PhD Requirements

PhD Overview

Students must complete a minimum of 24 credits of required and elective graduate (5000 or 8000) level coursework and 24 Doctoral Thesis Credits (MEDC 8888). These coursework and thesis credit requirements are generally completed during the first two years of study. A typical course sequence is illustrated below under Plan of Study.

After their first semester in the program, students should register for a maximum of 14 credits of graduate level coursework and/or MEDC8888 thesis credits each semester until they have completed their thesis credit requirement. Under no circumstances should a student register for more than 14 credits in a semester without approval from either the DGS or their advisor, as this entails significant additional tuition costs.

After two years, some students may be in a situation where they have completed all of their course requirements and need less than 6 credits to complete their thesis requirements. In this situation, students will need to register for 6 credits of MEDC 8888 thesis credits to retain their full-time status. Once students have completed their thesis credit requirement and have met the other advanced doctoral student status requirements, they begin to register for a specific one-credit registration (MEDC 8444) the following semester that certifies the student as full-time.

Until the student has a research advisor, the Director of Graduate Study will approve all registrations. It is a program requirement that before registering each semester students must consult with and obtain the approval of either their advisor or the Director of Graduate Studies.

Active Student Status

The Graduate School requires that students register every Fall and Spring term to maintain active status up through and including the term in which you will complete your degree.

Failure to maintain active status will result in discontinuation of student status and require applying for readmission.

Remedial Coursework

Sometimes a student is admitted to the Medicinal Chemistry graduate program with specific course deficiencies. Such deficiencies need be made up as soon as possible, preferably during the first year of residence.

For example, if the deficiency is physical chemistry, the student will take CHEM 4501 or its equivalent. In the case of other course deficiencies, the Director of Graduate Studies will determine the appropriate course to fulfill the deficiency.

Student Seminars

Each graduate student is required to present two seminars as part of their degree program.

The first seminar is given in the second year and shall cover a topic from the literature that will be either assigned by the faculty or chosen by the student and approved by the student’s advisor and the professor in charge of the seminar program.

For this seminar, students shall register for 1 credit of MEDC 8100 (A–F grade option) during the semester she/he gives the seminar. This seminar credit will be used as part of the student’s official degree program.

The second seminar will be given during the summer of the third year, and it will cover the student’s research. You will not register for any credit for this seminar.

For both seminars, the professor in charge of the seminar program will arrange the seminar schedule and will assign the dates of the seminars.


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Plan of Study

Med Chem plan of study PhD

Required Courses

These are the required courses for the doctoral program in Medicinal Chemistry. These courses must be successfully completed by all students. 

  • MEDC 8001 | General Principles of Medicinal Chemistry I | 3 cr
  • MEDC 8002 | General Principles of Medicinal Chemistry II | 3 cr
  • MEDC 8050 | Mechanistic Organic Chemistry | 2 cr
  • MEDC 8435 | BioAssays | 1 cr
  • MEDC 8100 | Seminar | 1 cr
  • CHEM 8066 | Professional Conduct of Chemical Research | 1 cr
  • CHEM 8321 | Organic Synthesis | 4 cr
  • MEDC 8888 | Doctoral Thesis | 24 cr

Elective Courses

Students are required to take three additional elective courses, two of which must be from this list. The final course can be either inside or outside of the Department of Medicinal Chemistry.

  • MEDC 5185 | Principles of Biomolecular Simulation | 3 cr
  • MEDC 5494 | Advanced Methods in Quantitative Drug Analysis | 3 cr
  • MEDC 8070 | Chemistry and Biology of Infectious Diseases | 3 cr
  • MEDC 8753 | Molecular Targets of Drug Discovery | 3 cr
  • MEDC 8420 | Natural Products Chemistry | 3 cr
  • MEDC 8471 | High Throughput Drug Discovery | 3 cr
  • MEDC 8413 | Chemistry of Nucleic Acids | 3 cr
  • MEDC 8700 | Advanced Concepts in Medicinal Chemistry | 2 cr

Biochemistry Requirement

Students must fulfill a biochemistry course requirement. Approved courses are listed below, or students may use other courses not listed here with the approval of the DGS and their advisor.

  • BIOC 8005 | Biochemistry: Structure and Catalysis | 2 cr
  • BIOC 8006 | Biochemistry: Metabolism and Control | 2 cr
  • BIOC 5535 | Intro to Modern Structural Biology-Diffraction | 2 cr
  • BIOC 5528 | Spectroscopy and Kinetics | 4 cr
  • GCD 8151 | Cellular Biochemistry and Cell Biology | 2-4 cr
  • CHEM 8411 | Intro to Chemical Biology | 4 cr