Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Science with an Emphasis in Pharmacoengineering
Started in fall 2013, the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy offers the Ph.D. in pharmaceutical science with an emphasis on pharmacoengineering, an emerging discipline that integrates engineering methods with pharmaceutical sciences.
Pharmacoengineers apply the latest experimental approaches from life sciences, chemistry, and physics in conjunction with theoretical and quantitative methods from engineering, mathematics, and computer science to solve problems in medicine and drug therapies. Our program — a joint effort between the School’s Division of Molecular Pharmaceutics and the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at UNC-Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University — prepares students to work at the interface of engineering and pharmaceutical sciences to develop safer and more effective medicine and medical technologies.
Our program is among the first of its kind in the country. It provides students not only with a strong knowledge base in both pharmaceutical sciences and engineering, but also a highly interdisciplinary research experience. Students have the flexibility to work with any of more than two dozen outstanding faculty members with expertise in a variety of fields within pharmacy and engineering.
Our proximity to the Research Triangle Park offers ample research collaboration and employment opportunities for our students. Many of the research projects undertaken by students are highly collaborative, often involving joint work between pharmacy and engineering faculty and colleagues at the UNC School of Medicine, the UNC Department of Chemistry, or one of the many pharmaceutical companies and institutions in the RTP, such as GlaxoSmithKline, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and the Chemical Industry Institute of Toxicology.
If you are interested in the pharmacoengineering curriculum, you can apply through one of the following programs:
- The Molecular Pharmaceutics Ph.D. program at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy
- The BME Graduate Program
Note: Prospective students can apply to this program through either the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy or the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering. Upon completing the program, they will receive a Ph.D. from whichever program they applied to.
- (teaching and research assistantships available to graduate students in the School of Pharmacy provide a stipend of $27,500)
- Minimum of 24 credits of coursework including elective courses, but excluding 1 credit for seminar.
- Participate in weekly seminar each semester. Students in their 3rd year have the opportunity to give a seminar each year. The final defense fulfills this requirement in the last year of study
- Research credit (i.e. lab rotation) or dissertation credit of at least 3 hours per semester
- Doctoral written and oral exam. The Qualifying Exam process (i.e, written and oral exam) is designed to assess the extent of the student’s knowledge acquired from course work in pharmaceutical science and test his or her ability to integrate and apply knowledge to practical problems.
- Dissertation and final defense
We believe in the importance of in-depth training of students both in pharmaceutical sciences and modern engineering, mathematics, and computer science, as well as in the conduct of original research leading to the doctoral dissertation. Thus, we have designed the curriculum to offer rigorous and comprehensive training in the key principles of pharmaceutical sciences and engineering, yet maintain a high degree of flexibility for students to tailor the coursework to their specific interests suitable to their research projects.
|MOPH 864||Pharmacoengineering in Drug Delivery||3 credits|
|BMME 890||Bio Transport||3 credits|
|DPET 855||Principles of Pharmacokinetics||3 credits|
|MOPH 862||Advanced Pharmaceutics||3 credits|
|MATH||Math/Applied Math Elective (Chose from list below)||3 credits|
|BMME||Engineering Elective 1 (Chose from list below)||3 credits|
|BIOS 550||Basic Elements of Probability and Statistical Inference||3 credits|
|DPET 831||Design and Analysis of Clinical Drug Trials||3 credits|
|General Elective 1||3 credits|
|General Elective 2||3 credits|
|Arranged with research adviser; to be specific for research area|
|BMME 890||BME Graduate Seminar (every semester)||1 credit|
|MOPH 899||Molecular Pharmaceutics Seminar||1 credit|
|CTRC||Responsible Conduct of Research (choose one)||1 credit|
|GRAD 721; Research Ethics|
|PHCY 801: Ethical Dilemmas in Research|
Math/Applied Math Electives
|BMME 515||Biomathematical Modeling|
|BMME 530||Digital Signal Processing I|
|BMME 775||Image Processing and Analysis|
|BMME 730||Digital Signal Processing II|
|BMME 860||Numerical Methods for Biomedical Engineering|
|MATH 528||Mathematical Methods for the Physical Sciences|
|MATH 535||Introduction to Probability|
|MATH 547||Linear Algebra for Applications|
|MATH 564||Math Modeling|
|MATH 566||Introduction to Numerical Analysis|
|MATH 577||Linear Algebra|
|MATH 661||Scientific Computation|
|MATH 768||Mathematical Modeling I|
|BMME 465||Biomedical Instrumentation I|
|BMME 532||Microelectrode Techniques|
|BMME 530||Digital Signal Processing|
|COMP 665||Images, Graphics and Vision|
|BMME 550||Medical Imaging: Ultrasound, MRI and Optical|
|BMME 560||Medical Imaging: X-ray, CT and Nuclear|
|BMME 551||Medical Device Design|
|BMME 580||Microcontroller Applications I|
|BMME 515||Introduction to Systems Biology|
|GNET 711-717||(3 x 1 credit) Bioinformatics|
Other courses can fulfill these electives upon petition by the student and approval by the director of graduate studies or the student’s Ph.D. advisory committee.
There is growing interest and need worldwide for Ph.D.s at the cutting edge of this exciting discipline, in academic institutions as well as the biomedical, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical industries. Data from the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists, the primary national organization for the pharmaceutical sciences, indicate that at least three thousand positions exist for scientists with a Ph.D. in the subspecialties represented by pharmacoengineering, and the demand for such scientists and engineers are rapidly expanding. In addition, graduates from the Division of Molecular Pharmaceutics have traditionally been highly sought after — primarily by industry — and often receive offers of employment well in advance of finishing their degree.