GRADUATE
PROGRAM

Here you'll find a year-by-year breakdown of the requirements for the PhD degree from the University of Washington Pharmacology Department, and well as information about your general exams, and selecting a Doctoral Supervisory Committee.

BROWSE PhD REQUIREMENTS
  • OVERVIEW
  • PHARMACOLOGY COURSE OFFERINGS
  • FIRST YEAR PhD
    REQUIREMENTS
  • SECOND YEAR PhD
    REQUIREMENTS
  • THIRD YEAR PhD
    REQUIREMENTS
  • FOURTH YEAR
    AND BEYOND
  • SUPERVISORY
    COMMITTEE
  • GENERAL EXAM
  • FINAL EXAMINATION

OVERVIEW

Pharmacology Graduate Program Overview
Pharmacology explores the nature of interactions between drugs and biological systems, and their applications to the treatment of disease. Courses in this field are offered to graduate, medical, dental, pharmacy, nursing, and other interested UW students.

The Department of Pharmacology offers the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree.

Admissions Requirement
GRE Scores are not required. 

A baccalaureate degree with a major in any of the sciences, such as biochemistry, chemistry, pharmacy, physics, physiology, psychology, or zoology, is strongly advised. Students are selected from the applicant pool based on several criteria, including academic performance, letters of recommendation, and previous research experience.

Graduation Requirements
Minimum of 90 credits, to include:

1. PHCOL 501-506 course series with a minimum grade of 2.7 for each course. Enrollment in PHCOL 507 throughout graduate school; PHCOL 514 in the first and second years of graduate study.

2. PHCOL 519 (laboratory rotations) during autumn and winter quarters of the first year to acquaint the student with various areas of pharmacology and research under investigation within the department.

3. Four advanced 2-3 credit graded elective courses in pharmacology in addition to the PHCOL 501 through PHCOL 506 series.

4. Creditable passage of the General examination.

5. Thesis research beginning the second and subsequent years of study. Students are expected to finish all degree requirements and complete their thesis research within six-years from time of matriculation.

6. Completion of an approved PhD dissertation and creditable passage of the Final Examination, which is the defense of the dissertation.

Time to Doctoral Degree
The Graduate Program in the Pharmacology Department is designed to provide the guidance and mentoring necessary for graduate students to finish all course requirements and complete and defend their thesis research within a period of 6 years from matriculation. In the Winter quarter (Year 2) after entering  their thesis lab, students will form and convene their Doctoral Thesis Supervisory Committee to review the their progress in preparation for the general exam.

Following completion of the general exam, students are required to meet with their Doctoral Thesis Supervisory Committee at least once every 12 months. The committee and the student develop a definite plan of action for achieving specific goals, which will be summarized in the annual thesis committee report. Stipend and tuition support extending beyond year 6 are dependent on Thesis Committee approval and the advisor’s research funding or appropriate training grant support.

Financial Aid
Financial support is offered to students who maintain satisfactory academic progress. Tuition and stipends are provided by National Institutes of Health training grants, University of Washington teaching assistantships, individual research grants, and fellowships from private sources.

Contact
Debbie Bale
Box 357750
(206) 543-7485
phcoladm@uw.edu

Pharmacology Course Offerings

PHCOL 501 Drug Discovery and Emerging Therapeutics (2) Zheng
Consideration of the general principles and current approaches involved in modern drug discovery and development, with an emphasis on basic concepts in drug action, delivery, and metabolism. Discussion of novel drug discovery techniques and emerging non-standard therapeutics. Lectures and student presentations. Prerequisite: basic knowledge of organic chemistry and biochemistry. Offered: A (first five weeks of the quarter).

PHCOL 502/CONJ 532 Signal Transduction from the Cell Membrane to the Nucleus (2) Scott, Ong
Intracellular signaling pathways leading from cell membrane receptors to the nucleus. Pathways activated by seven transmembrane receptors and G-proteins, insulin/PI3 kinase, nitric oxide and WNTs and mechanisms of signal termination. Cytokine/Jak/Stat signaling and role of subcellular localization in signal transduction. Prerequisite: basic knowledge of biochemistry. Offered: Jointly with CONJ 532; A (second five weeks of the quarter).

PHCOL 503 Autonomic/Cardiovascular Pharmacology (2) Nathanson
Consideration of the pharmacology of the cardiovascular and autonomic nervous systems. Emphasizes the mechanisms of neurotransmitter, hormone, drug action at autonomic synapses, and the molecular basis for physiology and pathophysiology of the cardiovascular system. Lectures, group discussion, and analysis of recent research. Prerequisite: organic chemistry, biochemistry, and introductory anatomy and physiology. Offered: W (first five weeks of the quarter).

PHCOL 504 Neuropharmacology (2) Bajjalieh, Yadav
Consideration of the neurobiological basis of drug action on the central nervous system, including mechanism of action and therapeutic use in psychiatric disorders; neurodegeneration/neuroinflammation; control of neuronal excitability and pain; drug abuse and addiction. Lectures, group discussion, and analysis of recent research. Offered: W (second five weeks of the quarter).

PHCOL 505 Endocrine Pharmacology (2) McKnight, Sancak
Consideration of the pharmacology of endocrine systems including the actions of hypothalamic/pituitary regulatory peptides, glycoprotein hormones/growth factors, peptide and steroid hormones. Lectures, group discussion, and analysis of recent research. Prerequisite: organic chemistry, biochemistry, and introductory anatomy and physiology. Offered: Sp (first five weeks of the quarter).

PHCOL 506 Immunopharmacology and Chemotherapeutics (2) McKnight, Shechner
Basic principles of immunology as applied to immunopharmacology. Current overview of cancer chemotherapy and antimicrobial chemotherapy. Lectures, group discussions, student presentations, and analysis of recent research. Prerequisite: coursework in biochemistry and physiology. Offered: Sp (second five weeks of the quarter).

PHCOL 507 Pharmacology Seminar (1) Faculty
Presentation of comprehensive reports on recent medical and scientific literature in fields of current importance. Research progress reports and reports on results of completed research. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. Offered: AWSp.

PHCOL 514 Current Topics in Pharmacology (1)
Current research related to the mechanisms of drug action presented in a seminar format. Presentations include relevant background material as well as detailed experimental results taken from current research articles. Open to medical and graduate students. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. Offered: AWSp.

PHCOL 515 General Pharmacology Laboratory (*) Faculty
Selected laboratory experiments in pharmacology for demonstration of basic principles of drug actions. Autonomic nervous system, central nervous system, and cardiovascular drugs are employed in both intact and isolated mammalian systems. For professional and graduate students who wish to do independent research with a particular faculty member. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. Offered: AWSpS.

PHCOL 519 Introduction to Laboratory Research in Pharmacology (4) Wang
On a rotation basis, students carry out individual research projects in the laboratories of different faculty members with appointments in the Pharmacology department. At the end of each rotation, students make formal presentations of their work. For first year graduate students in the Pharmacology program. Offered: A,W

PHCOL 529 Ion Channel Pharmacology (2) Catterall
Recent work has shown that ion channels are often the targets of mutations which cause disease in humans and mice. Inherited diseases are known which affect voltage-gated sodium, calcium, potassium, and chloride channels, epithelial sodium channels, ATP-gated potassium channels, glycine receptors, and CFTR. We will use the inherited diseases and the naturally occurring mutations in these channel proteins as starting points to consider the structure, function, physiology, genetics, and pharmacology of these ion channels. The class will be in seminar format, with most presentations given by student participants. Prerequisites: Conj 531 and students are requested to review the lectures by Dr. Zagotta before the first class meeting. Offered: odd years; A.

PHCOL 530 Neuronal Signaling Pathways (2) Storm/Xia/Hague/Zweifel
Advanced consideration of signal transduction pathways that regulate functions of the nervous system. Physiological processes considered include memory formation, olfaction, vision, taste, neurogenesis, synaptic plasticity and apoptosis. Prerequisites: Phcol 502/Conj 532 or permission of instructor. Offered: even years; W.

PHCOL 531 Genetic Analysis of Signaling Systems (3) McKnight/Gardner
Current topics involving signal transduction will be discussed with an emphasis on genetic analysis of multicellular systems and creative experimental design. Prerequisites: permission of instructor. Offered: odd years; Sp.

PHCOL 534 Molecular Basis of Drug Addiction (2) Chavkin/Stella/Phillips/Neumaier
Advanced consideration of the effects of drugs on neurotransmission and higher order neural systems including current topics in receptor pharmacology, hormonal modulation of neuro signaling, effects of disease on neural circuits, regulation of synaptic plasticity, and mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration. Prerequisites: PHCOL 504 or permission of instructor. Offered: even years; A.

PHCOL 537 Molecular Neurobiology of the Cell Membrane (2) Nathanson
Advanced consideration of the structure and function of cell membranes, membrane trafficking, exocytosis, endocytosis, membrane proteins, and lipid-mediated signal transduction. Processes important to nervous system functioning will be emphasized. Prerequisites: Neuro 501, 502, 503 or permission of instructor. Offered: odd years; W.

PHCOL 550 Introduction to the Pharmacology Department (1) Wang
Overview of the Pharmacology graduate program; presentation of program requirements including required courses and teaching opportunities.  Prerequisite: first-year graduate student in the Pharmacology program. Offered: A.

CONJ 556 Drug Addiction: Mechanisms, Prevention, and Treatment (2) Chavkin
Presents the key advances, insights, methods, and challenges for our understanding of drug addiction from psychological, pharmacological, psychiatric, community prevention, legal, and neurodevelopmental perspectives. Enhances familiarity with the multidisciplinary approaches required to understand addiction as a disease. Offered: A.

PHCOL 600 Independent Study or Research (*) AWSpS Faculty

PHCOL 800 Doctoral Dissertation (*) AWSpS Faculty

 

PhD Requirements and Curriculum: First Year

Students engage in three different laboratory rotations and take classes in different aspects of Molecular Pharmacology. The rotations provide students the opportunity to examine different biological problems and work in different lab environments, one of which will ultimately become their dissertation laboratory.

Student Advising and Evaluation
Dr. Edith Wang, a member of the Pharmacology faculty, advises first-year graduate students and is responsible for overseeing the activities of individual students including course registration, laboratory rotation selection, and selection of their thesis advisor and Doctoral Thesis Supervisory Committee members. Students will meet with Dr. Wang, as their first-year advisor, at least once each quarter prior to registration to discuss the best course of study and plan their schedules.

The progress of Pharmacology students is reported quarterly to the Pharmacology Faculty. This report is based on the student’s performance during lab rotations and course work.

At the end of the Winter Quarter of the first year, students select a thesis advisor (with the approval of the Department Chair) who will be the Chair of their Doctoral Thesis Supervisory Committee.

Laboratory Rotations
Laboratory rotations are designed to provide first-year students with an opportunity to gain hands-on experience with the theoretical and technical approaches to research that are practiced in different laboratories. This experience helps students to select a permanent lab in which to conduct their thesis research. Students spend the first 5 weeks of the Fall quarter learning about the research interests of the laboratories in the Pharmacology graduate program and then complete 3 five week rotations in the labs of their choice. The first rotation takes place during the second 5 weeks of Fall quarter and next two during Winter quarter.

At the completion of each laboratory rotation, students provide a title and abstract describing the objectives, results and conclusions of their research project and present a short research talk to fellow students and faculty in the Pharmacology Department. The rotation advisor provides a numerical grade and written evaluation of the student’s performance in the lab and the rotation talk. The student receives a copy of the evaluation, which becomes a part of the student’s academic file.

Students with a Master’s degree and significant research experience may petition the Pharmacology Graduate Program Committee to reduce the number of laboratory rotations required before selecting a thesis advisor.

Selection of Dissertation Advisor
By the beginning of the Spring quarter of the first year of graduate school, each student must notify Dr. John Scott (Pharmacology’s Chair) of their first and second choices for a thesis advisor. Finding a mentor who agrees to accept the student into his/her lab is a qualifying step for continuation in the Pharmacology graduate program and a successful graduate career.

With the approval of the Department Chair and completion of the Winter Quarter rotation talks, the student moves to their thesis advisor laboratory for the remainder of their graduate studies.

The summer series in Biomedical Research Integrity was developed by the UW School of Medicine in response to a directive from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) requiring that all graduate students supported by NIH training grants be provided with training in the ethics of research. Additionally, the Medical School Executive Committee recommends that all trainees, regardless of funding source, participate in the BRI Series during their training.

The Department of Pharmacology requires all Pharmacology graduate students to complete the course in research ethics during their study in the department. It is a requirement for graduation, whether or not you may be supported on a NIH training grant. The Department office will receive an attendance sheet; the fulfillment of the requirement is documented.

It is required that first-year students take a minimum of two lectures and two discussion groups from the Biomedical Research Integrity Series. When you are on a training grant, it is essential to check with the administrators of the training grant every year to ensure compliance with specific requirements for your training grant.

Biomedical Research Integrity Lecture Series Reference

http://depts.washington.edu/uwbri/

 

First Year Courses

Fall Quarter:
PHCOL 501 – Drug Discovery and Emerging Therapeutics (2 credits)

PHCOL 502/CONJ 532 – Signal Transduction from the Cell Membrane to the Nucleus (2 credits)

PHCOL 507 – Pharmacology Seminar (1 credit)

PHCOL 514 – Current Topics in Pharmacology  (1 credit)

PHCOL 519 – Introduction to Laboratory Research in Pharmacology (4 credits)

PHCOL 550 – Introduction to the Department (1 credit)

CONJ 531 – Signaling Mechanisms in Excitable Cells (1.5 credits)

Additional Courses:
Students can take one Advanced Pharmacology course and/or additional graded approved courses selected from the list of approved courses. Student should not register for more than 18 total credits.

Students will also plan how to meet their quantitative analysis course requirement.  Student should not register for more than 18 total credits.

 

Winter Quarter:
PHCOL 503- Autonomic/Cardiovascular Pharmacology (2 credits)

PHCOL 504 – Neuropharmacology (2 credits)

PHCOL 507 – Pharmacology Seminar (1 credit)

PHCOL 514 – Current Topics in Pharmacology (1 credit)

PHCOL 519 – Introduction to Laboratory Research in Pharmacology (4 credits)

Additional Courses:
Students can take one Advanced Pharmacology course and/or additional graded approved courses selected from the list of approved courses. Student should not register for more than 18 total credits.

 

Spring Quarter:
PHCOL 505 – Endocrine Pharmacology (2 credits)

PHCOL 506 – Immunopharmacology and Chemotherapy (2 credits)

PHCOL 507 – Pharmacology Seminar (1 credit)

PHCOL 514 – Current Topics in Pharmacology (1 credit)

PHCOL 560-577 (1 credit)

Students register for their Thesis Advisor’s laboratory meeting course for the remainder of their graduate career.

PHCOL 600 – Research (x credits)

Additional Courses:
Students can take one Advanced Pharmacology course and/or additional graded approved courses selected from the list of approved courses. Student should not register for more than 18 total credits.

 

Summer Quarter:
PHCOL 600 – Research (1 credit)

Biomedical Research Integrity Lecture Series: Students attend minimum of 2 lectures and 2 discussion sessions.

Additional Approved Courses

PhD Requirements and Curriculum: Second Year

The student begins work on their dissertation research project.

Students begin work on their dissertation research project.

Teaching Responsibilities 
Teaching experience is considered an important aspect of training in the Pharmacology graduate program.  2nd year students serve as Teaching Assistants (TAs), which begins with participation in the TA Program on Teaching and Learning in September of the second year. To provide practical teaching experience, each TA participates in the planning and teaching of a specific module in the PHCOL 501-506 series.  Responsibilities include attending all sessions, supporting 1st year students with coursework and during group discussions, and working closely with a faculty mentor to plan and present two sessions of core material.  TAs also assist with the preparation of exams and the grading of exams and student presentations, when needed.

Alternative TA opportunities include: 1. Serving as a Teaching Assistant in the School of Pharmacy PharmD program during the Fall and Winter Quarters and 2. Community outreach TA experience at the Pacific Science Center, Engage (College of the Environment), BioQuest Academy (CIDR), and Freedom Education Project – Puget Sound.

University of Washington Resources for Teaching

http://www.washington.edu/teaching

 

Choosing the Doctoral Supervisory Committee 
During the Winter Quarter of the second year, students (with the advice of the Thesis Advisor and the Graduate Program Committee) select faculty members to serve of their Doctoral Thesis Supervisory committee. The Doctoral Thesis Supervisory Committee consists of the thesis advisor, Graduate School Representative (GSR), and Pharmacology faculty and faculty members from other departments most familiar with the student’s dissertation research area. At least five, but no more than seven faculty members are recommended on the Doctoral Thesis Supervisory Committee. The majority of the Committee members should have a primary appointment in the Department of Pharmacology. At least one, but no more than three (including the Graduate School Representative), should hold primary appointments outside of the Department of Pharmacology. Only one committee member may be a faculty member who is not a member of the Graduate Faculty. The chair of the Doctoral Thesis Supervisory Committee (Thesis Advisor) and the Graduate School Representative (GSR) must be in attendance at the General Examination and at the Final Examination.

Criteria for selecting the Graduate School Representative (GSR)

  • The GSR cannot have an appointment within the Pharmacology department
  • The GSR has no conflict of interest with the committee chair(s)/student (i.e., budgetary, familial, romantic).
  • The GSR must be a Graduate Faculty member with an endorsement to chair doctoral committees.
  • The GSR cannot have an affiliate or adjunct appointment with the Pharmacology department.

The names of Committee members must be submitted to the Graduate Program Specialist (Debbie Bale), who submits the information to the Graduate School with authority of the Graduate Program Advisor.

Students are required to convene a preliminary meeting with their committee members before the end of Winter quarter of their second year.

UW Graduate School references

http://www.grad.washington.edu/
http://www.grad.washington.edu/students/

Written Component of General Examination 
The written portion of the General Examination is scheduled by Dr. Wang during the month of June or July for graduate students to take at the end of their second year. The purpose of this examination is to evaluate the student’s knowledge and understanding of basic pharmacology and the medical sciences (e.g., biochemistry, physiology, molecular/cellular biology, etc.) and their ability to apply this knowledge. The exam is take-home and consists of questions written by members of the Pharmacology faculty. Questions will be graded by the authoring faculty members and an evaluation of overall performance on the exam will be provided to each student. Areas of perceived weakness will be noted and may be reexamined during the oral portion of the General Examination. Results of the Written General Examination will be included as a permanent part of the student’s record.

Second Year Courses

Fall Quarter:

PHCOLl 507 – Pharmacology Seminar (1 credit)

PHCOL 514 – Current Topics in Pharmacology (1 credit)

PHCOL 560-577 (1 credit)
Register for your Thesis Advisor’s laboratory meeting course.

PHCOL 600 – Research (Variable credits)
The number of credits to register for will vary. Student must register for at least 10 total credits and no more than 18 total credits during any given Quarter, except Summer Quarter.

Additional:
Students can take one Advanced Pharmacology course and/or additional graded approved course.

Winter Quarter:

PHCOL 507 – Pharmacology Seminar (1 credit)

PHCOL 514 – Current Topics in Pharmacology (1 credit)

PHCOL 560-577 (1 credit)
Register for your Thesis Advisor’s lab meeting course.

PHCOL 600 – Research (Variable credits)
See Fall Quarter for explanation

Additional:
Students can take one Advanced Pharmacology course and/or additional graded approved course.

Spring Quarter:

PHCOL507 – Pharmacology Seminar (1 credit)

PHCOL 514 – Current Topics in Pharmacology (1 credit)

PHCOL 560-577 (1 credit)
Register for your Thesis Advisor’s laboratory meeting course.

PHCOL 600 – Research (Variable credits)
See Fall Quarter for explanation

Additional:
Students can take one Advanced Pharmacology course and/or additional graded approved course.

Summer Quarter:

PHCOL 600 – Research (1 credit)

PHCOL 560-577 (1 credit)
Students register for their Thesis Advisor’s laboratory meeting course. Students should not register for more than 2 total credits during Summer quarter.

Biomedical Research Integrity Lecture Series: Those students supported by a training grant attend the required lectures and discussion sessions. Check with your training grant administrator for specific details.

Additional Approved Courses

PhD Requirements and Curriculum: Third Year

The student continues on his/her dissertation work and takes the oral General Examination.

Oral Component of General Examination

Students schedule the oral General Examination, which is administered by the Doctoral Thesis Supervisory Committee, during the Fall Quarter of their third year of graduate studies. The oral General Examination is chaired by a departmental faculty member who is not the Thesis Advisor. The chairing faculty member will be designated by the Thesis Advisor prior to the exam with the concurrence of the Graduate Program Committee. The examination is based, in part, on an evaluation of the student’s proposed research for the dissertation and on his or her knowledge of the disciplines important to the research.

A short thesis research proposal (in the style of an NIH F31 NRSA proposal) will be provided by the student to his/her Doctoral Thesis Supervisory Committee members at least one week prior to the oral General Examination. During the oral examination, the student will present a 30-minute description of his/her thesis proposal and dissertation research progress. This will be followed by 30 to 60 minutes of questions from the Doctoral Thesis Supervisory Committee on issues related to the thesis proposal.

  • 20 minute uninterrupted talk on background
  • 20 minutes faculty questions on foundational knowledge of their fields
  • 20 minute uninterrupted talk on proposed research
  • Up to 60 minutes faculty questions the proposed research, general knowledge of pharmacology and related disciplines

The duration may be influenced by the student’s previous performance on the written general examination and in class work. Each Committee member will be invited to ask a series of questions on general knowledge.

On the basis of an evaluation of student performance on all portions of the general examination (written general examination, oral presentation and defense of the thesis proposal), the committee recommends one of the following: 1) approval of candidacy towards the Ph.D. degree, 2) further work and subsequent reexamination (over specific areas or in total), or 3) termination from the program.

UW Graduate School reference
//grad.uw.edu/?s=doctoral+general+exam

Third Year Courses

Fall Quarter:

PHCOL 507 – Pharmacology Seminar (1 credit)
PHCOL 514 – Current Topics in Pharmacology (Journal Club) (1 credit)
PHCOL 560-577 (1 credit)
Students register for your Thesis Advisor’s laboratory meeting course.
PHCOL 600 – Research (Variable credits)
See Second Year Courses Fall Quarter for explanation

Students can take one Advanced Pharmacology course and/or additional graded approved course. Student should not register for more than 18 total credits.

Winter Quarter:

PHCOL 507 – Pharmacology Seminar (1 credit)
PHCOL 514 – Current Topics in Pharmacology (Journal Club) (1 credit)
PHCOL 560-577 (1 credit)
Students register for their Thesis Advisor’s laboratory meeting course.
PHCOL 800 – Research (Variable credits)
For students who have passed the Pharmacology written and oral General Examinations. The number of credits to register for will vary. Student must be registered for a minimum of 10 total credits and no more than 18 total credits each Quarter (except Summer Quarter).

Students can take one Advanced Pharmacology course and/or additional graded approved course. Student should not register for more than 18 total credits.

Spring Quarter:

PHCOL 507 – Pharmacology Seminar (1 credit)
PHCOL 514 – Current Topics in Pharmacology (Journal Club) (1 credit)
PHCOL 560-577 (1 credit)
Students register for Thesis Advisor’s laboratory meeting course.
PHCOL 800 – Research (Variable credits)
See Winter Quarter for explanation

Students can take one Advanced Pharmacology course and/or additional graded approved course. Student should not register for more than 18 total credits.

Summer Quarter:

PHCOL 560-577 (1 credit)
Students register for their Thesis Advisor’s laboratory meeting course.
PHCOL 800 – Doctoral Dissertation (1 credit)

Biomedical Research Integrity Lecture Series: Students supported by a training grant attend the required lectures and discussion. Check with your training grant administrator for specific details.

Additional Approved Courses

PhD Requirements and Curriculum: Fourth and Subsequent Years

The student continues with their dissertation research and prepares for their dissertation defense.

Annual Review of Dissertation Progress

Beginning the fourth year (and each subsequent year until the doctoral defense), the student will be reviewed annually by their Doctoral Thesis Supervisory Committee regarding their dissertation progress. The student prepares a two-page status report, which is circulated to the Doctoral Thesis Supervisory Committee, and meets with the Committee for a discussion of their dissertation research progress and future plans. The annual review must be completed by the end of the Winter Quarter each year.

Fourth Year Courses

Fall/Winter/Spring Quarter:

PHCOL 507 – Pharmacology Seminar (1 credit)
PHCOL 560-577 (1 credit)
Students register for your Thesis Advisor’s laboratory meeting course.
PHCOL 800 – Doctoral Dissertation (Variable credits)
See Third Year Courses Winter Quarter for explanation

Summer Quarter:

PHCOL 560-577 (1 credit)
Students register for their Thesis Advisor’s laboratory meeting course.
PHCOL 800 – Doctoral Dissertation (1 credit)

Choosing the Doctoral Supervisory Committee

During the Winter Quarter of the second year, the student (with the advice of the Thesis Advisor and the Graduate Program Committee) selects a Doctoral Thesis Supervisory committee and is required to convene a preliminary meeting with the committee. The Doctoral Thesis Supervisory Committee generally includes:

  • Pharmacology faculty most familiar with the area of the student’s research.
  • At least five but no more than seven members.
  • The majority of the Committee members should have primary appointments in Pharmacology.
  • At least one, but no more than three (including the Graduate School Representative), should be faculty members that do not hold primary appointments in Pharmacology.
  • The chair of the Doctoral Thesis Supervisory Committee (Thesis Advisor) and the Graduate School Representative must be in attendance at the General Exam and at the Final Exam.

Criteria for selecting the Graduate School Representative (GSR)

  • The GSR cannot have an appointment within Pharmacology.
  • The GSR has no conflict of interest with the committee chair(s)/student (i.e., budgetary, familial, romantic).
  • The GSR must be a Graduate Faculty member with an endorsement to chair doctoral committees.
  • The GSR cannot have an affiliate or adjunct appointment.

Once selected, the names of the Committee members are submitted to the Graduate Program Specialist, who submits them to the Graduate School with authority of the Graduate Program Advisor.

UW Graduate School references

https://grad.uw.edu/policies-procedures/graduate-school-memoranda/memo-13-supervisory-committee-for-graduate-students/

Written Component of General Examination

The written portion of the General Examination is scheduled during the month of June at the end of their second year. The purpose of this examination is to evaluate the student’s knowledge and understanding of basic pharmacology and the medical sciences (e.g., biochemistry, physiology, molecular/cellular biology, etc.) and their ability to apply this knowledge. The exam is take home and consists of questions submitted by members of the Pharmacology faculty. Questions will be graded by the authoring faculty members and an evaluation of overall performance on the exam will be provided to the student. Areas of perceived weakness will be noted and may be reexamined during the oral portion of the General Examination. Results of the written General Examination will be entered into the file as a permanent part of the student’s record.

Steps To Your Oral General Examination

  1. Contact your Thesis Advisor and committee members to find a suitable date. Your Graduate School Representative (GSR), Thesis Advisor and two other committee members must be in attendance. When you have confirmed the date and time with your committee, notify Debbie Bale (db29@uw.edu) and a suitable location will be scheduled.
  1. After you have identified a date for your oral General Examination, you will need to submit your request for a General Examination online through MyGrad at least three weeks in advance of the exam date. Notify Debbie after you have submitted your request so that she can approve the date and time of your exam.
  1. Prior to the exam, your Thesis Advisor should review your academic record (including your performance on the written General Examination) to advise you of any areas of general knowledge that require special attention.
  1. At least two weeks before the oral General Examination, a short written description of your thesis proposal must be circulated to your supervisory committee for them to review. A copy should be given to Debbie for your file. Specific guidelines for the written thesis research proposal will be provided to students at the beginning of the Fall quarter in their 3rd year.
  1. Prior to the oral General Examination, your advisor will designate another committee member to chair the oral General Examination. For the examination, be prepared to give a thirty-minute description of your thesis proposal and research progress. This will be followed by thirty to sixty minutes of questions from your committee on issues related to the proposal. After the proposal-related questions, anticipate questions on general knowledge of pharmacology and related disciplines.Debbie will provide the necessary warrant that will be given to your Advisor. Each member of your supervisory committee who is present must sign the document. Email confirmation from your committee will be accepted in lieu of signatures due to COVID-19.
  1. If it is not possible to schedule your oral General Examination by the stated deadline, please speak with Dr. Edith Wang.

After successful completion of the oral General Examination, graduate students enroll in PHCOL 800 rather than PHCOL 600. This reflects the change in status from a pre-candidate to a candidate for the doctoral degree.

 

Steps to Your Dissertation

The very first step is to select a Reading Committee, a subgroup of at least three members of your Supervisory Committee who will be appointed to read and approve your dissertation. It is the responsibility of a Reading Committee to (a) ensure that the dissertation is a significant contribution to knowledge and is an acceptable piece of scholarly writing; (b) determine the appropriateness of a candidate’s dissertation as a basis for issuing a warrant for a Final Examination and; (c) approve a candidate’s dissertation.

Once you have selected the Reading Committee, contact Debbie Bale (db29@uw.edu) with the names of your choice, Debbie will enter the Reading Committee member names into MyGrad to inform the Dean of the Graduate School. Your Reading Committee will approve your dissertation online through the MyGrad Committee View portal. Instructions will be given to them by email from the Graduate School.

Next, you will need to select a date for the thesis defense that is acceptable to your Supervisory Committee members and you. In MyGrad (https://www.grad.washington.edu/for-students-and-post-docs/mygrad-program/), schedule your doctoral final exam. Contact Debbie Bale after you have entered the information in MyGrad. Debbie will approve the date and time which will generate an email that will be sent to all your committee members.

The other formalities regarding the final submission of your dissertation are all detailed very nicely, with each step delineated, at the following website: https://grad.uw.edu/for-students-and-post-docs/thesisdissertation/

If you have any questions, please contact Debbie Bale (db29@uw.edu).