As a full-time student in the Master of Science in Translational Pharmaceutical Science program, you can earn your 30-credit-hour degree in two years or less as you tailor your training to your career aspirations. The core courses in our program provide foundational knowledge about the translation of pharmaceuticals from “bench to bedside,” including discussion of pharmaceutical science principles, drug development and discovery, clinical trials and professional skills. 

To ensure extensive interdisciplinary training mimicking the pharmaceutical industry, we require you to select from a variety of electives offered in the areas of biomedical research, business management, intellectual property, patent law, bioengineering, biostatistics and bioinformatics. You also must complement your coursework with an experiential learning opportunity in an industry internship, laboratory research experience or a combination of the two. 

Though many students choose to pursue diverse elective training opportunities, this program also offers the chance to specialize in a particular discipline through track selection. Three tracks are available to you: 

  • Pharmacology and Drug Discovery
  • Pharmaceutical Business and Law
  • Biostatistics and Bioinformatics. 

If you opt to join a track, you will focus your electives and/or experiential learning opportunity in that discipline. Please keep in mind that track selection is not required for this program.

Finally, to round out our program, we require you to participate in scientific seminars, research ethics workshops and career development activities. In lieu of a thesis, you will develop a final presentation related to your experiential learning opportunity.  


Recommended Program of Study 

Fall Semester

Course Code Course Name Credits
PHRM 409 Principles of Pharmacology 3
PHRM 528 Contemporary Approaches to Drug Discovery 3
PHRM 511 Frontiers in Pharmacology 1
MGRD 425 Leadership and Professional Development Skills for Biomedical Sciences 0
- Elective(s) 1-5

Spring Semester

Course Code Course Name Credits
PQHS 450 Clinical Trials and Intervention Studies 3
PHRM 511 Frontiers in Pharmacology 1
- Elective(s) 1-8

Fall Semester

Course Code Course Name Credits
PHRM 511 Frontiers in Pharmacology 1
- Elective(s) 1-11

Spring Semester

Course Code Course Name Credits

PHRM 602


PHRM 603

Culminating Research Experience


Culminating Internship Experience





Coursework Details

Course Code Course Name Description
PHRM 409 Principles of Pharmacology Principles of Pharmacology introduces the basic principles that underlie all of pharmacology. The first half of the course introduces, both conceptually and quantitatively, drug absorption, distribution, elimination and metabolism (pharmacokinetics) and general drug receptor theory and mechanism of action (pharmacodynamics). Genetic variation in response to drugs (pharmacogenetics) is integrated into these basic principles. The second half of the course covers selected drug classes chosen to illustrate these principles. Small group/recitation sessions use case histories to reinforce presentation of principles and to discuss public perceptions of therapeutic drug use. Graduate students will be expected to critically evaluate articles from the literature and participate in a separate weekly discussion session.
PHRM 528 Contemporary Approaches to Drug Discovery This course is designed to teach you how lead compounds are discovered, optimized and processed through clinical trials for FDA approval. Topics will include: medicinal chemistry, parallel synthesis, drug delivery and devices, drug administration and pharmacokinetics, and clinical trials. A special emphasis will be placed on describing how structural biology is used for in silico screening and lead optimization. This component will include hands-on experience in using sophisticated drug discovery software to conduct in silico screening and the development of drug libraries. You will conduct a course project involving in silico screening and lead optimization against known drug targets, followed by the drafting of an inventory disclosure. Another important aspect of this course will be inclusion of guest lectures by industrial leaders who describe examples of success stories of drug development.
PQHS 450 Clinical Trials and Intervention Studies This course focuses on issues in the design, organization and operation of randomized, controlled clinical trials and intervention studies with an emphasis on long-term multicenter trials. Topics include legal and ethical issues in the design; application of concepts of controls, masking, and randomization; steps required for quality data collection; monitoring for evidence of adverse or beneficial treatment effects; elements of organizational structure; sample size calculations and data analysis procedures; and common mistakes.
PHRM 511* Frontiers in Pharmacology You will be required to attend this journal club-style seminar series and enroll in PHRM511 for one credit hour each semester. Exceptions will be made for students taking electives that conflict. In this seminar series, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, faculty, and other research personnel convene to review frontier topics in the pharmaceutical sciences on a weekly basis.  To encourage discussion, all attendees are provided a copy of the published article to read in advance. You’ll be encouraged to apply your current training, and potentially all seven competencies, to the pharmacology topic of discussion.
MGRD 425 Leadership and Professional Development Skills for Biomedical Sciences You will be required to enroll for 0 credit hours in this workshop listed as MGRD425 during one fall semester of your training. This course is designed to give graduate students in the biomedical and health sciences an opportunity to reflect on their professional skills and develop skills in the area of leadership, teamwork, critical thinking, creativity and problem solving. By participating in this workshop, you will develop your professional and interpersonal skills, addressing the second core competency.

*You must register for PHRM 511 for one credit hour in at least three semesters in which the course is offered.


Course Code Course Name Description
PHRM 602 Culminating Research Experience This course is an ungraded (pass/fail) research experience that may serve as the culminating experience for master’s students in the Department of Pharmacology. This course is a research experience that will take place in the laboratory of a Department of Pharmacology faculty member or other faculty member outside of the department. The prerequisites for this course include the completion of all required core coursework for the MS in Translational Pharmaceutical Science program (with the exception of PHRM511).
PHRM 603 Culminating Internship Experience This course is an ungraded (pass/fail) internship experience that may serve as the culminating experience for master’s students in the Department of Pharmacology. This course is an internship experience that will take place with an Enhancing Research and Industry Career Horizons (EnRICH) corporate partner. The prerequisites for this course include the completion of all required core coursework for the MS in Translational Pharmaceutical Science program (with the exception of PHRM511).

*You may select one experiential learning opportunity or complete a combination to fulfill this requirement.


Pharmacology and Drug Discovery Electives

Course Code Course Name Description
PHRM 466 Cell Signaling This is a lecture/journal/discussion format course that covers cell signaling mechanisms. Included are discussions of neurotransmitter-gated ion channels, growth factor receptor kinases, cytokine receptors, G protein-coupled receptors, steroid receptors, heterotrimeric G proteins, ras family GTPases, second messenger cascades, protein kinase cascades, second messenger regulation of transcription factors, microtubule-based motility, actin/myosin-based motility, signals for regulation of cell cycle, signals for regulation of apoptosis.
PHRM 525 Topics in Cell and Molecular Pharmacology Individual library research project under the guidance of a pharmacology sponsor. Projects will reflect the research interest of the faculty sponsor, including molecular endocrinology, neuropharmacology, receptor activation and signal transduction, molecular mechanisms of enzyme action and metabolic regulation.
PHRM 527 Pathways to Personalized Medicine This is a course of independent study designed to take the student from the bedside to the bench and back again. You will select a problem from a list of important therapeutic issues related to variability in drug responsiveness and design a research program to elucidate its molecular, biochemical, genetic and pathophysiological basis. To guide the process, you will assemble a mentoring group including at least one member of the Translational Therapeutics Track Faculty, a clinician working in the clinical realm in which the problem originates and a basic scientist with relevant experience.
CRSP 440 Translational and Patient-Oriented Research Theory Clinical (patient-oriented) and translational science has emerged as a new scientific discipline aimed to accelerate scientific discovery into effective practice. This course provides an overview of the theoretical framework, rationale, process, methodologies, and ethics of clinical and translational research. An integral feature of this course is the participation of a multidisciplinary teaching team, whose expertise and perspective will contribute to providing real-world insights into the complexities of translational and patient-oriented research.
EBME 416 Biomaterials for Drug Delivery The teaching objective is to provide you with a basic understanding of the principles of design and engineering of well-defined molecular structures and architectures intended for applications in controlled release and organ-targeted drug delivery. The course will discuss the therapeutic basis of drug delivery based on drug pharmacodynamics and clinical pharmacokinetics. Biomaterials with specialized structural and interfacial properties will be introduced to achieve drug targeting and controlled release.
EBME 426 Nanomedicine Principles of the design and application of nanomedicine, including nanosized drug delivery systems, protein delivery systems, gene delivery systems and imaging probes. Methods for bioconjugation and surface modifications. Structure property relationships of nanosized biomaterials. In vivo and intracellular transport, pharmacokinetics, biodistribution, drug release kinetics, and biocompatibility of various nanosized therapeutics and diagnostics. Theranostics, image-guided drug delivery and therapy.
EBME 440 Translational Research for Biomedical Engineers Translational Research (TR) in the Biomedical Engineering context means translating laboratory discoveries or developments into improved health care. Topics and activities include: Interdisciplinary teamwork and communication; Research ethics and human subjects protection; Regulation and oversight of human subjects and animal research; Clinical validation study design and biostatistics; Intellectual property, technology transfer and commercialization; Physician shadowing; Attending Grand Rounds and Morbidity-Mortality conferences; Preparing IRB and IACUC protocols; Final integrative project.

Pharmaceutical Business and Law Electives 

Course Code Course Name Description
EPOM 400 Leadership and Interpersonal Skills This course is designed as an experience based process to increase understanding of Communication, Emotional Intelligence and behavioral based communication needs in the work environment. To increase understanding, you will learn to recognize, manage and leverage these in business relationships as well as in team and group processes to develop an effective leadership style. You will work in teams to examine the topics from the perspective of team members and leaders and will formulate strategies to reach desired goals or outcomes.
IIME 425 Understanding People and Change in Organizations This course is intended to help you assess events occurring in organizations from a behavioral and human resources perspective and to help you develop strategies for managing these events. The course applies knowledge from the fields of organizational behavior and human resource management to provide an understanding and the skills needed to be effective in organizations. The fields of Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management are devoted to the study of how human beings act in organized settings and how organizations can affect human behavior through a variety of policies, practices, structures, and strategies. In today's environment, organizations are faced with high levels of international competition and an increasing pace of technological, market, and social changes. As an organizational member, you are expected to successfully operate within these increasingly complex demands as well as help create and guide change. The purpose of this course is to provide you with the framework and tools needed to analyze and operate in the changing organization. We will examine some of the features that characterize an emerging organizational form and contrast this to its traditional predecessor. The focus of the course will be on the skills you will need to operate in the "new" organization including skills for being a change agent working in entry level and early career managerial roles.
HSMC 404 Managing People and Organizations This course examines the behavioral sciences relevant to the effective management of people and the effective design of human resources system, structure and policies. Topics include leadership, change management, motivation and pay systems, team dynamics, staffing, decision making, organizational communications, employee participation, performance appraisal, conflict management, negotiation, work design, organizational design, and organizations culture. A variety of methods, including experiential and interactive learning methods, are used to study these topics.
HSMC 420 Health Finance This course is an exploration of economic, medical, financial and payment factors in the U.S. healthcare system. It sets the framework for the study of decisions by providers, insurers, and purchasers in this course. The mix of students from various programs and professions allows wide discussion from multiple viewpoints.
HSMC 421 Health Economics and Strategy The purpose of this course is to develop the analytical skills necessary for understanding how the U.S. healthcare sector operates, how it has evolved, the forces at work behind perceived deficiencies (in quality and cost control), and the impact of alternative policy proposals. Special attention is given to recent developments in the healthcare marketplace, and the strategic considerations they create for providers and insurers. These issues are addressed through the lens of microeconomic theory. Under this framework, outcomes result from the interaction of decisions made by participants in the healthcare economy (e.g., patients, providers, insurers, government), with those decisions governed by the preferences, incentives and resource constraints facing each decision-maker. Principles of microeconomics will be reviewed as necessary to ensure consistent understanding of basic concepts. The course is designed to appeal to a broad audience, particularly students interested in healthcare management, public health, medical innovation, health law, and public policy making.
HSMC 425 Dialogues in Health Care Management This course seeks to educate students of the intricacies related to specific management challenges that arise in the context of healthcare delivery. This is accomplished through a process of facilitated dialogs with experienced healthcare management professionals. Drawing on the experiences and deep contextual knowledge of these professionals, the course provides students an opportunity to synthesize and apply their prior coursework to better understand the challenges and opportunities that managers face to improve organizational performance.
MBAP 411 Identifying Design Opportunities Designing is giving form to an idea for a more desirable product, service, process or organization, and refining the idea into something that can be delivered reliably and efficiently. Good design integrates these evolving ideas with the day-to-day realities of a firms' operations, systems, marketing, economics, finance and human resources. Designing is thus a unique managerial activity that brings together changing technologies, capabilities, relationships, activities and materials to shape an organization's plans and strategies. It combines analysis and synthesis to create opportunities for improvement and means of attaining them. Viewed this way, designing is a core competence of a successful entrepreneur or innovative leader. Design analysis is the systematic review of the four orders of design found in every firm—namely, the firm's communications, products, interactions and environments—and the creation of opportunities to increase firm value by improving each. You will identify ill-defined, ill-structured problems within organizations. Such problems are ones for which there are no definitive formulations and for which the formulation chosen affects the solutions available. For such problems, there is no explicit way of knowing when you have reached a solution, and solutions cannot necessarily be considered correct or incorrect. But finding innovative solutions to such problems can provide unique opportunities to create exceptional value. A major outcome of the semester's inquiry is a presentation of the design problem and proposed design solution.
PHRM 529 FDA Regulation in Entrepreneurship and Clinical Research This course is designed to provide foundational knowledge in the FDA approval and regulatory process while highlighting scientific, clinical, ethical, and other related emergent factors for consideration. The course includes a series of lecture-based classes delivered by content experts and interdisciplinary team-based learning discussions of case studies designed for the application of lecture content. You will go through the process of reviewing an example Investigational New Drug or Investigational Drug Exemption Application and preparing an IND or IDE for submission with the guidance of nationally renowned experts in FDA regulation and law. The primary goal of this course is that you will be able to take the knowledge gained from content experts and apply it to facilitate the movement of your current or future technologies through the FDA approval process.


Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Electives

Course Code Course Name Description
PQHS 431 Statistical Methods I This course involves an application of statistical techniques with particular emphasis on problems in the biomedical sciences. Basic probability theory, random variables, and distribution functions will be covered, as will point and interval estimation, regression, and correlation. You’ll explore problems whose solutions involve using packaged statistical programs.
PQHS 432 Statistical Methods II In this course, you’ll explore methods of analysis of variance, regression and analysis of quantitative data with an emphasis on computer solution of problems drawn from the biomedical sciences. You will assess the design of experiments, power of tests and adequacy of models.
PQHS 515 Secondary Analysis of Large Healthcare Databases You’ll focus on the development of skills in working with the large-scale secondary databases generated for research, healthcare administration/billing, or other purposes. You will become familiar with the content, strength, and limitations of several databases; with the logistics of obtaining access to databases; the strengths and limitations of routinely collected variables; basic techniques for preparing and analyzing secondary data bases and how to apply the techniques to initiate and complete empirical analysis.
SYBB 402 Introduction to Scientific Computing This course will introduce students to basic data analysis, scripting and computational skills. SYBB 402 is designed for those with little or no prior programming experience. However, advanced programmers can still learn the tools and resources available to conduct scientific research. You will gain hands-on experience working with data science software, Linux operating system, R/python packages, and functions designed for bioinformatics applications. At the end of the class, you will complete a small-scale project/final, where they analyze a publicly available dataset and produce a short report. This course will prepare you for the SYBB Survey Series, which is composed of the following course sequence: (A) Technologies in Bioinformatics, (B) Data Integration in Bioinformatics, (C) Translational Bioinformatics, and (D) Programming for Bioinformatics. Each standalone section of this course series introduces students to an aspect of a bioinformatics project - from data collection (SYBB 311/411A) to data integration (SYBB 311/411B), to research applications (SYBB 311/411C), with a fourth module (SYBB 412) introducing basic bioinformatics programming skills.
SYBB 411 Survey of Bioinformatics The SYBB survey series is composed of the following course sequence: (1) Technologies in Bioinformatics, (2) Data Integration in Bioinformatics, (3) Translational Bioinformatics, and (4) Programming for Bioinformatics. Each standalone section of this course series introduces students to an aspect of a bioinformatics project - from data collection (SYBB 311A/411A), to data integration (SYBB 311B/411B), to research applications (SYBB 311C/411C), with a fourth module (SYBB 311D/411D) introducing basic programming skills. Graduate students have the option of enrolling in all four courses or choosing the individual modules most relevant to their background and goals with the exception of SYBB 411D, which must be taken with SYBB 411A.
SYBB 412 Survey of Bioinformatics: Programming for Bioinformatics SYBB 412 is a 3 credit-course that will introduce you to bioinformatics analysis and basic programming. This course is designed for those with little or no prior programming experience. However, advanced programmers can still learn bioinformatics pipelines and software packages to conduct research. You will gain hands-on experience working with bioinformatics software, R packages and functions designed for bioinformatics applications. Programming for Bioinformatics course mainly focuses on R (, and introduces students to basic programming in R, what packages are available, and teaches an introductory hands-on experience working with R by walking through the students in analyzing large -omics datasets. At the end of the class, you’ll be assessed with a small-scale project, where they analyze a publicly available dataset and produce a short report. This is an active learning class where adaptive learning and active learning teaching practices are used. Adaptive learning provides personalized learning, where efficient, effective, and customized learning paths to engage each student is offered.
SYBB 421 Fundamentals of Clinical Information Systems

Technology has played a significant role in the evolution of medical science and treatment. While we often think about progress in terms of the practical application of, say, imaging to the diagnosis and monitoring of disease, technology is increasingly expected to improve the organization and delivery of healthcare services, too. Information technology plays a key role in the transformation of administrative support systems (finance and administration), clinical information systems (information to support patient care), and decision support systems (managerial decision-making). This introductory graduate course provides you with the opportunity to gain insight and situational experience with clinical information systems (CIS). Often considered synonymous with electronic medical records, the "art" of CIS more fundamentally examines the effective use of data and information technology to assist in the migration away from paper-based systems and improve organizational performance. In this course we examine clinical information systems in the context of (A) operational and strategic information needs, (B) information technology and analytic tools for workflow design, and (C) subsequent implementation of clinical information systems in patient care. Legal and ethical issues are explored. The student learns the process of "plan, design, implement" through hands-on applications to select CIS problems, while at the same time gaining insights and understanding of the impacts placed on patients and health care providers.

You may complete any combination of electives unless a track is selected.*
*Electives listed above are grouped by track. If you select a track, then you must either A) complete 9 elective credits from the corresponding elective group, or B) complete 6 elective credits from the corresponding elective group and an experiential learning opportunity in that discipline.



Graduation Requirements

  • Completion of a minimum of 30 credit hours of coursework.
  • Completion of 12 credit hours of core coursework.
  • Completion of at least 12 credit hours of elective coursework.
  • Completion of at least 3 credit hours of an experiential learning opportunity and final presentation to serve as the culminating experience for the degree. (6 credit hours will be strongly encouraged).
  • Fulfillment of track requirements outlined above, if applicable.
  • A cumulative grade point average of at least a 3.0.

The planned program of study and all experiential learning opportunities must be approved by the program director and include appropriate coverage of the core competencies.  At least 18 semester hours of coursework must be at the 400-level or higher and at least 12 semester hours must be of graded coursework.