Diplomate in Safety Pharmacology (DSP)

Deadlines | 2015 Agenda | Training and Preparation | Maintenance of Diplomate Status | DSP Listing

2015 Examination Registration Deadline: September 1, 2015

Online Registration

2015 Examination Date and Location:
September 27, 2015
Prague, Czech Republic

Safety Pharmacology Society is an international nonprofit organization that promotes knowledge, development, application, and training in Safety Pharmacology—a distinct scientific discipline that integrates the best practices of pharmacology, physiology, and toxicology.

The objective of Safety Pharmacology studies is to further the discovery, development, and safe use of biologically active chemical entities by the identification, monitoring, and characterization of potentially undesirable pharmacodynamic activities in nonclinical studies. The Safety Pharmacology Society also supports the human safety of drugs and biologicals by fostering scientific research, education, and dissemination of scientific information through meetings and other scientific interactions.

The Safety Pharmacology Society has established a process for certification which would evaluate and document competency in the field of Safety Pharmacology. There is a need from the industry, and regulators worldwide for a certification process to confirm expertise and identify quality standards for professionals involved in the practice of safety pharmacology.

The advantages of establishing a certification for Safety Pharmacologists is that it stimulates recognition of the discipline in the overall drug development community and with regulators, encourages toxicologists and other professionals who wish to diversify their experience and professional expertise to participate in SPS activities, and stimulates poster presentations and publications in safety pharmacology.


Online Registration will open early 2015.

NOTE: Candidates must present photo ID, be preregistered, and sign a waiver prior to entering the examination room on September 27. On-site registrations will NOT be accepted.


The Certification Exam

Certification is achieved by success on the certification examination. The exam is a written exam, conducted in English. Each examination consists of four one and a half hour parts (see agenda below).

The exam will contain approximately 300 multiple choice questions covering the following areas of safety pharmacology (approximate distribution):

Still not sure if you should take the exam? Take our sample exam and see how you do!

Exam Agenda

Examination Requirements and Rules


Unless SPS is advised before the examination of any need for accommodations due to disabilities, the availability of services onsite cannot be guaranteed. The need for accommodations due to disability should be specified in writing to SPS Headquarters after registering for the exam. Requests for accommodations must be accompanied by a signed statement from a licensed and qualified professional with expertise and familiarity with the disability setting forth the claimed disability's impact on the candidate’s ability to perform on a written examination such as the DSP. The statement should specify how the disability would interfere with the exam and recommend reasonable accommodations.

Withdrawal or Illness

If you need to withdraw from the exam due to illness, personal reasons, or fail to appear for the exam there is no refund and the fee is nontransferable to future years. If you miss the exam due to illness or fail to appear for the exam, you will be eligible to register for the following year’s exam and will be required to pay the appropriate exam fee upon registration.

Training and Preparation for the Exam

Study Material includes:

DSP Webinar series: Focused Reviews in Safety Pharmacology (Part 1, 2, 3)
View Recordings and download slides on our Webinars page.

All scientific articles related to the scope of the examination presented above published in the following journals:


For a full list of suggested references to assist in preparation for the exam, please view the DSP Key References .

Results of the Examination

Candidates are required to complete all parts of the exam. Successful candidates are certified and accepted as Diplomates in Safety Pharmacology (DSP). The minimum score required to pass the examination will be determined prior to the examination by the Certification Committee each year based on the results from participants for the year. The scores for the sections passed or failed are not reported to candidates. A participant failing to achieve the minimal score to pass the examination will be invited to take the certification examination at his/her convenience at the next SPS Annual meeting.

Significance of Certification

Certification by the Safety Pharmacology Society indicates only that a person has satisfied the specific requirements of the DSP certification process and program, and is not a guarantee, warranty, endorsement or promise by the SPS of the competency, quality of services provided, accuracy, or of any other particular result with respect to the services rendered or products used by any certified individual. Information about Diplomates is provided by the Diplomates themselves, and the SPS, its officers, directors, employees, volunteers, agents, and authorized contractors/representatives are not responsible for any incorrect or out-dated information about Diplomates, including their office addresses or any other contact information. The SPS does not assume and specifically disclaims any duty or obligation to the public for the services rendered by Diplomates, or for any information about or provided by Diplomates or any other person or entity participating in or receiving professional services from Diplomates of the SPS.

Maintenance of Diplomate Status

The Certification Committee

Questions are written by a certification committee composed of SPS Diplomates. Nomination of members to the certification committee is voted periodically by the Board of Directors of SPS. The committee will be composed of at least three SPS current Diplomates. The committee should include at least at one member with:

To be eligible for nomination to the committee, candidates should have a minimum of 10 peer-reviewed scientific publications in the field of pharmacology including six in the field of safety pharmacology. If a candidate does not have 10 publications, she/he should submit a written summary of experiences to illustrate her/his expertise in the field of safety pharmacology. Eligibility of candidates submitting a summary of experience will be determined by an anonymous vote by the Board of Directors of the Safety Pharmacology Society in which the majority will be required to allow eligibility.

The committee will prepare a minimum of 100 new questions each year to be added to the question database. New questions will be submitted to Diplomates for review in a private room at the Annual SPS meeting. Diplomates will determine the relevance of the new questions by attributing a score from one to five for each question. New questions that are considered relevant (average score of four or five) will be added to the certification exam the following year.

Questions previously used for the certification examination will be modified by the committee before inclusion in the examination for the following year.

The committee will update the list of scientific references (journals and textbooks) relevant to the preparation of the certification examination for prospective Diplomates. The list of references will be maintained on the SPS website.