Let's say someone wants to study biochemistry and his main goal is to do research in drug design (development of new drugs). So, his main interests concerns with Pharmacology, right?

However, there are few undergraduate programs available in Pharmacology (there are some in England and other European countries) because most of Pharmacology programs are graduate programs.

So, the question is, what should this person do?

  1. Go directly to a undergraduate pharmacology program.

  2. Take another undergraduate program. In this case, what would that be? Chemistry? Medicine? Biochemistry?

  • Can you specify where you want to study? Where I come from, specialisation starts at the undergraduate level and undergraduate programs in pharmacy are commonplace.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Jun 27, 2016 at 7:33
  • 1
    @Wrzlprmft "Pharmacy" and "Pharmacology" are two very different degrees, not sure which you meant in your comment but a degree in "pharmacy" is not what the OP is looking for.
    – ff524
    Jun 27, 2016 at 7:41

1 Answer 1


There isn't a single "correct" undergraduate major for people interested in research careers in this field. Any of biology, biochemistry, biomedical science, chemistry, pharmacology, and several others would be fine.

Much more important than finding an undergraduate degree with the right "name" would be finding a program where students have the opportunity to carry out undergraduate research with faculty doing the kind of research you want to do.

For example, the profile of the Einstein 2016 incoming PhD class in biomedical science includes the following range of undergraduate majors:

Undergraduate majors: Biology, Biochemistry, Biological Sciences, Microbiology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, Molecular Biology, Biotechnology, Chemistry, Genetics, and Learning Sciences

But all had a lot of prior research experience:

100% have had a sustained research experience in a scientific laboratory

57% have published a scientific paper in a peer reviewed journal

65% have presented their work at a scientific meeting

31% have also spent a summer in a research program

Mean Months of Prior, Full‐Time Research Experience: 32

  • thank for your answer but, I was asking in the sense that if someone go directly to a pharmacology degree it may be bad because the program can lack of a high amount of background that is important to know (because this program can be a very specific one) whereas another undergraduation program would provide this background. But, a pharmacology degree, in principle, would ''go faster'' to the Drug Design theory / practice than the others programs. So, here lies a dillemma and that's why I posted this topic. Jun 27, 2016 at 17:19
  • obs: I am not asking this because I intend to pursue this career, I was just curious about. Jun 27, 2016 at 17:20
  • @gustavoreche An undergrad degree in pharmacology is not a "faster" route to anything. To do research, you generally need a PhD, and you do not finish that PhD faster if you came in w/ undergrad degree in pharmacology vs undergrad degree in e.g. biochemistry.
    – ff524
    Jun 27, 2016 at 17:59
  • I'm not saying about finishing one PhD faster, I just wonder that in a undergraduate pharmacology program, one will probably study Drug Design earlier than other students in other programs. That's the point. Jun 27, 2016 at 18:55

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