A degree in pharmacology provides a solid grounding in scientific knowledge and opens up opportunities in a wide range of careers

Job options

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.

Work experience

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 vacation studentships at your place of study and through work shadowing.

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.

Some pharmacology degree programmes offer an industrial-placement year. Students can find placements in industrial, commercial or research environments, for example the research and development laboratory of a pharmaceutical company or a non-lab based placement in a pharmaceutical-related field, to build up practical experience and contacts. Pharmaceutical companies may offer sandwich placements, which can be found by searching their websites.

Some students work or volunteer in a pharmacy or chemist.

Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.

Typical employers

A pharmacology degree offers prospects for research careers in academia, industry, the scientific civil service and hospitals. You can 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;
  • manufacturing;
  • regulatory affairs;
  • patenting;
  • sales and marketing;
  • IT;
  • finance;
  • scientific writing.

Common employers of pharmacology graduates include:

  • Civil Service;
  • Department of Health (DH);
  • Intellectual Property Office (IPO);
  • National Health Service (NHS);
  • pharmaceutical and biotech companies;
  • universities.

Find information on employers in healthcare, science and pharmaceuticals, engineering and manufacturing, and other job sectors.

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, as well as 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;
  • teamwork.

Further study

Students undertaking further study are usually registered for research PhDs, which demonstrate advanced skills relating to complex scientific problems, as well as technical research, laboratory and communication skills.

Areas of further study include:

  • biochemistry;
  • molecular biology;
  • neuroscience;
  • pharmacology.

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.

For more information on further study and to find a course that interests you, see Masters degrees and search postgraduate courses.

What do pharmacology graduates do?

Almost half of pharmacology graduates are in employment six months after graduating, while just over a third are in further study or combining study and work.

Popular areas of work include research, finance and financial consultancy, laboratory work, accountancy, management and medical sales.

DestinationPercentage
Employed49
Further study26.6
Working and studying7.6
Unemployed10.2
Other6.7
Graduate destinations for pharmacology
Type of workPercentage
Retail, catering and bar work15
Health professionals12.8
Technicians and other professionals11.2
Science professionals10.3
Other50.7
Types of work entered in the UK

Find out what other graduates are doing six months after finishing their degrees in What Do Graduates Do?

Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

Find out more