Pharmaceutical Science PhD Program Information
The Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences is a research-oriented program that prepares graduates for careers in teaching and private industry. Many Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Science programs have areas of concentration, and support an interdisciplinary approach to research. Programs generally draw from areas such as engineering, chemistry, biology and economics.
Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Science
The Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Science takes at least four years of full-time study to complete; it is the terminal degree in pharmaceutical science. Some Ph.D. programs allow students to specialize in a concentration area that corresponds to a stage in the development of drugs. The four primary stages in drug development are discovery, optimization, assessment and outcomes. Concentration areas could include pharmaceutical policy, molecular pharmaceutics, medicinal chemistry and pharmacotherapy.
A Bachelor of Science is the minimum requirement for admission into a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Science program. Many pharmaceutical science departments do not require that the undergraduate degree be in a specific discipline; however, departments encourage applicants to apply if their undergraduate degree is in biology, chemistry, pharmacy, chemical engineering or a related area. Applicants are also required to submit scores from the Graduate Records Examination (GRE), and may be required to sit for an interview.
The first two years of a pharmaceutical science Ph.D. program introduces students to advanced topics in pharmaceutical science. The second half of study is devoted to research, completing a dissertation and presenting its defense. Courses may include:
- Medicinal chemistry
- Forensic toxicology
- Protein chemistry
- Introduction to pharmaceutical sciences
- Drug development
- Drug delivery concepts
- Formulation of proteins
- Research and development statistics
Popular Career Options
Graduates with a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Science have a wide range of job opportunities on the research and development side of the pharmaceutical industry.
- Medicinal chemist
- Pharmaceutical chemist
- University professor
Job Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the projected growth of employment for medical scientists is expected to be 36% from 2010-2020. This rate is much faster than average for all other occupations in the United States. Growth for jobs in the pharmaceutical sciences has slowed since the 1980s primarily because of fewer biotechnology companies being founded, and a reduced number of research grants being awarded. BLS reports that medical scientists earned a median annual salary of $76,980 as of May 2012.
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