The Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (MCP) program, in cooperation with the Center for Training in Pharmacology and Drug Development (CTPDD), offers interdisciplinary graduate training in the field of molecular and cellular pharmacology. The primary emphasis is doctoral training in molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics, and cell biology with a focus on integrating these methodologies with modern pharmacology. Other related degree programs under the direction of program faculty are cellular and molecular biology, environmental toxicology, neuroscience, biomolecular chemistry, and genetics.
Pharmacology is the knowledge of the biochemical and physiological actions of drugs, which act on cellular signaling pathways. The molecular basis of cellular signaling and its control by various drugs is a major aspect of modern pharmacology and this aspect is emphasized in the Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology Training Program. The majority of signal transduction pathways still await discovery or at least a thorough molecular characterization. Members of our program employ the whole spectrum of modern biochemical, cell and molecular biological, physiological, and pharmacological methods in a basic research-oriented scientific environment to unravel the many unsolved mysteries underlying cellular regulation and signaling. Certain research initiatives have a translational component, with the goal of applying basic discoveries to developing new therapeutic modalities. Our program brings together an outstanding group of dedicated trainers with a focus on cellular signal transduction.
Graduates of the program will be well prepared for a career in basic biomedical sciences in academia, industry, and more. We provide a unique training experience for young scientists who want to elucidate basic principles of cellular signal pathways. Detailed knowledge of these pathways is the most important prerequisite for the discovery of new drugs and the treatment of diseases. The members of the Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology Training Program invite you to examine the educational and research opportunities described at this site, and to consider joining this unique and exciting graduate program.
Please consult the table below for key information about this degree program’s admissions requirements. The program may have more detailed admissions requirements, which can be found below the table or on the program’s website.
Graduate admissions is a two-step process between academic programs and the Graduate School. Applicants must meet the minimum requirements of the Graduate School as well as the program(s). Once you have researched the graduate program(s) you are interested in, apply online.
Graduate Admissions Requirements
|Requirements ||Detail |
|Fall Deadline ||December 1 |
|Spring Deadline ||The program does not admit in the spring. |
|Summer Deadline ||The program does not admit in the summer. |
|GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) ||Not required. |
|English Proficiency Test ||Every applicant whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English must provide an English proficiency test score and meet the Graduate School minimum requirements (https://grad.wisc.edu/apply/requirements/#english-proficiency). |
|Other Test(s) (e.g., GMAT, MCAT) ||n/a |
|Letters of Recommendation Required ||3 |
The Graduate School sets minimum requirements for admissions. Academic program admission requirements are often more rigorous than those set by the Graduate School. Please check the MCP Program website for details.
Graduate School Resources
Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and restrictions related to funding.
Annual Stipend and Benefits
All students receive competitive stipends to cover living expenses. The benefits package also includes tuition remission and a choice of comprehensive health insurance plans which include medical, dental, and vision at a minimal cost. It is the same coverage offered to faculty and staff.
Many of our graduate students are supported by NIH training grants. Prospective students must be nominated by the MCP Admissions Committee or by faculty mentors to receive training grant support from the MCP NIH T32 GM008688. Opportunities may also be available during the first semester of study, and students are encouraged to contact the MCP program for assistance with the nomination process.
Some students are supported by University fellowships administered by the University’s Office of Fellowships at the Graduate School. Prospective students must be nominated by the program, and awardees are chosen by the UW Fellowships Committee. Other extramural funding sources include NIH, NSF, DOD, DOE, AHA, PhRMA, and more. Students can receive application assistance from the program and the university.
Prospective students should check the MCP Program website for the most updated funding information.
Minimum Graduate School Requirements
Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.
MODE OF INSTRUCTION
Mode of Instruction
|Face to Face ||Evening/Weekend ||Online ||Hybrid ||Accelerated |
|Yes ||No ||No ||No ||No |
Mode of Instruction Definitions
Accelerated: Accelerated programs are offered at a fast pace that condenses the time to completion. Students are able to complete a program with minimal disruptions to careers and other commitments.
Evening/Weekend: Courses meet on the UW–Madison campus only in evenings and/or on weekends to accommodate typical business schedules. Students have the advantages of face-to-face courses with the flexibility to keep work and other life commitments.
Face-to-Face: Courses typically meet during weekdays on the UW-Madison Campus.
Hybrid: These programs combine face-to-face and online learning formats. Contact the program for more specific information.
Online: These programs are offered 100% online. Some programs may require an on-campus orientation or residency experience, but the courses will be facilitated in an online format.
University General Education Requirements
|Requirements ||Detail |
|Minimum Credit Requirement ||51 credits |
|Minimum Residence Credit Requirement ||32 credits |
|Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement ||Half of degree coursework (26 credits out of 51 total credits) must be completed graduate-level coursework. Details can be found in the Graduate School’s Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) policy (https://policy.wisc.edu/library/UW-1244). |
|Overall Graduate GPA Requirement ||3.00 GPA required. |
|Other Grade Requirements ||The Graduate School requires an average grade of B or better in all coursework (300 or above, not including research credits) taken as a graduate student unless conditions for probationary status require higher grades. Grades of Incomplete are considered to be unsatisfactory if they are not removed during the next enrolled semester. |
|Assessments and Examinations ||Doctoral students are required to take a comprehensive preliminary/oral examination after they have cleared their record of all Incomplete and Progress grades (other than research and thesis). Deposit of the doctoral dissertation in the Graduate School is required. |
|Language Requirements ||Contact the program for information on any language requirements. |
|Doctoral Minor/Breadth Requirements ||Doctoral students are not required to complete a minor, but may do so if they wish. |
Graduate School Policies
The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.
Graduate Work from Other Institutions
With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 7 credits of graduate coursework from other institutions. Coursework earned ten years or more prior to admission to a doctoral degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.
No credits from a UW–Madison undergraduate degree are allowed to count toward the degree.
UW–Madison University Special
With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 15 credits of coursework numbered 300 or above taken as a UW–Madison Special student. Coursework earned ten years or more prior to admission to a doctoral degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.
The Graduate School regularly reviews the record of any student who earned grades of BC, C, D, F, or Incomplete in a graduate course (300 or above), or grade of U in research credits. This review could result in academic probation with a hold on future enrollment or in being suspended from the Graduate School.
ADVISOR / COMMITTEE
Every graduate student is required to have an advisor and committee. The advisor serves a dual role: first, to assist the student in acquiring the highest level of knowledge and competence in the field that is possible; and second, to chair the committee that will determine whether the student has performed acceptably at each of his/ her degree milestones. The chair or co-chair of the committee must be graduate faculty from the student’s program. Advisors may assist in tracking the student’s progress toward degree completion, assisting with course selection and academic planning, and helping students identify possible research mentors, committee members, and opportunities.
Minimum requirements for graduate committees are as follows:
- The chair or co-chair of the committee must be graduate faculty from the student’s major program.
- The co-advisor/co-chair will be designated on dissertation documentation.
- Doctoral committees (Ph.D.) must have at least four members, three of whom must be MCP graduate faculty or former graduate faculty up to one year after resignation or retirement. At least one of the members must be from outside of the student’s major field.
- At least three committee members of all doctoral/final oral examination committees must be designated as readers.
- Doctoral degree recipients must acknowledge in the dissertation contributions received from other individuals, including co-authors of published work that appears in the document, such as in designing the research, executing the research, analyzing the data, interpreting the data/research, or writing, proofing, or copyediting the manuscript.
CREDITS PER TERM ALLOWED
Doctoral degree students who have been absent for ten or more consecutive years lose all credits that they have earned before their absence. Individual programs may count the coursework students completed prior to their absence for meeting program requirements; that coursework may not count toward Graduate School credit requirements.
A candidate for a doctoral degree who fails to take the final oral examination and deposit the dissertation within five years after passing the preliminary examination may by require to take another preliminary examination and to be admitted to candidacy a second time.
Grievances and Appeals
These resources may be helpful in addressing your concerns:
Grievance Policy for Graduate Programs in the School of Medicine and Public Health
Any student in a School of Medicine and Public Health graduate program who feels that they have been treated unfairly in regards to educational decisions and/or outcomes or issues specific to the graduate program, including academic standing, progress to degree, professional activities, appropriate advising, and a program’s community standards by a faculty member, staff member, postdoc, or student has the right to complain about the treatment and to receive a prompt hearing of the grievance following these grievance procedures. Any student who discusses, inquiries about, or participates in the grievance procedure may do so openly and shall not be subject to intimidation, discipline, or retaliation because of such activity. Each program’s grievance advisor is listed on the “Research” tab of the SMPH intranet.
This policy does not apply to employment-related issues for Graduate Assistants in TA, PA and/or RA appointments. Graduate Assistants will utilize the Graduate Assistantship Policies and Procedures (GAPP) grievance process to resolve employment-related issues.
This policy does not apply to instances when a graduate student wishes to report research misconduct. For such reports refer to the UW-Madison Policy for Reporting Research Misconduct for Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Research Associates.
Requirements for Programs
The School of Medicine and Public Health Office of Basic Research, Biotechnology and Graduate Studies requires that each graduate program designate a grievance advisor, who should be a tenured faculty member, and will request the name of the grievance advisor annually. The program director will serve as the alternate grievance advisor in the event that the grievance advisor is named in the grievance. The program must notify students of the grievance advisor, including posting the grievance advisor’s name on the program’s Guide page and handbook.
The grievance advisor or program director may be approached for possible grievances of all types. They will spearhead the grievance response process described below for issues specific to the graduate program, including but not limited to academic standing, progress to degree, professional activities, appropriate advising, and a program’s community standards. They will ensure students are advised on reporting procedures for other types of possible grievances and are supported throughout the reporting process. Resources on identifying and reporting other issues have been compiled by the Graduate School.
- The student is advised to initiate a written record containing dates, times, persons, and description of activities, and to update this record while completing the procedures described below.
- If the student is comfortable doing so, efforts should be made to resolve complaints informally between individuals before pursuing a formal grievance.
- Should a satisfactory resolution not be achieved, the student should contact the program’s grievance advisor or program director to discuss the complaint. The student may approach the grievance advisor or program director alone or with a UW-Madison faculty or staff member. The grievance advisor or program director should keep a record of contacts with regards to possible grievances. The first attempt is to help the student informally address the complaint prior to pursuing a formal grievance. The student is also encouraged to talk with their faculty advisor regarding concerns or difficulties.
- If the issue is not resolved to the student’s satisfaction, the student may submit a formal grievance to the grievance advisor or program director in writing, within 60 calendar days from the date the grievant first became aware of, or should have become aware of with the exercise of reasonable diligence, the cause of the grievance. To the fullest extent possible, a grievance shall contain a clear and concise statement of the grievance and indicate the issue(s) involved, the relief sought, the date(s) the incident or violation took place, and any specific policy involved.
- On receipt of a written grievance, the following steps will occur. The final step must be completed within 30 business days from the date the grievance was received. The program must store documentation of the grievance for seven years. Significant grievances that set a precedent may be stored indefinitely.
- The grievance advisor or program director will convene a faculty committee composed of at least three members to manage the grievance. Any faculty member involved in the grievance or who feels that they cannot be impartial may not participate in the committee. Committee composition should reflect diverse viewpoints within the program.
- The faculty committee, through the grievance advisor or program director, will obtain a written response from the person or persons toward whom the grievance is directed. The grievance advisor or program director will inform this person that their response will be shared with the student filing the grievance.
- The grievance advisor or program director will share the response with the student filing the grievance.
- The faculty committee will make a decision regarding the grievance. The committee’s review shall be fair, impartial, and timely. The grievance advisor or program director will report on the action taken by the committee in writing to both the student and the person toward whom the grievance was directed.
- If either party (the student or the person or persons toward whom the grievance is directed) is unsatisfied with the decision of the program’s faculty committee, the party may file a written appeal to the SMPH senior associate dean for basic research, biotechnology and graduate studies within 10 business days from the date of notification of the program’s faculty committee. The following steps will occur:
- The grievant will be notified in writing, within 5 business days of the written appeal, acknowledging receipt of the formal appeal and establishing a timeline for the review to be completed.
- The senior associate dean or their designee may request additional materials and/or arrange meetings with the grievant and/or others. If meetings occur, the senior associate dean or their designee will meet with both the grievant and the person or persons toward whom the grievance is directed.
- The senior associate dean or their designee will assemble an ad hoc committee of faculty from outside of the student’s graduate program and ask them to prepare a written recommendation on whether to uphold or reverse the decision of the program on the student’s initial grievance. The committee may request additional materials and/or arrange meetings with the grievant and/or others. If meetings occur, the committee will meet with both the grievant and the person or persons toward whom the grievance is directed.
- The senior associate dean or their designee will make a final decision within 20 business days of receipt of the committee’s recommendation.
- The SMPH Office of Basic Research, Biotechnology, and Graduate Studies must store documentation of the grievance for seven years. Grievances that set a precedent may be stored indefinitely.
- The student may file an appeal of the School of Medicine and Public Health decision with the Graduate School. See the Grievances and Appeals section of the Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures.
Steps in the grievance procedures must be initiated and completed within the designated time periods except when modified by mutual consent. If the student fails to initiate the next step in the grievance procedure within the designated time period, the grievance will be considered resolved by the decision at the last completed step.
All students in the Graduate Program in Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology receive competitive stipends to cover living expenses, tuition and fees from Graduate School Fellowships, NIH Training Grants, or research assistantships funded through the Graduate Program. Health insurance costs are partially covered by the university and provide the same coverage as for faculty and staff.
Graduate School Resources
Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career.
The MCP Program and UW–Madison offer a wealth of resources intended to enrich graduate student studies and enhance professional skills. It is expected that students will take full advantage of the resources that best fit their needs and support their career goals. Since MCP alumni thrive in academia, industry, corporate, government, and non-profit arenas, we strive to be holistic and innovative in our approach to meeting the diverse professional development needs of our students. By actively participating in these professional development opportunities, students will build the skills needed to succeed academically at UW–Madison and to thrive professionally in their chosen career. For the most updated information, please visit: MCP Program Professional Development
Faculty: Please see a comprehensive list of our faculty on the program website.