College Degree Programs in Pharmaceutical Science and Management

Pharmaceutical science and management programs are both offered at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree levels, in addition to postgraduate certificates. Some schools offer dual-degree programs that include both pharmaceutical science and management.

Essential Information

Whereas pharmaceutical management programs often focus on the business side of the industry, pharmaceutical science programs are more concerned with topics like toxicology and drug delivery systems. It's important to note that bachelor's and doctoral degrees in pharmaceutical management are rare; pharmaceutical science degrees are considerably more prevalent. None of these programs are akin to a Doctor of Pharmacy, which is the central academic requirement for prospective pharmacists.

A high school diploma is required for the bachelor's degree program; a bachelor's degree is required for graduate programs.

Bachelor's Degrees in Pharmaceutical Management

There are almost no bachelor degree programs in pharmaceutical management; available degrees are often titled B.S. in Pharmaceutical Marketing and Management. Those degrees that are offered are just a stepping stone to go to the next degree level. They usually highlight basic science courses, communication skills, both written and oral, ethics and liberal arts. Coursework for this program includes basic biological and pharmaceutical science with marketing and general management courses. These might include:

  • Cell and molecular biology
  • Organisms biology
  • Chemistry
  • Basic calculus
  • Psychology courses
  • Pharmaceutics

Post-baccalaureate Certificates in Pharmaceutical Management

There are a number of post-baccalaureate programs offering a certificate in pharmaceutical management. Some of them are called just that. Others might be entitled 'Pharmaceutical Management Graduate Certificate' or 'Pharmaceutical Technical Management Graduate Certificate.' In varying degrees and with differing emphases, these programs offer a survey of the pharmaceutical business from discovering and developing drugs, to regulatory methods, to manufacturing processes.

Some pharmaceutical management schools have programs require a bachelor's degree in chemical or mechanical engineering, although they may allow provisional admission for other degrees. Other certificate programs are more flexible, and do not require an undergraduate degree in any particular discipline. Still other programs are designed for professionals anywhere in the pharmaceutical industry who have jobs managing an area of extensive technology use. Because of the variety of goals for these certificate programs, the courses offered may be very unique to the program itself. Courses can include:

  • Corporate finance
  • Regulations and compliance
  • Pharmaceutical engineering principles
  • Managing research and development
  • Innovation management
  • Project management and control

Master's Degrees in Pharmaceutical Management

Although there are Master of Science degrees in management and in pharmaceutical systems management, most master's level degrees are MBAs in pharmaceutical management or pharmaceutical marketing and management. Classes may be attended by professionals who have recently received their bachelor's degree or professionals who have worked many years in the industry. Bachelor's degrees held by class members may often be in a variety of unrelated fields.

Generally the educational prerequisites for an MBA in pharmaceutical management are simply a bachelor's degree in any field and meeting a minimum GRE score requirement. However, some schools will designate acceptable majors for the baccalaureate. Some universities focus more on the business courses, while others give more emphasis to courses related specifically to pharmaceuticals. Course work may include:

  • Accounting
  • Managing the sales force
  • Logistics, sales and marketing
  • Healthcare marketing
  • Managing technology and innovation
  • Managing research and development

Doctoral Degrees in Pharmaceutical Management

There are few doctoral degrees offered in pharmaceutical management, and some schools that have offered them have suspended accepting applications, possibly temporarily. Some universities offer a combined degree, a doctor of pharmacy degree combined with an MBA, which is usually a five-year program.

Educational requirements for applying for a doctorate in pharmaceutical management are to have received a bachelor's or higher degree from an accredited college and to pass the GRE with specified minimal scores. Coursework can include:

  • Analyzing and reporting finances
  • Economics
  • Management courses in many areas
  • Behavioral and organizational concepts
  • Management accounting
  • Ethics and corporate administration

Bachelor's Degrees in Pharmaceutical Science

Pharmaceutical science is not the same as pharmacy. Pharmacy stresses pharmaceutical care that is offered customers and patients. Pharmaceutical science focuses on the theory behind the research and development of drugs. The courses for a Bachelor of Science program in Pharmaceutical Science are primarily math and science based. Some schools have choices of specializations during the last two years of the 4-year program.

Some baccalaureate programs are designed to prepare students to go on to studies in business, law or medicine, while others focus on job opportunities upon graduation. These will change some courses that are taken. However, courses generally will include:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Statistics
  • Pharmaceutics

Master's Degrees in Pharmaceutical Science

Almost, if not all, of master's degree in pharmaceutical science programs require that students designate a specialization early on. Specializations include pharmacology, toxicology, drug delivery systems, drug analysis, and clinical research. A focus on research is introduced during the two to three years of these programs.

To be accepted in a master's program in pharmaceutical sciences, most schools require a professional pharmacy degree, or a bachelor's degree (or its equivalent or higher) in a related science field such as engineering, chemistry or biology. Certain programs require the student to take a large field of math and science courses in other of the university's schools or departments before they can be considered by the pharmacy school. Although specializations will change coursework considerably, general courses for a master's degree in pharmaceutical sciences may include:

  • Drug development
  • Pharmacokinetic surgery techniques
  • Principles of drug delivery
  • Current methods in pharmaceutical sciences
  • Research skills and ethics
  • Advanced biochemistry

Doctoral Degrees in Pharmaceutical Science

An individual intent on getting the best jobs in research, as well as professorships, will find it necessary to get a doctoral degree from a pharmaceutical school. Many schools offer Ph.D. degrees in pharmaceutical sciences. Others add a specialization to the degrees, changing the degree, for example, to Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmacogenomics.

Most Ph.D. programs in pharmaceutical sciences do not require a master's degree. Students lacking that will add courses to their program to give them the necessary knowledge for the field. As is true for many higher degrees, there are specialization possibilities, such as pharmacology, medicinal chemistry, toxicology or industrial pharmacy. However, the bachelor's degree should be in a related science. Core course requirements for this Ph.D. program usually include advanced courses in:

  • Drug development
  • Drug delivery
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Research skills
  • Biomedical chemical analysis
  • Organic synthesis

Popular Career Options

Entry-level careers in pharmaceutical management include pharmaceutical sales, health information management and pharmacy distribution systems implementation. In addition to the jobs open to those with a bachelor's degree, graduates of master's degree programs related to pharmaceutical management will have jobs available to them as managers or researchers. Having a master's degree will offer an individual more clout in getting jobs in the fields offered to the B.S. holder, as well as jobs such as clinical research administration, research assistant and drug evaluation specialist Ph.D. graduates can expect to take leadership in the areas of biomedical education, pharmaceutical education, pharmaceutical research and pharmaceutical industrial development. Some job titles include:

  • Pharmaceutical manager
  • Quality control manager
  • Sales manager
  • Health market researcher
  • Research and development
  • Records documentation manager

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

A bachelor's degree in pharmaceutical technology prepares graduates for entry-level technical jobs in pharmaceutics and biotechnology. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( lumps pharmaceutical scientists of all degree levels with other scientists who work in medical and pharmaceutical manufacturing. This makes it difficult to pin down what the employment outlook is for the B.S. graduate. However, jobs for chemists and materials scientists as a group were anticipated to increase by three percent, slower than the average for all occupations, from 2014 to 2024. Median annual wages for chemists as of 2015 were $71,260, or a median of $34.26 hourly.

Continuing Education Information

To go beyond an entry-level job, pharmaceutical management professionals usually need an advanced degree. Baccalaureate graduates may continue their education in master's programs in pharmaceutical management, other business management areas or pharmaceutical science. Some doctoral programs in this field do not require a prior master's degree.

There are post-doctoral certificates to offer specialized training in areas that could not be covered in a doctoral program. The most prominent of these certificates focuses on products of biotechnology that do not behave the same way that the original products do. Studies focus on biomolecules, formulation of proteins and case studies. At the end of the course the student receives a graduate certificate in pharmaceutical biotechnology.

Many of the bachelor's programs are tailored to be pre-law, pre-med or pre-physician assistant courses. Students that follow these courses usually go on to get higher degrees in the area they studied. Others choose to pursue master's degrees in pharmaceutical science. These higher degrees offer better job opportunities and higher salaries.

Degree programs in pharmaceutical management center on the business administration principles of the pharmaceutical industry while degrees in pharmaceutical science typically focus more on the health science behind the development and delivery of pharmaceutical drugs. Undergraduate programs prepare students for entry-level jobs where graduate programs are needed for career advancement.

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