Pharmacology and toxicology is an undergraduate major offered through the School of Pharmacy;  successful completion of program requirements leads to the Bachelor of Science–Pharmacology and Toxicology degree. 

Pre–pharmacology/toxicology studies involve the completion of at least 60 credits and the fulfillment of all prerequisite coursework. This typically takes two academic years (i.e., freshman and sophomore years) to complete. Prerequisite coursework can be done at UW–Madison or at most accredited colleges and universities.  The School of Pharmacy website provides information regarding which courses at various colleges and universities fulfill Wisconsin's pre–pharmacology/toxicology course requirements. Questions about the transferability of courses from any college or university to  UW–Madison can be addressed to the School of Pharmacy Undergraduate Admissions Office ( or, for students at UW–Madison, to the pre–School of Pharmacy advisor. At UW–Madison, pre–pharmacology/toxicology students usually enroll in the College of Letters & Science; however, their advisor is the pre-School of Pharmacy advisor whose office is located at the School of Pharmacy. It is important to plan a sound program and to stay up-to-date with admission requirements and program changes.

See the School of Pharmacy Academic and Admission Policies.


Application to the B.S. Pharmacology/Toxicology is required as the program's size is limited.  Students (both at UW–Madison and at other institutions) typically apply to the program in February of their sophomore year for subsequent fall semester admission; students are not admitted at any other time of the year.  (Note that potential transfer students must also apply to UW–Madison itself).  Students are notified by the end of March regarding their admission status.

To strengthen applications for admission to the B.S. Pharmacology/Toxicology program and demonstrate their preparedness for this rigorous academic major, applicants are encouraged to enroll in course loads of 14-16 credits per semester during pre–Pharmacology/Toxicology studies.

To be eligible to apply, students must complete the following courses  by the end of the summer semester prior to entering the program. Potential transfer students from a wide variety of regional institutions can find course equivalents (from their current university/college) on this School of Pharmacy webpage.


Select one of the following options:10-13
Introductory Biology
and Introductory Biology
Animal Biology
and Animal Biology Laboratory
and General Botany
Evolution, Ecology, and Genetics
and Evolution, Ecology, and Genetics Laboratory
and Cellular Biology
and Cellular Biology Laboratory
Total Credits10-13


Select one of the following:5-9
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry II
Advanced General Chemistry
Chemical Principles I
Additional Requirements:
CHEM 343 Introductory Organic Chemistry3
CHEM 344 Introductory Organic Chemistry Laboratory2
CHEM 345 Intermediate Organic Chemistry3
Total Credits13-17


Select one of the following options: 1
A minimum score of 4 on the AP Calculus AB exam
A minimum score of 4 on the AP Calculus BC exam 2
MATH 221 Calculus and Analytic Geometry 15
MATH 171
MATH 217
Calculus with Algebra and Trigonometry I
and Calculus with Algebra and Trigonometry II

MATH 211 Calculus does not fulfill this Math requirement.


This option provides credit for both MATH 221 Calculus and Analytic Geometry 1 & MATH 222 Calculus and Analytic Geometry 2.


Select one of the following:4-5
General Physics
General Physics
General Physics
Total Credits4-5


The UW–Madison Communication "A" requirement must be fulfilled.

Social Science

Any course that qualifies as social science (S) credit, 3–6 credits, required.

Other College Courses

Sixty (60) credits must be completed before the first semester in the program/degree.

University General Education Requirements

All undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are required to fulfill a minimum set of common university general education requirements to ensure that every graduate acquires the essential core of an undergraduate education. This core establishes a foundation for living a productive life, being a citizen of the world, appreciating aesthetic values, and engaging in lifelong learning in a continually changing world. Various schools and colleges will have requirements in addition to the requirements listed below. Consult your advisor for assistance, as needed. For additional information, see the university Undergraduate General Education Requirements section of the Guide.

General Education
  • Breadth—Humanities/Literature/Arts: 6 credits
  • Breadth—Natural Science: 4 to 6 credits, consisting of one 4- or 5-credit course with a laboratory component; or two courses providing a total of 6 credits
  • Breadth—Social Studies: 3 credits
  • Communication Part A & Part B *
  • Ethnic Studies *
  • Quantitative Reasoning Part A & Part B *

* The mortarboard symbol appears before the title of any course that fulfills one of the Communication Part A or Part B, Ethnic Studies, or Quantitative Reasoning Part A or Part B requirements.

School of Pharmacy Requirements

The School of Pharmacy offers one undergraduate degree, the bachelor of science in pharmacology and toxicology. Prerequisite coursework for admission to the B.S. "PharmTox" major includes a set of math and science courses and a set non-math/science courses and the achievement of at least 60 undergraduate credits by the end of the summer prior to fall entrance into the program. Once admitted to the program, students complete the Pharmacology and Toxicology curriculum as well as second-semester introductory physics (via PHYSICS 104 General Physics, PHYSICS 202 General Physics, or PHYSICS 208 General Physics).  The latter requirement is a School of Pharmacy requirement for the degree but is not considered coursework in the major.

B.S.–Pharmacology & Toxicology Curriculum

Students in the pharmacology and toxicology program largely have a semester-by-semester map to follow to complete their requirements in the major. However the major's required statistics course may be taken at any point in time.  The laboratory-based Advanced Independent Study may be taken in semester 1, 2, or 3 of the four-semester curriculum. See the following course list for details.

Courses that can be taken at any time

Statistics (listed in order of popularity) Select one of the following:3-4
Introductory Applied Statistics for the Life Sciences
Introduction to Statistical Methods
Special Topics (Introduction to Modern Statistical Methods for Biologists)
Introduction to Biostatistics 1
Statistical Methods for Bioscience I 1
Independent Study2
Must be completed in semester 1, 2, or 3 of the PharmTox curricular sequence. Must have prior approval to meet PharmTox major curriculum requirement.s A wet-lab basic science experience available in a variety of academic departments can fulfill the requirement.

Major Requirements 

Junior Fall Semester
BIOCHEM 507 General Biochemistry I3
PHM SCI 558 Laboratory Techniques in Pharmacology and Toxicology2
Select one of the following options:5
Physiology (Most common selection)
Organismal Biology
and Organismal Biology Laboratory
Total Credits15
Junior Spring Semester
BIOCHEM 508 General Biochemistry II3
PATH 404 Pathophysiologic Principles of Human Diseases3
PHM SCI 679 Pharmacology and Toxicology Seminar 11
Select one of the following:3-10
Principles of Genetics
General Genetics 1
and General Genetics 2 2
BIOCORE option (includes the following 4 courses) 3
Evolution, Ecology, and Genetics
and Evolution, Ecology, and Genetics Laboratory
Cellular Biology
and Cellular Biology Laboratory
Suggested to take Statistics course this semester3-4
Total Credits13-21

Students need to take PHM SCI 679 in both the junior and senior year; the course is repeatable for credit.


If students choose GENETICS 467 & GENETICS 468, 3 credits will count towards electives in the PharmTox Major.


Students choosing the BIOCORE option (for the Genetics requirement) will typically have already completed this requirement in their Sophomore year. 

Senior Fall Semester
PHM SCI/​PHMCOL-M  521 Pharmacology I3
BIOCHEM/​PHMCOL-M/​ZOOLOGY  630 Cellular Signal Transduction Mechanisms3
or PHM SCI 623 Pharmacology III
Suggested to take 699 (Advanced Independent Study) by this semester at the latest; earlier 699 enrollment is strongly encouraged2
Total Credits15
Senior Spring Semester
PHM SCI/​PHMCOL-M  522 Pharmacology II3-4
PHM SCI 679 Pharmacology and Toxicology Seminar 11
Total Credits15-16

Students need to take PHM SCI 679 in both the junior and senior year; the course is repeatable for credit.

Electives in the Major

Students must complete at least 5 elective credits in the pharmacology/toxicology major. Electives in the pharmacology/toxicology major are available within the School of Pharmacy and in many departments (the currently approved elective courses are found in the list below). It is suggested that students select electives in consultation with their advisor.  Another option for fulfilling a portion or all of these 5 credits are additional laboratory-based independent study (i.e., 699) credits; as with the required 2 credit 699 in the pharmacology/toxicology major, additional 699 credits must be approved by the PharmTox program (unless they are done within the same laboratory that was originally approved).

Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmacy Course List

PHM SCI 420 Physicochemical Principles of Drug Formulation and Delivery4
PHM SCI 421 Introduction to Biopharmaceutics and Pharmacokinetics3
PHM SCI/​B M E  430 Biological Interactions with Materials3
PHM SCI 531 Medicinal Chemistry I2
PHM SCI 532 Medicinal Chemistry II2
PHM SCI 691 Senior Thesis2
PHM SCI 692 Senior Thesis2
PHM SCI 768 Pharmacokinetics3
PHM SCI 780 Principles of Pharmaceutical Sciences3
PHM SCI 786 Natural Product Synthesis, Biosynthesis and Drug Discovery3
PHARMACY 800 Research Ethics: Scientific Integrity and the Responsible Conduct of Research2


ANATOMY/​KINES  328 Human Anatomy3
ANATOMY/​KINES  329 Human Anatomy-Kinesiology2
ANATOMY 675 Topics in Anatomy1-3

Animal Sciences

AN SCI/​DY SCI  434 Reproductive Physiology3


BIOCHEM/​NUTR SCI  510 Biochemical Principles of Human and Animal Nutrition3
BIOCHEM 550 Topics in Medical Biochemistry2
BIOCHEM/​M M & I  575 Biology of Viruses2
BIOCHEM 601 Protein and Enzyme Structure and Function2
BIOCHEM/​GENETICS/​MICROBIO  612 Prokaryotic Molecular Biology3
BIOCHEM 551 Biochemical Methods4

Biology Core Curriculum

BIOCORE 587 Biological Interactions3

Biomedical Engineering

B M E/​PHM SCI  430 Biological Interactions with Materials3
B M E/​CBE  783 Design of Biological Molecules3

Chemical and Biological Engineering

CBE/​B M E  783 Design of Biological Molecules3


CHEM 547 Advanced Organic Chemistry3
CHEM 561 Physical Chemistry3
CHEM 565 Biophysical Chemistry4

Dairy Science

DY SCI/​AN SCI  434 Reproductive Physiology3

Environmental Studies (Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies)

ENVIR ST/​POP HLTH  471 Introduction to Environmental Health3
ENVIR ST/​POP HLTH  502 Air Pollution and Human Health3
ENVIR ST/​HIST SCI/​MED HIST  513 Environment and Health in Global Perspective3

Food Science

FOOD SCI 550 Fermented Foods and Beverages2


GENETICS 545 Genetics Laboratory2
GENETICS/​BOTANY/​HORT  561 Introductory Cytogenetics2-3
GENETICS/​BIOCHEM/​MICROBIO  612 Prokaryotic Molecular Biology3

History of Science

HIST SCI/​S&A PHM  401 History of Pharmacy2
HIST SCI/​ENVIR ST/​MED HIST  513 Environment and Health in Global Perspective3
HIST SCI/​MED HIST/​POP HLTH  553 International Health and Global Society3


HORT/​PATH-BIO  500 Molecular Biology Techniques3


KINES/​ANATOMY  328 Human Anatomy3
KINES/​ANATOMY  329 Human Anatomy-Kinesiology2
KINES 337 Human Anatomy3
KINES 338 Human Anatomy Laboratory2


MATH 605 Stochastic Methods for Biology3

Medical History & Bioethics

MED HIST/​PHILOS  505 Justice and Health Care3
MED HIST/​HIST SCI/​HISTORY  507 Health, Disease and Healing I3-4
MED HIST/​ENVIR ST/​HIST SCI  513 Environment and Health in Global Perspective3
MED HIST/​PHILOS  515 Public Health Ethics3
MED HIST/​HIST SCI/​POP HLTH  553 International Health and Global Society3
MED HIST 559 Topics in Ethics and History of Medicine3
MED HIST 610 Regenerative Medicine Ethics and Society1-3

Medical Microbiology & Immunology

M M & I 301 Pathogenic Bacteriology2
M M & I/​MICROBIO/​PATH-BIO  528 Immunology3
M M & I/​PATH-BIO  529 Immunology Laboratory2
M M & I/​BIOCHEM  575 Biology of Viruses2

Medical Physics

MED PHYS/​H ONCOL  410 Radiobiology2-3


MICROBIO 303 Biology of Microorganisms3
MICROBIO 304 Biology of Microorganisms Laboratory2
MICROBIO 305 Critical Analyses in Microbiology1
MICROBIO/​ONCOLOGY  545 Topics in Biotechnology1
MICROBIO/​BIOCHEM/​GENETICS  612 Prokaryotic Molecular Biology3


PSYCH/​ZOOLOGY  523 Neurobiology3


ONCOLOGY 401 Introduction to Experimental Oncology2
ONCOLOGY/​MICROBIO  545 Topics in Biotechnology1

Pathobiological Sciences

PATH-BIO/​HORT  500 Molecular Biology Techniques3


PHMCOL-M 710 Cytosolic and Nuclear Signaling Mechanisms2


PHARMACY 640 Substance Abuse and Chemical Dependence2


PHILOS/​MED HIST  515 Public Health Ethics3


NEURODPT 533 Molecular Physiology2


PSYCH 450 Primates and Us: Insights into Human Biology and Behavior3
PSYCH 454 Behavioral Neuroscience3
PSYCH/​ZOOLOGY  523 Neurobiology3

Population Health Sciences

POP HLTH/​ENVIR ST  502 Air Pollution and Human Health3
POP HLTH/​HIST SCI/​MED HIST  553 International Health and Global Society3
POP HLTH/​GENETICS/​MD GENET  888 Public Health Genomics1

Toxicology (Molecular & Environmental Toxicology)

M&ENVTOX/​ENTOM/​F&W ECOL/​PL PATH/​SOIL SCI  606 Colloquium in Environmental Toxicology1
M&ENVTOX/​CIV ENGR/​SOIL SCI  631 Toxicants in the Environment: Sources, Distribution, Fate, & Effects3
M&ENVTOX/​AGRONOMY/​ENTOM/​F&W ECOL  632 Ecotoxicology: The Chemical Players1
M&ENVTOX/​AGRONOMY/​ENTOM/​F&W ECOL  633 Ecotoxicology: Impacts on Individuals1
M&ENVTOX/​AGRONOMY/​ENTOM/​F&W ECOL  634 Ecotoxicology: Impacts on Populations, Communities and Ecosystems1


ZOOLOGY 425 Behavioral Ecology3
ZOOLOGY 430 Comparative Anatomy of Vertebrates5
ZOOLOGY 470 Introduction to Animal Development3
ZOOLOGY/​PSYCH  523 Neurobiology3
ZOOLOGY 555 Laboratory in Developmental Biology3
ZOOLOGY 570 Cell Biology3

Graduation Requirements

  1. Completion of a minimum of 120 degree credits.
  2. Completion of pre–pharmacology/toxicology course requirements.1
  3. Completion of courses required in the pharmacology and toxicology major curriculum (including at least 2 credits of approved laboratory-based biomedical research) and 5 credits of electives in the major. 
  4. Completion of nonmajor curriculum graduation course requirements.1
  5. Fulfillment of the grade point average requirements as stated in the School of Pharmacy academic policies.
  6. Enrollment at UW–Madison for a minimum of 30 credits, with a cumulative GPA of 2.0. The last 30 credits for the degree must be completed while enrolled in the UW–Madison School of Pharmacy.

Any course that meets B.S.–Pharmacology & Toxicology course requirements must be taken for a letter grade, unless the course is, by definition, a credit/no credit course. No course that meets any B.S.–Pharmacology & Toxicology course requirement may be taken pass/fail. "Any course requirement" means:

  1. any pre–pharmacology/toxicology course requirement,
  2. any B.S.–Pharmacology & Toxicology major curriculum course requirement,
  3. any B.S.-Pharmacology & Toxicology non–major curriculum graduation course requirement, and
  4. the B.S.–Pharmacology & Toxicology electives in the major requirement.

University Degree Requirements

Total Degree To receive a bachelor's degree from UW–Madison, students must earn a minimum of 120 degree credits. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 degree credits. Students should consult with their college or department advisor for information on specific credit requirements.
Residency Degree candidates are required to earn a minimum of 30 credits in residence at UW–Madison. "In residence" means on the UW–Madison campus with an undergraduate degree classification. “In residence” credit also includes UW–Madison courses offered in distance or online formats and credits earned in UW–Madison Study Abroad/Study Away programs.
Quality of Work Undergraduate students must maintain the minimum grade point average specified by the school, college, or academic program to remain in good academic standing. Students whose academic performance drops below these minimum thresholds will be placed on academic probation.
  1. Demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the supportive biomedical fields of Biochemistry, Genetics, Physiology, Pathophysiology and Statistics.
  2. Demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the major fields of Pharmacology and Toxicology and show an ability to evaluate, interpret, critique and discuss published scientific findings.
  3. Perform laboratory techniques and procedures, interpret the results and present in a written form suitable for submission for publication.
  4. Formulate a research question, design experimental procedures and provide evidence-based support in a written grant application that contributes to the knowledge in a selected field.
  5. Conduct laboratory-based research for an independent project, formulate an oral scientific presentation and deliver the presentation to peers.
  6. Apply statistical methods in preparing and interpreting scientific findings.
  7. Apply ethical principles in conducting scientific research.
  8. Demonstrate an ability to collaborate with peers in scientific endeavors.


Prospective Students

The School of Pharmacy's Student & Academic Affairs (SAA) Office provides advising to undergraduates and high school students interested in learning more about the B.S. Pharmacology & Toxicology ("PharmTox") Program; appointments may be made by calling 608-262-6234. Advising, available at SOAR for entering UW–Madison freshmen as well,  typically includes curriculum planning, career exploration, and, when the time arises, supports students in creating high quality applications to the program. SAA can connect prospective undergraduate students with juniors and seniors in the program, and, as appropriate, with PharmTox alumni. Advising resources for prospective students considering the PharmTox major may be found at this website.


Once admitted to the major, students receive advising from the PharmTox faculty director or from School of Pharmacy (SoP) staff who work with students in the program. Reasons to see an advisor, what to do to maximize an advising appointment, and SoP advising contacts may be explored at this website. An August new student orientation (typically consisting of two half-days of programming) is led by the PharmTox faculty director, staff, and seniors in the program. Juniors are connected to seniors for peer mentoring and tutoring.  Students in the major are often commonly connected to PharmTox alumni who can help them explore educational and career paths.


The PharmTox program can provide a launching point for a wide variety of graduate work, careers and work environments.  Statistical information about immediate post-degree work or advanced degree placement for alumni in the last decade may be found on the School website.  Due in part to its small size, the program has strong connections with its 300+ alumni who are located across the country and across the globe.  These alumni can be influential in connecting with current students, allowing current students access to conversations with those in the fields to which they aspire.  More detailed career information (including current placement of PharmTox alumni, 1986–present) may be found by contacting the PharmTox faculty director and/or SoP staff who help administer the program.


Johnson, Jeffrey (Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences)


Gurnee, Kendra (Advisor and Program Coordinator)

Kopacek, Karen (Associate Dean for Student and Alumni Affairs)

de Villiers, Melgardt (Associate Dean for Academic Affairs)


Altschafl, Jeremy (Assistant Dean - Admissions)

Clagett-Dame, Margaret (Professor, Biochemistry)

Frey, Jannelle (Admissions Staff)

Gurnee, Kendra (Advisor and Program Coordinator)

Johnson, Jeffrey (Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences)

Heideman, Warren (Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences)

Hong, Seungpyo (Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences)

Niemeyer, Ken (Graduate Programs Coordinator)

Sweet, Nadia (Alumna)

Vezina, Chad (Associate Professor, Comparative Biosciences)

de Villiers, Melgardt (Associate Dean for Academic Affairs)