: A Practical Approach

Senior Medical Director, Medical Safety Evaluation Pharmacovigilance and Patient Safety, AbbVie

Dr. Doan is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Allergy Immunology. She has more than 20 years of pharmaceutical experience across multiple therapeutic areas. Currently, she is a Senior Medical Director in Immunology, Medical Safety Evaluation, Pharmacovigilance and Patient afety at AbbVie. Dr. Doan is co-author and co-editor of three textbooks: “Lippincott’s Illustrated Reviews: Immunology-Second Edition, Concise Medical Immunology and Pharmacovigilance: A Practical Approach”.


W. Keith Jones, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Neuroscience

Course Director of Drug Discovery and Development

Program Director, Pharmacovigilance Certificate

Dr. Jones’ laboratory studies the molecular basis of cardiovascular disease and molecular interventions designed as therapeutic measures. Cardiovascular disease remains the number one cause of death in developed countries despite decades of research into the environmental and molecular causes. The current research focus is microRNA regulation of gene expression, transfer of microRNAs via exosomes and the mechanism of stem cell exosome function in cardiac repair. 



Simon Kaja, Ph.D.

Dr. John P. and Therese E. Mulcahy Endowsed Professor in Ophthalmology
Assistant Professor, Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Neuroscience

Course Co-Director of Drug Discovery and Development

Course Co-Director of Current Topics in Pharmacology and Epidemiology of Diseases

Dr. Kaja is a trained Molecular Biologist and Neuropharmacologist with experience in academia, biotech, big pharma and contract research organizations. His research interest lies in drug discovery for some of the most disabling ophthalmic diseases, including glaucoma, dry-eye disease, age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. In addition to his active research program, Dr. Kaja is a passionate mentor and educator. He serves on the steering committee of the Graduate Program in Neuroscience, the Centralized Admissions Committee for the interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in Biomedical Sciences and teaches extensively in Loyola’s graduate and professional courses.



Fabio LieFabio Lievanovano, M.D.
Affiliate Professor, Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Neuroscience
Course Co-Director of Pharmacovigilance: A Practical Approach
Vice President Safety Sciences, Medical Safety Evaluation, Pharmacovigilance and Patient Safety, AbbVie
Dr. Lievano is a senior contributor and vice president in clinical safety and benefit risk management (phase I to post marketing) for products in development, leading and supervising increasingly larger teams in several therapeutic areas.  Dr. Lievano’s pharmaceutical experience includes: Immunology, Oncology, Neurology, Vaccines, diabetes, antibiotics, medical devices, Hepatitis B, C, and HIV (antiretroviral). Dr. Lievano has authored several papers and abstracts in major medical journals and scientific meetings worldwide.  He is the co-author and co-editor of textbook: “Pharmacovigilance:  A Practical Approach”.