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With the rapid growth in start-ups and companies focused on psychoactive pharmaceuticals like psychedelics and cannabis, employers are seeking professionals with the practical and professional skills needed to succeed in the pharmaceutical industry.

The capstone certificate will give students a competitive edge in their career progression or transition. This capstone certificate focuses on developing the specific skills and knowledge that are essential to hit the ground running and succeed in this exciting area.

The fully online curriculum allows flexibility to complete coursework from anywhere in the world without disrupting careers. The graduate-level certificate is designed as a rapid, non-degree alternative to the Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences: Psychoactive Pharmaceutical Investigation. Successful completion of the courses within the capstone certificate may be applied to the master’s degree program, should students choose to pursue an MS in the future.

How to Get in


Applications are accepted for the fall and spring term.

Fall Deadline: May 31

Spring Deadline: September 30


Applicants must possess the following:

  • Bachelor's degree, PharmD, or equivalent
  • Recommended cumulative GPA ≥ 3.0  (on 4.0 scale)
    • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are not required
  • Official post-secondary student transcripts
  • Statement of Interest (maximum of one page): Why are you interested in Psychoactive Pharmaceutical Investigation and what do you aim to get out of the program?


Adult Career and Special Student Services (ACSSS) is the admitting office for all University Special students. However, the Pharmaceutical Sciences Division at the School of Pharmacy makes the final admission decision upon review of all applicant materials. 


A complete application includes the following information:

  1. An online application for admission as a University Special student, selecting "UNCS Capstone Certificate: Psychoactive Pharmaceutical Investigation".
    1. This application is received and processed by ACSSS with final decision held for approval from the School of Pharmacy.
  2. Official transcripts from all colleges/ universities attended (attach these documents to the application portal as prompted by the system)

  3. Current resume/CV (attach this document to the application portal as prompted by the system)

  4. Brief essay (describe your reasons for applying and your career goal)


Grade Requirements

  • Students must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.00
    • Students wishing to continue into the Psychoactive Pharmaceutical Investigation named option MS program must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.00

Required Courses

Complete the following courses for 12 credits.

Pharmaceutical Sciences Core
PHM SCI 759 Current Trends in Drug Discovery and Development1
PHARMACY 801 Bioethics and Scientific Integrity2
Psychoactive Pharmaceutical Core
PHARMACY 674 Cannabinoids in Science and Society2
PHARMACY 640 Appropriate Use of Abused Drugs2
PHARMACY 671 Psychedelic Drugs in Science and Society2
PHARMACY 612 Legal Structures for Controlled Substances1
PHARMACY 563 Drug History: Dangerous Drugs and Magic Bullets2
Total Credits12

Minimum Requirements for Capstone Certificate Completion

  • Students must earn a minimum grade of C in each course used to meet Capstone Certificate requirements.
  • Courses in which a student elects the pass/fail or audit option will not count toward completion of Capstone Certificate requirements.
  • All of the Capstone Certificate credits must be earned "in residence" (which includes on campus and distance-delivered courses) at UW-Madison.
  • All of the Capstone Certificate credits must be earned while enrolled in the Capstone Certificate program.

Individual Capstone Certificate programs may have additional requirements for completion, which will be listed above as/if applicable.

Capstone Certificate Specific Policies

Prior Coursework

No graduate work from other institutions is accepted. 


This program adheres to the following probation policy:

  1. Students are considered to be in “Good Standing” if they earn a C or higher in all program courses.
  2. Students are considered to be in “Probationary Standing” if they earn less than a C in one or more program courses during a semester.  These students will be permitted to enroll, but they will have a specific plan in place that specifies continuation or removal of probationary status based on future course grades.
  3. Students are considered to be in “Unsatisfactory Standing” if they have an overall GPA of less than 2.0 or if they have earned less than a C in 4 or more credits of the program’s courses. These students will not permitted to enroll and will face dismissal from the program.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Articulate general principles in pharmaceutical sciences.
  2. Apply knowledge and skills to address relevant problems in the student's area of focus.
  3. Communicate scientific information that is accurate, clear, and accessible.
  4. Identify and uphold ethical principles.