Neuropharmacology Degree and Training Program Summaries

Oct 18, 2019

Although some pharmacology programs at the master's level may include a course in neuropharmacology, focused studies in the field tend to occur at the doctoral level. Learn about the program, coursework and job outlook.

Essential Information

Neuropharmacology degree programs emphasize the effects and clinical uses of drugs that affect neurons in the brain. Students participate extensively in research in this area as they prepare for careers as academicians or researchers, and independent research is sometimes required. They also write and often present scientific papers about their research at national meetings. Programs at this degree level are generally only available in traditional formats.

Applicants for these Ph.D. programs must have at least a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Completion of courses in biology or zoology, general and organic chemistry, calculus and physics are often required as well. Most neuropharmacology doctoral programs also require applicants to submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores.

Ph.D. in Neuropharmacology

Neuropharmacology Ph.D. programs bring in well-known scientists to interact with learners. Among the topics studied are advanced pharmacology, nervous system disorders and molecular cell biology.

Course requirements depend partially on whether a student enters this program with a bachelor's or master's degree. However, required courses in a neuropharmacology Ph.D. program often include topics in:

  • Advanced pharmacology
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell signaling
  • Experimental design
  • Molecular cell biology
  • Neuroimmunology

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Since neuropharmacology is just a small subarea of medical science professions, specific employment outlook statistics for this field are not available from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, the BLS predicted an 8% increase in job opportunities for medical scientists during the period of 2018-2028. The BLS also reported that the average salary for all medical scientists, except epidemiologists, was $96,420 in May 2018.

Continuing Education

Some universities also offer post-doctoral training in the form of fellowships in neuropharmacology. These programs include academic lectures and required readings, with the main focus on supervised laboratory work. Students are also required to write articles that can be published in professional journals. The goal of entering a fellowship program is often to gain proficiency in approaches and methods used in the laboratory of a sponsor.

In addition, pre-doctoral training is available from some schools. Some of these training programs are identical to post-doctoral programs at the University. Other programs are for recent baccalaureate graduates with majors in a physical or biological science. This type of program includes the same training as the post-doctoral program, as well as classes such as pharmacology, neuropharmacology, cell biology and neuroscience. Following the 4-year program of study and research, these students may be recommended for a Ph.D. in Pharmacology.

After completing research in these programs, individuals may qualify for membership in the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP). Membership is only available through nomination by a current member. Nominees are considered according to the quality of their scientific contributions and the likelihood of their contributions to the ACNP.

A Ph.D. in Neuropharmacology covers topics such as biology, neuroimmunology and pharmacology to prepare students for careers in research or academia. Graduates of this program may also pursue fellowship opportunities, training programs and/or membership to professional organizations.

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