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Online Master’s Degree in Pharmacology

Pharmacology is the study of drugs and how they interact with the human body. Students who have previously studied biology or chemistry and who want to further their careers or be admitted to a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) program to become a pharmacist should consider earning a master’s degree in pharmacology. A master’s degree in this discipline is offered online as well as in traditional classrooms, but the advantage to the online format is that students can get their degree without having their schedule turned upside down. An online master’s degree in pharmacology may be earned with the successful completion of at least 31 credit hours of study, though the amount of time it takes to complete the degree may vary by college or university.

Classes for an Online Master’s Degree in Pharmacology

An online master’s degree program in pharmacology provides scientific knowledge in molecular, cellular, and organ system pharmacology. Therefore, students may enroll in courses such as principles of drug-tissue interaction, experimental design and data analysis, pharmacology of drug addiction, and neuropharmacology. A class on the principles of drug-tissue interaction deals with the relationship between chemicals and biological systems, as well as pharmacodynamics, second messengers, drug design, chemical mutagenesis, and more. Meanwhile, a neuropharmacology course discusses drugs that interact with the central nervous system and the side effects of those drugs. Read on for a list of common pharmacology courses:

  • Drug-Tissue Interaction
  • Experimental Design and Data Analysis
  • Human Pharmacology
  • Neurotoxicology
  • Respiratory Pharmacology

Some online master’s degree programs in pharmacology don’t require the completion of a thesis before graduation. Students must enroll in professional elective courses instead, which may include such classes as regulatory affairs and project management in clinical research, intellectual property and patent law, and leadership and team building for researchers. Typically the professional elective courses are designed to give students the opportunity to either obtain further instruction in a field they are already working in or to give them the knowledge necessary to advance their careers in a specific direction.

A Career as a Graduate with an Online Master’s Degree in Pharmacology

An online master’s degree in pharmacology may qualify an individual for admission into a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) program, which may in turn lead to a career as a pharmacist. Pharmacists fill prescriptions, verify the drug won’t react negatively with other drugs the patient is taking, provide information on potential side effects, and oversee pharmacy technicians. More than 40% of pharmacists are employed by pharmacies and drug stores, while 23% work at state, local, and private hospitals, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Pharmacists earned a median annual salary of $111,570 in May 2010, and the top 10% earned at least $138,620, the BLS reports. Employment in this occupation is expected to increase 25% from 2010 to 2020, which is faster than average for all occupations. The BLS reports that demand for pharmacists will grow because of the creation of new drug products a greater need for drugs for an aging population. However, these predictions are no guarantee of actual salary or employment, which is affected by location, employer, and the condition of the economy.

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