Medicinal chemistry and pharmaceutical chemistry both involve the design, synthesis and development of drugs and pharmaceutical compounds for human use and consumption. Some of the most popular topics studied in medicinal and pharmaceutical chemistry programs include inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, biological sciences, and pharmacology.
Medicinal and pharmaceutical chemistry is an interdisciplinary science that involves organic chemistry and biology. Most students who pursue a degree in this field of study will end up working as scientists, using their expertise to design and develop new drugs. A degree is certainly required if you want to work in this field. Students must first earn a bachelor’s degree (typically in biology, chemistry or related science). Then they must complete a master’s degree and/or Ph.D. in chemistry followed by a 2-year postdoctoral fellowship. While many research jobs are reserved for those with a Ph.D. there are several opportunities in the pharmaceutical industry for those with a master’s degree. For those pursuing career opportunities in research or academia, a Pharm.D (doctor of pharmacy) is also a good degree to consider.
Graduate degrees (both master’s and doctoral) in medicinal and pharmaceutical chemistry are traditionally offered via the pharmaceutical sciences departments at schools of pharmacy. There are some traditional four-year colleges and universities that provide graduate level medicinal chemistry degrees through their chemistry departments. The vast majority of practicing medicinal chemists, however, earn a master’s degree or Ph.D. (more common option) in organic chemistry (as opposed to medicinal chemistry). Medicinal chemists (especially those in the United States) receive their training in medicinal chemistry and pharmacology once they’ve been hired by a pharmaceutical company and are on the job.
Below you can explore a comprehensive list of the accredited U.S. colleges and universities that offer programs in medicinal chemistry, pharmaceutical chemistry and/or organic chemistry.
- Campbell University Buies Creek, NC
- Chadron State College Chadron, NE
- Cleveland State University Cleveland, OH
- Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago, IL
- Livingstone College Salisbury, NC
- Michigan Technological University Houghton, MI
- Towson University Towson, MD
- University of California: San Diego La Jolla, CA
- University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI
- University of the Sciences in Philadelphia Philadelphia, PA