The MS in Pharmaceutical Sciences (PSC) curriculum includes a set of core courses that all students must take, along with a variety of elective courses focused on cutting-edge areas of pharmaceutical science.

Courses are held in-person and via synchronous distance learning technology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) campus, and Universities at Shady Grove in Rockville, Md. At a minimum, students must complete 35 credits to graduate, including 19 credits in required core courses, 13 credits in research, and three credits in elective courses.

There is no thesis required for the MS in PSC, but students are required to complete and present a capstone project in their last semester that highlights the research and findings from their biopharmaceutical research internship.

Course Schedule


Year 1, Fall Semester [10-11 Credits]

PHAR 600: Principles of Drug Discovery [3] PHAR 628: Bioanalytical Methods [3] PHAR 615: Ethics and Biostatistics [2] PHAR 705: Journal Club/Seminar [1] PHAR 608: Lab Rotation [1-2]

Year 1, Spring Semester [8-10 Credits]

PHAR 601: Principles of Drug Development [3] PHAR 639: Molecular Spectroscopy and Imaging [2-3] PHAR 705: Journal Club/Seminar [1] PHAR 608: Lab Rotation [1-2] PHAR 687: Process Analytical Technologies for Pharmaceutical Manufacturing [1]


Year 1, Summer Semester [3-8 Credits]

PHAR 688: Biopharmaceutical Research Internship [1-6] PHAR 689: Research Project Design and Management [1]

Year 2, Fall Semester [6-11 Credits]

PHAR 688: Biopharmaceutical Research Internship [1-6] PHAR 689: Research Project Design and Management [1] PHAR 691: MS Departmental Seminar [1] PHAR 690: Biopharmaceutical Capstone Project [2]

Required Core Courses (19 Credits)

PHAR600: Principles of Drug Discovery (3 Credits)
This interdisciplinary course describes the inter-relationship among the disciplines of the pharmaceutical sciences, and establishes the basic theoretical background essential to the drug design and development process. A progression of pharmaceutical sciences content is presented and considers the drug discovery process, beginning with traditional drug design and optimization of drug structure, continuing with principles of pharmacology, including macromolecular structure, followed by modern drug discovery methods based on knowledge of the structure and pharmacology of the target molecule.

PHAR601: Principles of Drug Development (3 Credits)
This interdisciplinary course describes the inter-relationship among the disciplines of the pharmaceutical sciences, and establishes the basic theoretical background essential to the drug design and development process. Built on material presented in PHAR 600 Principles of Drug Discovery, the course covers the areas of pharmaceutics, biopharmaceutics, pharmacokinetics, and drug metabolism. Integrative competency is developed and demonstrated in the final module.

PHAR608: Introduction to Laboratory Research (2 Credits)
This course provides the student with the opportunity to rotate through laboratories of faculty that perform pharmaceutical sciences research.

PHAR615: PSC Ethics and Biostatistics (2 Credits)
Recent decades have seen many examples of challenges to ethics in scientific research. With the goal to provide contemporary and complete training in research, this course will expose students to acceptable and unacceptable ethical behaviors. To help understand the issues and aid discussions, this course will be heavily case-based. Students will also gain training in appropriate experimental design and ways of conducting experiments and analyzing data. They will learn to identify ethical issues in a practical sense by critical review of manuscripts. This course will be offered to graduate students and Pharmacy students. Moreover, a basic understanding of statistical analyses is an essential complement to proper experimental design and data analysis. Knowledge gained will be considered an integral component of their research training in the pharmaceutical sciences.

PHAR628: Bioanalytical and Pharmacological Methods (2 Credits)
This course describes current techniques and strategies for isolating, detecting and analyzing experimental data. Topics range from methods relevant to small molecules to tissues and cells to whole animals.

PHAR639: Molecular Spectroscopy and Imaging (2 Credits)
This course introduces students to spectrometric techniques for the elucidation of molecular structure and to the analysis of pharmaceutically important materials. The methodologies covered include ultraviolet-visible, infrared, nuclear magnetic resonance, and mass and fluorescence spectrometry. The class includes discussions of physical principles, instrumentation involved, exercises in the interpretation of spectrometric data, and examples of application.

PHAR705: PSC Journal Club (2 Credits)
This course is designed as a forum for students to present research projects to a peer audience and to help students thoroughly disseminate, analyze, and critique current research related to the pharmaceutical sciences. Students will be introduced to interdisciplinary research topics. Journal discussions with be coordinated with department seminar speaker’s research interests.

Elective Courses (3 Credits)

Please note that electives do not need to be taken as grouped here, but can be selected based on the individual student's interests.

PHAR610: Pharmaceutical Formulation and Unit Processes (2-4 Credits)
This course addresses the rational design and formulation of dosage forms, and the processes and equipment in their large scale manufacture. Consideration is on how the interplay of formulation and process variables affects both the manufacturability of the dosage form and its performance as a drug delivery system.

PHAR621: Molecular Biophysics (1-3 Credits)
This course focuses on physical aspects of the structure and function paradigm of biological and pharmaceutical molecules. It is designed for both experimentally and theoretically/computationally oriented graduate students in pharmaceutical, chemical, biochemical and medical sciences. This course offers student’s exposure to basic theories and computational methods for studying the mechanisms of biological systems at an atomic level of detail.

PHAR622: Advanced Pharmacogenomics (1 Credit)
Interindividual variability in drug effects and the lack of reliable prediction of this variability have been recognized as major barriers to safe and efficient therapeutics. Genetic makeup is one of the intricate factors that has substantial influence on drug efficacy or toxicity. Pharmacogenomics deals with hereditary and effects on drug response. It combines traditional pharmaceutical sciences with contemporary knowledge of genes, proteins and SNPs. The objective of this course is to enable the student to understand basic pharmacogenomic principles, and their potential use for developing better and safer drugs.

PHAR651: Recent Advances in Pharmacology (1 Credit)
Provides students with an understanding of the recent progress in basic and clinical pharmacology research, from new concepts in pharmacology to the new techniques and trends in pharmacology.

PHAR667: Organic Synthesis in Drug Design (1-2 Credits)
Students are taught the application of synthetic organic chemistry to drug design. The course includes instruction in a range of standard functional group transformations and chemical mechanisms. Discussion then shifts to apply this synthetic chemistry knowledge to the synthesis of peptides, peptoids, small-molecules and natural products. Protecting group chemistry as well as solid phase synthesis are also discussed.

PHAR707: Drug Transport and Metabolism (3 Credits)
This course will provide basic knowledge about drug absorption at different sites in the human body (e.g., intestine, blood-brain barrier, kidney, liver) and the physicochemical and pharmaceutical factors, as well as pathophysiologic conditions, that influence drug penetration. This course will allow the students to understand the choice of a particular absorption route and dosage form. Furthermore, the interplay of drug metabolism and drug transport will be discussed.

PHAR751: Drug Design (3 Credits)
Applications of chemical and biological principles to the rational design of drugs. Topics include targets of biologically active molecules, approaches to studying ligand and target interactions, overview of drug discovery, agents acting on specific targets, combinatorial chemistry, computation chemistry, and structure activity relationships.

PHAR755: Topics in Metallobiochemistry (2 Credits)
This course introduces basic concepts pertaining to metal ions in biological systems. Topics include metal ions in proteins, cofactors and metal clusters, metal ion transport and storage and regulation, and metalloenzymes. There is a series of two hour lectures on specific topics followed by student presentations of recent research articles from the literature on said specific topics. Students are graded on their paper selection, presentation, analysis of the paper, and intellectual contribution. Pre-requisites: PHAR 600/601.