Pharmacologists study the effects of drugs and chemicals on animals, people and plants.

What does a pharmacologist do?

Pharmacologists study the effects of drugs and other chemicals on animals, humans and plants. There are a number of different areas of pharmacology you could specialise in, including:

  • neuropharmacology – the effect of drugs or chemicals on the brain and nervous system
  • clinical pharmacology – the effects of drugs or medicines on people
  • veterinary pharmacology – the effects of drugs or medicines on animals

You’ll need excellent analytical skills as this is a highly technical job. 

What do I need to do to become a pharmacologist?

You’ll need a science degree, preferably in pharmacology or biology. An A level in biology is also highly desirable. 

To get on to a pharmacology or related degree course, you usually need three A levels, including chemistry, biology, and either physics or maths. You also need five GCSEs A-C, including maths, English and science.

Level 3 qualifications in a relevant vocational area may be accepted (e.g. Diploma in applied science) –  check with universities.

Related skills

  • Teamwork
  • Problem solving
  • Numeracy
  • Communication
  • Attention to detail
  • Analytics
  • Leadership
  • IT

Academic route

  • A levels, including chemistry, biology and either physics or maths

Vocational route

  • Level 3 qualification in a relevant vocational area

Related subjects

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Maths
  • Physics

Essential qualifications

  • Science degree

Desirable qualifications

  • Postgraduate degree in pharmacology
  • A level biology
  • A level chemistry

Where to find out more

Where could I be working?

You’ll usually be working indoors in a laboratory. 

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0

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