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The Graduate College > Pharmacology > Pharmacology Graduate Programs > Admission to Graduate Programs in Pharmacology
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Admissions Requirements

Applicants must enter the program in the fall quarter in order to begin the required coursework in the core curriculum. The deadline for submission of applications is generally March 1st. International applications can be accepted after March 1st but must take into consideration the delays associated with the necessary visa arrangements. In addition to the basic requirements established by The Graduate College, the division has the following requirements for admission to its program:

  • The baccalaureate degree from an accredited college should include a background in biological, physical, or quantitative sciences.
  • Coursework in biology, cellular biology, molecular biology, physics, chemistry, organic chemistry, physical chemistry and mathematics, including calculus is highly recommended.? Upper-level biochemistry or physiology courses are also highly recommended.
  • The Graduate College requires academic transcripts from all baccalaureate and postbaccalaureate educational experiences. These should provide a minimal grade point average of 3.0 overall (A = 4.0). The pharmacology admission committee also looks for higher grades in science courses and evidence of research experience. Competition for PhD candidates is significantly higher.
  • The Graduate College requires all graduate students to take the GRE examinations and scores on these tests are considered by the admission committee. All applicants whose native language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
  • As required by the Graduate College, a clear, concise expression of the applicant's interests and goals needs to be included as an essay in their application. Identifying a particular area of interest within the field of pharmacology is very helpful in identifying potential laboratories for the students.
  • The Graduate College requires three letters of recommendation and we recommend that they be from science faculty who can evaluate the character of the applicant, their academic and research performance, and their ability to think and work independently.
  • Each applicant is required to submit transcript evaluations either from World Education Services (WES) or Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE). These evaluation must be course by course.

The division director and the Admissions Committee evaluate applications. All prior academic experience and the letters of recommendation will be evaluated for an indication of the applicant's potential for success as a graduate student and future independent investigator. The statement by the applicant describing goals and motivation will be studied to determine the compatibility between the applicant's requirements and the capabilities of the graduate program. With rare exceptions, PhD applicants will be required to appear for an interview with faculty members before admission to the program.

Students applying for the master's program will meet the same set of minimum standards as those applying for the PhD program. Students applying for the master's program are encouraged to visit the department, although a formal interview is not required.

The number of faculty available to mentor the student's research limits acceptance into both the master's and PhD program. Students are therefore encouraged to apply early. Students entering the master's program will not be eligible for stipends and must pay tuition.

Acceptance into the PhD program is limited by the availability of faculty and also by the availability of stipends. All accepted PhD students receive a competitive stipend and tuition waiver. The stipend and tuition waiver is renewed each year providing the student is making satisfactory progress towards the degree.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply?
All applications for admission to the graduate program in pharmacology must be sent to Rush Graduate College. Please see the options for application.

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What are the admission requirements?
The Graduate College sets admission requirements for all graduate programs and they can be found here. The Division of Pharmacology requirements include the graduate college requirements and suggest undergraduate course work as preparation for the degree. The requirements for Pharmacology can be seen here.

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What are the GRE requirements?
Applicants are required to take the GRE tests. There is no specific requirement for scores. All admission decisions are made upon a combination of factors, including academic preformances, GRE scores, research interest and letters of recommendation. Medical students enrolling in the Graduate College can substitute MCAT scores for the GRE. The MCAT must have been taken within five years of the planned quarter of enrollment with a minimum score of the 50th percentile for the year in which the exam was taken. In most cases, students with advanced degrees (e.g., MD or PhD) are not required to take the GRE exam.

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Am I required to take the TOEFL?
All applicants whose native language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

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Is there an application deadline?
The application deadline is March 1. This is a firm deadline for international students as visa processing may take several months. Please note: we do not see applications and cannot consider them unless the Graduate College has deemed them complete and forwarded them to us. When the Division receives the completed applications, they are shared with the Graduate Advisory Board of the Division of Pharmacology and are shared with interested faculty. This committee evaluates the applications and we try to complete this work by May.

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Is there an advantage to early application?
Yes, completed applications received during January and February are shared with perspective faculty and allow us to make early decisions. It is particularly important for international students to apply in a timely fashion, as visa processing is an issue.

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Can new students enter throughout the year or only in the fall?
Because the Graduate Core Curriculum begins in the fall, and each class builds on the previous class, we are limited to selecting students who enter in the fall.

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Do you accept transfer students?
Yes, but the students prior course work must be evaluated. If the student has not completed an advanced degree, only a limited amount of graduate credit can be accepted by Rush University. Also, we are reluctant to accept transfer students at any time other than the start of the fall quarter due to the constraints of the Graduate Core Curriculum. If the student has a master's degree or other advanced degree (e.g., MD) from another university and is entering the PhD program, an evaluation of their transcript will be made in order to assure the proper training in pharmacology. For example, students may be required to take the medical pharmacology courses and a kinetics course. However, requirements for the initial core curriculum may be waved if the student's previous degree gave them a solid background in cell and molecular biology. Likewise, the time required to complete the program may be less for advanced students if they have well-developed laboratory skills and can make rapid progress on their dissertation research.

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If I get a master's degree in pharmacology from Rush, can I continue on to a PhD ?
You must apply and be accepted into the PhD program as any other applicant. Because the course work is the same for master's and PhD program for the first two years, the first two years of courses will count towards the PhD. Over the summer, you must pass comprehensive exams and in the fall you will begin the PhD program as a third-year student.

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How many students do you accept a year?
Typically we accept two to three PhD students per year and this number is tied to both the availability of scholarships and the number of active research faculty who can support such students. Even though MS students do not receive scholarships, the availability of faculty who can commit to developing the laboratory skills of the MS students limits our ability to accept MS students. We have accepted an average of three MS students per year over the last four years.

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How do I apply for financial aid?
There are no financial aid forms. We have limited scholarships (2-3 per year) for the PhD program only. These are departmental and research funds available to a specific faculty member. International students are eligible for scholarships. We do not accept PhD students unless we have a scholarship. All PhD students are given tuition waivers as part of their scholarship. The two-year master's research program is self-pay. Graduate tuition is currently (academic year 2008-2009) $4212 per quarter, full-time.

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For questions not answered here, please contact Bill Hendey PhD.

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