Comparative Biosciences

Graduate Study and Training Programs

Choose Comparative Biosciences to learn from outstanding researchers who are advancing human, animal, and environmental health.

[comparative biosciences graduate student pipetting under a fume hood]

Choose Comparative Biosciences to learn about animal models and translational research from engaged and enthusiastic faculty.

Master’s and Doctoral Degrees

Our graduate programs provide advanced research training in stem cell research, molecular genetics, pharmacology, and toxicology. The range of faculty projects and interests is outlined on the departmental home page and within individual faculty biosketches.

All graduate programs are tailored to meet the goals and expectations of the individual student. The department requires a minimum of core courses, thus allowing the greatest possible flexibility in program design. It is expected that students will earn the master of science degree within two to three years or the PhD degree within four to five years after enrolling. Students may earn the PhD degree without earning the master’s degree. Doctoral degrees are designed to prepare competitive research scientists and effective teachers.

About half of current graduate students hold the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine or equivalent degree. The department is committed to increasing the number of veterinarians educated to be competitive scientists. We also seek to increase our numbers of domestic students, especially with regard to under-represented minorities.

  • Application Information

    • Applications, submitted with all supplemental materials, and a fee of $70 for U.S. students, and $90 for international students, are due by January 1 for admission in the Fall semester and June 1 for admission in the Spring semester.
    • The department requires an undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale).
    • The department must receive an official copy of the results of the GRE (General Exam), taken within the past five years, in order to consider an application complete.

    International Applicants

    International applicants whose native language is not English must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam. A score of at least 600 on the written TOEFL examination, 250 on the computer version, or 100 on the internet based testing version is required. Those applicants who gain admission on the basis of their academic credentials, but score below 600 (or 250 or 100, as applicable) on the TOEFL, will be admitted on limited status and required to take the English Placement Test (EPT) upon their arrival. Graduate applicants are exempt from the TOEFL exam if, within five years of the proposed date of enrollment in the University of Illinois, they have successfully completed at least two academic years of full-time study in a country where English is the primary language and in a school where English is the primary language of instruction. You also need to take the new TSE (Test of Spoken English) exam and score at least a 50. International applicants are encouraged to visit the University’s minimum admission requirements website before applying.


    For Department of Comparative Biosciences graduate application inquiries and correspondence, contact:

    CheMyong “Jay” Ko, PhD
    Director of Graduate Studies

    Juanmahel Dávila, PhD
    Coordinator of Graduate Studies


    Department of Comparative Biosciences
    University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine
    2001 South Lincoln Avenue
    Urbana, IL 61802
  • Apply Online Now

    Training Programs and Residency

    Comparative Biosciences faculty provide leadership in several interdisciplinary training programs at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign:

    The department also offers a residency training program in Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology.

    • Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology Residency

      This residency program for graduate veterinarians combines strong research training and completion of a master’s or doctoral degree with didactic and clinical training that prepares candidates to take the certifying examination of the American College of Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology (ACVCP). (ACVCP trainee guidelines can be found here: http//

      The University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine boasts a distinguished history in veterinary clinical pharmacology. Lloyd Davis, DVM, PhD, professor of clinical pharmacology here from 1978 to 1994, established the world’s first residency training program in this field. He was the first president of the American Academy of Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, founded in 1977, and one of the five founding diplomates of the American College of Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology in 1990.

      Note: Applications are not being accepted at this time.

      Program Description

      Research Training: Appropriate projects encompassing the realm of clinical pharmacology will be identified with departmental mentors interested in small animal, equine, wildlife, exotic, and laboratory animal pharmacology and toxicology.

      Didactic Training: Coursework is offered through the Department of Comparative Biosciences and will be undertaken during the first 18 to 24 months of the program.

      Relevant coursework includes: Comparative Disposition of Xenobiotics, Analytical Methods: Analysis of Drugs in Biological Fluids, Regulatory Pharmacology and Toxicology, Advanced Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology, and Pharmacokinetics.

      Clinical Training: Clinical training within the program includes participation in clinical pharmacology, internal medicine, and critical care rounds and journal clubs, consultation within the small and large animal clinics, and the conduct and interpretation of therapeutic drug monitoring.

      Off-site Training: An externship experience at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center in Urbana, Ill., will be required of all residents. Residents will also have the opportunity for an externship at participating pharmaceutical companies or the Food and Drug Administration Center for Veterinary Medicine to gain experience in industrial and regulatory clinical pharmacology.

      Teaching Opportunities: Residents will present therapeutics-based topics to small animal residents in the small and large animal clinic series, and will participate in clinical rounds. In addition, residents will have the opportunity to participate in didactic teaching of pharmacology to veterinary students.

      Program Requirements

      Candidates for the training must hold a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree (or equivalent), preferably with at least one year of primary veterinary patient care experience, and be currently licensed to practice veterinary medicine in his/her state or country.

      Unless the resident has already completed a PhD degree in a relevant biomedical science, the resident will simultaneously enroll in a master’s of science (MS) or PhD program in the Department of Comparative Biosciences. A research project to fulfill the MS or PhD will be developed by the resident with consultation of his/her graduate committee and the program director.

      Estimated completion time for the combined program is three years, including completion of the MS degree. Timeline for those seeking a PhD will be one to two years longer.

      Application Instructions

      For Residency Application: Candidates are encouraged to initially email the residency program director, ( with a letter of intent and curriculum vitae.

      For Graduate Degree: See above for information on applying for the graduate degree program.

      The complete application will include a letter of intent, curriculum vitae, three letters of reference, transcripts, and officially transmitted GRE scores. Note: Applications are not being accepted at this time.

      Stipends, Benefits, and Tuition

      This position is a 67% appointment as a Teaching Associate with a starting stipend of $30,000 with annual increments plus benefits. A tuition and partial fee waiver valued at approximately $16,000 annually is also included, making a total support package worth approximately $46,000.


      For further information or to apply, candidates should contact:

      Duncan C. Ferguson, VMD, PhD, DACVIM, DACVCP

      Professor Emeritus, Comparative Biosciences
      Director, Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology Residency Program
      University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine
      2001 South Lincoln Avenue
      3516 VMBSB, MC-002
      Urbana, IL 61802;

      Email:; Telephone: 217-333-2506

    The University of Illinois is an Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity Employer.