2023-24 Edition

Pharmacology, M.S.

The Master of Science in Pharmacology (MSP) is a two-year, 100% online degree program geared toward teaching students the fundamental principles of pharmacology; mechanisms of drug action; current topics in drug discovery; and strategies, techniques, and critical thinking skills needed for drug research.

The MSP degree is designed to meet the needs of working professionals and non-traditional students by providing educational access and flexibility in an online format. It is well-suited to meet the goals of individuals who are seeking leadership positions within their organizations in a variety of fields or to enhance their competitiveness for admission to other advanced degree programs.

The curriculum emphasizes both theoretical and practical applications and an interdisciplinary approach that serves not only as excellent pathways to career advancement, but also provides a solid foundation from which to pursue doctoral study in related fields.

Our Pharmacology faculty are among the best in the field, recognized both nationally and internationally for their scientific research and publications.  A number of faculty have worked in and/or founded pharmaceutical companies and hold patents relative to drug discoveries they made.

The MSP prepares students for careers in academic research institutions, in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry, in federal and state agencies, and in private research institutions.

The online MSP program is targeted to working professionals in the pharmaceutical industry and related fields. The program is open to any non-traditional student who can benefit from the flexibility and convenience of online, distance learning, including California, U.S. and international students.  Applicants will have a B.S. degree and may have more work experience than a typical student who moves directly from undergraduate to graduate study.

Admission requirements include:

  • A bachelor’s degree from a recognized and accredited academic institution with degree standards equivalent to UC
  • A minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0
  • Some coursework in biology is required, but applicants may be admitted with a variety of undergraduate disciplines, including biology, molecular biology, psychology, chemistry, etc.
  • Some research experience is required
  • GRE is NOT required

To apply to the program, applicants must complete the UCI Graduate Division's online application for admission and upload the following materials:

  • Personal statement: The personal statement should include a personal history describing your professional and academic achievements, and in particular, your laboratory and research experience; current and future goals, specifically how and why the MSP will help you achieve them; and your understanding of the challenges of online learning and your readiness to participate in this type of instructional modality.
  • Three letters of recommendation uploaded to the application directly by individuals who can evaluate your academic and/or professional achievements, describe your strengths and weaknesses, and comment on your character, integrity and motivation.
  • Unofficial transcripts uploaded to the application.  (Official transcripts will be requested by the Graduate Division if you are admitted and plan to enroll.)
  • Non-refundable application fee
  • International applicants must demonstrate English proficiency (institution code: 4859)
    • TOEFL (minimum score 80)
    • IELTS (minimum overall score of 7)

The priority deadline for applications is March 1.  The final deadline to apply is June 15.


The program consists of 13 required courses (39 units) to be completed sequentially over two years of study (six quarters).

A. Complete the following:
PHARM 270 Applied Pharmacology 1
PHARM 271 Principles of Pharmacology
PHARM 272 Receptors and Drug Targets
PHARM 274 Research Techniques in Pharmacology
PHARM 276 Experimental Design and Data Analysis
PHARM 277 Ethics in Scientific Research
PHARM 278 Concepts in Drug Discovery
PHARM 279 Special Topics in Pharmacology
PHARM 280 Master's Project in Pharmacology
PHARM 281 Neuropharmacology
PHARM 282 Behavioral Pharmacology
PHARM 283 Cardiovascular Pharmacology
PHARM 284 Endocrine, Respiratory, and Gastrointestinal Pharmacology

Students take PHARM 270 at the beginning of the first year; it is an accelerated five-day in-residence course offered on the UCI campus.

The capstone paper is written while the student is enrolled in PHARM 280. The student, in consultation with their faculty mentor, selects a topic of interest in pharmacology. The final product will be evaluated by the mentor and the course director for acceptability in meeting the capstone requirement.

Students submit an application for advancement to candidacy in the fifth quarter of study. The capstone research project and required courses for the fifth and sixth quarters must be completed before the degree will be conferred. The normative time to degree is two years.