Pharmaceutical Science Degree

Did You Know that medicine has existed throughout the history of human civilization. Different methods and systems for practicing medicine were established to treat a range of diseases. In recent times, with the advancement in technology, numerous medical breakthroughs made history and changed the course of pharmaceutical sciences.
One of the most talked about medical advancements is cancer vaccines. Pharmaceutical scientists have developed antiviral vaccines that target the human papillomavirus (HPV), which significantly reduces the risk of cervical cancer. Thanks to the never ending research and hard work of pharmaceutical scientists, there is hope for eliminating some of the world’s deadliest diseases in the coming future.

University of Southern California

Kaplan University Online

The George Washington University


Pharmaceutical sciences can be described as a group of interdisciplinary areas of study that focus on the discovery and development of new drugs. Pharmacology, pharmaceutical chemistry, and pharmacognosy are just a few of the branches of this field. Professionals with a pharmaceutical science degree could work as pharmaceutical scientists in a range of organizations. These professionals have been at the forefront of major breakthroughs and advances in modern medicines.
If you are interested in becoming a part of the rapidly-evolving medical sector, pharmaceutical sciences may just be the right fit for you. You may work in different fields that include research, administration, marketing, and pharmaceutical sales.

What do you need to become a pharmaceutical scientist?

You will need to go to college and earn a degree in pharmaceutical science. The program will provide you with skills and in-depth knowledge of the field. But before you enroll in a program, make sure you are ready and understand what the field requires, such as:

  • Knowledge of drugs – You must be well versed in drugs, medicines, and their uses.
  • Knowledge of pharmaceutical law – The field is strictly regulated by federal and private organizations.
  • Research skills – You will be experimenting and conducting research at advanced levels.
  • Patience and stamina – Not every experiment will be a success, so be prepared to face failures.

Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences

This is a four year undergraduate program that prepares students for technical positions in the pharmaceutical industry. The program covers a broad range of disciplines that cover drug discovery, manufacturing and development, drug products, and industry demands. Students will learn how to conduct pharmaceutical research and develop a strong base of knowledge.
During the first year of the program, students will undergo a thorough study of basic sciences and medicine. Further in the program, more advanced coursework is covered. This may include study of the following subjects:

  • Pharmaceutical analysis

In this course, students will review the methods used for analyzing drug products.

  • Pharmaceutical principles

In this course, students will examine drug dosage formulation, drug degradation kinetics, dissolution kinetics, and pharmacokinetics.

  • Pharmaceutical biotechnology

This course will cover DNA techniques relevant to biotechnology. Important topics covered in this course include chemistry, pharmacology, pharmaceutical biotechnology, and biopharmaceutics.

  • Important advances in pharmaceutical sciences

This course examines the classical and contemporary advances in the field. The course will highlight the drug development process, techniques for drug analysis, and drug delivery methods.

Masters in pharmaceutical sciences

This is a two-year graduate program, which emphasizes on applied research in drug delivery and pharmaceutics. Students will study a wide range of disciplines that cover basic sciences as well as advanced pharmaceutical sciences. The main purpose of the program is to equip students with a sound understanding of pharmaceutical sciences and its key concepts. Students could prepare to work as an independent scientist after graduation.
The curriculum will generally include a set of basic courses and electives. Students can choose to specialize in areas such as toxicology, pharmacokinetics, or medicinal chemistry.
Here are some of the courses covered in the program:

  • Chemical basis of drug action

In this course, students will study the chemical basis for drug behavior. The course will include topics such as chemical principles, drug-receptor, and physiochemical properties.

  • Biostatics and research design

This course will cover the basic statistical concepts, computations, and techniques associated with pharmaceutical and medical research. Students will study topics such as survey research, clinical drug investigations, and research protocols.

  • Analytic aspects of pharmaceutical sciences research

This course will cover the basic instrumentation and application of laboratory equipments. Students will learn about high pressure liquid chromatography and mass spectroscopy. The course involves hands-on laboratory exercises.

PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences

This degree program is designed to prepare students for careers in advanced scientific research or academia. It is the highest level of degree offered in pharmaceutical sciences, and can take 3-8 years to complete.
Students enrolled in the program will develop an educational expertise in pharmaceutical sciences with the guidance of a mentor or member of the advisory committee. The program will include coursework, a qualifying examination, an independent research study, and the successful completion of a dissertation topic.
Some of the courses covered in the program are:

  • Principles of drug development
  • Ethics and biostatistics
  • Molecular spectroscopy and imaging
  • Bioanalytical and pharmacological methods
  • Cell and development biology
  • Medicinal chemistry

Learning outcomes

  • Acquire in-depth knowledge of the essential aspects of pharmaceutical sciences and research
  • Understand the practical and technical aspects of pharmaceutical sciences
  • Engage in original research
  • Prepare for a professional role in the field of pharmaceutical sciences
  • Demonstrate strong analytical and problem-solving skills

Why study online?

If you are too busy to enroll in a traditional college, and have a job to worry about, online learning may be the solution for you. In fact, many students are pursuing an online degree as it is more flexible and cost-friendly. You can study from the comfort of your home at any time of the day without having to sacrifice your job.
Here are some of the benefits of an online pharmaceutical science degree:

  • Cost effective – No textbooks required
  • You can get individual attention from the instructor
  • Self-paced – You can study at your own pace with no pressure of keeping up with the class
  • Flexible coursework – Study in your free time

Admission steps

  • Fill out and submit an admission application
  • Submit required documents such as:
  • College transcripts
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Pay the admission fee
  • Pass the entry test (if any)

The admission process may vary from college to college.

Career prospects

A degree in pharmaceutical sciences may open doors to many career opportunities in the pharmaceutical industry. Depending on your degree level and specialization, you may work as:

  • Consumer safety officer
  • Drug analyst
  • Pharmaceutical scientist
  • Production technologist
  • Marketing/sales drug detail representative

The income level will vary from job to job.

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