University subject profile: pharmacy and pharmacology – The Guardian

By | June 7, 2019

What you’ll learn

If the idea of fighting diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, or Aids appeals, a pharmacy or pharmacology degree could be for you.

Pharmacy will teach you all about medicines, their uses, and how to manage and dispense them. You will study the origin and chemistry of drugs, the preparation of medicines, their uses and effects, and good pharmacy practice. You will also need to keep up to date with new drugs that come on the market.

Pharmacology, meanwhile, focuses on the ways medicinal drugs are delivered, the effects they have on the body and whether new ones could work better. You will study cells and tissues in detail, taking modules in organic chemistry, control mechanisms and physiology. You’ll also learn how to examine infection rates and assess the effects of drugs in combating symptoms.

Pharmacy and pharmacology graph

How you’ll learn

Pharmacy is very different to many degrees, in that you should expect a full 9am-5pm timetable, working in lectures, seminars, laboratories and on hospital wards or in pharmacies.

By the time you graduate you will have mastered a substantial body of knowledge, and should be raring to get stuck into your pre-registration year (this is a requirement after graduation if you want to work as a professional pharmacist).

You’ll also need to complete a final-year research project, which will require time management and the self-discipline to work independently.

What are the entry requirements?

Places on courses are competitive and often require chemistry, perhaps biology or another science subject, or maths.

What job can I get?

Unemployment rates among pharmacists are low, and the majority of graduates will get jobs in NHS hospitals or in the local high street chemist. Some will venture into industry or stay in universities doing further research or teaching the next crop of students.

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An obvious career choice for pharmacology graduates is in industry, either in the lab or working in marketing or quality checking. If this doesn’t appeal, jobs in forensic science or other health-related work are possibilities, or you could undertake further research or train to become a teacher.

These professions offer job stability as well as mobility – you can take your skills anywhere in the world and find work.

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