In the early 1940s, tuberculosis was still a killer with no effective treatment; hundreds of thousands died in 1942 alone. But that changed when Selman Waksman and his colleagues, working with soil, isolated streptomycin, a new type of antibiotic. Although it was later found that it takes a combination of drugs to cure tuberculosis, streptomycin was the first to fight the disease. Waksman earned a Nobel Prize for his work.
Such breakthroughs don’t happen every day. But if you’d like to be involved in the research, testing, and manufacture of new drugs, a pharmaceutical sciences major will give you the knowledge and skills you need. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be on another history-making team.
Pharmaceutical sciences majors apply chemistry, biology, and related sciences to the study of drugs. After graduation, they go to graduate school in pursuit of higher-level research positions or take jobs in pharmaceutical research, administration, marketing, sales, or regulatory affairs. This major does not prepare students to work as pharmacists.
Did You Know?
Many drugs are still created from natural sources, such as plants and minerals. For example, the purple foxglove flower contains digitalin, a powerful compound used in many heart medications.
Are You Ready To...?
- Serve an internship with a drug manufacturer, government agency, or university
- Study pharmaceutical law
- Test drugs for stability
- Learn how drugs are designed and made
- Assist professors in the lab
- Take your science studies to the next level
It Helps To Be...
Fascinated with science and patient with details: research is a painstaking process.
- Are campus labs state-of-the-art?
- Will you have the opportunity to conduct cutting-edge, faculty-mentored research?
- Will you have the chance to complete an internship in the drug industry?
Did You Know?
Tens of thousands of new drugs are tested in the United States each year, but fewer than one hundred typically make it out the door.
Why are some drugs absorbed by the body more quickly than others? How are dosages determined? And what role does packaging play in keeping drugs potent? These are some of the questions you’ll confront in pharmaceutics, where you’ll apply your knowledge of chemistry, physics, and math to the study of drugs. Expect to take several exams covering all you learn during classroom lectures and in the lab.