Pharmacology — M.S., Ph.D.

Program coordinator
John Buchholz

The School of Medicine's Division of Pharmacology offers curricula leading to the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. The core curriculum provides a broad background in pharmacology-related issues and approaches. Advanced courses allow each student to develop fully an area of interest. Research strengths of the program include: cardiovascular, neurological, developmental, pulmonary, and molecular pharmacology.

The Master of Science degree is not available as an option for entering students. These degree programs provide a broad biochemical background while allowing the student to fully develop a special area of research interest. The Master of Science degree provides content appropriate for persons preparing to teach at the secondary level or in related professional school areas, or for persons intending to pursue careers as research technicians. The Doctor of Philosophy degree is designed to prepare the graduate for a career in independent research and teaching in university, clinical, biotechnological, or government environments. Ph.D. degree students are expected to develop creativity and independence in addition to technical skills.

Program student learning outcomes

  1. Students will demonstrate a broad knowledge of the biomedical sciences.
  2. Students will demonstrate subject mastery in molecular, cellular, and integrative aspects of pharmacology.
  3. Students will interpret the current literature in pharmacology.
  4. Students will make original contributions to the body of biomedical knowledge.
  5. Students will demonstrate an understanding of the principles of scientific and professional ethics.
  6. Students will understand the process of applying for external funding.*
*

This objective is not applicable to M.S. degree students. 

In addition to Loma Linda University application requirements, the applicant must also complete the following prerequisites:

  • a bachelor's degree from an accredited U.S. college or the equivalent from an international university.
  • results of the general test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE): A total (verbal plus quantitative) score of no less than the sum of the scores corresponding to the 50th percentile of each, with neither score less than the 35th percentile; analytical writing 4.0. GRE scores older than 5 years from the date of matriculation are not considered. 
  • a full year of each of the following undergraduate courses:
    • general biology
    • general chemistry
    • organic chemistry
    • general physics
    • biochemistry (a minimum of one quarter/semester)

Strongly Recommended: 

  • upper division biology (such as cell and molecular biology) 
  • a full year of biochemistry with labs
  • research experience
  • calculus

PLEASE NOTE: CLEP (College-Level Examination Program), pass/fail performances, and online classes are not acceptable for the science required courses. Additionally, science credits earned in professional schools (e.g., allied health professions, business, dentistry, nursing or pharmacy) do not fulfill requirements for admissions to the graduate program. 

The program reserves the right to decide on the equivalence of courses presented by the applicant.

Two options, a research track and a course work track, are available. A minimum of 47 units is required for the M.S. degree, as detailed in the table below. Students must maintain a G.P.A. of at least 3.0, and they must adhere to all University and program policies as published in the Student Handbook, University CATALOG, or "Student Guide." Policies and requirements are subject to change..

Basic science core
IBGS 501Biomedical Communication and Integrity2
IBGS 502Biomedical Information and Statistics2
IBGS 511Cellular Mechanisms and Integrated Systems I6
IBGS 512Cellular Mechanisms and Integrated Systems II6
IBGS 522Cellular Mechanisms and Integrated Systems II Journal Club2
Major
PHRM 584Drug Metabolism and Biochemical Pharmacology4
PHRM ___Pharmacology specific elective courses12
Seminars
IBGS 607Integrated Biomedical Graduate Studies Seminar 10
Religion
RELE 525Ethics for Scientists 33
Degree completion options8
Coursework track:
Neuropharmacology
Cardiovascular and Renal Pharmacology
Introduction to Integrative Biology Presentation Seminar
Research track:
Introduction to Integrative Biology Presentation Seminar (1 unit)
Integrative Biology Presentation Seminar (1 unit)
Research (6 units) 2
Total Units45
1

Registration and attendance required every quarter in residence, but units do not count toward total required for graduation. 

2

Multiple registrations required to fulfill total unit requirement.

3

May substitute with another religion course at the 500-level or greater.

Noncourse requirements

Course work track:  a comprehensive written examination over the graduate course work in lieu of preparing a thesis.

Research track: pass an oral examination given by his/her graduate guidance committee after the thesis has been completed.

Normal time to complete the program

2 years — based on full-time enrollment; part time permitted

Comparison

See the comparison of the M.S. Course work, M.S. Research and Ph.D. tracks of this program.

For the Ph.D. degree, students must complete a minimum of 74 units, as detailed in the table below, and must maintain a G.P.A. of at least 3.0. Students must adhere to all University and program policies as published in the Student Handbook, University CATALOG, or "Student Guide." Policies and requirements are subject to change.

Basic science core
IBGS 501Biomedical Communication and Integrity2
IBGS 502Biomedical Information and Statistics2
IBGS 503Biomedical Grant Writing2
IBGS 511Cellular Mechanisms and Integrated Systems I6
IBGS 512Cellular Mechanisms and Integrated Systems II6
IBGS 522Cellular Mechanisms and Integrated Systems II Journal Club2
IBGS 523Cellular Mechanisms and Integrated Systems III Journal Club2
Major
Choose from the following:12
Medical Pharmacology
Neuropharmacology
Cardiovascular and Renal Pharmacology
Drug Metabolism and Biochemical Pharmacology
Seminars
IBGS 604Introduction to Integrative Biology Presentation Seminar1
IBGS 605Integrative Biology Presentation Seminar 22
IBGS 607Integrated Biomedical Graduate Studies Seminar 10
Religion
RELE 525Ethics for Scientists 33
RELR 588Personal and Family Wholeness 33
RELT 617Seminar in Religion and the Sciences 33
Research/Dissertation or Thesis
IBGS 696Research Rotations 22
PHRM 697Research 212
Total Units60
1

Registration and attendance required every quarter in residence, but units do not count toward total required for graduation.

2

Multiple registrations required to fulfill total unit requirement.

3

May substitute with another graduate religion course with the same prefix and numbered 500 or above. 

Noncourse requirements

  • pass both written and oral comprehensive examinations in order to advance to candidacy.
  • successfully defend the dissertation before their guidance committee prior to being awarded the Ph.D. degree.

Normal time to complete the program

4 years — based on full-time enrollment; part-time permitted

Comparison

See the comparison of the M.S. Course work, M.S. Research and Ph.D. tracks of this program.

Courses

PHRM 501. Pharmacology and Therapeutics SD. 4 Units.

Principles of drug action: drug receptors, absorption and fate of drugs, drug toxicity, and drug development. Systematically considers the pharmacology and clinical applications of the major drugs used by dental patients. Simulations illustrating the effects of drugs in animals and man.

PHRM 503. Clinical Pharmacology in Dentistry. 2 Units.

Review of medications used for the treatment of common medical disorders, and their effect on the management of the dental patient—including the use of local anesthetics, antibiotics, and analgesics.

PHRM 515. Medical Pharmacology. 6 Units.

Supports the organ system curriculum in the sophomore year. Applies basic science knowledge learned in the organ system curriculum to the selection of optimal pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic therapy for patients. Introduces students to fundamental principles of pharmacology, including pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics. Emphasizes specific concepts—including drug mechanism of action, mechanism of side effects, and indications. Teaches students to integrate an understanding of these concepts with their basic science knowledge and patient-specific factors in order to appropriately select the most effective therapeutic strategies. Develops students' skills through formal didactic sessions, active learning sessions, and patient-based simulation laboratories—affording students the opportunity to engage in the practices of self-directed learning, team building, and interdisciplinary team-based patient care.

PHRM 554. Neuropharmacology. 4 Units.

Systematically discusses drugs that affect primarily the nervous system, with major emphasis on mechanism of action.

PHRM 564. Cardiovascular and Renal Pharmacology. 3 Units.

Systematically discusses drugs that affect primarily the cardiovascular and renal systems, emphasizing mechanism of action. Offered on demand.

PHRM 584. Drug Metabolism and Biochemical Pharmacology. 4 Units.

Discusses in detail the fate of drugs in the body, together with related aspects of biochemical actions of drugs.

PHRM 684. Special Problems in Pharmacology. 2-6 Units.

Assignments in literature reviews and/or laboratory exercises.

PHRM 697. Research. 1-6 Units.

PHRM 699. Dissertation. 1-6 Units.

PHRM 891. Pharmacology Elective. 1.5-27 Units.

Offers fourth-year medical students the opportunity to explore various areas of pharmacology, including research.