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Pharmacology Graduate Program

Poster session at the annual Department of Pharmacology retreat.

The Department of Pharmacology at Yale University offers integrated and interdisciplinary opportunities for graduate study under the Program in Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS). Students entering the BBS program can take courses, participate in laboratory rotations, and perform thesis research with any of the more than 200 faculty members in the biological sciences at Yale. The faculty and students of the BBS program are organized into moderately-sized, interest-based Tracks to ensure individualized attention and maximize scientific interactions. Prospective students apply to the Track that best matches their interests, although there is complete freedom to work with faculty members in any Track.

Approximately 70-80 students are expected to enter the BBS class, but will be divided into smaller groups due to association with the individual interest areas. There are close to 400 graduate students in the biological and biomedical sciences at Yale in addition to approximately 400 medical students at the School of Medicine.

Training in the Department of Pharmacology is initiated by acceptance into the BBS program. This track includes faculty from the Department of Pharmacology and several other clinical and basic science departments who are interested in the identification of novel therapeutic targets, the rationale design of drugs, molecular mechanisms of drug action or the molecular aspects of disease and therapeutics.

The Department of Pharmacology has a long standing history of being at the forefront of Pharmacological Sciences. In two consecutive rankings, the most recent in 2010, we were ranked the top Pharmacology Department in the country by the National Research Council. These high rankings stem from outstanding faculty, research activities, funding and continuing successes in pre- and postdoctoral training. We have long standing NIH funded, pre- and postdoctoral training grants in Cancer and General Pharmacology that support the stipends and tuition of students admitted into the program.

The program of study will emphasize an integrated view of pharmacology and disease built upon a rigorous foundation of basic sciences. Each student's curriculum will be designed according to their interests and background. It is expected that students will complete the program with ample training in physiology, grounding in cell and molecular biology, genetics, immunology, and pathology. First- and second-year graduate students will choose from a variety of basic science and clinically-related course offerings, including disease-pathogenesis courses taught by faculty associated with this track. Students will also perform at least 3 laboratory rotations during the first year with faculty members of their choosing. In addition to allowing students to receive hands-on experience in different laboratories, the rotations will assist in selection of a thesis advisor, typically by the end of first year. At that time, students (in consultation with their advisors) will select the department from which they will ultimately receive their degrees. All educational activities, seminars, retreats, and other functions will be closely coordinated among programs to facilitate opportunities for interactions among students and faculty throughout the BBS. In the last 10 years, PhD students have graduated with a completion time between 5-6 years. A qualifying examination is administered in the second year.