VCUPharmacology and Toxicology
Virginia Commonwealth University
Department Video Graduate overview Pharm-Tox news VCU School of Medicine
Prospective students



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dna helixThe Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology is part of the School of Medicine and is located on the MCV Campus in historic downtown Richmond. VCU offers a graduate program in pharmacology and toxicology leading to the degrees of Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy. More than 230 scholars have earned their Ph.D. from our department since 1953, making it one of the oldest and largest in the country. With more than 30 dedicated faculty members, the department offers a rich and highly interdisciplinary environment for research.

Our students have won national and state awards for their research excellence such as back-to-back sweeps in the Virginia Academy of Sciences for 2002 and 2003.

The department is nationally recognized for its research in alcohol and drug abuse, cancer pharmacology and molecular biology. All of our doctoral students are supported for their graduate education with NIH training grants, fellowship funds and institutional support. The average duration of study for our doctoral candidates is 4.7 years - attesting to the efficiency of our program.

The PhD Program

Prospective Ph.D. students do not apply directly to the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology for admission but instead apply to the Biomedical Sciences Doctoral Portal (BSDP). The BSDP admits students into the first year of their Ph.D. training in Pharmacology and Toxicology and the Ph.D. programs of five other departments within the medical school. Students in the BSDP who seek the Ph.D. degree in Pharmacology and Toxicology may do all their research rotations in laboratories of the department's faculty and take only courses that satisfy the department's requirements. Official entry in Ph.D. program of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology occurs after two semesters when the student chooses a mentor from the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology. Admission into the BSDP does not impede the progress of students committed to earning the PhD degree in Pharmacology and Toxicology but offers flexibility to students who have not decided on a particular discipline of field. Visit the Biomedical Sciences Doctoral portal web site for details and instructions for applying: It is helpful to indicate interest in Pharmacology and Toxicology in the personal statement section of the BSDP application for those prospective students committed to the department's PhD program.'

The MS Program

The department of Pharmacology and Toxicology offers a MS degree program. Qualified applicants typically have a baccalaureate degree with a major in fields such as biology, chemistry, biochemistry, pharmacy and related sciences. Successful applicants will typically have the following credentials: 1100 (verbal plus quantitative) and 3.5 analytical GRE scores (or equivalent scores on the new GRE exam), undergraduate GPA of 3.2 and some laboratory research experience. The typical student requires 2.5 years to complete the degree. Many students who earn the MS degree enter careers in industry or government, or pursue admission to medical school and other professional schools. Students earning a MS degree with exemplary performance may apply to the PhD program but will compete with prospective undergraduate students for admission to the Biomedical Sciences Doctoral Portal (BSDP). Prospective students intending to earn a PhD degree, therefore, are encouraged to apply directly to the BSDP rather than the MS program. In contrast to students in the Ph.D. program, students in the MS program do not receive stipends, payment of tuition and fees, health insurance or have the opportunity for teaching assistantships. Applications to the Pharmacology and Toxicology MS program are to be submitted to the VCU Graduate School ( or for international applicants, the VCU Office of Global Education ( Application materials are provided at these sites respectively.

International Programme in Addiction Studies

The Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology is the home to the International Programme in Addiction Studies (IPAS), a unique online program of graduate study. The program offers a Master of Science in Addiction Studies as well as both Intermediate and Advanced Certificates. IPAS is jointly offered by the University of Adelaide, King's College London, and Virginia Commonwealth University. The program is available to students from all countries, although course materials are in English only. No campus attendance is required. More information and a link to the application materials are available on the IPAS web site (



Virginia Commonwealth University   |   School of Medicine   |   Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology
1112 East Clay Street, Suite 100, P.O. Box 980613, Richmond, Virginia 23298-0613   |   Phone: (804) 827-0375
E-mail:   |
Updated: 9/9/2013