Pharmaceutical Degree Programs and Courses

Degree programs in pharmaceutical science train you to develop and produce drugs. Find out about the undergraduate and graduate degree programs in this field, including the coursework, internship opportunities and specialization options. Schools offering Alcohol & Drug Studies degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Employment of pharmacists is expected to grow in the coming years due to increased demand for prescription medications in the years ahead. Pharmaceutical degree programs and courses prepare, educate and train future pharmacists as the demand for pharmaceutical services increases. These include degrees from bachelor's to doctoral degrees and cover such subjects as human anatomy, organic chemistry, physiology and more.

Degree Options Bachelor's, master's, doctoral
Courses Organic chemistry, drug activity and reactions, human anatomy and physiology, dosage regulations, pharmacology
Salary $124,170 per year (Median salary as of May 2017 for pharmacists)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Types of Pharmaceutical Degree Programs Are Available?

Pharmaceutical programs teach you how to produce medications and drugs. Some common academic programs in this field include pharmaceutical chemistry and pharmaceutical science. These programs are interdisciplinary, encompassing many classes found in biology, chemistry and physics departments along with pharmaceutical research and training classes. Your potential degree options include bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees.

What Are These Programs Like?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that most jobs in the pharmaceutical industry require at least a bachelor's degree ( Several schools offer Bachelor of Science degree programs in pharmaceutical science. At the undergraduate level, you'll learn about chemistry, biology, math and physics as they relate to the pharmaceutical industry. Some majors also include a focus on medicinal chemistry, toxicology or pharmacy administration. Many programs include extensive research, though some might offer you the chance to participate in an internship to gain real-world experience.

Master's degree programs can take 2-3 years to complete, and you'll usually need to choose an area of specialization, such as:

  • Medication development
  • Nuclear pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical biotechnology
  • Pharmacogenetics

Though uncommon, online degree courses are sometimes offered at the master's and doctoral degree levels. Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs usually take about five years on their own and allow you to perform significant research in your area of interest, including nanomedical technologies, medication delivery systems or clinical pharmaceutical science. To become a pharmacist, you could also pursue a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree. Some schools allow you to combine master's and doctoral studies to earn both degrees simultaneously.

What Courses Could I Take?

Many courses come from other disciplines, such as biology, chemistry, business and math. In a graduate-level curriculum, drug research and trials are usually a large part of your dissertation or independent research studies. In many pharmaceutical programs, course topics cover the technical details concerning pharmaceutical creation and the effects of drugs on the human body. Subjects might include:

  • Organic chemistry
  • Human anatomy and physiology
  • Drug activity and reactions
  • Cell structure and activity
  • Dosage regulations
  • Medical ethics
  • Herbal medicine

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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