About Pharmacology

Pharmacology is the science of drug action on biological systems. It deals with the sources, chemical properties, biological effects, mechanisms of action, therapeutic uses and adverse effects of drugs. It is a science that is basic not only to medicine, but also to pharmacy, nursing, dentistry, midwifery and veterinary medicine. Pharmacologists' work ranges from exploring the potential hazards of pesticides and herbicides, to developing treatment and prevention of major diseases by drug therapy. Pharmacologists are also involved in molecular modeling of drugs, and the use of drugs as tools to dissect aspects of cell function.

Program Details

These programs produce graduates broadly trained in all aspects of pharmacology. They emphasize the experimental and laboratory aspects of pharmacology. Students learn both the whole animal and isolated tissue techniques as well as biochemical and chemical procedures. Skills that are stressed include the ability to search for information, design appropriate experiments, carry out experiments individually and as a member of a team, analyze data and, communicate and write effectively. In first and second years students take a basic science program. Since there is room for a maximum of 22 students in third year, all those interested students in second year are interviewed as part of the selection process. Entrance to third year is primarily on the basis of marks. Pharmacology is different from Pharmaceutical Sciences, which is its own Faculty at UBC, and a professional program for those wanting to be pharmacists.


Comprehension and identification of connections across complex processes and systems Analytical method development or validation (QA/QC) Quantitative and qualitative research and data synthesis Application of logical and systematic thought processes to understand the biochemical or physiological effects of drugs Collaboration with cross-discipline laboratory teams Written and verbal presentation of scientific data to non-technical audiences Laboratory techniques in compliance with quality control and safety regulations Usage of ELISA, PCR, gel-electrophoresis, protein assays, and western blot techniques

Career Options

With an undergraduate degree

Associate clinical trials monitor Clinical research assistant Lab technician Pharmacovigilance or drug safety Pharmaceutical or marketing sales representative Regulatory affairs associate Regulatory or medical compliance officer

With additional study

Analytical chemist Biomedical or healthcare researcher Business administrator Clinical or basic science research director/coordinator Dentist Doctor Hospital manager Lawyer Pharmaceutical chemist Pharmacologist Toxicologist Veterinarian

UBC Science Pharmacology Graduates Work As

Resident Physician in Pediatrics, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Pharmacist, Wellness Pharmacy Medical Student, University of British Columbia PhD Candidate in Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia Dentist, Smiles Unlimited Dental Centre Research Assistant, Eye Care Centre – Vancouver General Hospital

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UBC Science acknowledges that the UBC Point Grey campus is situated on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm.

Learn more: Musqueam First Nation

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