Pharmacology Graduate Group

PGG Home » Admission



Applicants apply via Biomedical Graduate Studies.

Graduate Record Examination

All candidates must submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. Besides the general test (Verbal, Quantitative, Analytical/Writing), a subject test (Biology, Chemistry, or other discipline chosen by the applicant) is strongly recommended.

It is best to register for an early test (October is recommended) so that there is ample time for the scores to reach the PGG Admissions Committee by December or before. Since the selection process includes interviews conducted before March 1, scores reported from an April test date may arrive too late to be considered.

The following codes should be used when scores are to be directed to the PGG:

Institutional Code.........2900

Applicants who have already taken the GRE and are able to furnish scores from their own records are requested to do so on the application form and to enclose a copy of the notice if possible. Final acceptance is contingent on verification of the scores by the testing service. For additional information on the GRE, write or call:

Graduate Record Examinations Board
Princeton, New Jersey (USA) 08541-6000

TOEFL Scores

In addition to GRE scores, International students whose native language is not English must provide evidence of English proficiency as well. The PGG accepts TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) scores as an impartial measurement of facility in English.

Transcripts and Diplomas

All accepted candidates must hold a bachelor’s degree with adequate background in physical or natural science. The candidate should furnish official transcripts issued by the institution(s) attended and evidence of degree(s) earned.


All candidates must provide recommendations from three people who know the candidate well enough to evaluate intellectual capability, work habits, educational goals and extracurricular achievements.

Stipend and Tuition

All PGG students maintaining satisfactory academic progress receive financial support until they have completed all PhD requirements. This includes a twelve-month stipend plus tuition, fees, and health insurance. The amount of the stipend, which varies from year to year, will be $32,000 in the 2017-2018 fiscal year.

Some PGG students hold individual fellowships awarded by such organizations as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), the Ford Foundation, and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America Foundation (now called PhRMA). Most pre-thesis students are subsidized by training grants awarded to the PGG or to other programs at the University by the NIH. Penn is once again the number one recipient of NIH funding. All students are encouraged to apply for graduate training fellowships during their graduate studies. A comprehensive list of fellowships and Ph.D. training support can be found

Students from foreign countries are not eligible for federal training grants during pre–thesis study. However, the Medical School, through the office of Biomedical Graduate Studies, offers funding for a few outstanding foreign scholars.

Additional support from the Department includes funds to attend local or national meetings while in pre-thesis status and some of the required textbooks.

Biomedical Imaging Program

The PGG participates in a newly incepted Ph.D. training program in biomedical imaging supported by Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the NIH via the Institute of Medicine and Engineering at Penn. Interested candidates are encouraged to inquire for the specifics of the program and application process here - and indicate their interest in the program when they apply to PGG. Due to limited number of slots, it is expected that one PGG student will enroll in this program.

Traveling Fellowship

Pre-doctoral students are eligible to apply for the Department of Pharmacology Solomon Erulkar Traveling Fellowship. This fellowship provides sufficient funds for the candidate to visit a laboratory of their choice both here and abroad to learn techniques relevant to their thesis research project.