The Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences offers a unique gateway graduate program in Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacology leading to a PhD in Chemistry, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, or Pharmacological Sciences with a Concentration in either Pharmaceutical Sciences or Pharmacology. The program is both interdisciplinary in nature while at the same time offering an in-depth, individualized state-of-the-art practical and theoretical training in each student’s specific field of interest.

This integration of specialization and exposure across disciplines offers a breadth of expertise that is not easily achievable in any single, individual department, and which uniquely prepares graduates for success in the rapidly changing field of pharmaceutical sciences. This dual goal of specialization, with an interdisciplinary foundation, is accomplished through a one-year initial program of coursework and lab rotations, followed by a transition into one of the participating department’s PhD programs for in-depth specialization and research.

Upon completion of the one-year MCP curriculum, students choose a faculty advisor affiliated with one of the above-listed participating departments and transition into their “home” department to complete the remaining degree requirements for their PhD.

Sample MCP Curriculum

CLICK HERE to view a sample MCP Curriculum


Students are admitted to the Medicinal Chemistry & Pharmacology (MCP) gateway program on an annual basis in the fall quarter only. The admissions committee and the graduate advisors screen applications immediately after the application deadline. Applicants selected to interview will be notified by early January. Admitted applicants can expect to receive an offer of admission in late January through mid-March.

Application Deadline: Dec 1

For full consideration, online applications and all supporting documents and scores must be received by December 1.

Applicants are required to submit:

*Send all post-secondary transcripts to:

University of California, Irvine
Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
209 Steinhaus Hall, Building 502 Irvine, CA 92697-3958
Attn: Graduate Admissions Coordinator

Incomplete applications will not be considered for admission.



Admission Statistics

The acceptance rate for the MCP program is approximately 23%, and admitted applicants from previous cycles had the below characteristics:

Application Instructions

Complete the Online Application which is submitted to the Graduate Division. When completing the “Degree Program” section of the online application for admission, please make the following selections:

Student Funding

Admitted applicants receive funding for tuition, health insurance, and a monthly stipend/salary through a combination departmental or university fellowships and/or teaching assistant (TA) and graduate student researcher (GSR) positions in their first year. In years two through five, students are generally funding by their faculty advisor as GSRs, as well as through a combination of university fellowships, extramural grants/fellowships, and/or TA positions.

Diversity Fellowships

UCI is committed to the recruitment, admission, and retention of a high quality and diverse graduate student population and has several diversity fellowships for new and returning students who qualify. If you have overcome socioeconomic or educational challenges, please indicate that you are a diversity candidate and describe your experience in detail within the Personal History section of the application.

International Students