What can I do with a pharmaceutical sciences major?

What can I do with a pharmaceutical sciences major?

The pharmaceutical sciences is a dynamic and rapidly changing field that combines a broad range of scientific disciplines critical to the discovery and development of new drugs and therapies. Everyday, pharmaceutical scientists are improving our society’s health and wellbeing in health care, academia, research, and government.

The pharmaceutical sciences can be broadly classified into the following main categories:

  • Drug discovery & design
  • Drug delivery
  • Drug action
  • Clinical sciences
  • Drug analysis
  • Cost effectiveness of medicines (pharmacoeconomics)
  • Regulatory affairs

There are many diverse and rewarding careers in the field of pharmaceutical science. Many pharmaceutical scientists work in:

  • Research facilities
  • Pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies
  • Universities
  • Government agencies (such as the Food and Drug Administration)
  • Laboratories (such as the National Institutes of Health)


So what type of pharmaceutical sciences degree should you get? Well, it depends on your career plans. Some jobs require a graduate degree, while others only require an undergraduate degree in pharmaceutical sciences.

Undergraduate Degree

An undergraduate degree in pharmaceutical sciences will prepare you for entry-level research positions. Possible fields can include drug analysis, drug manufacturing, medicine marketing, or pharmaceutical sales.

Graduate Degree

A graduate program in pharmaceutical sciences or pharmacology will prepare you for a career in research. PhD graduates often hold positions in academia or in pharmaceutical research settings.

Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD)

A Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) is a professional doctorate degree needed to become a pharmacist. After obtaining a PharmD degree and passing the proper licensure examinations you can practice pharmacy in the US.

A PharmD program is generally four years long. Typically, students interested in becoming a pharmacist take two years of undergraduate prerequisite courses then apply to pharmacy school.

The PharmD curriculum primarily focuses on gaining knowledge of the biological sciences with a clinical component that teaches future pharmacists to be health care providers.

What programs in pharmaceutical sciences does UCI offer?

The UCI Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences offers both undergraduate and graduate programs that prepare students for future careers in pharmacy, medicine, and biomedical research. Here is a summary of the programs the department has to offer:

B.S. in Pharmaceutical Sciences

UCI is the #1 feeder program to pharmacy schools nationwide, and its undergraduate degree in pharmaceutical sciences is among the top-10 pharmaceutical sciences departments in the nation. The program curriculum integrates concepts from biology, chemistry, chemical engineering, pharmacology and physiology.

Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacology Graduate Program

The Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences offers a unique gateway graduate program in Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacology leading to a PhD in Chemistry, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, or Pharmacological Sciences with a Concentration in either Pharmaceutical Sciences or Pharmacology. The program is both interdisciplinary in nature while at the same time offering an in-depth, individualized state-of-the-art practical and theoretical training in each student’s specific field of interest.

Pharmacological Sciences PhD Program

The Departments of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmacology offer an interdepartmental program leading to a PhD in Pharmacological Sciences with a Concentration in Pharmaceutical Sciences or Pharmacology.

Post-baccalaureate Program in Pharmaceutical Sciences

The Post-baccalaureate Program in Pharmaceutical Sciences is designed for individuals who are seeking to strengthen their application to competitive graduate programs in pharmacy or other health fields, or for individuals whose undergraduate degree is not in pharmaceutical sciences and are seeking entry or advancement in a career related to pharmaceutical sciences. This program is ideal for career changers or individuals taking a gap year.

For more information about the pharmaceutical sciences programs at UCI, contact our Student Affairs Office.