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Pharmacology and Physiological Science, Ph.D.

Saint Louis University’s doctoral program in pharmacological and physiological science prepares you for a research and teaching career in pharmacology and physiology.

About the Program

SLU’s comprehensive program in pharmacological and physiological science is designed to help students develop laboratory research competence, including proficiency in quantitative methods of biology, physiology and pharmacology.

All classes have morning schedules, leaving the afternoons and evenings free for research. Coursework is followed by a preliminary examination that takes the form of the specific aims and research strategies sections of an NIH R01 application. You will then complete two to three years of graduate work devoted almost exclusively to research related to your dissertation project. Successful completion of a written thesis, and public and private oral defenses are required for graduation. The program is completed in five years, on average.

Entering the Program

Students in good academic standing enter SLU’s graduate program in pharmacological and physiological science after completing one year in the core basic biomedical sciences program. In exceptional cases, students are directly admitted without completing the core curriculum. These students typically possess an advanced degree (i.e. Master of Science) and often have workplace experience. In August of each year, newly admitted students start a year of didactic training (20 credit hours) weighted towards advanced topics in pharmacology and physiology.

Program Highlights

If you pursue graduate studies in pharmacological and physiological science at SLU, you will have a unique opportunity to teach during your training. The undergraduate course called “Drugs We Use and Abuse” is administered and taught entirely by our graduate students to about 75 undergraduate students.

The course consists of 35 lectures per year, plus discussion sessions. Typically, each graduate student in our program is responsible for three or four lectures on a variety of subjects. These student-teachers may apply for evaluation by SLU’s Reinert Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning to receive an independent review of their performance and advice on how to improve their teaching skills.

Curriculum and Program Details

Research training is offered with particular emphasis on cellular communication and disease exerted through the endocrine, cardiovascular and nervous systems as well as developmental biology. The broad objectives of the research programs are to:

  • Investigate the mechanisms and action of receptors and intracellular signal transduction systems at the cellular and molecular level.
  • Understand how various drugs perturb these systems at both the level of the cell and the level of the whole animal.
  • Discover and develop new chemical probes to investigate biological systems.
  • Gain a better understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms involved in disrupting cellular communications.

Strict attention is given to the integration of advances made with simplified systems (genes, enzyme or receptor) into more complex systems (cell, organ and organism). This approach affords the development of an appreciation of drug action from an effect on a gene, receptor or enzyme to the therapeutic use of a drug to treat human disease.

  • Michael Ariel, Ph.D.
  • Joseph J. Baldassare, Ph.D.
  • Thomas P. Burris, Ph.D.
  • Andrew A. Butler, Ph.D.
  • John C. Chrivia, Ph.D.
  • Terrance M. Egan, Ph.D.
  • Decha Enkvetchakul, M.D.
  • Amy B. Harkins, Ph.D.
  • Mark M. Knuepfer, Ph.D.
  • Andrew J. Lechner, Ph.D.
  • Heather Macarthur, Ph.D.
  • Wendi S. Neckameyer, Ph.D.
  • Michael Panneton, Ph.D.
  • Daniela Salvemini, Ph.D.
  • Willis K. Samson, Ph.D.
  • Mark M. Voigt, Ph.D.
  • John K. Walker, Ph.D.
  • Thomas C. Westfall, Ph.D.
  • Daniel S. Zahm, Ph.D.
  • Jinsong Zhang, Ph.D.
Our graduates are prepared for research and teaching careers in pharmacology and physiology.
Tuition and Fees

Saint Louis University takes pride in being one of Barron's Best Buys in College Education and Kiplinger's Best Values in Private Colleges.

For information regarding the upcoming academic year’s tuition rate, fees and financial aid, visit SLU Financial Services.

2018-2019 Tuition and Fees
Cost Calculator
Financial Aid

Scholarships and Financial Aid
All pharmacological and physiological science students at SLU receive a nationally competitive student stipend, tuition waivers and health insurance, so long as they remain in good standing in the program.

Applicant Criteria

Successful applicants possess an above-average GPA, sufficient GRE scores and sufficient TOEFL score (for international students).

You’ll need the following items to apply:

Application Requirements

Application form and fee
Three letters of recommendation
GRE G scores (GRE S optional)
Professional goal statement

Requirements for International Students

Application Deadline

Students must submit their application by Feb. 1.

Review Process

A committee examines and reviews the applicant and application wholly.