Graduate Programs

 Joanna Burdette, Ph.D.
Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education

Seungpyo Hong, Ph.D.
Director of Graduate Education for the College of Pharmacy


The College has four Ph.D. programs, covering a spectrum of research areas within the pharmaceutical sciences. Three of these programs have specialization tracks, reflecting additional specialization within the overall degree program, the research interests of the faculty, and future employment opportunities. The graduate programs generally line up with the academic departments in the College.

We also offer a Pharm.D./Ph.D. program, in which the professional Doctor of Pharmacy degree can be earned simultaneously with any of the Ph.D.s offered. Through judicious selection and timing of courses, both degrees can be completed in less overall time than would be required to complete the programs separately.

Some graduate programs permit applications to the M.S. degree, usually from students who have the intention of continuing on to the Ph.D. BPS does not admit to the M.S.

There is a stand-alone M.S. degree in Forensic Science.

Each graduate program has its own admissions requirements, and handles its own admissions decisions. Therefore, you must apply for admission to a specific program. The links below will take you to the individual graduate program pages, where detailed application information and requirements can be found.

Many graduate programs admit new students only in the Fall semester of each year. We recommend that applications and all other required materials, including GRE scores, be submitted no later than December 31 of the year before you want to be admitted in order to receive full consideration for financial support. Application deadlines for individual programs can be found at the Graduate College's website.

To apply to a program, we recommend that you do so on line, at the Graduate College website. You can also obtain paper application materials from the Graduate College's website.

Please read carefully and follow the application instructions for the individual program to which you are applying. You should also make contact with the Director of Graduate Studies for that program, who will respond to any questions you might have. Individual faculty in departments cannot usually help you directly regarding admission to graduate studies.

ALL application materials should be sent or directed to the Director of Graduate Studies for the program to which you are applying. You do not have to send any materials to the Office of Admissions and Records.

In most cases, individual programs require the following:

  1. A completed application.
  2. A check or money order for the application fee (payable to the University of Illinois).
  3. Official transcripts of all prior college and university level work, transmitted by the issuing institution.
  4. Graduate Record Examination scores, transmitted by the testing service. (You may send unofficial student copies to the DGS)
  5. TOEFL scores, transmitted by the testing service, for all applicants whose native language is not English.
  6. THREE letters of recommendation from academic or other people who can judge an applicant's promise and abilities for research.
  7. A statement of purpose, indicating why the applicant is applying to the particular program, and how the applicant believes that program will help meet his/her educational and career goals.

(You may send unofficial student copies of transcripts, GRE scores and TOEFL scores to the DGS)

You are encouraged to check with the Director of Graduate Studies for the individual program to insure that your application materials have been received before the stated deadline.

Funding Your Education

Most students receive financial support as teaching or research assistants. In addition, many students receive competitive national and international fellowships. List of these funding opportunities is below.

Download here a searchable spreadsheet of regular funding opportunities for graduate students. This list contains both internal (UIC) funding opportunities and external funding tailored for COP graduate students. Some opportunities are also relevant to Pharm.D. students. The list was updated in July 2013.

UIC Graduate College Fellowships Deadlines. This website lists UIC fellowships and other awards administered through the Graduate College. Since departments need to submit nominations to the Graduate College (wherever it states "department nominations due") students should consult with their programs to determine by when documents must be submitted to the program.


The College's Graduate Programs


Biopharmaceutical Sciences

Director of Graduate Studies:
A. Karl Larsen, PhD

Research in the biopharmaceutical sciences involves pharmaceutics (drug delivery), pharmacodynamics (drug action), pharmacokinetics (absorption and distribution properties) and pharmacogenomics. Our active forensic science group is also included in this field of study. 

Specific research programs include:

  • lipid and polymer-based drug delivery systems
  • targeted drug delivery
  • pharmacokinetic membrane transport and absorption
  • behavioral pharmacology
  • cardiovascular pharmacology
  • neuropharmacology
  • environmental toxicology
  • cancer chemotherapy


Pharmacy Systems, Outcomes & Policy

Director of Graduate Studies:
Simon Pickard, PhD 

Pharmacy administration is a dynamic field that applies approaches from management science, economics, and the social sciences to issues in health care that relate to pharmacy, pharmacists, and pharmaceuticals.

Specific research programs include:

  • patient outcomes
  • health care and pharmaceutical policy
  • comparative health care systems
  • consumer medication use safety
  • pharmacoeconomics and management
  • rational drug use and distribution
  • socioeconomic and cultural issues related to drug use


Medicinal Chemistry

Director of Graduate Studies:
Pavel Petukhov, PhD

Research in medicinal chemistry involves design, synthesis, structure elucidation, and analysis of synthetic compounds possessing biological (potential drug) activity.

Specific research programs include:

  • synthetic chemistry directed toward neurodegenerative and oncologic diseases
  • computational approaches to drug design
  • chemical toxicology and biological mechanisms
  • synthetic development of enzyme inhibitors and low molecular weight catalysts
  • natural product structure elucidation



Director of Graduate Studies:
Jimmy Orjala, PhD

Research in pharmacognosy involves the isolation, structure elucidation and bioassay of plant and other natural product compounds having potential applications as treatments or preventives.**

Specific research programs include:

  • chemotherapeutic and chemopreventive properties of natural products
  • structure elucidation of bioactive natural products and their mechanism of action
  • development of methods for the analysis of botanical dietary supplements
  • use of traditional medicines by indigenous groups


Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology

Coordinator of Graduate Track:
Michael Federle, PhD

This Center is a specialized research entity within the Pharmacognosy program. Research interests include computer-assisted rational drug design,  interactions of RNA with new antibiotics,  protein crystallography, protein folding, and bacterial genomics. Graduate students can select research advisors from the Center. 

Specific research programs include:

  • chaperone protein-mediated protein folding
  • structure-based design of therapeutic agents
  • mechanisms of antibiotic action and resistance structural biology
  • anthrax and other bioterrorism agents


Master of Science Degree Programs

Master of Science (MS) degrees are offered in Biopharmaceutical Sciences, Medicinal Chemistry, Pharmacognosy and Pharmacy. You can apply directly to the M.S. in Pharmacy (Administration). However, you should apply to the PhD program in the other disciplines.

The College also offers a stand alone M.S. degree in Forensic Science.

M. S. in Forensic Science Program

Director of Graduate Studies:
A. Karl Larsen, PhD

The rigorous curriculum for this stand-alone, professional master's degree program provides broad knowledge of basic forensic science laboratory disciplines: biology/biochemistry, chemistry and trace (materials) evidence analysis; drug identification and toxicology; and pattern evidence (documents, fingerprints, firearms and tool marks)