Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology

Research-based Master of Science in Pharmacology and Toxicology

photo of a student using a microscope

The research-based (thesis) option for the M.S. degree provides students with a wide range of instruction including training on effective scientific writing, review and critical analysis of scientific literature and other materials, hands-on laboratory experience in one of our many state-of-the-art research facilities, and guidance for presenting and successfully defending a thesis. This program is typically completed in five semesters. During the first year, thesis option students will be required to enroll in 12-15 hours of didactic course work supplemented by rotations in several faculty laboratories. Students will then select a thesis advisor and begin carrying out an original research-based thesis project. During the second year, students will complete their research project and defend their thesis both orally and in writing. Students are also required to attend department-sponsored seminars to learn more about the different areas of research in the fields of pharmacology and toxicology.

Students wanting to take part in the Research-based (thesis) option are ONLY accepted for Fall semester start plans. Research option students may not start during Spring or Summer because of the program's cohort scheduling.

Requirements for research-based program include:

  1. Completion of 30 credit hours of graduate-level courses (see below).
  2. All students must have an advisory committee, which will consist of two members of the Pharmacology and Toxicology faculty and their advisor.
  3. Provide an oral presentation of their proposed research project to the student’s thesis advisory committee. (This presentation must be approved no later than August 31 of the student’s first year in the program)
  4. Complete their required number of credit hours of either laboratory research or clinical research.
  5. Write and defend a master’s thesis. (See the WSU Graduate School's Policies and Procedures Manual.)


Students have the option to choose between two research project dependent courses for their thesis work. The chosen research course should be continued until completion of the student’s research project and thesis.

  1. PTX 9100 – Pharmacology Graduate Research­: This course is appropriate for students focused on laboratory-centered research, which may include, but is not limited to, animal studies, mass spectrometry, cell transplantation, metabolism, immunology, cell biology, radiotelemetry, mutagenic DNA replication, and nanoparticle tracking analysis.
  2. PTX 9200 – Pharmacology Clinical Research: This course is appropriate for students interested in clinical and translational research involving human subjects and/or human organs, cells, fluids, and DNA. The foci include cancer, dermatology, cardiovascular, diabetes, and nephrology.

Program of Study Requirements

Curriculum requirements for the research-based Master of Science in Pharmacology and Toxicology degree are as shown below:

  • PTX 7000 - BioStats for the Health Professional Credit Hour(s): 3
  • PTX 7001 - Cellular Pharmacology and Toxicology Credit Hour(s): 3
  • PTX 7002 - Journal Club/Special Topics Credit Hour(s): 1 
  • PTX 7003 - Biokinetics/ Biodynamics Credit Hour(s): 3
  • PTX 7010 - Research Techniques Credit Hour(s): 4
  • PTX 7011 - Thesis Development Workshop Credit Hour(s): 1
  • PTX 7012 - Intro to Pharmacology Graduate Research Credit Hour(s): 1
  • PTX 9100 - Pharmacology Graduate Research** Credit Hour(s): 1 to 18


  • PTX 9200 - Pharmacology Clinical Research** Credit Hour(s): 1 to 8


Students must also complete at least 3 credit hours of electives chosen from the following:


  • PTX 7020 - Laboratory Management Credit Hour(s): 3
  • PTX 8000 - Leadership Theory & Application Credit Hour(s): 3
  • PTX 8001 - Lab Safety Credit Hour(s): 1
  • PTX 8002 - Principles of Biomedical Research Credit Hour(s): 3
  • PTX 8004 - Medical Chemical, Radiological and Nuclear Defense Credit Hour(s): 3
  • PTX 8005 - Medical Biological Defense Credit Hour(s): 3
  • PTX 8006 - Case Studies for CBRN Defense Credit Hour(s): 3
  • PTX 8007 - Career Planning in Pharmacology and Toxicology Credit Hour(s): 1
  • PTX 8013 - Communications in Science Credit Hour(s): 3
  • PTX 8016 - Neuropharmacology Credit Hour(s): 3
  • PTX 8020 - Pharmacology and Toxicology of DNA Damaging Agents Credit Hour(s): 3
  • PTX 8040 - Good Laboratory Practices Credit Hour(s): 3
  • PTX 8060 - Six Sigma, Green Belt (Certificate Awarded) Credit Hour(s): 3
  • PTX 8061 - Six Sigma, Black Belt (Certificate Awarded) Credit Hour(s): 3
  • PTX 8070 - Cell Culture Training  Credit Hour(s): 1
  • PTX 8080 - Wound Healing  Credit Hour(s): 3
  • PTX 8130 - NanoMedicine Credit Hour(s): 3
  • PTX 8140 - Human Studies Research Credit Hour(s): 3
  • PTX 8260 - Microbiology & Immunology Credit Hour(s): 4


Total:  30 Credit Hours


** Credits for laboratory and clinical time will be reviewed and determined with the student’s advisor. Typically, students work full-time on their research project during their second year in the program. The number of hours spent in the laboratory is highly dependent upon the nature of the project and the goals of the student.


Please visit the WSU Catalog for Course Descriptions.

Suggested Schedule

The research-based Master of Science in Pharmacology & Toxicology program accepts students for Fall semester admission only.

Fall year 1:

Spring year 1:


Summer year 1:


Fall year 2:


Spring year 2:


(Minimum 1 credit hour in the semester that student defends his or her thesis.)


*Webpage last updated July 2020.

Last edited on 03/01/2022.