Pharmacology utilizes the basic concepts of biology and chemistry to determine how drugs affect organisms. It encompasses the study of the biological targets of drug action, the mechanism by which drugs act, the therapeutic and toxic effects of drugs as well as the development of new therapeutic agents. As the study of pharmacology is interdisciplinary, graduate programs in pharmacology are diverse and flexible. Students take a small core of courses in pharmacology, and complete their didactic instruction with courses in areas related to their research including molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics, and cell biology. The Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology at Duke University has particular strengths in the areas of receptor function and cellular signaling mechanisms as targets of drug action, neuropharmacology, metabolism, and the pharmacology of normal and abnormal cell growth. Current research emphasis of the faculty includes the ontogeny of signaling pathways in nervous and cardiovascular tissue, cellular signaling mechanisms including the actions of calcium and cyclic nucleotides and protein phosphorylation/dephosphorylation, receptor function and cell signaling mechanisms regulating cell growth, and the molecular basis of rational drug design.
- Pharmacology: PhD Admissions and Enrollment Statistics
- Pharmacology: PhD Completion Rate Statistics
- Pharmacology: PhD Time to Degree Statistics
- Pharmacology: PhD Career Outcomes Statistics
Application Deadline: December 1
Graduate School Application Requirements
See the Application Instructions page for important details about each Graduate School requirement.
- Transcripts: Unofficial transcripts required with application submission; official transcripts required upon admission
- Letters of Recommendation: 3 Required
- Statement of Purpose: Required
- Résumé: Required
- GRE Scores – GRE General: Optional
This program does not require applicants to provide GRE (Graduate Record Examination) or other graduate entrance exam scores, but does allow you to upload scores if you feel they enhance your application. If you choose to submit test scores, you may enter them on the Test Scores page. If you choose to enter self-reported test scores, official test scores will become a required component of your application.
- English Language Exam: TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test required* for applicants whose first language is not English
*test waiver may apply for some applicants
- GPA: Undergraduate GPA calculated on 4.0 scale required
Department-Specific Application Requirements (submitted through online application)
Optional Video Essay: How would a Duke PhD training experience help you achieve your academic and professional goals? Max video length 2 minutes; record externally and provide URL in application.
We strongly encourage you to review additional department-specific application guidance from the program to which you are applying: Departmental Application Guidance