Differences Between PharmD, PhD and MBA

Oct 21, 2019

Among the various academic paths that graduate-level students can take are the PharmD, PhD, and MBA degrees. Read on to learn more about the basics of the Doctor of Pharmacy, Doctor of Philosophy, and Master of Business Administration programs to determine if one of these is right for you!

When choosing which academic career path will be more beneficial to them, graduate students may be intrigued by the idea of pursuing a PharmD, PhD, or an MBA. These graduate level degrees have widely varying programs, career outcomes, and potentials. Below are more detailed descriptions of each degree type and requirements to obtain one for yourself.

PharmD, PhD, and MBA Overviews

Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD)

A PharmD degree is a doctorate degree in pharmacy. PharmD programs prepare students for not only real-world clinical applications and problem-solving intricacies, but also the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination or NAPLEX to become a pharmacist. It should take four years to complete the program's coursework, and typical courses you will take include pharmacy law and community pharmacy practice. In order to gain acceptance into this kind of program, you will typically need a 3.0 or higher graduate GPA, a baccalaureate degree, 2-3 letters of recommendation, official transcripts from an accredited higher institution, and specific prerequisite courses such as biochemistry and microbiology. These degrees are sometimes available as part of a dual degree program such as a PharmD and MBA program that focuses on executive decision-making and how to maintain cost-effectiveness in health care.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

PhD programs combine interdisciplinary research methods and comprehensive training to help students develop their own methodology and teaching outcomes from alumni, authors, investigators, and scholars. A PhD degree program is preferable for students looking to contribute their newfound research and theories to already published research or those who wish to teach at the college level. If you're interested in applying to a PhD program, you will need a 3.0 or higher graduate GPA, official transcripts, a bachelor's degree, 2-3 letters of recommendation, a cover letter and resume detailing academic experience, and a personal statement. Some PhD programs may require a GMAT or GRE score, with preferred scores varying by school.

Master's in Business Administration (MBA)

An MBA prepares students for advanced problem-solving and executive decision-making for an organization's management needs. Students expand on their current knowledge of their desired business subject and apply accelerated methodologies for market research and business sustainability. In an MBA program, you should be able to specialize in accounting, finance, marketing, real estate, hospitality management, or one of many other fields. Applicants need a 4-year baccalaureate degree and a 3.0 or higher undergraduate GPA.

Potential Careers For Each Degree


A pharmacist is responsible for preparing and releasing prescribed drugs by the consent of a patient's physician or other health care facility. Pharmacists may also discuss a patient's medical history with medical staff and answer any questions the patient might have concerning the medication. As reported by,' the average salary for a pharmacist in 2019 is $134,085 a year. Possessing a PharmD is a requirement for entering this field.


Studying all things physical, physicists study, present, and create new theories, especially concerning the interaction of matter, time, and other physical aspects of the world. Physicists also develop those theories and build necessary equipment for their research such as lasers. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2018, physicists earn a median salary of $120,950 per year, and this career is looking to grow in opportunity about 9% between 2018 and 2028. Having a PhD is required to be a physicist because of the intensive research requirements.

Regional Human Resources Manager

Instead of managing staffing needs, benefits, compensation, and more within one office, regional human resources managers perform these same tasks for an entire region. The average salary, according to, is $82,559 per year for this particular position in 2019. Although people with any degree level can attain this position, those possessing an MBA are well-prepared for this career because they have advanced knowledge in the policies and principles in human resources and an expert understanding of managing subordinates.

If you aspire to further your education beyond an undergraduate degree, you could consider a PharmD, PhD, or MBA degree. Each of these degrees have various admission and graduation requirements and lead to lucrative careers like those of pharmacists, physicists, and regional human resources managers.

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