Pharmacologists study the effects of drugs and other chemical substances on cells, animals, humans and the environment.

Average salary (a year)

£25,000 Starter


£80,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

38 to 40 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends flexibly

How to become a pharmacologist

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course


You'll need a science degree to become a pharmacologist. Pharmacology is the most relevant subject, although a degree in biochemistry, physiology, or microbiology may also be accepted by employers.

A postgraduate qualification may also be a requirement when applying for some jobs.

Some courses include a year working in industry, which will give you an advantage when you start applying for work. You can also get experience by working as a lab assistant or through work shadowing.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs (A-C) in English, maths and two science subjects
  • 3 A levels, including chemistry, biology and either physics or maths

More information

More information

Professional and industry bodies

You could join the British Pharmalogical Society for professional recognition, training opportunities and to make industry contacts.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a pharmacologist through the British Pharmacological Society and The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of biology
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • complex problem-solving skills
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • analytical thinking skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • excellent written communication skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties might include:

  • designing, setting up and carrying out experiments
  • analysing data using complex equipment and measuring systems
  • testing drugs on cells in labs and through clinical trials
  • making recommendations using the results of research to develop new products and manufacturing processes
  • studying the effects of drugs and testing the safety of manufactured products

Working environment

You could work in a laboratory.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress to supervisor or manager. You could also move into medical sales and marketing, drug registration, patent work or information science.

You could work in research and development with a postgraduate degree in pharmacology or a relevant PhD.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a pharmacologist right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy and Medical Science Access to Higher Education Diploma Level 3

  • Start date: 07 January 2020
  • Location: Manchester

A2 Level Chemistry

  • Provider: Kesteven and Grantham Girls' School
  • Start date: 03 September 2020
  • Location: Grantham

JobsIn the United Kingdom

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