The graduate program leading to the Ph.D. degree in pharmaceutical sciences is designed for students seeking teaching and research careers in academic institutions, the pharmaceutical industry and other health-related agencies. An interdisciplinary approach prepares graduates to perform independent research, to encourage scholarly development and to acquire teaching skills. Areas of specialization include pharmacology, pharmaceutics, toxicology and medicinal chemistry.


Program of Study

The awarding of the Ph.D. or Pharm.D./Ph.D. degree is based on the successful completion of a sequence of courses selected to meet the needs of an individual student (program of study) and an original research project (doctoral research) directed by the student’s major professor.

A minimum of 70 semester hours including 35 hours of approved graduate-level coursework for the Ph.D. degree (27 coursework hours for the dual Pharm.D./Ph.D. degree) and 35 hours of dissertation research is required for awarding the degree. Requirements for the degree, however, are not determined solely in terms of a fixed number of courses, credits and years of residence. Graduate programs are highly individualized and are tailored to the characteristics and interests of the individual student.

Following completion of the third year, the Pharm.D./Ph.D. student focuses on the research component of the curriculum. With the exception of the Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPEs), the student should have completed all prerequisite and core courses by this time. Pharm.D./Ph.D. students are required to complete eight APPEs following completion of the required Pharm.D. didactic courses. Six APPEs are required in the areas of Advanced Community, Advanced Institutional, Acute Care (two), Ambulatory Care and Service-Based. Pharm.D./Ph.D. students may use their two (2) APPE elective rotations toward their doctoral dissertation research project by registering for PHA 696 (Research – 5 hours). The APPE schedule is to be set in the program of study and verified by the director of Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences. All changes to the APPE schedule must be made with the director of Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences one year in advance. The final APPE rotation must be followed by completion of the PHA 650 capstone course at the first availability.

Students entering the graduate program in the Pharmaceutical Sciences are expected to have a background that includes the following minimum prerequisites: integral and differential calculus, statistics, expertise in at least one computer programming language, one year of biochemistry and one semester of mammalian physiology. Students who have not completed these pre-requisites prior to entering the program may be required to remove deficiencies during their course of study. When no suitable graduate level course is available, deficiencies must be fulfilled using undergraduate courses for which the student will receive no graduate credit.

The program of study will be determined by the major professor in consultation with the student and the SAC. Courses in addition to those in the core will be selected to develop strengths in the area of interest and research of the student. These courses may be chosen from those offered by the College of Pharmacy faculty or completed at another university through cross registration via ARCHE. Any course deemed appropriate by the SAC may be included on the program of study. Non-pharmacy courses are most commonly selected from disciplines such as chemistry, engineering, mathematics, physiology, statistics or related areas. In some cases the SAC may determine that certain undergraduate pharmacy courses are essential components of the program of study. In such instances, the student must complete these courses for no graduate credit.

A student may not register for more than 10 hours of graduate credit per semester. A student is classified as a full-time student for academic purposes when registered for six or more hours during a semester.

Brief descriptions of all courses are available in the Mercer University College of Pharmacy Academic Catalog.

Core Curriculum

PHA 802. Foundations in Pharmaceutical Sciences (3 hours)

PHA 804. Methods in Cell and Molecular Biology (3 hours)

PHA 806*. Dosage Forms and Advanced Drug Delivery Systems (2 hours)

PHA 807. Pharmaceutical Biotechnology (3 hours)

PHA 808*. Pharmacokinetics (3 hours)

PHA 809*. Principles of Drug Action (3 hours)

PHA 814. Analytical Methods and Instrumentation (3 hours)

PHA 897. Graduate Seminar (3 hours)

PHA 899. Doctoral Research (35 hours)

* waived for dual degree Pharm.D./Ph.D. students

Elective Courses

PHA 821. Pharmacogenomics (3 hours)

PHA 823. Clinical Trial Design (3 hours)

PHA 825. Drug Metabolism (2 hours)

PHA 832. Computer-Assisted Drug Design (2 hours)

PHA 833. Advanced Pharmacokinetics (3 hours)

PHA 835. Advanced Physical Pharmacy (3 hours)

PHA 837. Advanced Biopharmaceutics (3 hours)

PHA 840. Industrial Pharmacy & Drug Delivery Systems (4 hours)

PHA 849. Special Topics in Pharmaceutical Sciences (3 semester)

Academic Regulations

View Academic Regulations for the Ph.D. program