Pharmacology and Toxicology

Overview of Pharmacology and Toxicology Program as a College Major

The great thing about the field of health care is that it offers so many educational options and career choices. And one of these is the program offered in pharmacology and toxicology.

Sometimes people confuse a pharmacology degree with a pharmacy degree. But these two areas are completely different. While a pharmacy degree prepares you to work as a pharmacist, dispensing prescription medications, pharmacology is a field of science that studies the interaction and reaction of drugs in order to develop and optimize their therapeutic potential. Toxicology, on the other hand, studies the mechanisms responsible for the adverse effects of drugs.

Before you ever decide to enter an undergraduate program in pharmacology and toxicology, you will want to complete your general education and prerequisite course requirements which include courses in biology, chemistry, calculus and physics.

Pharmacology and Toxicology Program Curriculum      

Pharmacology and toxicology degree programs are for people who want to develop new drugs and therapies, spend time evaluating drug safety or work in a laboratory environment studying how drugs work. And while most colleges offer similar courses, actual classes may vary from campus to campus. Here are some topics that you may need to study depending on your education level:

  • Principles of biochemistry
  • Human physiology
  • Chemistry of drug action
  • Toxicology fundamentals
  • Principles of pharmacology
  • Fundamentals of immunology
  • Human nutrition
  • Forensic science
  • Social and ethical values in medicine
  • Herbs and phytomedicinals
  • Neurotoxicology
  • Immunopharmacology

Education Levels Available for a Pharmacology and Toxicology Degree

There are no Associate degree in pharmacology; however, there are some Bachelor degree programs. These are usually found on campus, rather than in colleges online. The most widely accepted pharmacology and toxicology programs are at the graduate level where you can find both traditional and online degree programs available.

While you may want to obtain a BS in pharmacology and toxicology, a better move would be to get a biology or chemistry undergraduate degree and then complete a MS or PhD in pharmacology and toxicology. This combination would prepare you for careers in research and/or academia. You might also want to consider a combined MD/PhD degree if you are interested in biomedical research with a clinical emphasis.

Skills Developed through Pharmacology and Toxicology Degree Program

Education is not just about what you learn from books, lectures, and laboratories. It is important that you develop other skills and personal traits that will prepare you for your career. Important skills that will assist you in your future career include:

  • Critical thinking and logic
  • Problem solving and decision making
  • Working knowledge of computers and a variety of computer programs
  • Keen ability to interpret laboratory data and formulate conclusions
  • Ability to present ideas both in writing and orally
  • Use of scientific methods and ability to explain its purpose in scientific investigations
  • Recognizing and constructing valid arguments using deductive and inductive reasoning
  • Concentrating for sustained periods and the patience to repeat an experiment
Where to Obtain a Pharmacology and Toxicology Degree

If you’re considering a career as a medical scientist, you will need a combined MD/PhD. Considering that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that employment will likely soar compared to other occupations – somewhere around 40% over the next few years – this might be a wise choice.

Regardless of what you choose, there are dozens of reputable colleges and universities that offer degree programs in pharmacology and toxicology. And you don’t need a PhD if your preference is to pursue a medical, dental, nursing, or other health care professional career.

Career Opportunities for Pharmacology and Toxicology Majors

Employment in the field of pharmacology is expected to increase as demand for new pharmaceuticals continues to grow, new discoveries are made and there is continued research in alcohol and drug abuse, cancer pharmacology and environmental toxicology. Those with Doctoral degrees will be most in demand. However, as the human population continues to live longer there will always be a need for people who choose careers in health-related fields.

If you are considering a dual-degree program in MD/PhD, you can get more information from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) or the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET).

We're sorry, we currently do not have any Online schools offering Science & Technology programs in Pharmacology and Toxicology. We are working diligently to add more schools to our database. In the meantime, please click here to see if there are any Campus Schools in your area.

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