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University of Pittsburgh    
2023-2024 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  Jun 19, 2024
2023-2024 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog

Pharmaceutical Sciences - Pharmaceutics Track, PhD

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The pharmaceutics track is concentrated on the study of the design of pharmaceutical dosage forms and their interaction with the human body. Topics included are physical pharmacy, bioanalysis, drug delivery and targeting, drug metabolism, drug transport. pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics.

  • You will develop a thorough understanding of how to apply principles of physical pharmacy to dosage form design and optimization of drug product performance.
  • You will develop the fundamentals required for design of both traditional and complex state-of-the-art drug delivery systems and skills essential for the advancement of targeted drug therapies using small molecules, proteins, peptides and other biomolecules, probiotics, and tissue engineered platforms.
  • You will gain knowledge of the human body and the interaction of medications with the human body including metabolism, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics.
  • Your research opportunities include formulation of dosage forms, development of novel delivery systems and development of complex new therapies for site specific action, establishing novel markers for disease, study of metabolic pathways, development of bioanalytical techniques, and evaluation of absorption, distribution, and elimination of drug substances and their regulation.

PhD Comprehensive Exam and Dissertation


Students must complete a total of 72 credit hours to fulfill the requirements for the PhD. Required courses for all PhD students are listed below. Students who have had prior course work or extensive experience in a given area may be exempted from the required course at the discretion of the faculty. The remaining credit requirements are completed through elective courses and dissertation research. The specific plan of study is developed by the student and their faculty advisor and committee. Courses should be selected to assure an adequate breadth of knowledge as well as depth in the student’s focus area. For students interested in the Clinical Pharmaceutical Scientist Track, you may find the curriculum here:

PhD Comprehensive Exam and Dissertation

Each student follows a program of study developed in conjunction with the major advisor with input from the student’s doctoral committee. The program of study must contain all of the program core courses as well as elective courses specific to the student’s focus area.

Following completion of course work, students are required to complete a comprehensive examination. To be eligible for the comprehensive examination, students must be in full graduate status and have completed didactic course work with a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.00. To qualify for advancement to candidacy for the Doctor of Philosophy degree the student must pass the comprehensive examination.

Admission to PhD candidacy constitutes a promotion of the student to the most advanced stage of graduate study and provides formal approval to devote essentially exclusive attention to research and writing of the dissertation.

Each PhD student must write a dissertation that presents the results of research carried out by the student. An appropriate research project involves a substantive piece of original and independent research grounded in an appropriate body of literature. It is relevant to an identifiable field as it is currently practiced. It represents a hypothesis tested by collection and analysis of data and provides a significant contribution or advancement to that field.

See Regulations Pertaining to Doctoral Degrees  for a full overview of regulations and procedures for PhD candidates.

Further information is available on the School of Pharmacy website:

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