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Pharmaceutical Science Degree and Certificate Programs

Pharmaceutical science involves the development and production of medicine and medicine delivery systems. Find out about the undergraduate and graduate degrees you'll need for a career in this field, and learn about certificate programs, including options for online study.

What is Pharmaceutical Science?

Pharmaceutical science is a branch of science dedicated to the creation and development of medicine and medicine delivery systems. In the field, you research the best composition for drugs, the ideal delivery system and any possible toxicity they contain. Your job will be to identify and create new drugs as well as test their effectiveness with the aim that they are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Pharmaceutical scientists work in research labs owned by private pharmaceutical companies or labs owned by a government agency, such as the FDA.

Field ResponsibilitiesCreation and development of medicine, researching drug composition, testing for drug toxicity, creating drug delivery systems, testing drug effectiveness
Degree TypesBachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees are available
CertificatesCertificates designed for professionals already in the field are available
Median Salary (2018) $126,120 (for all pharmacists 
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 6% growth (for all pharmacists

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 

What Degrees are Available?

Degrees in pharmaceutical science are usually offered through a school's pharmacy or health sciences department. Although bachelor's degrees are available, master's and doctoral degrees are more common. In a bachelor's degree pharmaceutical science program, you study subjects such as toxicology, dosage, drug manufacturing and drug action, as well as complete research projects and internships.

Many graduate pharmaceutical science students have bachelor's degrees in scientific fields such as biology, chemistry or molecular biology. Graduate programs may include concentrations, thereby allowing you to specialize in a specific topic in the field, such as biotechnology, toxicology, neuroscience, or clinical pharmaceutical science. Some schools do not offer specific pharmaceutical science degrees, but instead offer the subject as a concentration within their Doctor of Pharmacy degree programs.

What Certificates are Available?

Certificate programs in pharmaceutical science are available, but are mainly geared towards individuals that already work in the field. Some programs may require that you have a master's or doctoral degree and experience for admission. Additionally, many certificates focus on a specific subject within the field, such as the absorption and distribution of ingested medicines, bioorganic principles of drugs or pharmaceutics. Some certificate programs are available online.