Program goal

The graduate program leading to the Master of Science in Pharmacology and Toxicology prepares individuals for a variety of career objectives in biomedical science. These careers include but are not limited to as industrial scientists and scientists in government regulatory agencies. The M.S. program will be of interest to individuals planning on pursuing technical positions in pharmacology or toxicology research or testing; students interested in the health professions, such as medicine or dentistry, who desire additional research training; and those interested in government positions, such as those in regulatory agencies, that require training in pharmacology and toxicology.

The program incorporates formal instructional activity and research training mentored by members of the graduate faculty. The master’s program is distinguished from the Ph.D. degree offered by the department in that the M.S. student is not being prepared for a career as an independent investigator.

Student learning outcomes

SLO 1: Communication skills

The candidate will demonstrate the achievement of an appropriate level of oral communication skills with respect to the content, organization, logical flow, presentation and appropriate use of language incorporating the use of visual aids, as measured by rubric. The candidate will demonstrate the achievement of an appropriate level of written communication skill with respect to grammar, syntax, spelling and use of vocabulary to effectively present information including the use of figures, tables and citations as measured by rubric.

  • Measure 1.0: Course work presentations
  • Measure 2.0: Performance review of progress
  • Measure 3.0: Thesis review and examination

SLO 2: Integrated knowledge of bioscience

The candidate will demonstrate an appropriate level of knowledge of the current elements of the biosciences as related to disciplinary specialization and a more detailed understanding of the individual area of scholarship, including an appropriate familiarity with the research literature and the ability to evaluate and critique publications as measured by rubric.

  • Measure 1.0: Performance review of progress
  • Measure 2.0: Thesis review and examination

SLO 3: Problem-solving skills

The candidate will demonstrate an appropriate level of skill in the identification and selection of meaningful problems to be addressed in bioscience research, including the ability to defend said identifications and to design and develop appropriate methods to solve said problems as measured by rubric.

  • Measure 1.0: Performance review of progress
  • Measure 2.0: Thesis review and examination

SLO 4: Experimental design

The candidate will demonstrate the achievement of an appropriate level of competence in the ability to appraise, modify and/or create, and implement experimental protocols and to design and develop experiments as measured by rubric.

  • Measure 1.0: Performance review of progress
  • Measure 2.0: Thesis review and examination

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 Medicine graduate program policies

The School of Medicine provides policies applicable to all programs administratively housed in the school. Information on master’s programs is available elsewhere in this chapter of the Graduate Bulletin.