Pharmaceutical chemists are involved with the research and development process of new patient care drugs. A graduate degree is usually a prerequisite for getting a job as a chemist in this field. A number of online programs are available that can be a good choice for students who have scheduling or location difficulties that inhibit their ability to pursue a traditional master's program.
If you're interested in getting your pharmaceutical chemistry graduate degree online, there are master's degree programs available. There are accredited master's degree programs that are 100% online; these programs typically consist entirely of virtual labs. Other programs are mostly online but do ask the student to visit a campus for 'wet labs' from time to time, or may ask them to find a local proctor to oversee testing.
Some master's programs allow students to choose a focus area. Some examples include the early stages of drug development and management positions in the pre-clinical drug creation process.
Alternate titles or online programs that cover very similar material include Pharmaceutical Sciences (with a concentration in pharmaceutical chemistry), Corporate Chemistry and Biochemistry.
General Admission Requirements
Students interested in pursuing an online master's degree in pharmaceutical chemistry will usually need a bachelor's degree as a prerequisite for admission, ideally in one of the natural sciences.
Programs also commonly require that the student take the GRE and receive certain minimum scores in each section. Programs may also require a minimum GPA of 3.0 in all prior upper-division coursework, and foreign students who are not native speakers of English may be asked to take the TOEFL or a similar examination that demonstrates proficiency in the language.
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Classes that students in a pharmaceutical chemistry graduate program might encounter include:
Drug Discovery / Design
Drug discovery and design classes cover the full process of the design of new medicines, from initial targets to FDA evaluations. Drug discovery classes take a macro view of the process of creation of a drug and bringing it to market. Design classes cover the techniques used in the creation of drugs such as the use of molecular modeling and computer graphics.
Physical chemistry courses focus on the study of small particles with an emphasis on the role of physics in chemical reactions. Students study thermodynamics, quantum chemistry and chemical kinetics among other areas of research. Advanced courses focus on contemporary chemical research.
Biochemistry classes focus on the chemical processes that pertain to living things. These courses cover molecular processes and how various drug components impact cells and functions throughout the body. Genetic information is also covered.
Organic chemistry courses focus on carbon-containing compounds. Though there is a natural focus on compounds naturally produced by living things, these courses can also cover some human-made substances such as plastics. Topics covered include the bonding of organic chemicals and how reactions are created.
Inorganic chemistry covers all other compounds that do not contain carbon. Many inorganic chemicals and compounds play a role in medicine. In addition to the fundamentals of inorganic chemistry, graduate students may learn sustainable methods and how to use it for the betterment of the environment.
Although there are not a huge amount of online-only graduate programs in pharmaceutical chemistry, several options do exist. These include traditional master's of science programs. These programs prepare students to work in a variety of roles in the process of creating new disease-treating drugs and getting them on the market.