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Graduate programs in Pharmacy/Pharmaceutical Science provide research and academic opportunities for students interested in a scientific or administrative careers in the pharmaceutical industry. While most programs focus on a certain aspect of pharmacy, core coursework is usually a blend of industrial pharmacy, physical pharmacy, pharmacokinetics, and biopharmaceuticals, sometimes taught through several different departments within a school of pharmacy. In addition to coursework and labs, students are required to participate in research projects in pharmacy or related departments such as biological and chemical sciences.

Most programs demand the same prerequisite courses for entrance; however, the scope of study within the graduate program varies significantly by school. While most curriculums include some coursework in business management and administration as pertains to the pharmaceutical industry, some programs focus on training students in pharmacy administration, so that they may go on to assume management positions in pharmacy departments of hospitals or other health care institutions. Other pharmacy schools offer programs of study examining economics and policy of pharmaceuticals, while others focus on the scientific aspects of the field. When choosing a program, look for a curriculum that will best suit your career goals and interests within the field.

Degree Information

The Bachelor of Pharmacy (B.Pharm.) degree has been phased out and replaced by the Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree, a four-year program that usually requires at least two years of college study, although most applicants have three years prior to entering the program. These programs involve a variety of field placements and usually lead to jobs in pharmacies. Master’s degrees in Pharmacy Management are also offered, as well as joint degrees such as the Pharm.D./M.P.H. (Master’s in Public Health) joint degree for students who want to use their knowledge of epidemiology to further clinical research, or the Pharm.D./M.B.A. and the Pharm.D./J.D.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Degree Program

  • What classes comprise the core curriculum?
  • What is the school's educational mission and focus?
  • Does the program include coursework in business or economics, or is it primarily designed to train scientists?
  • What are the faculty's interests and fields of specialty? What types of research is faculty conducting?
  • Are there student scholarships available for research?
  • Are there fellowship or internship opportunities for students?
  • Where do recent graduates work? What types of jobs do alumni hold?

Career Overview

Career opportunities depend on the program students attend, their course of study, and the research in which they participate as a student or intern. Typically, graduates with a Pharm.D. work as pharmacists or administrators in pharmacies, grocery stores, health and personal care stores, and hospitals and other health care institutions. Opportunities also exist for consulting and science positions in regulatory agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration.

Career/Licensing Requirements

The first step in becoming a licensed pharmacist is earning a degree from a program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education or foreign accrediting body recognized by your jurisdiction. The licensure exam typically has three components: the North American Pharmacist Licensing Exam (NAPLEX), the Multi-State Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam (MPJE), and the Written and Practical (Compounding). Continuing education of about 40 hours is usually required during each three-year period before a license needs to be renewed (by payment, not reexamination).

Salary Information

Graduates with a Pharm.D. can expect to earn between $50,000 and $100,000. In 2002, average annual wage for pharmacists was $77,050. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $54,110, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $94,570 a year.

Related Links

American Pharmacists Association (APhA)
APhA is the first established and largest professional association of pharmacists in the United States. Check out the student area of the website for student-specific information including scholarships.

American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP)
The AACP represents pharmaceutical education in the United States.

Pharmacy College Application Service (PharmCAS)
PharmCAS is the centralized application service for students applying to pharmacy programs in the U.S. and Canada.

American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS)

American Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists

The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy


  • Physical Pharmacy

  • Advanced Medicinal Chemistry

  • Advanced Organic Chemistry

  • Biochemistry

  • Biopharmaceutics And Pharmacokinetics

  • Issues In Drug Development

  • Mathematical Biology

  • Physical Methods In Organic Chemistry

  • Principles Of Drug Delivery

  • Statistics