Curriculum Overview

Sackler Lecturer

Review the Sackler Catalog info 

Basic Science Division PhD Curriculum

The specific requirements for each basic science doctoral program vary but all programs share a basic structure. During the first year, students perform research rotations in three to four different laboratories for 9- to 11-week periods and also attend advanced-level courses. The rotations serve as an introductory course in techniques and experimental design; acquaint students more personally with faculty, staff, and other students; and help students select a thesis adviser and thesis project by the end of May of the first year.

A faculty member serves as a student adviser in each program and assists students with course selection and rotation planning. All students participate with faculty in a weekly journal club as well as in research seminars presented by guest speakers. Each program also organizes research presentations that showcase the research done by postdoctoral researchers and students. These seminar and literature review series are important learning experiences, providing an opportunity to develop communication skills and present ideas as well as to gain broad exposure in their Program as well as related disciplines.

All Basic Science Division students complete a qualifying examination that takes the form of a written research proposal coupled with an oral defense. The timing of the examination varies depending upon the specific PhD program, but typically all students have completed the examination by the end of the second year.

MS in Pharmacology & Drug Development Curriculum

The Master’s degree curriculum is a series of required and elective courses focusing on basic and clinical pharmacology as it relates to drug development. In addition to significant coursework in translational pharmacology, students must also complete three elective courses and participate in weekly journal clubs and program seminars. Students typically begin their thesis research in the summer after completing two semester-long laboratory rotations.

Clinical Research Division Curriculum

Most trainees in the Clinical Research division enter as MS degree students; some elect to complete their studies with the MS degree and others complete a qualifying examination and enter the PhD program. During the first year of study, all students complete required didactic courses. The MS program curriculum provides a strong foundation of core methods and skills, including research methods, statistics, research conduct, ethics, and manuscript and grant writing. Student are also required to complete a research-based thesis. Elective course choices are influenced by the concentration selected by each trainee. Options include: Clinical Investigation, Evidence-based Medicine, and Health Services and Outcomes Research.

Trainees that elect to pursue a PhD degree must successfully complete a qualifying examination and additional research. Students in the MS or PhD programs identify their thesis mentor and their advisory group during the first year of training.

Financing Your Education

Students in Garden

Basic Science Division students typically receive a full tuition scholarship, a stipend and health insurance throughout their time as Sackler students.
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Sackler Policies

Sackler Entrance

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Apply to the Sackler School


The priority application deadlines are as follows:

December 1: Basic Science Division PhD Programs

February 15: Building Diversity in Biomedical Sciences

March 31: Post-Baccalaureate Research Program

May 1: Clinical & Translational Science, MS in Pharmacology & Drug Development

June 15: Online Certificate in Fundamentals of Clinical Care Research