Doctor of Philosophy in Medicinal Chemistry (PhD)

School of Pharmacy

Location: Boston
Start Term: Fall

Either build on your master’s-level knowledge or start directly on your PhD examining the behavior of chemical substances at the molecular level and conducting research related to the development of new drugs and novel targets.

Research Drug Design and Synthesis in Some of the World’s Most Advanced Laboratories

In this PhD program at our Boston campus, you’ll have the opportunity to work alongside professional experts in modern laboratories and learn how to design, synthesize, analyze, and test new drug compounds. You’ll study how chemical substances behave at a molecular level and how the chemical properties affect drug kinetics, absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion. You’ll also participate in research directed toward a fuller understanding of pharmacological actions that lead to improved drug design. The program starts in the fall.

Your Doctoral Journey

Our research-and-development focused curriculum prepares you for roles at the frontier of drug discovery and enhancement in the pharmaceutical industry. You’ll work side-by-side with globally respected faculty working on novel drug targets and diseases. This program is STEM-designated, qualifying international students for an additional two years of OPT work in the United States.

First-Year Experience (following completion of your MS degree)

  • deepen your grasp of pharmaceutical science principles
  • study medicinal, organic, and bio-organic chemistry and spectroscopic analysis
  • participate in related laboratory rotations and graduate seminars

Second-Year Experience

  • engage in research in your desired area of specialization
  • continue to participate in related graduate seminars

Third-Year Experience

  • develop a thorough understanding of drug metabolism
  • continue to participate in related graduate seminars
  • extend your research in a desired area of specialization and create a grant proposal


average Salary

Medicinal Chemist compensation reported by in 2022.


Projected Job Growth

The projected professional growth between 2022 and 2032 is 6%, faster than average.  (Bureau of Labor Statistics)



Massachusetts is #1 in Industry investment in R&D per capita.
(Massachusetts Life Sciences Center)

Developing Future Leaders in the Pharmaceutical Sciences

Graduate-level degree programs within the School of Pharmacy at MCPHS are meant for those looking to make a difference in the pharmaceutical industry. See how students advance their knowledge and refine their skills through hands on experiences in state-of-the art laboratories under the guidance of our expert faculty.
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Dream Jobs That Help Humanity

As a medicinal chemist, you’ll work with some of the most dynamic technologies and life-saving breakthroughs in healthcare.

Jose Mauricio Paredes Quiroz

Working at the Frontier of Therapeutics

Jose Mauricio Paredes Quiroz, MS ’22, pursues his calling as a drug hunter working on RNA-based therapeutics at Dicerna Pharmaceuticals.

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Students Publish with Pharmaceutical Sciences Professor

Professor Swati Betharia, PhD in Pharmacology ’11, led a research team of undergraduate and graduate students to a key finding on neuroprotection against metal toxicity.

Graduate Degrees in Pharmaceutical Sciences

As well as the PhD in Medicinal Chemistry, we offer five additional opportunities for graduate study at the master’s, doctoral, and certificate levels.

Master of Science in Medicinal Chemistry

Two-year, full-time program on the Boston campus.

Master of Science in Pharmaceutics

Two-year, full-time program on the Boston and Worcester campuses.

Master of Science in Clinical Research

Flexible full-time or part-time program on the Boston campus and online.

Graduate Certificate in Clinical Research

Flexible three-course program on the Boston campus and online.

Doctor of Philosophy in Pharmaceutics

50-credit, full-time program on the Boston and Worcester campuses.

Download a Program Fact Sheet

Download a program fact sheet for a snapshot of the Doctor of Philosophy in Medicinal Chemistry.