Pharmacology and Toxicology

How does binge drinking affect teenagers' brains? How do hormones affect our bodies? What effect do toxic chemicals have on our immune system? How can we replace addictive opioids with other pain management therapies? If these are the types of questions you’re interested in, then welcome to pharmacology—a program designed for students who are interested in the science behind drug therapy. As one student said, "The more I learned, the more I wanted to learn."

What will I learn?

As a pharmacology major, you'll take classes and labs that show you how drugs and toxins interact with living cells and tissues throughout the human body. You’ll typically start with foundational courses in biology, chemistry, calculus and physics, then move on to study drug interactions. You can also take electives in subjects like forensic science, immunology, genetics and ethics.

This program is in UB’s medical school, which means students have access to expert faculty, state-of-the-art labs, research projects and other opportunities through UB's affiliated hospitals and clinics.

Pharmacology vs. Pharmacy vs. Pharmaceutical Science

  • Pharmacology is a research-oriented program where you’ll learn how drugs interact with living cells and tissues. 
  • Pharmacy leads to a PharmD degree and is for students who want to work as a pharmacist (a licensed health care provider).
  • Pharmaceutical science is focused on drug discovery, development and evaluation, and is designed for students who want to work in the pharmaceutical research and manufacturing industry.

What can I do outside of class?

Even as an undergraduate, you can get hands-on experience in a research lab on campus—a popular choice for students who want to work closely with UB faculty. One student recalled that her faculty advisor, "always asked me what I was doing, and would sit down with me to work through problems I encountered." As a student researcher, you can help increase our understanding of drug abuse, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease and many other conditions.

You can also make friends, build your network and meet speakers by joining student clubs and attending events on campus throughout the year.

Connect with Mentors
Student Clubs

What can I do with a pharmacology and toxicology degree?

Many students go to medical school, dental school or another health-related professional school, or they go to graduate school to earn an advanced degree in pharmacology, biochemistry or a similar field.

There are various careers available to you; some might require additional training/certification.

  • Biochemist.
  • Drug information specialist.
  • Medical patent attorney.
  • Pharmaceutical sales representative.
  • Pharmacologist.
  • Product safety advisor.
  • Regulatory advisor.
  • Research scientist.
  • Teacher.
  • Technical advisor.
  • Toxicologist.

Many different types of organizations hire pharmacology majors, including pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, government agencies and university laboratories.

Who will I learn from?

Our faculty members have been quoted in "U.S. News & World Report" and had their work featured in "Forbes."

But we're just as proud of what our students say about them. "I love all the professors," remarked one student. "They're really easy to talk to and really easy to access through office hours and emails." It’s no surprise that our faculty members have earned numerous honors for working with students, including the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching. 

Outside the classroom, our faculty members are internationally recognized for their research. They have been recognized as a SUNY Distinguished Professor, honored by the National Institute of Mental Health and other leading organizations, and been named Fellow of the Academy of Pharmacology Educators.