Pharmaceutical Sciences

FAQs for Pharmaceutical Sciences Graduate Programs

  1. What is the difference between a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences and a Doctorate of Pharmacy Practice (PharmD)? The UMass Lowell Pharmaceutical Sciences PhD program prepares scientists and researchers to work in biopharmaceutical industry, academic, government service, private business, or other relevant areas. The curriculum of the Pharmaceutical Sciences Ph.D. program is geared toward development and evaluation of new drug therapies, and research on drug modalities, drug delivery, drug metabolism, and pharmaceutical analysis. In contrast, a PharmD program is a professional practice degree that prepares pharmacists to enter clinical practice. 
  2. How are the Master’s in Pharmaceutical Sciences (MS) and Professional Science Master’s in Pharmaceutical Sciences (PSM) different?  Both The MS and PSM programs in Pharmaceutical Sciences are designed to provide a foundation for work in the biopharmaceutical industry. Graduates of the MS program will be expected to support technical roles in research and production settings that will help meet the need for new drugs to treat human disease and that will evaluate the effectiveness of drug therapies, including drug safety. Graduates of the PSM program will have the knowledge and skills to support technical roles in the laboratory and production systems, as well as possess business and entrepreneurship skills that will enable the graduate to assume leadership roles in the biopharmaceutical industry. 
  3. Are there application deadlines for the MS, PSM, or PhD programs? There are no application deadlines for the MS and PSM programs. However, applications for the PhD program in Pharmaceuticals must be completed by March 1 to be given priority consideration. 
  4. What preparatory courses should I take? Students applying to any of the Pharmaceutical Sciences graduate programs are expected to have successfully demonstrated undergraduate level knowledge of biochemistry, calculus, general and organic chemistry, and physics. 
  5. What are the admission requirements? General admission policies for all UMass Lowell graduate programs can be found at in the catalog.
    MS/PSM requirements: Applicants to the MS or PSM programs must possess a BS degree or be in the last semester of their baccalaureate program and have a minimum GPA of 3.25. Up to 12 credits of graduate work from other Universities can be transferred to UMass Lowell if approved by the graduate coordinator.

    Ph.D. requirements: Applicants to the Ph.D. program must possess a BS or MS degree or be in the last semester of their baccalaureate or master’s program.

    For courses from prior master's degrees to be applied toward meeting course credit requirements in the doctoral program, they must be reviewed by the Graduate Coordinator and determined to be equivalent to courses required in the Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences program. A maximum of 24 credits can be transferred to the UMass Lowell Ph.D. program. UMass Lowell policy allows transfer of an international or American master’s degree toward doctoral requirements. With Ph.D. Graduate Committee review and approval, all courses in the degree can be transferred into the Ph.D. program. This may result in an increased number of total credits earned for the doctoral degree completion beyond the master’s, or the PhD Graduate Committee can require that a Ph.D. student complete all the course work in the PhD program in Pharmaceutical Sciences rather than accept a prior master’s degree.

    To qualify for admission into the Ph.D. program, applicants are expected to be graduates of an accredited U.S. college or university or an approved international equivalent institution and have a minimum of 2 years relevant laboratory experience either involved in faculty-led research or in an industry setting. Applicants must submit an application, a personal essay, GRE scores, three letters of recommendation, and official academic transcripts. It is expected that first-year applicants will have a baccalaureate-level GPA of 3.25 or higher and/or a master’s level GPA of 3.5 or higher.

    According to UMass Lowell policy for graduate admissions, all international applicants to graduate programs are required to submit results of the TOEFL exam except citizens of Australia, Canada (except Quebec), United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, Guyana and English-speaking countries of Africa and West Indies. International students are expected to at least meet the minimum UMass Lowell TOEFL requirements (79). The TOEFL requirement can be waived if an applicant can demonstrate that they have successfully completed at least two academic semesters of full time college/ university study in the USA with a GPA of 3.25 by the date of submission of the application. 
  6. Is there a specific bachelor's degree recommended for entry into the programs? No, but applicants are expected to have a solid background in biochemistry, calculus, general and organic chemistry, and physics. 
  7. Is there a special application process or requirements for any Pharmaceutical Sciences programs? No, there are no special requirements except for the GPA thresholds required for the programs (minimum 3.25 undergraduate GPA and 3.5 graduate GPA for first-year students). The application form is the standard UMass Lowell application, which can be found on the Graduate Admissions website.
  8. Will there be an upcoming open-house event or a chance to tour the facilities? The Office of Graduate Admissions is holding their next open house on Wednesday, August 27, 2014, 3:00-7:00 p.m., at the UMass Lowell Inn and Conference Center. See more details. If you wish to tour the campus before that, the Undergraduate Admissions office offers daily campus tours; see The Pharmaceutical Sciences program will be utilizing brand-new lab space in the Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center (ETIC). The regular campus tour includes ETIC, but some lab spaces are still under construction and are not available for public tours. 
  9. I would like to enroll part-time.  Does the program offer evening or weekend classes? Full or part-time study is possible in the MS or PSM programs. Many of the courses for the MS or PSM programs will be offered afternoons or evenings to accommodate working professionals. Some of the science courses may be offered in the morning to accommodate scheduling in the Science Departments. Several of the PSM courses will be offered online. We expect the PhD program to be a full-time commitment. Courses are currently scheduled weekdays. 
  10. Can I transfer into the programs? Yes. The admission requirements are the same as for first-year students except that transfer students must have a minimum graduate GPA of 3.5. The admission forms are the same as for first-year students. The MS curriculum consists of 37 credits of coursework and the PSM curriculum consists of 36 credits of coursework. Up to 12 course credits of equivalent graduate courses may be transferred from another university if approved by the graduate coordinator. The Ph.D. curriculum consists of 61 credits of coursework plus 12 credits of a doctoral dissertation. Up to 24 equivalent graduate course credits may be transferred from another university if approved by the graduate coordinator. We will not accept transfer students in the 2014-2015 academic year. 
  11. Where can I find outlines of the program curricula? View the MS program in the catalog. View the PSM program in the catalog. View the PhD program in the catalog
  12. What the arrangements for funding to support Ph.D. students? What are the criteria to be funded? Do you plan to offer any teaching or research assistantships or fellowships? We hope to have teaching assistantships to offer to our first year Ph.D. students, with research assistantships to follow. We are a new program and have not yet confirmed plans or criteria for financial assistance. We will keep PhD applicants informed when we have established guidelines for the financial assistance that will be available. 
  13. Can students apply for both the master's and PhD program simultaneously? We generally recommend applying to only one program. Note that the MS curriculum is the same as the first two years of the PhD curriculum. 
  14. Is there a transition procedure for MS students to become Ph.D. candidates after they have finished the 2-year core curriculum? Students who do well in the MS program will be encouraged to apply to the PhD program but will not be guaranteed acceptance. MS students who wish to earn a Ph.D. at UMass Lowell will need to complete the standard application process for the Ph.D.