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What Classes Must You Take for Pharmacology?

by Patrice D. Robinson

In 2004, pharmacology credentialing in the United States changed, and most schools subsequently changed the required coursework to fit the new guidelines. Additionally, new breakthroughs in science caused schools to rethink their training programs. Consequently, classes taken as prerequisites for pharmacology programs also had to change and are now dependant upon both the type of degree desired and the school that is attended.

Pharmacology School Requirements

The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy actually mandated that pharmacists required doctorate degrees in 1990; however, the actual change did not occur until the end of the 2003-04 school year. Anyone who had received a Bachelor of Science degree in pharmacology, and was a working pharmacist prior to the 2004 date was allowed to continue to work, but many schools and universities changed their programs and requirements. Students can often still get a bachelor’s degree in pharmacology, but there are also the Pharm.D. and Ph.D. in Pharmacology degrees. Consequently, depending on the chosen degree, pharmacology candidates today need many classes in science, math and communications.

Science Classes

No matter which degree is being sought, there is a heavy requirement for laboratory science classes. Classes vary by institution, but pre-pharmacy students are expected to have classes in general biology, molecular or cell biology, and microbiology. Additionally, classes are required in general chemistry, organic chemistry and biochemistry. Human physiology may also be required prior to entering many pharmacology programs.

Math Classes

Besides the science requirements, the amount of math required to enter a pharmacology program can be very surprising. Students in these programs are required to take college-level calculus. This type of calculus is a higher form of math that is usually taken after a student has had algebra, geometry, advanced algebra, trigonometry and pre-calculus in high school.

Additional Classes

Besides the math and science classes, the courses required for pharmacology can include physics, sociology, psychology and English. Those students who plan to work as pharmacists will need these classes to foster the best interpersonal communication with their patients. Once a student is accepted into the pharmacology program, additional classes in communications specific to the desired degree may be required.

An Information Clearinghouse

The AACP also provides a centralized application service that has information regarding all the required courses for pharmacology programs currently provided in the United States. The Pharmacy College Application Service has data on all the available pharmacology schools, their prerequisites, costs, applications and scholarship information. Anyone seriously interested in a pharmacology program should register at this site to fully access the available material.

About the Author

Patrice Robinson is a retired professional educator and administrator. She worked in the public schools for more than 30 years. She holds a bachelor's degree in the teaching of English, two master'sdegrees (one in English and one in education) and a doctorate degree in education.

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