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Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences 2022 - 2023 Catalog

PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences

Pharmaceutical Sciences Ph.D.

Thomas Abbruscato, Ph.D., GSBS Senior Associate Dean and Chair, Pharmaceutical Sciences

Sanjay Srivastava, Ph.D., GSBS Associate Dean and Chair, Immunotherapeutics and Biotechnology

Abraham Al-Ahmad, Ph.D., Graduate Program Advisor

Laurence Wood, Ph.D., Assistant Graduate Program Advisor

About the Program

Click Here to View Program Guidelines for Pharmaceutical Sciences

Pharmaceutical Sciences (offered on the Amarillo and Abilene campuses) encompass all those areas of pharmacy research that pertain to drug design, delivery, formulations, therapeutics and immunotherapeutics, and biotechnology. The faculty members of the department exhibit research interests and expertise in drug design and delivery, pharmacology, pharmaceutics, pharmacokinetics, drug receptor modeling, molecular biology, biochemistry, pathophysiology, immunology and cancer biology and therapy, and medicinal chemistry. The graduate program in pharmaceutical sciences is designed to educate students for careers in pharmaceutical industry, academia, and federal agencies including the FDA and NIH. Admissions requirements include a degree in pharmacy, chemistry, biology, or related areas. Teaching and research assistantships are awarded on a competitive basis. The departmental courses are listed below. For more information contact Teresa Carlisle, graduate program coordinator, 806.414.9329 or email

Pharmaceutical Sciences Core Curriculum

Students entering the Students entering the Pharmaceutical Sciences doctoral degree program are admitted as rotating students. A rotating student must select an advisor by the end of their first spring semester. Currently, master’s students are admitted only as rotating students. They will complete two rotations within their first semester. Doctoral and Master’s students enrolled in the Graduate Program in Pharmaceutical Sciences (GPPS) will complete the core curriculum in two years (by the end of the spring semester of their second year). This curriculum was designed to give all GPPS students a unified and coordinated foundation that would serve as a basis for further study in individual disciplines within the pharmaceutical sciences. This curriculum is designed to accommodate both doctoral and master’s students who have declared interests in specific research areas. Core curriculum courses will be taken during the first two years, and include Biochemistry, Experimental Design and Biostatistics, Responsible Conduct of Research, Principles of Drug Action, Graduate Pharmaceutics, Basic Pharmacokinetics and Pharmaceutical Sciences Seminar Series. Doctoral students will complete the core curriculum with Physiology-Based Pharmacology. For more information please see the Core Curriculum Policy, here:


Applicants apply on the GSBS application website, where they create an account and choose the program application and campus.

All completed applications received by the application deadline are reviewed by the Pharmaceutical Sciences Admissions Committee. Committee membership is comprised of six members selected by a nomination/election process by the program faculty.

A completed application consists of the following items: submitted application, unofficial transcript(s) from all U.S. institutions attended and/or course-by-course transcript evaluation from all international institutions attended, GRE, English Proficiency exam (for international applicants) at least two letters of recommendation, essay/statement of purpose, resume/CV, application fee.

Incomplete applications at the application deadline are not and will not be processed or reviewed for admission. No exceptions are made.

Committee members conduct a holistic application review. Members submit a rubric evaluating applicants on personal essay, letters of recommendation, prior research experience and work history. The numerical rating is compiled into a weighted composite score to arrive at a final admission score.

Select applicants are interviewed and after the interview, the committee discusses the applicant (which includes the application, required supplemental items and interview) and votes to either forward to the GSBS Admissions Committee or deny admission. Voting requires a simple majority of committee members present, and a quorum is required for a meeting. All applicants recommended for admission are forwarded to the GSBS school-wide admissions committee for consideration for approval.  

129-Hour Rule


To define enrollment limits sanctioned by the Texas Legislature and outline the process for doctoral students approaching maximum limits. Master’s students may not reduce hours unless they are designated by the GSBS office as “off-campus” students. Master’s students that are designated as off-campus students should review the guidelines under “semester of graduation” within the Enrollment section. Reduced enrollment hours may affect financial aid status and/or payroll FICA exemptions. Students are encouraged to check with financial aid and the payroll office before taking the reduced hours. International students should also check with the TTUHSC DSO to verify hours for compliance with the Department of Homeland Security. Typically, international students may only reduce hours in their last semester. Any exceptions must be approved and updated in SEVIS. 

  1. Once a doctoral student has passed candidacy and accumulated 120 hours, the student may register for 3 hours each semester for up to one year.

    Ex. 3 hours - Fall; 3 hours - Spring; 3 hours - Summer

    NOTE: If student elects the 3-3-3 enrollment and does not complete the degree requirements within that period, the student must resume full-time status (9 hours per long semester). 

  2. Students accumulating 130+ hours may be charged out-of-state tuition (full-cost) and forfeit any GSBS state-funded Research Assistantship. The faculty mentor will be responsible for the student’s salary once the student exceeds 130 semester credit hours.
  3. Out-of-state tuition may be waived for students exceeding 130 hours if those students entered the doctoral program with excessive hours from a master's degree. Requests for tuition waivers must be approved by the GSBS Office. 

Qualifying Examination & Admission to Candidacy

For detailed information regarding the Qualifying Examination, see the Qualifying Exam Guidelines


A dissertation is required of every candidate for a doctoral degree. The dissertation work must earn a grade of at least B in order to qualify the student for graduation. 

Defenses may be scheduled at a suitable time after the dissertation (not necessarily the final copy) has been read by the advisory committee. Defenses should be scheduled during an active term and not between terms or during extended break periods. They are generally open to the public and considered open meetings. The dissertation copy is typically provided to the committee two weeks prior to the oral examination. The required forms noting the time, place, and other information pertaining to the examination are available on the GSBS website. The examination is conducted by the advisory committee and a representative of the GSBS Dean. All members of the committee participate fully in the examination and cast a vote. Faculty members other than members of the committee, including the Dean’s representative, may participate in the examination, but have no vote in determining the outcome. At the conclusion of the examination, the Chairperson of the advisory committee will send the Dissertation Oral Signature Defense Form to the GSBS Office, giving the result of the examination.

The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences strongly recommends that each student be required to present and defend a dissertation proposal before his or her committee early in the course of the research. The subject of the dissertation must be approved by the advisory committee and the GSBS Office at least four months before the candidate’s proposed date of graduation. The dissertation must demonstrate a mastery of the techniques of research, a thorough understanding of the subject matter and its background, and a high degree of skill in organizing and presenting the materials. The dissertation should embody a significant contribution of new information to a subject or a substantial reevaluation of existing knowledge, presented in a scholarly style. The work on the dissertation is constantly under the supervision of the advisory committee and any other faculty the committee or GSBS Office may consider necessary. A copy of the dissertation should be presented to the committee members and the Dean’s representative at least two weeks prior to the defense.


Dissertation hours are graded with a CR except for the last semester in which a letter grade is assigned. At the instructor’s discretion, a letter grade may be assigned to the last 12 hours of dissertation. The letter grade assigned for the written dissertation and oral presentation/defense is based upon evaluation by committee members using the Dissertation Rubric.


Registration for at least 12 hours of 8000 is required for a doctoral dissertation. Once dissertation hours have begun, a student must be enrolled in such courses every semester until graduation unless granted an official leave of absence. Students may not enroll in dissertation courses before formal admission to a degree program by the GSBS Office.

Reference Manual

Students may reference the Thesis – Dissertation Manual. All manuscripts must conform to the published policies. The final copy of the dissertation must be submitted electronically to the GSBS office. Dissertations must be accompanied by an abstract of no more than 350 words. GSBS does not require a bound copy, although additional copies may be required by the advisory committee. The GSBS Office recommends utilizing to purchase bound copies, however any bindery is acceptable.

ETD – Electronic Thesis & Dissertations

The final copy of the dissertation must be submitted electronically to the GSBS office along with the ETD Account Information for HSC Students. Detailed instructions for completing the ETD account information is available on the GSBS website. The GSBS will forward the documents to the TTU Library for archival on the ETD website.


Early in the semester of graduation, the candidate will pay the HSC Bursar’s Office a document fee to cover the cost of uploading and storing the dissertation to the ETD website.

Dissertation Announcements

Department Coordinators should notify all GSBS faculty and the GSBS office of all defenses at least 6 weeks prior to the defense for posting to the GSBS on-line event calendar. Faculty interested in attending the defense at an off-site location should notify coordinators at least 4 weeks prior to the defense so room arrangements can be made and TechLink or Zoom secured. Two (2) weeks prior to the defense, coordinators should prepare and forward a copy of the dissertation announcement template to all GSBS faculty and students. 

  • GPSC 5101 Topics in Pharmaceutical Sciences (1:1:0,F)

    (1:1:0). Special topics in pharmaceutical sciences that are not normally included in other classes. May be repeated for credit with change in content.

  • GPSC 5112 Principles and Techniques in Structure Determination of Bioactive Molecules (1:1:0,F)

    An Advanced analytical chemistry course. The course is designed to familiarize doctoral candidates with general principles of modern spectroscopy techniques including MS, UV, IR, and general chromatography, introduce the minimum data required to identify the structure of a macromolecule and interpret data produced from MS, HPLC, IR spectra. Course Prerequisite: Admission to the Pharmaceutical Sciences Graduate Program. Students must have passed GPSC 5410 General Biochemistry and GPSC 5504 Principles of Drug Action.

  • GPSC 5113 Molecular Structure Determination by NMR Spectroscopy (1:1:0,F)

    An advanced analytical chemistry course. The course is designed to familiarize doctoral candidates with general principles of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectroscopy techniques including 1N, 13C, 2D and 3D experiments, introduce the data required to assign the structure of a molecule including any stereochemistry/isomers, and interpret spectra produced from 1H and 13C and heteronuceli NMR. Course Prerequisite: Admission to the Pharmaceutical Sciences Graduate Program. Students must have passed GPSC 5410 General Biochemistry and GPSC 5504 Principles of Drug Action.

  • GPSC 5201 Topics in Pharmaceutical Sciences (2:2:0,F)

    (2:2:0). Special topics in pharmaceutical sciences that are not normally included in other classes. May be repeated for credit with change in content.

  • GPSC 5215 Advanced Course in Neurosciences (2:2:0,F)

    An advanced course designed to provide an overview of different aspects of neurosciences. This course is especially designed for graduate students interested to develop their neuroscience expertise and also introduced to different aspects of neurobiology, including but not limited to neuroanatomy, neurodevelopment, neurophysiology, neuroimaging and neurological diseases. Course Prerequisite: This course is designed for students with a basic knowledge of human anatomy and physiology. Successful completion of Biochemistry (GPSC5410) and Principles of Drug action (GPSC5504) is mandatory.

  • GPSC 5220 Drugs of Abuse (2:2:0,F)

    This course is designed to teach the students the pharmacology of different classes of abused drugs and the physiologic and societal aspects of addiction. Course Prerequisite: Biochemistry and Principles of Drug Action. In addition, while it is not required it is highly recommended that Pharmacology is completed or nearly complete by the time the course starts.

  • GPSC 5230 Experimental Design and Biostatistics (2:2:0,F)

    Principle of experimental research design, theoretical and practical issues of measurements and data collection; biostatistics in research design and data analyses for graduate students pursuing pharmaceutical and biomedical researches. Course Prerequisite: Admission to TTUHSC Graduate Program of Pharmaceutical Sciences

  • GPSC 5301 Topics in Pharmaceutical Sciences (3:3:0,F)

    (3:3:0). Special topics in pharmaceutical sciences that are not normally included in other classes. May be repeated for credit with change in content.

  • GPSC 5303 Topics in Pharmaceutical Sciences (3:3:0,F)

    (3:3:0). Special topics in pharmaceutical sciences that are not normally included in other classes. May be repeated for credit with change in content.

  • GPSC 5304 Principles of Drug Action (3:3:0,F)

    (3:3:0). Principles that govern drug action within the body (pharmacodynamics) as well as drug absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion (pharmacokinetics).

  • GPSC 5307 Pharmaceutical Sciences Research Methods (3:0:3,F)

    (3:3:3). A lecture and laboratory course designed to provide an overview of current research methods in pharmaceutical sciences under direct guidance of a faculty member.

  • GPSC 5310 Drug Design and Discovery (3:3:0,F)

    (3:3:0). Prerequisite: GPSC 5504. Overview of new methods for quantitative SAR, computer-aided drug design, mass screening, and combinatorial chemistry.

  • GPSC 5311 Drug Development and Discovery (3:3:0,F)

    The steps and processes involved in drug development and discovery. Course Prerequisite: N/A

  • GPSC 5320 Drug Metabolism (3:3:0,F)

    (3:3:0). Analysis of primary metabolic enzymatic systems involved in the clearance of drugs from the body and the mechanisms that regulate their activity.

  • GPSC 5325 Medicinal Chemistry (3:3:0,F)

    (3:3:0). A comprehensive study of the chemistry of drug molecules and their interactions to aid in the understanding of concepts such as drug discovery and design.

  • GPSC 5326 Cancer Biology and Therapeutics (3:3:0,F)

    This course is designed for graduate students studying molecular and cellular basis of cancer. The course offers principles of cancer biology from origin of cancers to therapeutic intervention principles. Admission to the Pharmaceutical Sciences Graduate Program and basic knowledge of biochemistry and cell biology are required. Permission from the advisor and the team leader are also required.

  • GPSC 5330 Advanced Pharmacokinetics (3:3:0,F)

    Advanced topics related to pharmacokinetics (PK) and pharmacodynamics (PD) of drugs and their metabolites with particular emphasis on modeling strategies appropriate for PK/PD research. Course Prerequisite: Basic Pharmacokinetics (GPSC 5329) and Course Director's Consent.

  • GPSC 5350 Advanced Pharmaceutics (3:3:0,F)

    (3:3:0). Prerequisite: Drug Delivery Systems 3 or equivalent. Quantitative treatment of reactions of pharmaceutical interest. Drug decomposition, approaches to stabilization and preservation, accelerated stability analysis, complexation, and micromeritics.

  • GPSC 5356 Advanced Principles of Disease (3:3:0,F)

    (3:3:0). Pathophysiological mechanisms at the molecular and cellular level. Lecture and discussion will cover the etiology, pathogenesis, functional changes, and clinical significance of general diseases.

  • GPSC 5362 Pharmaceutical Regulatory Affairs (3:3:0,F)

    Basic regulatory and Quality Assurance concepts. Course Prerequisite: N/A

  • GPSC 5370 Biotechnology (3:3:0,F)

    (3:3:0). An introduction to the area of molecular biology, genomics, and protein chemistry.

  • GPSC 5375 Immunology (3:3:0,F)

    The structural components of the human immune system; the cellular and molecular basis of immunological function; diagnostic tests using immunological reagents; mechanisms of resistance against microbial and neoplastic diseases; transplantation immunology; pathology of immune-mediated diseases; prevention of disease by vaccines; pharmacotherapeutic intervention in immunological processes; contemporary topics In immunology.

  • GPSC 5410 General Biochemistry (4:4:0,F)

    Chemical and molecular aspects of biological processes, including the chemistry of biomolecules, enzymology, bioenergy, biochemical control mechanisms, and molecular biology. Discussion of metabolic diseases and fundamentals of human nutrition.

  • GPSC 5411 Graduate Pharmaceutics (4:4:0,F)

    Covers the physical chemical principles for the development of safe and effective pharmaceutical dosage forms, fabrication of conventional liquid, solid and aerosolized dosage forms, fundamental of various drug delivery systems, and the process of drug development, discovery and commercialization. Course prerequisite: Admission to the Graduate Program of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

  • GPSC 5429 Pharmacokinetics (4:4:0,F)

    Introduces the basic principles of pharmacokinetics, including compartmental and physiological analysis of the time courses of drug absorption, distribution, and elimination, with an emphasis on the pharmacokinetic-based dosage-regimen design. Course prerequisite: Admission to the Graduate Program of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

  • GPSC 5435 Physiology-Based Pharmacology (4:4:0,F)

    This is an integrated course of physiology and pharmacology, with an introduction to clinical pharmacology. The emphasis will be on understanding drug actions at the molecular, cellular, organ and whole organism level for select classes of drugs.

  • GPSC 5440 Biopharmaceutics (4:4:0,F)

    Advanced treatment of the influence of dosage forms, route of administration, and dosage regimen on drug availability and newer technologies for targeting drug delivery to specific organs and cell types. Prerequisite: DDS 3rd and kinetics or equivalent.

  • GPSC 5455 Graduate Pharmaceutics (4:4:0,F)

    Physicochemical principles for the design and development of pharmaceutical dosage forms. Advanced instruction in solution, suspension, and semisolid dosage forms.

  • GPSC 5504 Principles of Drug Action (5:5:0,F)

    This introductory course is designed to facilitate understanding of fundamental concepts relating to drug action. It covers basic principles of pharmacology, toxicology, and medicinal chemistry. Course prerequisites include the admission to the Pharmaceutical Sciences Graduate Program, and students must have passed GPSC 5510 General Biochemistry. (F/IVC)

  • GPSC 6000 Master's Thesis (1-6:0:1-6,F)

    Master's Thesis

  • GPSC 6002 Master's Thesis (1-6:0:1-6,F)

    Master's Thesis

  • GPSC 6003 Master's Thesis (1-6:0:1-6,F)

    Master's Thesis

  • GPSC 7000 Pharmaceutical Sciences Research (1-12:0:1,F)

    Pharmaceutical Sciences Research

  • GPSC 7002 Pharmaceutical Sciences Research (1-12:0:1-12,F)

    Pharmaceutical Sciences Research

  • GPSC 7003 Pharm Sciences Research (1-12:0:1-12,F)

    Pharmaceutical Sciences Research

  • GPSC 7101 Pharmaceutical Sciences Seminar (1:0:1,F)

    (1:1:0). Weekly seminar series designed to provide training in research data presentation and analysis.

  • GPSC 7103 Pharmaceutical Sciences Seminar (1:0:1,F)

    (1:1:0). Weekly seminar series designed to provide training in research data presentation and analysis.

  • GPSC 8000 Doctoral Dissertation (1-12:0:1-12,F)

  • GPSC 8002 Doctoral Dissertation (1-12:0:1-12,F)

    Doctoral Dissertation

  • GPSC 8003 Doctoral Dissertation (1-12:0:1-12,F)

    Doctoral Dissertation