Pharmaceutical Sciences


About The Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Our undergraduate and graduate programs offer rigorous grounding in a broad range of disciplines critical to success as a pharmaceutical scientist in academia or in industry.

The field of pharmaceutical sciences has traditionally encompassed all elements of drug discovery and development, offering exciting and meaningful professional opportunities to work towards the improvement of society’s health and well-being.

UC Irvine’s Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences offers interdisciplinary educational programs integrating concepts from fields as diverse as biology, chemistry, cell and molecular biology, chemical engineering, materials science, pharmaceutics, pharmacology and physiology. As a student in our department you will be an integral part of such explorations… and the resulting discoveries!

Our faculty includes world-renowned scientists encompassing a variety of backgrounds with wide-ranging research programs that cover every facet of pharmaceutical research.

Undergraduate Program

The Pharm Sci undergraduate program is intended for those students interested in one of the following pathways:

  1. Professional positions in the pharmaceutical production, control, and development sectors of the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry, or
  2. Graduate degree programs in medicinal chemistry, chemical biology, structural biology, pharmacology, pharmaceutics, and many other disciplines at the interface of chemistry and biology.
  3. Professional degree programs such as pharmacy, medical, or dental school.

Graduate Programs

The Pharmaceutical Sciences Department currently houses two graduate programs, the Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacology (MCP) program and the Pharmacological Sciences PhD program:

The MCP program is an interdepartmental gateway program leading to a PhD degree in either Chemistry, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, or Pharmacological Sciences.

Upon successful completion of the MCP program, students select a research advisor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chemistry, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, or Pharmacology, and transition into that department to complete the remaining degree requirements. Students receive their PhD from the department of their chosen advisor.

The MCP program offers a unique curriculum providing students with state-of-the-art practical and theoretical training in their specific field of interest while at the same time emphasizing an integrated, interdisciplinary approach. For more information about admission requirements for the MCP program, please visit the Graduate Admissions page.

The Pharmacological Sciences PhD program is a new interdepartmental doctoral program with the Department of Pharmacology. This program provides a unique opportunity for students interested in any scientific discipline represented by the Pharmaceutical Sciences faculty to have a year of broad, interdisciplinary training followed by focused doctoral research in the Pharmaceutical Sciences research group of their choice.  Students apply to and complete their first year of graduate study in the MCP program. At the end of this first year of interdisciplinary training, they transition from MCP into a research group to begin their more focused doctoral research under the guidance of a Pharmaceutical Sciences faculty member and earn a PhD in Pharmacological Sciences. For more information about this program, please visit the Pharmacological Sciences PhD program page.