School of Graduate Studies

School of Graduate Studies
School of Graduate Studies

Pharmacology & Toxicology

This program is now part of the new interdisciplinary program of Biomedical & Molecular Sciences


"I’ve had a great time here while pursuing leading-edge research and presenting my findings on the international stage.  It’s the type of place where you know everyone on a first-name basis and feel comfortable stopping anyone in the hall to ask a question.”

Ryan Dercho, PhD. candidate

Program Contact

Wendy Cumpson
Graduate Assistant
Pharmacology & Toxicology Program
Department of Biomedical & Molecular Sciencesbr /> Queen's University, Kingston, ON, Canada K7L 3N6

Phone: 613.533.2796


Program Overview

In our graduate program, you will get hands-on training with state-of-the-art equipment and only the highest calibre instruction. You will also develop a broad range of knowledge and experience in the areas of pharmacology and toxicology, and you will excel in conducting independent research in the fields of pharmacology, toxicology and experimental therapeutics, as well as in teaching pharmacology to students in sciences, health professions and graduate studies.

The Program has special expertise in three important research areas:

  • Cancer and Biochemical Toxicology
  • Cardiovascular Pharmacology
  • Neuropharmacology.


Because our Program is small and vibrant, you will have lots of opportunity to interact with students and faculty and be part of a cohesive, supportive community, both academically and socially. Our students have the opportunity to avail cross disciplinary opportunities.

Career paths – employment opportunities

Pharmacologists and toxicologists are employed in a large number of areas including research, development, management, and control within the pharmaceutical industry, health care services, government divisions and biotechnology companies. With an advanced degree in pharmacology, research, teaching and consulting become additional career options.

Degrees Offered/Method of Completion

Degrees Offered

M.Sc.: 2 years

Ph.D.: 4 years

We also offer a mini-Master’s degree with fast-track admission to Ph.D.

Method of Completion

M.Sc.: course work (12 units), research thesis and defence

Ph.D.: course work (15 units), research thesis and defence, comprehensive examination with oral and written components

Fields of study and Supervisors

We encourage you to contact a potential supervisor to discuss research options and see if they are taking on new students.

Cancer and Biochemical Toxicology

  • James F. Brien, Ph.D.: Alcohol fetotoxicity (fetal alcohol syndrome)
  • Susan P.C. Cole, Ph.D.: Anti-cancer drug resistance
  • Thomas E. Massey, Ph.D.: Biochemical and molecular toxicology of the lung
  • Christopher J. Nicol, Ph.D.: Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)-mediated influence on breast and colon cancer
  • Terence R.S. Ozolinš, Ph.D.: Developmental toxicology
  • Louise M. Winn, Ph.D.: Developmental toxicology

Cardiovascular Pharmacology

  • Michael A. Adams, Ph.D.: Mechanisms of antihypertensive drug action, Neural and vascular mechanisms of male and female sexual dysfunction
  • Brian M. Bennett, Ph.D.: Pharmacology of the nitric oxide/guanylyl cyclase/cGMP signal transduction system
  • James F. Brien, Ph.D.: Nitric oxide, carbon monoxide and vascular function
  • Donald H. Maurice, Ph.D.: Phosphodiesterases and vascular function
  • Kanji Nakatsu, Ph.D.: Pharmacology of carbon monoxide and heme oxygenases


  • James F. Brien, Ph.D.:Neurotoxicology of alcohol
  • James N. Reynolds, Ph.D.: Molecular pharmacology of amino acid neurotransmission, Neurotoxicology of alcohol
Funding, Academic Prerequisites & Deadline

Funding Information

M.Sc.: Minimum $21,000

Ph.D.: Minimum $23,000

Our students are eligible to receive competitive scholarships, studentships and fellowships from a number of external agencies such as NSERC, CIHR and OGS. Some students may also qualify for internal scholarships from Queen’s (e.g. McLaughlin Fellowship) and from the Program (Eldon Boyd Fellowship and the Pharmacology and Toxicology Alumni Graduate Fellowship). Entering graduate students who win federal government tri-council awards are automatically provided a $5,000 top-up award by Queen’s.

Additional funding may be available from teaching and research assistantships.

Academic Prerequisites

For M.Sc.: Bachelor’s Honours degree with Second Class standing and a B+ average (We usually accept from A-.)

For Ph.D.: M.Sc. in a related discipline

Our students come from backgrounds including Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Biochemistry and Physiology. Some students may need to take additional courses.

Grades Required

We consider all grades, but we predominantly look at the last 2 years.

Other Requirements

Statement of Interest and Curriculum Vitae

Test Requirements

For international students, if required, a TOEFL total score of at least 600 (paper-based) or TOEFL iBT minimum scores of: writing (24/30); speaking (22/30); reading (22/30); listening (20/30), for a total of 88/120. Applicants must have the minimum score in each test as well as the minimum overall score.

Key Dates and Deadlines

Application Deadline: March 1 to be considered for funding options, but we will accept later applications.

Notification of Acceptance: June at the latest.

Learning Outcomes

Degree Level Expectations - MSc (108 KB)

Degree Level Expectations - PhD (108 KB)