PhD in Pharmacology - Eligibility, Admission, Syllabus, Institutes, Scope

A Doctorate Program in Pharmacology is called a PhD in Pharmacology. It is a research-based doctoral program that lasts at least three years but can last up to five years. Performance at a sufficient level is required to progress beyond the first year, and the length of the course is determined by this. It investigates how a drug affects the body’s biological system and how the body reacts to it.

Pharmacology is the study of medications and how they affect the body. This includes creating new chemical compounds, studying the effects of existing pharmaceutical chemicals, and understanding both the positive and negative effects of medications.

Drug Manufacturing Companies, Public Health Entities, Blood Services, Industrial Laboratories, Cancer Research Institutes, and others are among the top recruiting areas. After earning a PhD in pharmacology, a candidate can conduct additional research in this field and publish their own papers. They can earn a DSc degree in the relevant field after about 4-5 years of research.

PhD in Pharmacology: An Overview

In the table below, some of the most important aspects of the PhD Pharmacology course have been tabulated.

Level of CourseDoctorate
Duration of Course3 years – 5 years
Type of Examination Semester 
Criteria for Eligibility Masters in Pharmacology
Process of Admission Entrance Test + PI
Fee for the CourseINR 2,00,000 – INR 4,00,000 
Average Annual SalaryINR 4,00,000 – INR 15,00,000 
Top Areas of RecruitmentPublic Health Entities, Blood Service, Industrial Laboratories, Cancer research institutes, Research Departments, Educational Institutes, Environmental Pollution Control, Drug Manufacturing Companies,Agriculture and fisheries, Forensic Science, Hospitals, Public Health Laboratories, Cosmetic Industries, etc.
Positions of Job Biomedical Scientist, Healthcare Scientist, Clinical Pharmacologist, Clinical Research Associate, Forensic Scientist, Physician’s Associate, Research Scientist (Life Sciences), Analytical Chemist,Scientific Laboratory Technician, Toxicologist, among others.

PhD in Pharmacology Eligibility

Candidates interested in pursuing a PhD in pharmacology should meet the following minimum requirements:

  • A Master’s Degree in Pharmacology, Biology, Pharmacy, or Biotechnology from a recognized university or institution is required of candidates.
  • M.Sc., M.Tech, MD, M Pharma, and similar degrees are also acceptable.
  • Admission requires a minimum of 55 percent overall, or equivalent grade B on the UGC 7-point scale, or equivalent in the Master’s Degree.
  • Candidates from reserved categories are given a 5% or equivalent grade relaxation according to UGC guidelines.
  • Candidates who have passed the NET JRF/NET LS are exempt from taking the university-administered entrance written test but must still attend the personal interview round.
  • To apply for the course, there is no minimum age requirement.

PhD in Pharmacology Syllabus

The course lasts anywhere from three to five years, and the syllabus is divided into various papers covering various aspects of the pharmacology discipline. Seven papers are required for the PhD course.

First Paper Second Paper
General PharmacologyAutonomic Nervous System & Peripheral Nervous System
Drug Absorption, Distribution, MetabolismNeurohumoral Transmission
Drug EliminationSympathetic Nervous System – Sympathomimetics, Sympatholytics
Routes of Drug AdministrationParasympathetic – Cholinergic, Anticholinergics, Ganglion stimulants and Blockers
Basic Principles of Drug ActionSkeletal Muscle Relaxants
Adverse Reactions to DrugsLocal Anaesthetics
Factors Modifying Drug Response
Third Paper Fourth Paper
Central Nervous SystemAutacoids
General Principles – Neurotransmitters: Definition and Common TransmittersHistamine and Antihistamines
Drug Therapy of Various CNS Disorders like Epilepsy, Depression, Parkinson’s Disease, Schizophrenia, Neurodegeneration etc.Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes, Thromboxane and PAF
Pharmacotherapy of PainSubstance P, Bradykinin
General Anaesthetics
Fifth Paper Sixth Paper
Cardiovascular SystemGastrointestinal and Respiratory System
Drug Therapy of Hypertension, Shock, Angina, Cardiac ArrhythmiasEmetics and Antiemetics
Renin-Angiotensin SystemDrugs for Constipation and Diarrhoea
DiureticsDrug Treatment of Peptic Ulcer
Coagulants and Anticoagulants, Antiplatelet DrugsDrug Therapy of Bronchial Asthma
Hypo-LipidomicsPharmacotherapy of Cough
Seventh Paper
HormonesDrug Therapy of Diabetes
Reproductive Hormones – Testosterone, Estrogen, Progesterone, ContraceptivesThyroid Hormones
Drugs for Arthritis and Gout

Relevant Links
Ph.D. (physics) Ph.D. (pharmacy) Pharm.d
Ph.D. (commerce) Doctor Of Laws [LL.D.] Ph.D. (chemistry)

PhD in Pharmacology Admission Procedure

  • PhD admissions are primarily handled through an Entrance Test and a personal interview conducted by the respective Institute or University.
  • Candidates who have passed a national level entrance exam, such as the NET JRF or NET LS, are exempt from the university level entrance exam, but must pass personal interviews to be admitted to the program.
  • Admissions applications for the PhD program are typically accepted between January and June.
  • SC / ST / EWS / OBC NCL / PwD candidates are eligible for reservations under Indian government rules.

Based on Entrance

  • Step 1: Candidates must create an account on the official website by entering their email address, phone number, and password.
  • Step 2: After paying the application fee and completing the form, save it for future use.
  • Step 3: Based on the information provided by candidates, admission cards will be issued to eligible students.
  • Step 4: Following the announcement of results, seats and academic records of candidates’ seats are allocated based on the marks obtained by students and institutes’ cut off.

Based on Merit

  • Step 1: Eligible candidates who meet the minimum educational requirements will be contacted for an interview by the Selection Committee.
  • Step 2: Candidates found suitable for admission will be accepted based on their academic records and performance in the selection interview.

PhD in Pharmacology: Important Documents Required

  • No objection certificate from the employer (if employed)
  • Documentary proof of the date of birth
  • Mark-list of the last qualifying degree examination
  • Gap certificate (if applicable)
  • Research Proposal
  • Migration Certificate (No objection certificate from the university last attended)
  • A character certificate (from the head of the institute from which the student has obtained his qualifying degree)
  • passing/degree certificate of the last qualifying degree examination.

Students should be aware that if the aforementioned certificates are not attached to their application, their application will not be taken into account for admission.

PhD in Pharmacology: Preparation Plan

  • Candidates should have a solid understanding of the fundamentals of the topics covered in pharmacology and be well-versed in the subjects covered in the postgraduate degree.
  • Understand and revise the drug’s mechanism as well as its human effects.
  • Create a study plan based on the previous year’s paper that will allow you to cover the syllabus and revise it effectively.
  • The question paper for the pharmacology entrance exam is divided into objective-type (Multiple Choice Questions) and subjective-type questions, and the exam lasts two hours, or three hours in some cases.
  • Students benefit from practicing sample question papers and model tests because they can learn the exam’s style and layout ahead of time.
  • Make a list of all the important topics from the previous year’s papers and allot enough time for each one.
  • Candidates must have an outstanding academic record in order to secure a spot in a good college for a PhD in Pharmacology.
  • Based on their background and level of preparation, an individual scholar must complete a greater number of credits.
  • To get into a good college, candidates must take the National Entrance Examinations and score well.
  • In Papers 1 and 2, the qualifying cut off marks for the UGC NET General category are 40%, while the qualifying cut off marks for SC, ST, OBC-NCL, PwD, and Transgender categories are 35 percent.
  • Candidates should devote time and effort to the entrance exam and be prepared for a personal interview.
  • Keep an eye out for updates on eligibility, cut-offs, selection criteria, admissions, application procedures, and other information that will help you prepare better.

PhD in Pharmacology: Suitable Candidates

  • This course is best suited for students who are interested in pursuing a PhD in pharmacology and possess skills such as self-motivation, self-discipline, adaptability, professional responsibility, and patience.
  • If you need a PhD for a promotion in academia, a raise in salary, or a stable job in academia, this course is for you. Such candidates should enroll in public universities and part-time PhD programs.
  • This course is a good fit for those who have strong analytical and problem-solving skills, as well as good organizational skills, the ability to work independently and on their own initiative.
  • They should be able to deal with current issues ranging from local environmental concerns to international trade issues, as well as contribute to policy development and new legislation.

PhD in Pharmacology: Important Entrance Exams

To be admitted to the PhD program, candidates must pass an entrance exam administered by the UGC, the state, or a university. The following is a list of some national-level entrance exams that may be relevant:


  • In Indian universities and colleges, a test is used to determine eligibility for Assistant Professorships and/or Junior Research Fellowships.
  • In the case of JRFs, the UGC NET score is valid for three years, and for Assistant Professors, it is valid for life, with no limit on the number of attempts.
  • It’s available in 84 subjects in 91 cities around the world.
  • It is an online exam that consists of two papers, one in Hindi and one in English.
  • In three hours, the candidates would have to answer 150 questions (from both papers 1 and 2)
  • In June and December of each year, it takes place.


  • The National Testing Agency (NTA) administers a national-level exam to select candidates for Junior Research Fellowships (JRF) and to determine their eligibility for appointment as lecturers in Indian universities and colleges.
  • Only a computer-based test mode is available.
  • The test is only open to legitimate Indian citizens.
  • The CSIR-UGC NET Fellowship is available in India.
  • Universities, IITs post-graduate colleges, and government departments are all eligible for CSIR UGC NET Fellowships.
  • Through a Press Notification, online applications are invited twice a year on a pan-India basis.


  • The exam primarily assesses a thorough understanding of various undergraduate engineering and science subjects.
  • The score has a three-year validity period. It takes place only once a year, in February.
  • Candidates can apply for only one of the 25 papers listed, but General Aptitude is a common subject in all GATE papers. The remaining subject will be chosen by the candidates.
  • MCQs and numerically based questions make up the GATE paper. Negative marking will be used for MCQs.


  • All states in India, as well as some universities, conduct State Level Eligibility Tests in English for lectureship only.
  • As a result, the University Grants Commission conducted the eligibility test. In response to this, several states have chosen to administer their own test for the position of Assistant Professor, known as the State Level Eligibility Test (SLET).

PhD in Pharmacology: Focus Areas

  • The PhD Pharmacology program’s goal is to provide students with the skills they’ll need to study and conduct research in the field of biomedical science, which combines chemistry, physiology, and pathology.
  • Candidates gain advanced knowledge of drug interactions and actions in living systems.
  • Pharmacology is divided into two branches: pharmacokinetics, which is concerned with drug absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion; and pharmacodynamics, which is concerned with drug molecular, biochemical, and physiological effects, as well as drug mechanisms of action.
  • The students will learn how to conduct research and gain specialist knowledge in this course.
  • It enables you to collaborate with a wide range of other disciplines in modern biomedical science, such as neuroscience, molecular and cell biology, immunology, and cancer biology.
  • The course will provide opportunities for students to share and disseminate research that explains the effectiveness and negative side effects of medications.
  • It develops a deep and broad understanding of why people react differently to different drugs and why some of them lead to addiction.
  • Students should expect to meet with their instructor and other lab members on a daily basis.
  • Mentorship by fellow students and staff members can also provide informal opportunities for developing research leadership skills.
  • It is looking for applicants who have strong academic credentials, intellectual abilities, and the expertise needed to contribute to scholarly research.

PhD in Pharmacology: Top Institutes

For your convenience, the top colleges offering PhD Pharmacology according to the NIRF 2021 Rankings are listed below. These colleges display the admissions process, location, and average course fee.

Ranking by NIRFInstitute NamePlaceProcess of Admission Average Annual Fee
1Jamia HamdardNew DelhiWritten test + PIINR 1,27,000
3National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER)MohaliNIPER JEE + PIINR 1,10,000
4Institute of Chemical TechnologyMumbaiWritten test + PIINR 64,500
12Annamalai UniversityChidambaramWritten test + PIINR 51,510
17Nirma UniversityAhmedabadWritten test + PIINR 40,000
22Poona College of PharmacyPuneGATE / CETINR 50,000
34Andhra University, College of Pharmaceutical sciencesVisakhapatnamEntrance testINR 3,01,000
58Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed UniversityPune, Navi Mumbai, Kolhapur Entrance testINR 1,42,000
76-100Sri Adichunchanagiri College of Pharmacy (ACCP)MandyaEntrance testINR 21,430

Top Foreign Institutes

Here are the top universities offering pharmacology around the world, according to the QS world ranking 2022:

Institute NameQS World Rankings
University of Oxford#2
Monash University#58
Harvard University#5
University of Cambridge#3
University of Nottingham#103
Johns Hopkins University#25
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill#100
King’s College London#35
University of Toronto#26
The University of Manchester#27

PhD in Pharmacology: A Comparison among Institutes

Below is a comparison of the top PhD Pharmacology offering colleges based on a variety of factors such as average fee, college overview, admission process, top recruiters, and more.

Basis of ComparisonJamia HamdardNational Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER)Institute of Chemical Technology
HighlightJamia Hamdard University is a Deemed to be University that was founded in 1989.NIPER is a government-run public university in India. It is one of the seven schools established by the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers at the national level.The Institute of Chemical Technology in Mumbai, founded in 1933, is one of India’s most prestigious engineering colleges.
PlaceNew DelhiMohaliMumbai
Ranking by NIRF134
Criteria for Eligibility Post GraduationPost GraduationPost Graduation
Process of Admission Written test + PINIPER JEE + PIWritten test + PI
Average Fees
INR 1,27,000INR 1,10,000INR 64,500
Average Salary
Per Annum
INR 3,50,000INR 3,60,000INR 3,50,000
Top Employing FirmsTCS, HP Global Soft Ltd, Maruti Udyog Ltd, etcDr Reddy’s lab, GSK, Mylan, Bayer, Biocon, KinapseBiocon, Lupin, Syngene, and other pharmaceutical companies

Areas of Research in PhD Pharmacology

Pharmacology is divided into two branches: pharmacokinetics, which is concerned with drug absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion; and pharmacodynamics, which is concerned with drug molecular, biochemical, and physiological effects, as well as drug mechanisms of action. The areas of pharmacology research are as follows:

Area of ResearchDescription of Research Area
Cancer Pharmacology / BiologyIt is the study of basic signal transduction mechanisms associated with cell proliferation and apoptosis, antineoplastic agent mechanisms of action, drug design and discovery, basic mechanisms of DNA repair and DNA damage tolerance, and the development of novel gene therapy strategies.
Cardiovascular PharmacologyStudying the effects of medications on the cardiac or circulatory system.
Clinical PharmacologyPharmaceutical research in humans and its optimal clinical use in patients.
ImmunopharmacologyPreclinical and clinical studies on the immunotoxicity of xenobiotics and medicines, as well as their regulatory effects on immunocompetent cells.
Molecular and Biochemical PharmacologyThe development of new drugs and therapies for human disease relies heavily on science. Any chemical that affects biological processes is referred to as a drug.
Neuroscience and PainAbuse and substance abuse disorders, learning and memory mechanisms, the impact of the blood-brain barrier on disease and neuroactive drug penetration,epilepsy and anticonvulsants, and chronic pain and analgesic mechanisms are just a few of the topics covered.
ToxicologyThe study of the harmful effects of chemical compounds on living organisms, as well as the detection and treatment of toxin and toxicant exposures
PsychopharmacologyDrug-induced changes in mood, thought, and behaviour are studied. These drugs can come from natural sources like plants and animals, as well as synthetic sources like lab chemical syntheses.

PhD Pharmacology and PhD Pharmaceutics: Key Differences

Except for a few minor differences, PhD pharmacology and PhD pharmaceutics are nearly identical courses. The following comparison is made with all of the important parameters of the differences in mind:

Basis of ComparisonPhD Pharmacology PhD in Pharmaceutics
Type of Degree DoctorateDoctorate
HighlightThe study of the effects of drugs and chemicals on living organisms is known as pharmacology. molecular and cell biology, neuroscience, immunology, and cancer biology are among the disciplines that make up modern biomedical science. Pharmaceutics is a multidisciplinary science that studies dosage form development, creation, production, and characterization, as well as drug disposition and action in the body.
Type of Examination SemesterSemester
Average Fees
INR 2,00,000 – INR 4,00,000 INR 10,000 – INR 3,00,000 
Minimum DurationThree yearsThree years
Criteria for Eligibility Post Graduation in PharmacologyPost Graduation in Pharmaceutics
Process of Admission Entrance Test + PIEntrance Test + PI
Top Institutes NIPER, Institute of Chemical Technology, Annamalai University, Jamia Hamdard,Nirma University.Assam University, Bharati Vidyapeeth University, Catholicate College,Allahabad University, Poona College of Pharmacy.
Top Areas of Recruitment Public Health Entities, Blood Service, Industrial Laboratories, Cancer research institutes,Drug Manufacturing Companies, Research Departments, etc. Drug Control Administration, Pharmaceutical Companies, Chemist Shops,Hospitals & its Administration, Healthcare Centres, etc.
Positions of JobBiomedical Scientist, Healthcare Scientist, Clinical Pharmacologist, Clinical Research Associate, Forensic Scientist, Analytical Chemist,Physician’s Associate, among others. Clinical Pharmacist, Dispensary Pharmacist, Community Pharmacist, Hospital Pharmacist, Medicines Management Technician, Consultant Pharmacists,Pharmacy Assistant, Senior Clinical Pharmacists, etc.
Average Salary
Per Annum
INR 4,00,000 – INR 15,00,000 INR 2,00,000 – INR 15,00,000 
Further Scope for StudyResearchResearch

PhD in Pharmacology: Top Job Profiles

Pharmacology offers opportunities in pharmaceutical company research and development laboratories, non-lab-based pharmaceutical-related fields, clinical trials, manufacturing, regulatory affairs, patenting, and other areas.The Department of Health, Intellectual Property Office, National Health Service, Civil Services, Pharmaceutical and Biotech companies, and Academic Institutes are among the top recruiters in the field (universities and colleges, etc.).

The following are some of the job opportunities available after graduating with a degree in pharmacology:

Profile of Job Description of JobAverage
Annual Salary
Research ScientistResearch scientists are in charge of planning, carrying out, and interpreting data from controlled lab studies, experiments, and trials. Government laboratories, environmental organizations, specialist research organizations, and universities are all possibilities.INR 14,70,000
Clinical ScientistClinical scientists work in laboratories and are in charge of analyzing physiological samples and interpreting diagnostic test results. Their medical knowledge is put to good use in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases.INR 4,00,000 
Research AssistantOrganizes and writes literature reviews. Data gathering and analysis. Prepare materials for submission to foundations and research funding agencies. If necessary for the supervisor’s or project’s research activities to which the assistant is assigned, performs routine clerical duties as directed.INR 3,75,000
Clinical Laboratory TechnologistHighly qualified scientists who discover the presence or absence of illness and provide evidence to assist physicians in determining the best course of treatment for the patient.INR 4,85,000
Pharmacology ProfessorTeach students about the didactic and experiential aspects of pharmacy practice. Mentor, propose, and motivate students in school, the community, and the workplace. To enable experiential teaching practices and encourage scholarship, create a clinical practice environment.INR 9,63,000
ChemistChemists refine and test chemicals, as well as analyse organic and inorganic compounds. Its mission is to improve the quality of products and procedures while maintaining safety.INR 6,56,000
Medical Research ScientistMedical scientists develop and perform experiments and procedures to avoid and treat human diseases in order to study them. Medical researchers are working on ways to improve human health in general. They also rely on clinical trials and other forms of testing to reach their conclusions.INR 4,25,000
Pharmaceutical Sales ManagerPharmaceutical sales reps are salespeople employed by pharmaceutical, medical, or healthcare companies to promote their products to a variety of external stakeholders. These sales reps are those who are interested in educating and informing healthcare practitioners and key opinion figures about the value of the company’s products.INR 10,75,000
Medical Pharmacology TechnicianThe pharmacy technician assists patients in filling prescriptions and ensuring that they are delivered to the correct units. We also help the pharmacist by ensuring that the pharmacy has enough stock to meet the needs of the patients.INR 9,50,000

Some other important areas of employment are:

  • General Physician
  • Research Officer
  • Private Clinics
  • Medical Advisor
  • MD Pharmacology
  • Hospital Labs
  • Medical Services Manager
  • Writing for Medical Content
  • Pharma Companies
  • Senior Scientific Assistant.
  • Assistant or Associate Professor
  • Assist. Manager
  • Defense Services
  • Medical Colleges & Universities

PhD in Pharmacology: Benefits and Scope

  • Pharmacology is the study of drugs that alter the ability of living organisms to function. Medicinal and non-medicinal drugs are included in this category.
  • Pharmacology is at the cutting edge of some of modern medicine’s most exciting developments.
  • This degree enables students with relevant experience to conduct supervised focused research in the discipline.
  • It aids in the integration of knowledge from a variety of disciplines, such as medicine, pharmacy, nursing, dentistry, and veterinary medicine.
  • It enables students to assist with university research programs and, on occasion, to design their own experiments.
  • It aids in the development or acquisition of skills and expertise relevant to their research goals.
  • It’s an opportunity to become an expert on your chosen subject and contribute to academic and practical knowledge.
  • It increases your chances of landing a well-paying job and opens up a world of possibilities.
  • The program’s goal is to provide a formal research platform for those who want to contribute newer questions and concerns about pharmacology research.
  • A doctorate degree allows you to keep up with the expanding frontiers of knowledge and provides research training that is relevant to the country’s current social and economic goals.
  • They can work as lecturers in colleges or start their own private schools and colleges.
  • They can work as research scientists in fields such as biology and medicine.
  • They can work as toxicologists, who plan and conduct laboratory and field studies to identify, monitor, and evaluate the effects of toxic materials and radiation on human and animal health, as well as the state of the environment and future technological impact.


What is the distinction between a pharmacist and a pharmacologist?

A pharmacologist is a scientist who studies new drugs, whereas a pharmacist is a licensed health care professional who prepares, dispenses, and advises on pharmaceuticals.

When do you have to apply for a PhD in pharmacology?

Candidates are admitted to the university/institute twice a year, in January and July. However, applications are accepted throughout the year, and seats are allocated based on research area vacancies. Candidates must visit the college’s website on a regular basis.

Who are the top recruiters for people with a pharmacology degree?

Pharmaceutical and Biotech companies and academic institutes are some of the most common employers of pharmacology degree holders (universities and colleges, etc.).

What is the distinction between a PharmD and a PhD in pharmacy?

People who want to work as pharmacists should enroll in the Doctor of Pharmacy program. The PhD program is designed for those who want to pursue a career in research. Some colleges offer dual PharmD and PhD programs.

What are the other options for a PhD personal interview?

Due to the current situation, colleges and institutes are using video conferencing to conduct personal interviews with PhD candidates who have been shortlisted.

What are the requirements for applying for a PhD in pharmacology?

Candidates who have completed a post-graduate degree in pharmacology from a recognized university listed under the UGC/AIU with a minimum aggregate of 55 percent and above are eligible for admission to the program. Candidates must pass a national level entrance exam or university level entrance exam as well as a personal interview to be considered.

Is an M.Phil. required to pursue a PhD?

While pursuing an M.Phil before applying for a PhD is not required, a candidate who has completed an M.Phil adds more value to the doctorate degree. While some universities offer M.Phil holders direct admission, others do not.

What is the difference between a doctorate and a master’s degree?

A PhD degree has a significant advantage over an M.Phil degree. PhDs are commonly used to train for advanced research work. The research work for a PhD degree must generally be original. While in the M.Phil. program, the dissertation work does not have to be entirely original; it can simply repeat a previous study.

Is financial aid available for pursuing a PhD?

Research Scholars who have passed the JRF or equivalent national level exams are eligible for financial assistance from the funding agency. Non-NET UGC fellowships are available to research scholars who do not have access to funding.

What is the PhD application process like?

Only applications that have been filled out completely and accurately, as well as those that include relevant certificates and other documents as attachments, will be considered. Candidates will be shortlisted, and those who are chosen will be required to take the entrance exam and participate in a personal interview. After the applicants have accumulated the marks they received in their postgraduate tests, entrance reviews, and personal interviews, the final results will be revealed.

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