Program goal

The School of Pharmacy offers the highest quality of graduate training in pharmaceutical sciences research and mentorship at the Master of Science level.

Student learning outcomes

  1. Knowledge of research in pharmaceutical sciences
    The candidate should demonstrate a general knowledge of the elements of the pharmaceutical sciences and a detailed knowledge of his/her area of research, including an appropriate familiarity with the research literature, policies and procedures, and methodology pertaining to their field.
  2. Design experiments in pharmaceutical sciences
    The candidate should demonstrate an appropriate level of skill in the design of experimental protocols and the technical conduct of experimentation related to his/her research.
  3. Demonstrate appropriate communication skills
    The candidate should demonstrate that an appropriate level of oral, written and visual communication skill has been acquired.
  4. Identify problems in pharmaceutical sciences
    The candidate should demonstrate an appropriate level of skill in the identification of meaningful problems in the pharmaceutical sciences and the design of and implementation of appropriate problem-solving methods.

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

Degree candidacy requirements

A graduate student admitted to a program or concentration requiring a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation, must qualify for continuing master’s or doctoral status according to the degree candidacy requirements of the student’s graduate program. Admission to degree candidacy, if applicable, is a formal statement by the graduate student’s faculty regarding the student’s academic achievements and the student’s readiness to proceed to the final research phase of the degree program.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following degree candidacy policy as published in the VCU Graduate Bulletin for complete information and instructions.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on degree candidacy requirements.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on graduation requirements.

Other information

School of Pharmacy policies and procedures for graduate students
Website for current students:
Website for prospective students:


Apply online at

Admission requirements

Degree: Semester(s) of entry: Deadline dates: Test requirements:
M.S. Fall Jan 1 GRE, TOEFL (international applicants)

Special requirements

  • Pharm.D. or bachelor’s degree in a related area

In addition to the general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School, applicants must have received a baccalaureate from an accredited institution in a related area, demonstrating the ability to perform at the graduate level. Prerequisite and foundation course work may be required, depending upon the applicant’s discipline.

Degree requirements

In addition to general VCU Graduate School graduation requirements, M.S. students in pharmaceutical sciences must complete a minimum of 30 didactic credit hours of required (both school and department core) and elective hours. All M.S. students must pass the thesis review and defense in each department in order to advance to graduate.

Curriculum requirements

School of Pharmacy core curriculum

Course Title Hours
Select one of the following:3
Graduate Research Methods I
Statistical Methods I
Survey of Molecular Modeling Methods (1 credit repeated)
Advanced Medicinal Chemistry I (1 credit repeated)
IBMS 600Laboratory Safety (or equivalent)1
OVPR 601Scientific Integrity (or equivalent)1
Select a minimum of one credit from the following:1
Research Techniques (variable credit)
Research Techniques in Medicinal Chemistry (variable credit)
Select a minimum of one credit from the following:1
Pharmaceutics Research Seminar (variable credit)
Departmental Research Seminar (variable credit)
Pharmacy Research Seminar (variable credit)
PSCI 607
PSCI 608
Introduction to Pharmaceutical Sciences From Bench to Shelf
and Introduction to Pharmaceutical Sciences From Bench to Shelf

In addition to the pharmaceutical sciences core courses, students must fulfill course and other degree requirements in their respective concentrations as outlined below.


Course Title Hours
CHEM 504Advanced Organic Chemistry I3
MEDC 526Research Techniques in Medicinal Chemistry1-4
MEDC 541Survey of Molecular Modeling Methods1-3
or CHEM 510 Atomic and Molecular Structure
MEDC 591Special Topics in Medicinal Chemistry1-3.5
MEDC 601Advanced Medicinal Chemistry I2


Course Title Hours
Electives (minimum six credits)6

A minimum of six elective credit hours is recommended for the M.S. The elective courses taken will generally be selected from a list identified by the major adviser and will be agreed upon by the major adviser and student. These electives may include courses outside the department.


Students are required to complete a thesis. The six credit-hour minimum directed research requirement may be waived for circumstances such as a prior related degree. If waived, students must still complete minimum number of hours required for the degree.

Course Title Hours
MEDC 697Directed Research in Medicinal Chemistry (variable credit; minimum six credits)6

Total graduate credit hours required (minimum) 30

Graduate program director
Aron Lichtman, Ph.D.
Associate dean for research and graduate studies
Phone: (804) 628-5233

Additional contact
Shakim Jackson
Education coordinator
Phone: (804) 628-4408

Program website: