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Pharmacology and Neuroscience (Doctorate)

Gain a comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms of drugs and their effects on physiological systems through Creighton University’s Doctor of Philosophy in Pharmacology and Neuroscience. This research-intensive doctoral program will prepare you for a career in research or as a leader in academia or the pharmaceutical or biotech industries.

At Creighton, you’ll have access to the specialized equipment, resources and broad expertise of a large university, but with smaller class sizes. You’ll be able to use this to your advantage with opportunities for frequent one-on-one interactions with faculty and your primary mentor.

You can also expect to have regular interaction with other students in your cohort and our faculty members. By focusing on a small group of students, our faculty can cover each topic in the program in more depth, which leads to a comprehensive, well-rounded education. You’ll gain a deep knowledge of physiology, learning about the mechanisms of drugs and their impact on biological systems at the molecular and genetic levels. You’ll also develop your critical thinking skills and discuss research ethics.

Research at Creighton is mission-driven, making your work part of a larger effort to serve others and create a more just world. Our students and faculty continue to research various human diseases such as:

  • Neurological diseases such as epilepsy, autism, and schizophrenia
  • Asthma, cancer, cardiovascular disease and pulmonary hypertension
  • Substance abuse, stroke and birth defects

Our faculty reflect the complex scope of modern pharmacological research as they apply methods of systems and cell physiology, neuroscience, biochemistry, genetics, and cellular and molecular biology to better understand drug action. Their research includes diverse topics such as:

  • G protein-coupled receptor signal transduction and regulation
  • Control of neurotransmitter release
  • Ion channel modulation and metabolism
  • Molecular pharmacology of excitatory neurotransmission
  • Environmental contributions to neuroplasticity and development
  • Cardiovascular and CNS drug discovery

Your research passions are our priority

Creighton’s pharmacology and neuroscience doctoral degree can be customized to fit your interests and career goals. You’ll work with a major advisor and dissertation committee to create a customized plan of study. Options for specialization include neuropharmacology, autonomic, cardiovascular, ocular, renal and exocrine pharmacology, immunopharmacology, neuropharmacology and toxicology.

Your professors will work closely with you—guiding your studies and acting as teachers, advisors and mentors throughout your degree and career. Many of our faculty members collaborate and work with students long after they earn their degree.

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Quote from Peter Abel, PhD, professor and chair of Creighton University's Pharmacology Department
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Program Details

Program Goals and Curriculum

Creighton’s PhD in Pharmacology and Neuroscience prepares students for careers in research and education in the field of pharmacology. Studies are individualized—students in this program choose a concentration from numerous specialized areas of pharmacology.

To earn this doctoral degree, you must complete a minimum of 90 credit hours:

  • Required Courses
    • Foundational Science
    • Neuroscience and Molecular Pharmacology Laboratory
    • Receptor and Molecular Pharmacology
    • Research Rotations
    • Introduction of Neuropharmacology
    • Fundamentals of Neuroscience
    • Biostatistics
    • Responsible Conduct of Research
    • Research Methods
    • Scientific Writing
    • Advanced Pharmacology (journal club)
    • Advanced Neuroscience (journal club)
  • Seminars
    • Research Rounds in Pharmacology
    • Pharmacology Seminar
  • Independent Research
  • Comprehensive Examination


Creighton’s Pharmacology and Neuroscience faculty reflect the complex scope of modern pharmacological research as they apply methods of systems and cell physiology, neuroscience, biochemistry, genetics, and cellular and molecular biology to better understand drug action. They are involved in both teaching and research training of graduate students. Our faculty encourage a collaborative research environment that welcomes graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and research staff.

Master's and Dual Degree Options

Master's Programs
Master of Science in Pharmacology and Neuroscience (56 credits)

  • A research-based master’s degree in pharmacology and neuroscience is available for students who do not require a PhD for their education or career goals. The master’s program shares courses with the doctorate program but has fewer requirements. Research projects are designed to reach successful completion within two years of starting the program.
  • Available on-campus only.

Master of Science in Biomedical Science (30 credits)

  • Completion of this biological science degree prepares individuals for research careers in academia, institutes, or industry. The programs employ a multi-disciplinary approach using our research, courses, and facilities to cater to the career needs and research interests of the individual student in diverse areas of study.
  • Available on-campus only.

Dual-Degree Program
Students can complete a dual-degree program to earn two degrees at once, saving both time and money. The following dual-degree option is available in pharmacology and neuroscience:

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission to the PhD in Pharmacology and Neuroscience program, applicants must:

  • Complete an application and submit a $50 application fee
  • Possess a bachelor’s degree in a related field with 3.0 GPA or higher
  • Bachelor of Art or Science from an accredited college/university. Applicants should have some undergraduate training in the life sciences, but a STEM-based undergraduate degree is not required. In general, students with strong biology, chemistry, physics, engineering, computer science or mathematics backgrounds are most successful and encouraged to apply. Opportunities to remedy deficiencies in basic undergraduate courses exist in the first year of graduate school.
  • Provide official transcripts from all educational institutions attended. Read more about sending transcripts here
  • Submit a personal statement (see application for specific requirements)
  • Submit three letters of recommendation from persons other than friends or family members

A personal interview may be requested in addition to the above requirements. The interview may be conducted in-person or virtually.

International students are welcomed into this program and F-1 visas will be supported upon admission.

International applicants must:

Tuition & Financial Aid

Tuition is waived for students accepted into Creighton’s pharmacology and neuroscience doctorate program. Students also receive a competitive stipend and health insurance coverage.

Have questions? Email or call a friendly financial specialist at 402.280.2731 for any additional questions you may have.

Dates and Deadlines

The table below details the enrollment deadline and starting date of courses for the current academic year. If you have any questions about dates, deadlines, or application materials, please contact an admissions advisor for personalized assistance.





December 15

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