Master of Science in Drug Discovery and Development

Apply for Fall 2024:     Sept 15 – July 1, 2024


Drug discovery and development (DDD) is the process by which new drugs are discovered, developed and approved for clinical use. It also encompasses the knowledge, skills and techniques required for pursuing the process.

The Master of Science in Drug Discovery & Development (MS-DDD) is designed for students to gain a systematic understanding of how drugs and medicines are discovered and developed, and to increase the understanding of clinical, medical and regulatory affairs in the DDD process.

Benefits of this program include:

    • Accessible, accelerated, affordable, career-focused and flexible
    • Completion of a non-thesis MS degree program in as little as one year
    • Increased competitiveness in the job market
    • Empowering of working professionals to expand roles and responsibilities and to advance their career
    • Expansion of student’s professional network and competitive advantage through capstone research and industrial internship


Information Sessions

Hear from HSC College of Pharmacy faculty to learn more about DDD career and graduate program pathways, the science behind DDD, the specific coursework offered, and admissions requirements in this recorded session.


Career Opportunities in DDD

There are many types of job functions involved in the drug development process, and this program will enhance the career options or promote the career advancement of students who complete this program. Opportunities include careers in:

      • Clinical Pharmacies
      • Consulting Firms
      • Contract Research Organizations (CROs)
      • Intellectual Property Lawyers
      • Medical Science Liaisons
      • Not-for-profit Research Institutions
      • Project Managers
      • Regulatory Agencies
      • Research Scientists in the Bio-Pharma industry
      • Scientific Writers

Note: some of these job functions require additional degrees or credentials

Who Should Apply?

      • Expected or recent college graduates in chemistry or life sciences
      • Current graduate students or professional students (i.e. PharmD students)
      • Working professionals
      • International students


This minimum 30 semester credit hour (11 courses) MS program can be completed in one to three years, depending on the individual student’s schedule and engagement level. Didactic teaching is 100% online and asynchronous. In the final stage of the program, students complete a hands-on capstone research project or industry internship. Individuals who have completed or are on track to complete the Certificate in DDD may apply to this program, and, if accepted, apply all credits toward the MS program.

Fall Courses

PHAR 5310/7320a: Overview of Modern Drug Discovery & Development (3 SCH)
PHAR 5311: Pharmacogenetics, Pharmacogenomics, and Personalized Medicine (3 SCH) 
PHAR 7222a,b,c: Pharmacogenetics, Pharmacogenomics, and Personalized Medicine (2 SCH)
PHAR 5112/7122a,b: Current Technology Trends in Drug R & D (1 SCH)
BMSC 5265: Industry Practice and Laboratory Management (2 SCH)
BMSC 5215: Scientific Communications (2 SCH)
BMSC 5160: Ethics in Scientific Research (1 SCH)

Fall Elective Course Offering*
PHAR 5313/7380a: Quantitative Aspects of Drug Actions (3 SCH; Prerequisite: requires Course Director’s assessment and approval for enrollment)

Spring Courses

PHAR 5314/7382a: Clinical Pharmacology and Drug Development (3 SCH. Prerequisite: completion of PHAR 5310/7320)
PHAR 5315/7310a: Comprehensive Review of FDA Approved New Drugs (3 SCH. Prerequisite: completion of PHAR 5310/7320)

Spring Elective Course Offerings*
PHAR 5317: Principles and Practice of Medicinal Chemistry (3 SCH; Prerequisite: completion of PHAR 5310/7320)
PHAR 5318: Principles and Practice of Pharmacology and Toxicology (3 SCH; Prerequisite: completion of PHAR 5310/7320)
PHAR 5319: Internships: Innovation and Entrepreneurship I (3 SCH)

Summer Courses

PHAR 5619: Capstone Research or Internship Practicum (6 SCH; course delivered in-person for on-site training; can be re-taken once. Prerequisite: completion of minimum 20 SCH of MS-DDD curriculum)

Summer Elective Course Offering*
PHAR 5316: Principles and Practice of Formulation Science (3 SCH; Prerequisite: completion of PHAR 5310/7320)

aCourses are listed or cross-listed for HSC PharmD students.
bCurriculum information is effective for the 2023-24 academic year.
cFor HSC PharmD students only; in person.

*Six semester credit hours of electives are required. 

Admission Requirements

  • Education:
    • By the time of matriculation into this MS-DDD program, applicants will have earned a BA/BS degree in chemistry or a discipline of life sciences from an accredited U.S. institution or an internationally comparable institution; or current enrollment in a post-graduate research program (such as PhD) or a professional program (such as PharmD).
  • GPA 2.75 or higher on a 4.0 scale
  • At least 6 semester credit hours (SCH) of Biology, 6 SCH of Chemistry, and 6 SCH of Calculus and/or Statistics.

Applicants who don’t meet all of these criteria may provide appropriate justification for being considered on a case-by-case basis.

International Applicants

  • A course-by-course WES International Credential Advantage Package (ICAP) is required from any international institutions attended.  WES will need your GradCAS ID in order to properly route your ICAP.  If you ordered your WES ICAP before you had a GradCAS ID, click here to learn how to proceed (select “GradCAS” from the drop-down and scroll down to “Additional Information”).
  • Language Exam Scores are required for applicants who are not U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents unless they have studied for at least 2 semesters in an English-speaking country.  TOEFL accepted; use code B886.
  • The MS-DDD program currently does not sponsor F-1 visa for international students. International students can undertake all didactic courses online and can participate in the on-site training (capstone research or internship practicum) either outside of the US or in the US under proper arrangements with a J-1 visa.

UNTHSC’s English Language Requirements: Applicants may meet language requirements by one of the following:

  1. TOEFL language exam taken in the last 2 years. See each program admission requirements for score minimums. Send scores to GradCAS using code: B886
  2. Completing or expected to complete a US-accredited Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctoral degree before matriculation at UNTHSC.
  3. College/University Degree or Citizenship from specific English-speaking countries. Official transcripts and degrees will need to be provided. Schools of attendance must be recognized by UNTHSC.

Language Locations

  1. Complete Level 6 at UNT system Intensive English Language Institute (IELI): The Intensive English Language Institute (IELI) at the University of North Texas helps international students develop academic skills in English. **We do not accept intensive English language completion from other institutions.

International applicants should submit their application 6 weeks prior to the international applicant deadline. This will allow sufficient time for WES to process the transcript evaluation report and adequate time for visa processing.

Visit our International Student Office site to learn more about the I-20 process, estimated Cost of Attendance and other key factors.

How to Apply

Application via GradCAS requires the following:

  • One-page personal statement of interest in the program (maximum 400 words)
  • One to two letters of recommendation from academic or professional references
  • CV or resume
  • Other optional supporting documents 
  • Submit official transcript(s) from all institutions attended.*
    *Please note the following:
    • Transcripts must be official, sent directly to GradCAS from your institution(s).
    • A course-by-course WES International Credential Advantage Package (ICAP) is required from any international institutions attended.  WES will need your GradCAS ID in order to properly route your ICAP.  If you ordered your WES ICAP before you had a GradCAS ID, click here to learn how to proceed (select “GradCAS” from the drop-down and scroll down to “Additional Information”).
  • $88 application processing fee

Program Contacts

  • For questions about the admissions process, email
  • For questions about the program, contact: Dr. Eric Cheng, Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Director of Drug Discovery & Development Programs, at, or call (817) 735-0165.
  • Program Office: University of North Texas Health Science Center, HSC College of Pharmacy, RES-340K, 3500 Camp Bowie Blvd, Fort Worth, Texas 76107, USA.

Read more about Admissions and Advising.