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Pharmaceutical Sciences

What is it?

A discipline that deals with the study of drug action, delivery and utilization.

Academic Programs

  • Most programs in the US offer a six years Doctor of Pharmacy program (PharmD).
  • Canadian Universities offer a five year BSc Pharm. Only two Universities offer the Doctor of Pharmacy Program, University of British Columbia and University of Toronto as post BSc programs
  • Most graduates of the PharmD program become community (80%) pharmacists. The rest pursue careers in hospital pharmacy or pursue graduate degrees in other areas of Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • MSc and PhD programs in the following areas:
  • Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics
  • Pharmacology and Toxicology
  • Pharmacy Administration


Undergraduate Programs

Most programs require:

  1. B+ average or greater for the required courses in the first two years of pre-Pharmacy programs
  2. Pre-Pharmacy courses included:
    1st Year English, Math, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, a humanities course, Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry
  3. PCAT exam score
  4. Interview with the Dean of Admission depending on the University

Graduate Programs

  1. A minimum of B+ average in the undergraduate courses
  2. Some universities require the GRE score
  3. Admission based on approval of Faculty of Graduate Studies and supervisor

Career Opportunities

  • Greater than 85% of pharmacy graduate work in the community
  • About 15% work in the hospital, industry or government

Different areas of Pharmaceutical Sciences


The study of the physical and chemical properties of drugs and their proper dosage as related to the onset, duration, and intensity of drug action. Pharmaceutics is a graduate degree (MSc or Ph.D) offered within most Pharmaceutical Sciences Faculties. These are the scientists who come up with innovative methods of drug delivery. For example, the fact that many drugs such as narcotics may be formulated in a form of a dermal (skin) patch so that it bypasses metabolism by the liver is a phenomenon that was discovered by pharmaceutics scientists.


The study of drug absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion of drugs. These scientists specialize in figuring out drug behaviour in the body. For example, whether an antibiotic is taken once a day or twice a day or whether a drug is excreted by the liver or the kidney all depend on the pharmacokinetic properties of a drug

Pharmaceutical Outcomes

Pharmaceutical outcomes looks to measure the outcome of pharmaceuticals on the population. For example, many health authorise are interested to know whether a drug used to lower cholesterol is cost-effective and therefore worth paying for. Many clinicians are interested in knowing whether a new heart medications lowers the risk of a heart attack in the population This is a relatively new field in Pharmaceutical Sciences. Not all Faculties of Pharmacy offer this program. Those interested in Pharmaceutical Outcome Programs may choose to specialize in Epidemiology Pharmaceutical policy, Pharmacoeconomics or Pharmacoepidemiology. Some programs offer a combined PharmD, PhD program. Pharmaceutical Outcomes specialists can work for the Industry, government or Universities. The pharmaceutical Industry is always looking for individuals who can assess drug safety or efficacy in their large studies. Government agencies and Universities are also very interested in individuals with this type of training.


Pharmacy may be one of the most overrated of among the five Health Sciences Degrees

  • The program may be attractive to those who are interested in pharmaceutical sciences. However, many donít realize that working in a pharmacy is mostly drug dispensing, counting pills, talking on the phone with insurance companies. Those who are looking for a challenge should pursue graduate degrees in different areas of Pharmaceutical Sciences.
  • If you plan to go to Dental or Medical School through Pharmacy, think twice.
  • Pharmacy is one of the most demanding undergraduate science degrees. Pharmacy may bring down your GPA and make you less competitive for Medical or Dental School. It is more difficult to get high marks in pharmacy than other general science degrees
  • Make sure you work or volunteer in a pharmacy so you know exactly what you are getting into before applying to the program
  • Consider the Doctor of Pharmacy program or a hospital residency if you are interested in clinical pharmacy
  • Pharmacology should not be confused with Pharmacy which is a clinical professional degree
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