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Study Pharmacology abroad

About this subject

  • About this subject
  • Is this the course for me?
  • Career prospects
  • Studying Pharmacology
  • Where to study?

Originating from the Greek word “pharmakon”, pharmacology refers to the study of drugs. A drug is defined as being a man-made, natural or endogenous molecule that exerts a chemical or physiological impact upon the cell. The subject matter is one which has been studies for thousands of years, but while early pharmacists focussed on natural substances and plant extracts, today’s pharmacology is a science derived from the 19th Century attitudes and practices of therapeutic medicines.

Today, pharmacology has had a dramatic impact upon our day-to-day lives. From paracetamol and ibuprofen to life saving drugs that treat those with cardio-vascular and neurological illnesses, there is no denying that the study of pharmacology has made a significant contribution to 21st century Britain.

Is this the course for me?

Are you fascinated by the human body? Would you like to pursue a career working with drugs and medicines? If so, studying for a qualification in pharmacology may be the perfect option for you.

However, it is important for potential pharmacology students to have a natural aptitude for the sciences and to have previous experience in both chemistry and biology as both of these disciplines will feature heavily in the course content.

When studying a pharmacology course, it is also important that students are willing to work exceptionally hard. Not only will there be a lot of information to absorb, but students will be regularly asses and expected conduct their own independent research as the course progresses.

Career prospects

Within the pharmaceutical industry the demand for graduates with a pharmacology qualification is particularly high. Over £12 million a day is invested into the industry, so for graduates with strong degrees, there are plenty of opportunities available. The majority of pharmacology jobs available are within the National Health Services where graduates are required to give medical advice and dispense prescription drugs to the public. Similarly, private pharmaceutical firms also look to employ graduates to work on medicinal research and to assist in the development of new drugs.

Pharmacology qualifications are also highly sought after within the engineering and manufacturing industries as well as social care sectors. Many residential senior carers need an in-depth knowledge of prescription drugs and their potential side effects.

However, some Pharmacology graduates opt to enter other fields of study after finishing their qualifications such as journalism, or to take the Graduate Diploma in Law in order to become a lawyer or barrister, specialising in medical law.

Studying Pharmacology

Provided that you have previous scientific or medical qualifications, pharmacology is a subject that can be studied at both graduate and post-graduate level, meaning that there is a wide range of study options available to potential students. A post-graduate degree programme requires students to have a 2:1 degree in a science related subject and an undergraduate course will expect 3 A-levels (or equivalent). Two of these A-levels should be in Chemistry and biology.

If you’ve not studied in the UK and you’re not a native speaker then this shouldn’t stop you from being accepted onto the course of your choice as most international qualifications are accepted by UK Universities. However, it is always beneficial to double check in the prospectus that you’re qualification is valid. Most courses will also as foreign speakers of English to sit an IELTS test and score a minimum of 6.0-6.5.

The length of your course will very much depend on the University and the level at which you study. However, most post-graduate courses last approximately 2 years with undergraduate courses lasting a minimum of 3 years. The assessment method is also varied, with both written assignments and practical work being used as key indicators of your academic understanding.

Where to study?

Most Universities will only accept graduates with strong A-levels that have a predominantly science focus for under-graduate courses. Most post-graduate courses will require applicants to have a 2:1 degree. Check that your grades, or predicted grades meet these requirements. Given that a pharmacology course can consist of up to three years, you should also think carefully about finance. Can you afford the fees and living costs?

If you’re struggling to secure funding, there are a number of scholarships and grants available.

When you are applying to study on a Pharmacology course, it is important not only to look at the specialist study options available to you, but also the practical hands-on experience that your University will allow you to gain during your studies. In order to provide students with the best training possible, many establishments will forge relationships with teaching hospitals and leading research firms that will not only provide students with strong practical experiences, but will also allow for a diverse range of career opportunities.

It is very important to choose somewhere that will make you happy for the duration of your course, particularly if you’re opting to live away from home. Wherever you choose to study, your qualification will end up costing you a lot of money, so make the most of your student days! As such it is important that you consider whether the surrounding culture will add to the pleasure of your University years as well as academic benefits of studying at a particular institution.

What Pharmacology courses are there?


Dispensing Technicians (Pharmacy)


Drug Dispensing (Pharmacy)



STUDY LEVEL Postgraduate

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