Molecular and Systems Pharmacology Curriculum

Students in the Molecular and Systems Pharmacology Track are required to take the core courses listed below totaling 9 credit hours. Students choose at least 6 credit hours of additional elective courses that suit the individual student's needs. Any course required by other IBS tracks is acceptable as an elective. Other graduate level courses can be used to satisfy the elective requirement upon approval from the track director.

Students are also required to participate in a journal club beginning in their second year through completion of the program.

Required Curriculum

  • Receptors, Signaling and Drug Action (4 credit hours)
  • Biochemistry (3)
  • Biostatistics (2)


  • Cellular and Molecular Biology (4)
  • Cellular Neuroscience (3)
  • Functional Neuroanatomy (3)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience (3)
  • Developmental and Molecular Neurobiology (3)
  • Foundations of Pharmacology (V)
  • Special Topics in Pharmacology (V)
  • Modern Pharmacology Research Techniques (V)
  • Current Topics in Clinical Pharmacology (V)
  • Bioinformatics (3)
  • Cellular Signaling (3)
  • The Tools of Molecular Biomedical Research (3)
  • Pathobiology of Cancer (3)
  • Systems Physiology (3)

Laboratory Rotations

Students are required to do three lab rotations with IBS program faculty. These rotations can occur during any of the six prescribed rotational periods during the first year. After three rotations a student may begin work in their chosen mentor's lab or may elect to do more rotations. A mentor's lab must be identified by the end of the first year.

Admission-to-Candidacy Exam

Admission to candidacy occurs in two steps. A written qualifying exam is administered at the end of the second year that covers the core curriculum. A written thesis proposal then must be orally defended in front of the thesis committee by the end of the third year.

Sample curriculum

Year 1

Fall Semester

  • Receptors, Signaling and Drug Action
  • Biochemistry
  • Spring Semester
  • Biostatistics
  • Cellular Neuroscience

Year 2

Fall Semester

  • Foundations of Pharmacology
  • Special Topics in Pharmacology

Spring Semester

  • Modern Pharmacology Research Techniques
  • Integrity in the Conduct of Scientific Research
  • Journal club
  • Take admission-to-candidacy exam
  • Assemble faculty committee

Year 3

  • Dissertation Research
  • Journal club

Year 4 and Beyond

  • Students will defend their dissertation before their faculty committee in order to complete the requirements for the Ph.D. degree.

Contact Us

Molecular and Systems Pharmacology

Track Director: Dr. Fang Liao
Integrated Biomedical Sciences Program
University of Tennessee Health Science Center
Crowe Research Bldg., Rm. 115
874 Union Avenue
Memphis, TN 38163
Phone: 901-448-1181
FAX: 901-448-7206

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