Program goal

The School of Pharmacy offers the highest quality of graduate training in pharmaceutical sciences research and mentorship at the doctoral level.

Student learning outcomes

  1. Knowledge of research in pharmaceutical sciences
    The candidate should demonstrate a general knowledge of the elements of the pharmaceutical sciences and a detailed knowledge of his/her area of research, including an appropriate familiarity with the research literature, policies and procedures, and methodology pertaining to their field.
  2. Design experiments in pharmaceutical sciences
    The candidate should demonstrate an appropriate level of skill in the design of experimental protocols and the technical conduct of experimentation related to his/her research.
  3. Demonstrate appropriate communication skills
    The candidate should demonstrate that an appropriate level of oral, written and visual communication skill has been acquired.
  4. Identify problems in pharmaceutical sciences
    The candidate should demonstrate an appropriate level of skill in the identification of meaningful problems in the pharmaceutical sciences and the design of and implementation of appropriate problem-solving methods.

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

Degree candidacy requirements

A graduate student admitted to a program or concentration requiring a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation, must qualify for continuing master’s or doctoral status according to the degree candidacy requirements of the student’s graduate program. Admission to degree candidacy, if applicable, is a formal statement by the graduate student’s faculty regarding the student’s academic achievements and the student’s readiness to proceed to the final research phase of the degree program.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following degree candidacy policy as published in the VCU Graduate Bulletin for complete information and instructions.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on degree candidacy requirements.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on graduation requirements.

Other information

See the School of Pharmacy website for the process handbook. Current graduate students may visit the school’s website for additional resources, and prospective students may apply online.


Apply online today.

Admission requirements

Admission requirements
Degree:Semester(s) of entry:Deadline dates:Test requirements:
Ph.D.FallMay 1 (priority consideration for financial aid Feb 1)GRE, TOEFL (international applicants)
SpringOct 1

Special requirements

  • Pharm.D. or bachelor’s degree in a related area

In addition to the general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School, applicants must have received a baccalaureate from an accredited institution in a related area demonstrating the ability to perform at the graduate level. Prerequisite and foundation course work may be required, depending upon the applicant’s discipline.

Degree requirements

In addition to general VCU Graduate School graduation requirements, Ph.D. students in pharmaceutical sciences must complete a minimum of 30 graduate credit hours beyond the master’s degree of required (both school and department core) and elective hours. All Ph.D. students must pass the comprehensive exam in each department in order to advance to candidacy. The exam consists of a written and oral component and is administered by either the student advisory committee (oral and written) and/or department faculty (written), depending on which option the student chooses. All Ph.D. students must pass the dissertation review and defense in each department in order to graduate.

In addition to the pharmaceutical sciences core courses, students must fulfill course and other degree requirements in their respective concentrations as outlined below. Students are required to complete a dissertation. The 30 credit-hour minimum directed research requirement may be waived for circumstances such as a prior M.S. degree. If waived, students must still complete the minimum number of hours required for the degree.

Curriculum requirements


All students should have prerequisite knowledge in chemistry, mathematics and biology. The following departmental courses or their equivalents are required for admission into the Department of Pharmaceutics option. If a prospective student has not met any of the prerequisites, the course(s) may be included in the student’s core course requirements upon recommendation by the prospective graduate adviser and approval by the respective course coordinator (see below).

CHEM 409Instrumental Analysis 13
PCEU 507Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics I3
PCEU 508Pharmacokinetics3
PCEU 509Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics II3

Undergraduate prerequisite course work may not count toward the minimum 30 graduate credit hours required for the degree and may not be included in the calculation of graduate statistics, i.e., GPA, 20 percent C or below rule, etc.

Program requirements

Program core
OVPR 601Scientific Integrity1
or OVPR 602 Responsible Scientific Conduct
or OVPR 603 Responsible Conduct of Research
PSCI 607Introduction to Pharmaceutical Sciences From Bench to Shelf2
PSCI 614Research Techniques1
PSCI 690Seminars in the Pharmaceutical Sciences (one credit per semester)4
Concentration courses
BIOS 543Graduate Research Methods I3
or STAT 543 Statistical Methods I
PCEU 612Advanced Physical Pharmacy and Biopharmaceutics3
PCEU 625Pharmaceutical Analysis4
PCEU 690Pharmaceutics Research Seminar (one credit per semester)4
Select a minimum of eight credit hours (recommended for Ph.D.) 18
PCEU 697Directed Research in Pharmaceutics30
Total Hours60

The elective courses taken will generally be selected from a list identified by the major adviser and will be agreed upon by the major adviser and student. These electives may include courses outside the department.

The minimum total of graduate credit hours required for this degree is 60.

Aron Lichtman, Ph.D.
Associate dean for research and graduate studies and graduate program director
(804) 628-5233

Additional contact
Shakim Jackson
Education coordinator
(804) 628-4408

Program website: