Graduate and Professional Degrees

Pharmacy School

What is pharmacy school?

The general objective of graduate training in medicinal chemistry is to provide the student with a solid background in the discipline and an in-depth experience in a specific area of research. Research in medicinal chemistry encompasses a broad spectrum of activities including studies pursuant to investigations of the interaction of both drugs and toxic substances with biological systems, and the relationship of chemical structure and dynamics to biological effect and function.

Course work varies among institutions, but usually requires graduate students to achieve a level of proficiency in organic, medicinal and physical chemistry, pharmacology, biochemistry, and molecular biology. Most course work is completed in the first 2 to 3 years of the graduate program.

What degree does a pharmacy student earn?

There are several types of degree programs available to students of pharmaceutical research, including a PharmD (Doctor of Pharmacy), PhD and Master of Science.  The PharmD degree is the only professional degree in pharmacy accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), the national pharmacy accrediting agency. The curriculum of a PharmD program is designed to provide students with the scientific background and clinical skills necessary to take the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX) and the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination (MPJE) to enter professional practice.   

What are the prerequisites for admittance into a pharmacy program?

Talented students holding undergraduate degrees in chemistry, biochemistry, pharmacy, biology, or a closely related discipline are the ideal candidates for a graduate pharmacy program. Admission decisions vary widely depending on the institution, but will typically include an evaluation of the student’s complete academic record, including GPA, letters of recommendation, research experience and scores from the GRE and/or PCAT.

What career options are available in the pharmacy field?

Career opportunities open to graduates with advanced training in medicinal chemistry include:  

  • Industry (chemical, pharmaceutical, laboratory medicine and biotechnology)
  • Government (Environmental Protection Agency, Food and Drug Administration and National Institutes of Health)
  • Academia (pharmacy, chemistry, biochemistry, pharmacology and toxicology)

Related degrees

  • Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Physician’s Assistant