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Graduate Education in the College of Pharmacy

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Graduate students in the College of Pharmacy are students in one of the three departments within the College. Interested and qualified students may earn graduate degrees by direct admission into the the College of Pharmacy or by being accepted into the PULSE interdisciplinary graduate program administered by the Graduate School. Students are encouraged to evaluate the College's three graduate programs so that they can determine which program best suits their interests and career goals. This is one of the most important decisions a prospective graduate student can make, since transferring between graduate programs usually involves starting one's graduate career over again.

Plans of Study

The graduate programs offered within the College do not have a fixed plan of study for each student. Each graduate program has certain course, examination, and thesis requirements, but plans of study are tailored to meet the individual goals and interests of the students. The time needed for completion of degree requirements is variable not only among those programs but also among the individuals in those programs. The College of Pharmacy has established a maximum limit of 8 years for completion of any graduate program, although some programs in the College may have established a more stringent time limit for completion of a degree.

The Role of Research

Graduate education and research are inextricably interwoven in the typical cases of thesis-based graduate degrees. For information about non-thesis MS degrees, please refer to the individual department web sites. All Ph.D. programs are research degrees that require a doctoral dissertation. Graduate degrees involving a thesis (MS) or dissertation (PhD) are conferred to students who have demonstrated their advanced understanding by participation in the scientific discovery process. Although traditional course work is initially involved in the graduate programs, all Ph.D. and thesis-based MS programs of study culminate in original research effort under the mentorship of the faculty. This mentorship involves both a primary research advisor and an advisory committee. Choosing a primary research advisor and advisory committee for graduate work should be made during a student's first year in the graduate program.


A research-based graduate degree usually qualifies the recipient to perform research and research-related tasks (such as technical writing, technical marketing, research administration, regulatory affairs, and government regulation) in any organization involving research. Recipients of the Ph.D. degree are considered qualified for academic professorships. Students obtaining any graduate degree may simultaneously seek secondary education teaching certification through the School of Education and the appropriate state certification board, which qualifies individuals for specific teaching positions at secondary education institutions.

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