PhD in Medical Pharmacology and Physiology

Admission Contact Information
Monica Elliott
MA415 Medical Sciences Bldg, DCO63.00
Columbia, MO 65211

Application Deadlines

Fall deadline: January 7
Spring deadline: September 15

Admission Criteria

  • Minimum TOEFL scores:
Internet-based test (iBT) Paper-based test (PBT)


Effective July 1, 2015 must have score of 80


Effective July 1, 2015 must have score of 550

  • Minimum IELTS overall academic score: 5.5
  • Minimum GPA: 3.0 in the last 60 hours
  • Bachelor’s degree in chemistry, biology, pharmacy or related areas from an accredited college
  • Background in biology and chemistry and an understanding of mathematics and physics
  • Course work in biochemistry and physiology is highly recommended.
  • Previous lab or research experience preferred

Students are usually admitted to begin their program in the Fall semester, but applications for admission in other semesters will be considered on a space-available basis. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.

Students with an appropriate educational background are encouraged to apply for entrance into the PhD program. A master’s degree is not a prerequisite for admission to the doctoral program. The department will consider applications for the MS degree programs from U.S. citizens but PhD degree students will be given priority consideration for financial support. Deficiencies in course work may be remedied during the first years of the graduate program.

Required Application Materials

To the Graduate School:

  • All required Graduate School documents

To the Medical Pharmacology & Physiology Program:

  • Departmental application
  • Personal statement
  • Transcripts
  • 3 letters of recommendation (use form provided). The letters should be written by individuals knowledgeable of the student’s academic capability.
  • Official GRE & TOEFL scores

Plan of Study

The PhD plan of study includes at least two years of basic and advanced courses in physiology and/or pharmacology, as well as courses in cell and molecular biology. The students also will be trained in conducting physiological and pharmacological research in the laboratory of individual faculty members during the first year.

Qualifying Examination Policy

The department does not require a formal qualifying examination. Successful completion of the core curriculum and satisfactory performance in conducting scientific research and teaching will qualify students for continuation in the PhD program.

Choosing a Track and Mentor

The student will choose a dissertation mentor at or before the end of the first year and decide whether they wish to pursue the doctoral program in Pharmacology or Physiology.

Comprehensive Examination

All PhD program students must pass a comprehensive examination before the end of the first semester of the third year of enrollment. The usual format of the comprehensive exam includes the writing and oral defense of a research proposal outside of the student’s dissertation research area.


Each student must then carry out a dissertation research project, original in nature, which is expected to contribute significant new knowledge to the area of study. To facilitate this process, each student submits a dissertation research proposal within six months of passing the comprehensive examination.

Oral Defense

Finally, all PhD candidates must pass an oral defense of the dissertation and comply with all university and departmental regulations governing the PhD degree.

Length of Study

The doctoral program normally requires four to five years beyond the baccalaureate degree.

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