Degrees Offered

Academic Options

The Harrison School of Pharmacy offers M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Pharmaceutical Sciences. Within the degree programs are four different academic options: Health Outcomes Research and Policy, Medicinal Chemistry, Pharmaceutics, and Pharmacology. Descriptions of the options can be found below.

Health Outcomes Research and Policy

The Health Outcomes Research and Policy ooption focuses on study of the social and behavioral aspects of pharmacy, research to maximize medication-related outcomes, and comparativeeffectiveness research.

For students pursuing the M.S., at least half of the student’s work will be completed in the chosen field, including a thesis. The remainder may be selected in other pharmacy fields or may be taken in a related area outside of the Harrison School of Pharmacy such as accounting and finance, computer sciences, economics, education, industrial engineering, industrial design, architecture, management, psychology, sociology and communication. The M.S. requires a minimum of 30 semester hours and a thesis. The thesis may be counted toward part of the semester hour requirement. A student may earn a maximum of six credit hours for the thesis.

The student pursuing the Ph.D. will be expected to complete a minimum of 60 semester hours of course work in the chosen field of study. Ph.D. students will take courses offered by HORP department and by other departments (such as statistics, research methods, communication, computer science, engineering, psychology, sociology, management, economics, and epidemiology) in Auburn University. In addition, general examinations and a dissertation are required. A student must earn a minimum of 10 hours credit for the dissertation.

A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and satisfactory scores on the Graduate Record Examination are required. A pharmacy degree is preferred. There is no additional language requirement beyond verbal and written fluency in English.

Because of limited space in the program, Priority admissions may be granted for those interested in pursuing the Ph.D. degree as opposed to the M.S. degree.

Medicinal Chemistry

The Division of Medicinal Chemistry offers a comprehensive and rigorous graduate program leading to M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. The general objective of graduate training in medicinal chemistry is to provide students with a solid background in the chemical and related biological sciences, and in-depth experience in a specific area of research.

Specific research foci include concentrations in the applications of organic chemistry, analytical chemistry, natural products chemistry, biochemistry and computational chemistry to studies of identification, characterization and actions of chemical substances at cellular and molecular levels. Current areas of research include the design, synthesis and analysis of psychoactive drug substances and anticancer drugs, as well as the isolation, analysis, structure elucidation, bioassay and mechanism of action of natural products.

Graduate Certificate Program in Medicinal Chemistry


This program enables students to obtain training and to become credentialed in the field of medicinal chemistry. This field encompasses the study of drug mechanisms of action and biodisposition (absorption, distribution, metabolism and elimination), the design and synthesis of bioactive molecules, the detection and quantification of bioactive molecules, and the chemistry of natural products. Thus, the knowledge base and credentialing available through this program will enhance the ability of graduate students to obtain employment, particularly, but not exclusively, in the pharmaceutical industry. This program is being jointly administered by the Harrison School of Pharmacy and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Therefore, interested students and/or their faculty advisors should contact Prof. Jack DeRuiter (HSOP) or Prof. Stewart Schneller (Chemistry and Biochemistry) for more information.


The Pharmaceutics option encompasses the study of the theories and techniques of mathematics, chemistry and biological sciences as they apply to physical and chemical stability and biological efficacy of medicinal agents and their dosage forms.


The Pharmacology/Toxicology option is the study of the biochemical and molecular modes and mechanisms of action of biologically-active substances.

Last Updated: September 6, 2019