T Nation

Graduate Program Pharmacology


Hey guys,
I know some of you are involved in the life sciences.
Expected grad date is next Spring, so I'm looking at graduate programs.
The first one I came across that was interesting was pharmacology.
Then as I read more I came across the next two in the title.
These are probably not going to do justice as descriptors, but from what I've been able to gather, pharmacology is more about the interactions within living organisms, pharmaceutical science is the development and testing, and medicinal chemistry is like creating potential drug candidates that get passed on to the other two.

Seems like there's some overlap, but I'm having a hard time discerning the differences, so I'm reaching out for some input from anyone that might have experience. I think Aragorn has mentioned he's a biochemist, and some other people as well (not sure of names).
Anyway, if anyone can share what they know, it would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance.


I hear there’s some pretty good money in pharmacology.


A medicinal chemistry program includes rational drug design, combinatorial drug design, assays of drugs, natural product drugs and their isolation, drug metabolism, toxicology, peptide chemistry, perhaps prodrugs and/or topical drug delivery, and will be backed up by at least one graduate level organic chemistry course and spectroscopic analysis. Or at least I would think they would be.

I did not do a pharmacology program and can’t say what’s within the program. At the graduate level my only pharmacology class was molecular pharmacology, which was on how one conducts research into the mechanisms within cells of how drugs work. Perhaps there might have been a more general one as well, or more likely I did not have to do it due to undergraduate work.

Broadly speaking I understand pharmacology to include study of pharmacokinetics, uses of drugs, mechanisms within organs and the body, and toxicology, perhaps more.

Pharmaceutical sciences can be a broader category in which the above two are specialties. Whether a given university has it as its own specific category, I don’t know.