The Drug Discovery and Experimental Therapeutics PhD program offers a unique educational opportunity for students interested in drug discovery and the development of novel therapeutics.  The changing landscape of drug discovery and the pharmaceutical industry has created a need for scientists with interdisciplinary training to navigate the complex landscape of medicinal chemistry, biotherapeutics, pharmacogenetics/genomics, and basic pharmacology/toxicology.  Students completing this program will have invaluable expertise from carefully selected coursework, a breadth of electives, and engagement in cutting-edge research.

Drug Discovery and Experimental Therapeutics (DDET) features interdisciplinary coursework and a curriculum rich with electives to tailor the individual needs and interests of our graduate students.  

This program prepares students for careers in academia, the pharmaceutical industry, biotechnology companies, regulatory agencies and government.

Our program offers full support for highly qualified applicants, including coverage of tuition and fees as well as a generous monthly stipend. Typical time to degree is 4.5 - 5.5 years.  

Research Rotations

All students entering the program will participate in a minimum of 2 rotations, each lasting 6-8 weeks, prior to joining a research group. Assignment of a student to a research group/mentor will occur following the completion of rotations based on mutual agreement by the student, advisor, and subprogram director.  

Income Potential

A 2020 survey conducted by the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists found a mean pharmacy Ph.D. salary of ​$170,000​ a year, with a further ​$32,300​ in bonuses and ​$3,800​ in outside income, for a total of ​$206,100​. The top 25 percent earned more than ​$210,000​ per year, with ​$50,000​ in bonuses and incentives. The bottom 25 percent earned less than ​$119,700​, while 50 percent of respondents earned less than ​$159,100​.

Pharmaceutical scientists develop and test new drugs and bring them to market. It's possible to enter the field with a bachelor's or master's degree, but leading positions in the field require a Ph.D.

Job opportunities after earning a Ph.D. are varied and offer a great deal of career flexibility.

Drug Discovery

Our faculty educate PhD students and postdoctoral fellows in the chemistry and biology of drug discovery. We offer an interdisciplinary course of study and world class faculty with leading edge research projects resulting in a quality education and rewarding careers in the pharmaceutical industry and academia. Our outstanding faculty and students ensure a friendly and unique learning and research experience in a pleasant affordable small city in the heart of Iowa.