Pharmacology is often confused with pharmacy, but is its own, separate discipline within the health sciences. Pharmacologists study the affects of drugs on biological system and how bodies respond to these drugs. They are interested in therapeutics (drugs that minimize disease) and toxicology (adverse effects of drugs or other chemical agents). This field has two major branches:

  • Pharmacokinetics: The absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion of drugs.
  • Pharmacodynamics: The molecular, biochemical, and physiological effects of drugs.

Pharmacology is on the cutting edge of modern medical research with major breakthroughs in areas of personalized medicine, gene therapy, regenerative pharmacology, computational drug development, and nanotechnology-based disease research. It integrates many disciplines and provides a diverse array of career opportunities in academic, industrial, governmental, and legal organizations. Pharmacologists often specialize to become pharmaceutical scientists, but may also pursue careers in regulatory affairs or as a medical science liaison.

Required Classes for Pharmacology

Required courses Chem 464 - Biochemistry I & 464L

Entrance exam

PCAT exam

Suggested electives

Biol 488 Molecular immunobiology
BIOL 423 -- Pathogenesis (we don't currently offer this but we should bring it back; Dr. Racz would like to teach it)
BIOL 498 -- Undergraduate research
Emerging and re-emerging diseases (no course number yet)
SOC 411 Licit and Illicit Drugs

Shadowing hours  Varies from recommended to required for admissions

Required Classes for All Medical Majors

Biology courses  BIOL 151 -- General Biology I & 151L Lab - 4 
BIOL 153 -- General Biology II & 153L Lab - 4
BIOL 221 -- Human Anatomy & 221L
BIOL 326 -- Biomedical Physiology & 326L
BIOL 331 -- Microbiology & 331L 381L Lab - 4

BIOL 371 -- Genetics & 371L Lab - 4

Chemistry courses  CHEM 112 -- General Chemistry I & 112L Lab - 4

CHEM 114 -- General Chemistry II & 114L Lab - 4
CHEM 326 -- Organic Chemistry I & 326L Lab - 5
CHEM 328 -- Organic Chemistry II & 328L Lab - 5

Math courses MATH 123 -- Calculus - 4

MATH 281 -- Introductory Statistics - 3 or Math 381 Probability and Statistics

Physics courses  PHYS 111 -- Introduction to Physics I & 111L Lab - 4

PHYS 113 -- Introduction to Physics II & 113L Lab - 4

Social Science courses PSYC 101 -- General Psychology - 3

SOC 100 -- General sociology

English courses Met through SDBOR general education requirements
 Suggested electives 

BIOL 375 Current Bioethical issues
Epidemiology (no course number yet)
SOC 411 Licit and Illicit Drugs
SOC 420 Alcohol Use and Abuse

Student Resources

Professional Associations and Accreditation

Entrance Exam

Many graduate programs in pharmacology require the GRE as an entrance exam. If interested in a specific program, inquire with that program about entrance exam requirements. Learn more about the GRE here.

Selected Regional Programs

Important Note:

Consult the admissions/application web pages of the professional programs for information on required pre-requisite courses and admissions tests, application procedures, and application deadlines. Some professional/graduate programs will not accept AP or CLEP credits, online courses, or correspondence courses for the core science and math pre-requisite requirements. Many programs also require that all pre-requisite coursework be completed within a certain period of time, e.g., within 5 years prior to application. Policies vary by school and program. Be sure you know the requirements