PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences

The graduate program leading to the PhD 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, encourage scholarly development, and acquire teaching skills. Areas of specialization include pharmacology, pharmaceutics, toxicology, and medicinal chemistry.


The awarding of the PhD or PharmD/PhD 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 62 semester hours including 27 hours of approved graduate-level coursework for the PhD degree (27 coursework hours for the Combined PharmD/PhD 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 PharmD/PhD 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.

PharmD/PhD students are required to complete eight APPEs following completion of the required PharmD teaching courses. Six APPEs are required in the areas of:

  • Advanced Community
  • Advanced Institutional
  • Acute Care (two)
  • Ambulatory Care
  • Service-Based

PharmD/PhD 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.


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 in 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 Courses

  • PHA 715* Pharmacokinetics (3 hours)
  • PHA 742* Foundations in Pharmaceutical Sciences (5 hours)
  • PHA 743  Foundations in Research (3 hours)
  • PHA 744 Scientific Writing (3 hours)

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


  • PHA 745 Statistical Methods (3 hours)
  • PHA 797 Graduate Seminar (3 hours)
  • PHA 799 Doctoral Research (Years 1 and 2, 11 hours)
  • PHA 899 Doctoral Research (Years 3 and beyond, 24 hours)

Elective Courses

  • PHA 804 Methods in Cell and Molecular Biology (3 hours)
  • PHA 807 Pharmaceutical Biotechnology (3 hours)
  • PHA 814 Analytical Methods and Instrumentation (3 hours)
  • PHA 832 Computer-Assisted Drug Design (3 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 841 Advanced Pharmacology (3 hours)
  • PHA 846 Current Topics in Pharmaceutical Sciences (3 hours)
  • PHA. 847 Molecular and Behavioral Neuropharmacology (3 hours)
  • PHA 849 Special Topics in Pharmaceutical Sciences (3 hours)
  • PHA 850. Immunology (3 hours)