Skip to main content
Sign In

Department of Pharmacology

Department of Pharmacology

Program Overview

Download this information as a pdf


Pharmacology is an extremely broad discipline that combines knowledge of chemistry and biology into an integrated approach for studying biological systems. Faculty research interests may range from studies at the molecular level to studies of animal behavior. Efforts may focus on the characterization of fundamental processes in biological systems through the actions of drugs on the system. In this department, emphasis is placed on elucidating molecular and cellular control mechanisms, including those present in the nervous system, such as second messengers, lipid mediators, and protein phosphorylation. Specialties emphasized in the department include molecular pharmacology, neurobiology, neuropharmacology, electrophysiology, substance abuse, lipid mediators, and cancer biology. The methodologies employed in these fields of study include molecular structure techniques, computational pharmacology, genomics, and proteomics. The scientific impact of research from this faculty is rated among the highest of all departments of pharmacology. The program of study leading to the Ph.D. degree ordinarily requires five years. Formal course work in other basic medical sciences, notably molecular biology and cell biology, neurobiology, and biochemistry, is encouraged. The Program is highly flexible and individualized to meet the particular requirements, interests, and abilities of each student.

Research Facilities

The department occupies over 43,000 square feet, consisting largely in laboratories fully equipped for pharmacological research. The modern instrumentation available to the department includes complete facilities for performing radioisotopic experiments; a cutting-edge NMR facility for protein structural studies (including one of the few 900MHz magnets currently available in the country); facilities for recombinant DNA expression, manual and automated sequencing, PCR amplification, microarray analysis, and oligonucleotide synthesis; computerized equipment for performing electrophysiological image analysis, and behavioral studies; mass spectrometers; a large variety of gas, high-performance liquid, and other forms of chromatographic equipment, spectrophotofluorometers, and spectrometers; and analytical and preparative ultracentrifuges. UCD Pharmacology provides a complete, state-of-the-art-technology environment for its students in the newly constructed Research Complex One facility at the Anschutz Medical Campus .

Financial Aid/Cost of Study

Fellowships and traineeships are available for the entire period of graduate work for students who maintain satisfactory progress. Student support includes all tuition and fees, individual health and dental insurance, and provides an annual stipend of $27,000. Awards are made to select, accepted applicants who are citizens or permanent residents of the United States.

Cost of Living/Housing

Students generally have little difficulty finding suitable inexpensive housing close to the School of Medicine, which is located near several residential sections east of Denver. The cost of living in the Greater-Denver area is moderately lower than in many other metropolitan areas in the U.S.

Student Group

There are approximately 530 medical students, 145 dental students, 150 undergraduate students, 300 graduate nursing and 100 professional nursing students, 300 professional and 25 graduate pharmacy students, and 575 graduate students in the clinical and basic sciences at the University of Colorado Denver. There are typically about 30 graduate students in the Department of Pharmacology at any given point in time, with an average admitted class size of 4-7 new students.


Greater Denver has a population of approximately 2.5 million. The climate in Denver and its environs is exceptionally pleasant, with mild, sunny winters, warm, dry summers, and over 300 days of sunshine a year. Residents are able to take advantage of a tremendous variety of outdoor activities throughout the year. Denver sits nearly at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, where many facilities for skiing, hiking, and camping are open year-round. The city of Denver has a symphony orchestra, excellent natural history and fine arts museums, a noted performing arts center, and all of the other cultural and recreational facilities typical of large urban areas. Travel to and from Denver is facilitated by a large number of daily airline flights out of a newly-constructed international airport only minutes from Anschutz Medical Campus.

School of Medicine

The University of Colorado Denver was founded on the Boulder campus in 1883 and moved to “the 9th Avenue” location in 1924. The School of Medicine is under the administration of the University of Colorado and maintains close academic ties with the campus at Boulder. The Medical Center has undergone considerable expansion in the past decade, with numerous medical research institutes now located the original 9th Avenue campus and the newest research facilities, both present and under construction, at the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora. As new buildings rise, the Anschutz Medical Campus will develop into a thoroughly modern, fully integrated research environment, including two large research complexes, a new library, medical school teaching facilities, new hospitals, including University Hospital and Cancer Center, Children’s Hospital, and likely, the VA Hospital. In addition, there is a Biotech Research Park focused on incubating start-up companies, as well as a planned town center with residential and retail components – all within a few minutes’ walk.


Applicants should apply before January 1 for admission for the following academic year, beginning in the fall. Suggested college courses include inorganic and organic chemistry; biology; mathematics, including calculus; and physics. Results of the General Test of Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) should be sent when the original application is submitted. More detailed information and application materials can be obtained from the website addresses listed below or by writing to the address provided below.

Contact Information

Elizabeth Bowen, Graduate Training Coordinator: 303 724 3565
Online application:
GRE school code: 4877, dept. code: 0216

UCD, Anschutz Medical Campus
Department of Pharmacology, MSC 8303
Aurora CO 80045-0508