Faculty of Science - Leading creativity and innovation in the sciences

Pharmacology - Postgraduate options

Subject description


Modern pharmacology developed from the concept that particular chemicals are biologically active and can be used to modify, cure or prevent illness. In practice, this requires a detailed understanding of both how the body functions (physiologically and biochemically) and the problems which can occur (functional disturbances and pathology). By determining cellular and chemical abnormalities of the disease state, it is at least theoretically possible to design molecules to correct problems that arise. Toxicology is closely related to Pharmacology but specialises in the study of harmful effects of drugs and other chemicals on biological systems.


Structure and prerequisites

Bachelor of Science (Honours) (BSc(Hons)) - Pharmacology

The prerequisite is a BSc degree with at least 60 points from MEDSCI 303–307 and at least 90 points at Stage III.





Postgraduate Diploma in Science (PGDipSci) - Pharmacology

The prerequisite is a BSc including at least 45 points from MEDSCI 303-307.


  • At least 60 points from MEDSCI 701715-723
  • Up to 60 points from other 600 or 700 level courses as approved by the Head of Department


Master of Science (MSc) - Pharmacology

The prerequisite is a BSc(Hons) or PGDipSci in Pharmacology.

Requirements: Research Masters


Career opportunities

The subjects of Pharmacology and Toxicology are of great practical and commercial relevance in view of the widespread use and abuse of medicines, drugs and chemicals in modern society. Their future expansion appears assured as there remain many illnesses (AIDS, cancer, even the common cold) for which satisfactory cures have not yet been devised. In addition, industrial, chemical and pharmaceutical developments, environmental contamination, and illicit drug use will contine to present significant health hazards to the general population.

With an MSc in Pharmacology you could teach or conduct research in higher education institutions, work in the pharmaceutical industry, research and develop new medicines, conduct clinical research, work in regulatory and marketing divisions of industry, or develop chemicals. Other fields may include safety aspects of chemicals (used in food processing and agricultural industies) and the assessment of the safety of medicines, employment in hospitals, careers in medical editing, abstracting and publishing, and environmental toxicology.


Help and advice

For further information, refer to the Pharmacology and Clinical Pharmacology Handbook.

Phone: +64 9 373 7599 ext 86733 or 86413
Web: www.fmhs.auckland.ac.nz/sms/pharmacology


Further information