The Doctor Of Philosophy Degree Program
The doctoral program in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the Medical College of Wisconsin has two major components: graduate level coursework and the completion of a novel, publishable research project.
The coursework requirements of the doctoral program are flexible and tailored to the needs of individual students as much as possible. Doctoral students take a first year core course covering the fundamentals of biochemistry, molecular genetics of the cell, molecular biology of the cell and cell signaling fundamentals. Subsequently, students may take semester long graduate courses on receptors and second messengers, ion channels and molecular toxicology. Many students elect to take medical pharmacology. In addition to these core courses, students in the doctoral program choose one of four course "tracks" that reflect the three broad discipline areas represented in the Department: the physiological track which emphasizes coursework in physiology; the biochemical/ signaling track which emphasizes coursework in biochemistry, signal transduction, molecular genetics and molecular biology; the molecular toxicology track which emphasizes coursework in toxicology and molecular biology; and the neuroscience track which emphasizes coursework in cellular and systems neuroscience.
After completion of the initial coursework, students take a qualifying examination. The qualifying examination consists of writing and defending a research proposal in an area different from the student's dissertation research. The exam typically takes place in the second year of the doctoral program.
After a student has successfully passed his or her qualifying examination and completed the basic coursework, his or her time is spent engaged in a cutting edge research project in the laboratory of a member of the department's graduate faculty. The individual faculty members and their research interests are outlined on the Faculty Interest page. The final requirement of the program is for the student to write and defend a dissertation describing their research project.