Pharmacology is a branch of biology and medicine that studies drugs and their classifications: man-made, endogenous (meaning these can be found within one’s body) or natural. It studies the physiological or biochemical effects these drugs can have on cells, tissues, and organisms. Pharmacologists identify interactions between chemicals and living organisms which affect biochemical functions.
A degree in pharmacology provides the graduate a thorough understanding of pharmaceutical medications, their particular chemical properties, therapeutic uses, and biological effects. A pharmacology degree graduate will have knowledge of biological systems and how drugs interact within each system, he is also aware of formulations as well as the operations of clinical trials for new drugs, their regulation and eventual marketing.
The skills that a pharmacology degree holder would acquire include skills in decision-making, written and oral communication, problem-solving, analytical and critical thinking, and time management. The degree will also teach the student teamwork, develop an ability to work with minimal supervision, knowledge of safety measures, design and retrieve data, and handling and interpreting complex research data.
Exciting Careers for a Pharmacology Degree Holder
The pharmacology degree holder almost always pursues a master of science and a doctorate program. What does a future well-trained and high skilled pharmacologist do with his degree?
If you count writing as a talent then you can be a medical writer for pharmaceutical companies and write advertising materials, reports of clinical trials, etc. You can be a clinical researcher for a pharmaceutical’s development and/or processing and you can also be part of the marketing team of a pharmaceutical company for new or existing brands and develop marketing plans and strategies. Or you can become a quality assurance officer for a pharmaceutical to ensure the safety and efficacy of manufactured drugs.
There are specializations in pharmacology which the pharmacology degree holder may want to delve further into such as molecular pharmacology which concerns biophysical and biochemical interactions of drug molecules as well as formulation of newer compounds. You can choose to specialize in behavioral pharmacology that involves studying drug effects on behavior of individuals or society.
Additionally, you can be a specialist in endocrine pharmacology, chemotherapy, clinical pharmacology, all of which will require advanced degrees and skills such as microbiology, genetics, medicine, and immunology, among others.
Top Schools Offering Pharmacology Programs
The State University of New York (SUNY), the University of California-Santa Barbara, Pennsylvania’s Thomas Jefferson University (Philadelphia), Louisiana’s Tulane University (New Orleans), the University of Knoxville (Tennessee), Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond), the University of Arizona (Tucson), Georgetown University, the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), and Yale University all offer pharmacology degrees.
You may also want to inquire about requirements for obtaining a pharmacology degree from other schools such as the University of Vermont (Burlington), the Southern Illinois University (Carbondale), Loyola University (Chicago), Dartmouth College, Ohio State University (Columbus), Purdue University (Indianapolis), Creighton University (Omaha, Nebraska), Boston University, and the University of North Dakota (Grand Forks).