A pharmacology degree can open up careers either in scientific areas like research or drug development or other fields such as patenting and teaching
Jobs directly related to your degree include:
- Academic researcher
- Biomedical scientist
- Clinical research associate
- Clinical scientist, biochemistry
- Clinical scientist, immunology
- Medicinal chemist
- Research scientist (life sciences)
- Research scientist (medical)
- Scientific laboratory technician
Jobs where your degree would be useful include:
- Community pharmacist
- Higher education lecturer
- Medical sales representative
- Medical science liaison
- Patent attorney
- Regulatory affairs officer
- Science writer
Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.
Getting relevant work experience helps you develop a network of useful contacts and demonstrates your interest and commitment to employers. Build up your experience as a laboratory assistant or through work shadowing in your area of interest.
Organisations such as the British Pharmacological Society (BPS) offer a small number of vacation studentships to financially support undergraduate students undertaking a pharmacology summer vacation research project.
The BPS also advertises relevant external internships and placements on its website. If you're interested in a pharmacology-related career, you could become an undergraduate member of the BPS. You will get access to its journals and e-learning and can join an online community to build your network.
Some pharmacology degree programmes offer a placement year and you may be able to find a placement in an industrial, commercial or research environment. Search the websites of pharmaceutical companies for details of sandwich placements.
Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.
A pharmacology degree offers prospects for research careers in academia, industry, the scientific civil service and hospitals. You can also work in the product management side of the industry or in areas such as marketing and medical information, acting as the link between pharmaceutical companies and doctors and patients.
Britain is a world leader in pharmaceuticals and invests large sums in research and development (R&D). As well as initial drug discovery, expertise in pharmacology can also be used in areas such as:
- clinical trials
- regulatory affairs
- sales and marketing
- scientific writing.
Common employers of pharmacology graduates include:
- Civil Service
- Department of Health and Social Care
- Intellectual Property Office (IPO)
- National Health Service (NHS)
- pharmaceutical and biotech companies
Skills for your CV
A pharmacology degree provides an understanding of medications, their sources, chemical properties, biological effects and therapeutic uses. You explore drug interactions in biological systems, the formulation and operation of clinical trials, drug regulation and the marketing of pharmaceuticals.
You also develop key transferable skills during your degree, which include:
- oral and written communication skills
- the ability to design, retrieve, handle and interpret complex data
- critical analytical and problem-solving abilities
- good organisational skills
- the ability to work without supervision and use your own initiative
- decision-making skills
- time management
- knowledge of safety
Further study is usually in the form of a research PhD, in which you develop advanced skills relating to complex scientific problems and enhance your ability in technical research, laboratory work and communication.
Areas of further study include:
- molecular biology
If you want to pursue graduate study in medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine, you can use your BSc in pharmacology to apply to medical schools that offer graduate-entry courses.
If you wish to enter a different career, postgraduate courses can be useful. For example a teacher training course, or qualifications in marketing, journalism or finance. Research the area to find out how necessary further study is to your chosen career.
What do pharmacology graduates do?
Three of the top four jobs held by pharmacology graduates 15 months after graduation include laboratory technicians, pharmacists and natural and social science professionals.
|Working and studying||9|
|Type of work||Percentage|
|Technicians and other professionals||18.5|
|Business, HR and finance||11.7|
|Marketing, PR and sales||9.8|
Find out what other graduates are doing after finishing their degrees in What do graduates do?
Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.