Undergraduate study in Pharmacology

What can you study in Pharmacology?

You can study Pharmacology as a major in the Bachelor of Science (BSc).

The subject is taught in the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences by the Department of Pharmacology and Clinical Pharmacology.

Pharmacology is the study of chemicals that are biologically active and can be used to modify, cure or prevent illness. In practice, this requires a detailed understanding of both how the body functions and the problems that can occur. By identifying cellular and chemical abnormalities of the disease state, it’s possible to design molecules to fix problems that arise.

As a Pharmacology student you’ll study how drugs work at the molecular level and in living organisms. You’ll also explore factors that influence safe and effective drug use in various populations. You’ll take courses that focus on the interaction of drugs with target molecules, the biochemical processes involved in achieving clinically relevant drug concentrations, and the way in which diseases in a variety of organ systems can be treated.

As part of your Pharmacology major you’ll complete a capstone course, PHARMCOL 399, where you'll work both individually and in small groups to apply the knowledge you’ve gained and demonstrate mastery of fundamental skills in Pharmacology. You’ll investigate the processes of drug development within the context of the ethical and legal framework for using experimental animals and human subjects in New Zealand.

Structuring your programme in Pharmacology

If you began your degree prior to 2019 we recommend you seek advice to make sure you are taking the correct courses. Contact Student Hubs for further guidance.

Where can undergraduate study in Pharmacology take you?

There are many opportunities for work in this field. You could teach in universities, conduct research, work in the pharmaceutical industry, hospitals, or even scientific publishing.* Areas you could go into include assessing the safety of chemicals and medicines, and environmental toxicology.

* Note that some of these options would require more advanced study.

Help and advice

For further information and advice, please contact Student Hubs.