Careers in Pharmacology and Toxicology

Our undergraduate and graduate degree programs in pharmacology and toxicology provide a solid foundation in biomedical sciences and prepare individuals for a wide range of career options. Our graduates typically find employment in universities, hospitals, pharmaceutical and biotech industries, private and public research organizations, consulting companies, and government agencies, both within Canada and abroad. Some graduates additionally pursue training in professional degree programs, such as medicine (MD), pharmacy (PharmD or BScPharm), and dentistry (DDS).

Depending on the training and interests of the individual, graduates of our programs may be employed in a variety of roles. Some examples include involvement in laboratory and/or clinical research related to drugs and chemicals (in academia or industry), design and conduct of clinical trials that aim to bring new therapeutics to market, assessment of the safety of drugs and chemicals, teaching, marketing/sales of therapeutics, and scientific/medical communications.

Our Professional Experience Year (at the undergraduate level) and Practicums in Clinical Pharmacology (as part of the Applied Clinical Pharmacology MSc program) give our students an opportunity to gain work experience, most often in the pharmaceutical industry, healthcare, or government sectors.

Please note that a degree in pharmacology will not allow you to practice pharmacy. Additional training (a PharmD or BSc Pharm) is required to prepare for licensing as a pharmacist (see the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Toronto).
 

Sector Examples of jobs
Academia Researchers/scientists, lecturers, research associates, laboratory technicians
Industry (Pharma, Biotech)

R&D scientists, clinical research associates and coordinators, regulatory affairs associates, medical affairs associates, medical science liaisons, sales representatives, pharmacovigilance/drug safety associates, clinical trial monitors, pharmaceutical marketing & information specialists, lab technicians

Healthcare

Clinical scientists, research associates, laboratory technicians, clinical study coordinators

Government

Scientists/researchers, environmental monitors, regulatory compliance officers, drug safety monitors, risk assessment, drug/toxicant information specialist

Other Medical/scientific writers and editors, consultants

 

What can I do with a degree in Pharmacology?

To be a pharmacologist requires a solid knowledge of the biological sciences, and also of mathematics, chemistry, and many aspects of medicine. The techniques and methods of investigation employed by pharmacologists are those used in biological and physical sciences.

Qualified pharmacologists may find employment in universities, large hospitals, the pharmaceutical industry, and government agencies, both within Canada and abroad. Depending on the strengths and inclinations of the individual, after further professional training, pharmacologists may practice their profession as physicians, researchers, teachers, administrators, or combinations of these.

Students intending to become pharmacologists who have graduated with a BSc degree will often find it helpful or even necessary to continue studying in the school of Graduate Studies, for a Master of Science (MSc) degree or a Doctorate (PhD) degree before choosing a professional career. Almost without exception, the well-trained pharmacologist holds an MSc or PhD degree with three to six years of additional formal university education.

Another route into a career as a pharmacologist is from one of the health professions. Earning a degree in medicine (MD), dentistry (DDS), veterinary medicine (DVM) or pharmacy (BScPharm), or completing a combined MD/PhD program will often be the path into a clinically oriented branch of pharmacology.

Minimum academic standards for the attainment of a Bachelor's Degree as published in the Calendar of the Faculty of Arts & Science are uniform for all programs of study. However, students intending to apply to the School of Graduate Studies in the University of Toronto after graduation will be confronted by high, competitive entrance requirements. It is advisable that students familiarize themselves with these requirements as early as possible, and that they organize their undergraduate studies accordingly.

Students who wish to pursue a graduate degree in Pharmacology at the University of Toronto should consult the graduate program webpage.

Additional information may also be obtained from the Pharmacology Graduate Office, Room 4207, Medical Sciences Building.

What can I do with a degree in Toxicology?

Toxicologists work mainly in industry and governments, but also at universities. Their tasks range from testing for the effects of particular chemicals, determining their concentrations, assessing risks by interpreting data, and searching for mechanisms of toxicity. There are many subspecialties such as Clinical Toxicology, Industrial Toxicology and Environmental Toxicology, offering opportunities for specialized employment. Toxicology is a major component in the pharmaceutical industry. The current need for toxicologists is outlined in a recent online Science publication.

Students who have graduated with a B.Sc. degree will often find it helpful and even necessary to continue studying, in the School of Graduate Studies, for a Master of Science (MSc) degree or Doctorate (PhD) before choosing a professional career. Almost without exception, the well-trained toxicologist holds an MSc or PhD degree with three to six years of additional formal university education.

Another route into a career as a toxicologist is from other professions. Earning a degree in medicine (MD), veterinary medicine (DVM) or pharmacy (BScPharm), or completing a combined MD/PhD program will often lead to a clinically oriented branch of Toxicology. A background in botany or zoology will help those pursuing Environmental Toxicology, but so might a background in chemistry or chemical engineering. Familiarity with methods of detection of toxic chemicals, and the pitfalls of such methods, will be an asset; however, the ability to detect or measure a foreign chemical is not by itself "toxicology".

Students who wish to focus is on the effects of toxicological agents on the human being at a graduate level may consider enrolling in the Collaborative Program in Biomedical Toxicology at the University of Toronto.

Minimum academic standards for the attainment of a Bachelor's Degree as published in the Calendar of the Faculty of Arts & Science are uniform for all programs of study. However, students intending to apply to the School of Graduate Studies in the University of Toronto after graduation will be confronted by high, competitive entrance requirements. It is advisable that students familiarize themselves with these requirements as early as possible, and that they organize their undergraduate studies accordingly.

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