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Graduate work in the Pharmacology Concentration Area includes research at the molecular and cellular level in pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, drug interactions, drug residues and metabolites, anesthetics and autonomic drugs, pulmonary biology, oncology, ophthalmology, gastroenterology, reproductive endocrinology, and lipid-, peptide-, and oxygen-derived mediators of inflammation. Research approaches employ a wide variety of molecular, biochemical, pharmacological, and microscopic techniques, utilizing cell culture and whole organisms. Graduate training in pharmacology is also accomplished via didactic courses, journal clubs, and seminars that span the above areas of focus.

CBS Core Courses Required of all Students:

Courses Required for Pharmacology Concentration:

Elective Courses for PhD Students:

Other elective courses are approved by the student's advisory committee. Students requiring foundational courses are encouraged to consider TOX 501 General Toxicology and BCH 451/553 Biochemistry.


Before the end of the second year of the PhD program, the student is expected to select a graduate committee. This Committee will serve to direct and guide the student through the PhD program. The Committee will consist of the Supervisor (Chairperson) and a minimum of three other members of the Graduate Faculty. A member of the graduate faculty from outside of the degree program appointed by the Graduate School will serve to monitor the student's oral examinations. The Graduate School representative is to ensure that the process is conducted in a manner that is fair to the student.


It is expected that after the first year, and before the beginning of the third year, the doctoral student will take a comprehensive preliminary examination. The Graduate School of NCSU requires that this exam be taken not earlier than the end of the second year, and not later than one semester (four months) before the final oral examination. The student should schedule this examination at a convenient time after consulting with his/her advisor. This examination is intended to be comprehensive and assess the student's preparations to be a scholar in the concentration area discipline. The Preliminary Examination must consist of a written component in a research grant proposal format. The NIH NRSA individual fellowship application research plan component is the recommended format, but the committee can choose another format for the proposal. The topic of the written examination grant proposal is determined by the graduate committee and should be related to (but not necessarily the same as) the thesis project. A closed-book exam consisting of a series of essay questions or problems based on previous coursework and research can also be required by the committee. Written questions generally take one day to complete. The committee should agree on the format and provide instructions to the student during the first committee meeting. The written portion of the exam should be submitted to the committee at least one month prior to the scheduled oral examination and no later than two weeks prior to the oral examination.  Satisfactory completion of the written examination is required before a candidate can sit for the oral preliminary examination. The oral examination is designed to determine the depth and breadth of the student’s knowledge in their concentration area discipline and to test the student's ability to relate factual knowledge to specific circumstances, to use this knowledge with accuracy and promptness. It will consist of questions asked by members of the student's graduate committee. Students are expected to prepare and deliver a short presentation of their written grant proposal for the oral examination.


Graduate students for the PhD degree should submit a Plan of Work. The Plan of Work is the official document that must be approved by the student's advisory committee and submitted to the Graduate Studies Committee (GSC) of the Comparative Biomedical Sciences (CBS) Program for approval before it is forwarded to the Graduate School. The proposal should include proposed courses. The student also should include a brief description of the proposed field of study and research focus area, and a list of the members selected for the Graduate Advisory Committee.

The selection of a dissertation must follow the guidelines imposed by the Graduate School. The publication, Guide for Preparation of Theses is a helpful guide.

During the second year, the student should be in preparation of research proposals to define the scope of work for the dissertation. This proposal can be used to submit to granting agencies for research funding. Description of research project should include a background of the proposed study area (literature review), hypotheses to be tested, description of studies to be conducted, methods to be used, methods of analysis, and a time-line that includes significant milestones.


The final oral examination will take place after the dissertation is complete, except for revisions that the committee feels are necessary. This examination must take place not earlier than one semester after the Preliminary Examination. The examination consists of oral questions concerning methods and conclusions reached in the research and as reported in the dissertation.


All graduate students are required to adhere to the NCSU Code of Student Conduct. Graduate students should be familiar with the NCSU Graduate Student Rights and Responsibilities document.