• Home
  • Course Requirements for Areas of Specialization

Course Requirements for Areas of Specialization

Trainees are required to select an area of specialization (analytical, formulation, delivery, protein structure, or bioinformatics) and satisfy the elective course requirements listed below. The courses required in each area of specialization provide the trainees with exposure to the practical problems associated with formulation, delivery, analysis, and structural and bioinformatics characteristics of biotechnology-derived drug candidates. Such information will be particularly helpful to trainees from departments other than pharmaceutical chemistry.


Trainees selecting the analytical area of specialization are required to successfully complete

  • Pharmaceutical Analysis (Pharmaceutical Chemistry 864, PHCH 864)
  • Bioanalytical Chemistry (Chemistry 959, CHEM 959)
  • Pharmaceutical Chemistry 864 (PHCH 864)
  • Pharmaceutical Analysis - This course emphasizes separation technologies used for the analysis of drugs in media such as the bulk drug substance, drug formulations, and biological fluids and tissues. The following topics are discussed: theory of liquid chromatography, applications of liquid chromatography, sample preparation, method optimization, chromatography of peptides and proteins, and derivatization techniques.
  • Chemistry 959 (CHEM 959): Bioanalytical Chemistry - This course emphasizes the biological aspects of analytical chemistry, including immunoassays, separations of macromolecules, electrophoresis, radiochemical assays, electrochemical assays, enzyme-based assays, biosensors, and spectroscopic techniques such as NMR, CD, etc.


Trainees selecting the delivery area of specialization are required to successfully complete

  • Drug Delivery (Pharmaceutical Chemistry 715, PHCH 715)
  • Advanced Topics in Biopharmaceutics and Pharmacokinetics (Pharmaceutical Chemistry 976, PHCH 976).
  • Pharmaceutical Chemistry 715 (PHCH 715 or CPE 715): Drug Delivery - The objective of this course is to provide students with a breadth of knowledge in the current trends in drug delivery systems utilizing conventional routes of administration. Factors that influence the delivery of drugs, such as drug physicochemical properties, excipients, mechanisms of drug release, and methods of evaluation, will be discussed. The performance of calculations related to the physical and chemical properties of drugs and common dosage forms (solubility, stability, release, dissolution, diffusion, partitioning, dose, absorption, and disposition) will also be taught. Finally, the presence of biological barriers and the mechanisms of sub-cellular trafficking of drugs will be described. The performance of calculations based on a fundamental understanding of mass transport concepts governing the disposition of drugs during administration and upon contact with biological barriers will be covered. Instructor: Professor C. Berkland (Chemical & Petroleum Engineering and Pharmaceutical Chemistry).
  • Pharmaceutical Chemistry 976 (PHCH 976): Advanced Topics in Biopharmaceutics and Pharmacokinetics - This course provides trainees with exposure to the quantitative treatment of the processes involved with drug absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion in living systems. Topics covered in this course include classical pharmacokinetics, non-linear pharmacokinetics, advanced concepts in pharmacokinetic modeling, biological barriers to efficient drug delivery, and pharmacokinetics in dosage form development.


Trainees selecting the formulation area of specialization are required to successfully complete

  • Pharmaceutical Equilibria (Pharmaceutical Chemistry 862, PHCH 862)
  • Mechanisms of Drug Deterioration and Stabilization (Pharmaceutical Chemistry 972, PHCH 972)
  • Pharmaceutical Chemistry 862 (PHCH 862): Pharmaceutical Equilibria - The objective of this course is to review basic thermodynamic and statistical mechanical principles and apply them to systems of interest to pharmaceutical and biotechnological scientists. Physical properties of ideal and nonideal solutions are discussed, including methods for determining and predicting solubility and ionization phenomena. The thermodynamics of ligand binding interactions and macromolecular conformational equilibria are developed, with special attention to small molecule protein binding equilibria.
  • Pharmaceutical Chemistry 972 (PHCH 972): Mechanisms of Drug Deterioration and Stabilization - The objective of this course is to enable students to examine the chemical structures of drug molecules and macromolecules and predict which aspects of their structure are likely to present stability problems under a variety of conditions. The course will present students with the principles necessary to carry out stability evaluations of drugs, including peptides, proteins, and nucleic acids, and the quantitative interpretation of related data. Particular emphasis will be placed on how these degradative processes can be prevented or reduced to allow the formulation of these drugs for therapeutic use.


Trainees selecting the structure area of specialization are required to successfully complete

  • Modern Biochemical and Biophysical methods (Biology 918, BIOL 918)
  • Spectrochemical Methods of Analysis (Chemistry 908, CHEM 908)
  • Biology 918 (BIOL 918): Modern Biochemical and Biophysical methods - This course emphasizes the use of techniques for solving problems of structure and function of biological macromolecules. Students complete several modules that consist of lectures relating to theory and practical aspects of each methodological approach and apply these techniques to solving a specific problem.
  • Chemistry 908 (CHEM 908): Spectrochemical Methods of Analysis - Lecture and laboratory course including general concepts of encoding chemical information as electromagnetic radiation; major instrumental systems for decoding, interpretation, and presentation of the radiation signals; atomic emission, absorption, and fluorescence; ultraviolet, visible, infrared, and microwave absorption; molecular luminescence; scattering methods; mass spectrometry; magnetic resonance; and automated spectrometric systems.


Trainees selecting the bioinformatics area of specialization are required to successfully complete

  • Bioinformatics I (Bioinformatics 601, BINF 601)
  • Bioinformatics II (Bioinformatics 602, BINF 602)
  • Computational Genomics (Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences 700, EECS 700).
  • Bioinformatics 601 (BINF 601): Bioinformatics I. - First semester of a two-semester course in bioinformatics and computational biology. Topics include basic concepts, bioinformatics databases, tools and methods, sequence and structure alignment, secondary structure determination, tertiary structure modeling, and customary structure modeling.
  • Bioinformatics 602 (BINF 602): Bioinformatics II - Second semester of a two-semester course in bioinformatics and computational biology. Topics include computer-aided drug design, molecular dynamics, Monte Carlo methods, biological membranes, structure-function relationships, phylogenetics, and networks.
  • Electrical Engineering and Computer Science 700 (EECS 700): Computational Genomics - Available genome sequences create a wealth of material for research into their role in biological processes such as cell division, cell differentiation and gene expression, solution and adaptation, and disease. In these contexts, methods in eukaryotic genome research from structural, compositional, and physical vantage points will be examined.

Our research projects ranging from traditional pharmaceutics to biotechnology. 

Learn more here.

Wanna Skype? Chancellor gets creative to surprise Truman winner. See it here: http://bit.ly/1awodaa
Rock Chalk! Junior Ashlie Koehn named KU's 18th Truman Scholar
Ashlie Koehn, a University of Kansas junior from Burns studying in Kyrgyzstan, interrupted helping her host family prepare dinner to make a Skype call on Monday evening.

.@NYTimes columnist @WCRhoden will speak at a symposium about race and sports April 23. http://t.co/UiKA9MYNv0 http://t.co/PHwCOHqcfD
Wanna Skype? Chancellor gets creative to surprise Truman winner From KU News Service: http://bit.ly/1awodaa Ashlie Koehn, a University of Kansas junior from Burns studying in Kyrgyzstan, interrupted helping her host family prepare dinner to make a Skype call on Monday evening. To her surprise, Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little was on the other end of the call letting Koehn know she had been named a 2015 Harry S. Truman Scholar. Koehn is the 18th KU student to be named a Truman Scholar and the only 2015 recipient from the state of Kansas. Earlier this month, she was also named a 2015 Udall Scholar. And in spite of a distance of more than 10,800 kilometers and 11 time zones, Koehn’s thrill from hearing the news from the chancellor came through loud and clear. “Ashlie’s experience at KU epitomizes a quality undergraduate experience. She challenged herself in her coursework, exposed herself to different research opportunities, studied abroad in Germany, Switzerland and Kyrgyzstan, and participated in both student government and community service projects,” Gray-Little said. “This is quite a year for Ashlie. Her hard work is a wonderful reflection on her and also a great reflection on the university, and we all congratulate her.” Each new Truman Scholar receives up to $30,000 for graduate study. Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities within the federal government. Koehn, a member of KU’s nationally recognized University Honors Program, is majoring in environmental studies, economics and international studies. Her goal after earning her KU degree is to pursue a master’s degree in economics at either the London School of Economics or the University of Reading, with a focus on the economics of climate change. In 2014, she received KU’s Newman Civic Engagement Award for her work establishing the Coalition against Slavery and Trafficking. Her involvement with the issue was sparked by Hannah Britton, associate professor of political science and women, gender, and sexuality studies, who hosted national conference on contemporary slavery at KU three years ago. “Ashlie and I met several times to think about what KU students could contribute to the issue of slavery and human trafficking, and the result was her founding of KU CAST,” Britton said. “After a year as president, Ashlie successfully handed the organization over to the next student leader. She demonstrated her strong leadership qualities by setting a unique goal and then pursuing it with her sense of passion, engagement and dedication. No matter the country or context, her leadership strength is evident in her coursework, her public service and her work experiences.” The University Honors Program works with a campus committee to select KU’s nominees for the Truman Scholarship and supports them during the application process. Anne Wallen, assistant director of national fellowships and scholarships, noted it was an amazing ruse to pull off the surprise. Originally, the call was set up to be between Wallen and Koehn. “I was totally not prepared to be greeted by Chancellor Gray-Little, but it was an amazing surprise for sure,” Koehn said. “As a first-generation student, it took time to learn the collegiate system, but my parents taught me to be resourceful and independent from a young age and KU and the Kansas Air National Guard have provided me with the opportunities to drive me into the future, both at graduate school and in my career. I plan to use the Truman Scholarship to pursue a career as an environmental economist helping to shape future trade agreements and leverage action on important international environmental issues, particularly concerning climate change.” Koehn also had a surprise of her own for the chancellor — the meal she was helping to prepare was not exactly typical Kansas dinner fare. On the menu with her host family in Kyrgyzstan on Monday was a traditional Kyrgyz meal called Beshbarmak, or “five fingers,” because you eat it with your hands. The dish is made of horse and sheep and was being prepared as a birthday celebration for Koehn’s host mom. Chancellor Gray-Little, as she signed off from Skype, made sure to encourage Koehn to enjoy her Beshbarmak. Koehn is the daughter of Rodney and Carolyn Koehn of Burns. She graduated from Fredric Remington High School in Moundridge. She is an active member of the Kansas Air National Guard and currently on leave while studying abroad in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. She is a member of the KU Global Scholars Program and a past member of the Student Senate. In addition to being named a 2015 Truman and Udall scholar, she was named a 2014 Boren Scholar and Gilman Scholar and in 2013 was named the Kansas Air National Guard Airman of the Year.

Why KU
  • One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
  • 26 prestigious Rhodes Scholars — more than all other Kansas colleges combined
  • Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
  • 46 nationally ranked graduate programs.
    —U.S. News & World Report
  • Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
  • 23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times