This website uses cookies to improve your experience. Learn more about cookies and how to manage them.

Studying for a degree in pharmacology

A pharmacology degree will not only equip you with the skills to study medicines and to develop new drugs. It also provides extensive training that serves as a solid foundation for a range of scientific or medical careers.

What will I learn during a pharmacology degree?

In the first year, you are likely to learn about the practical skills in biology and biochemistry and expand your knowledge in physiology (how the tissues and organs of the body work) and molecular and cell biology (understanding how the body works at the molecular level). You will be introduced to the fundamental principles of pharmacology and how drugs work. 

In year two, you will learn more about the chemistry and mechanisms of action of different drugs. You will also start to develop your practical skills in chemistry and pharmacology. 

In the final year of a pharmacology degree, you will learn about pharmacology for different disease areas: cancer, cardiovascular and respiratory, and neuropharmacology. You will also learn much more about drug metabolism and molecular toxicology (the study of how the body alters the drug and how the drug affects the body).

Most pharmacology courses will equip you with other essential tools of a career in the life sciences, with introductions to topics such as bioinformatics and molecular genetics. 

In your final year you will also gain hands-on laboratory research experience by conducting your own research project. You will be required to carry out your own piece of original laboratory research to answer a scientific question and write this up as a report (dissertation). This will give you a taster of laboratory research as well as transferable skills (time management, analytical skills, and writing reports) that are useful in any career. 

Pharmacology degrees can include additional opportunities like a year studying abroad or placements in industry to help you build your skillset and find out about different areas of pharmacology.

What grades do I need?

If you want to study for a degree in Pharmacology, you will need to choose subjects that meet the entry criteria for your preferred university.

Each university has its own entry requirements for a Pharmacology degree, but most require applicants to have the equivalent of a minimum of two science A-Levels or one science A-Level plus Maths A-Level. Be sure to visit the university website to find out what the requirements would be for the course that you are interested in.