Pharmacology is the scientific study of drugs and their action on biological systems, ranging from genes and cells up to tissues and even human populations. A drug is any substance given to a human or animal with the intention of changing the state of body function: to relieve pain, treat cancer, eliminate infection or improve health. Pharmacology is also concerned with the use of drugs as investigative tools to obtain a better understanding of cellular and physiological processes in both health and disease. In the UCD Pharmacology course, students will have the opportunity to take part in drug development research.
Download the UCD Science Undergraduate Courses Entry 2023 Brochure (pdf)
For more information regarding this course, please click School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science
This is a sample pathway for a degree in Pharmacology. Topics include drug kinetics in the body, drug action on body systems, treatment of disease, biomedical sciences, biopharmaceuticals and new drug development.
Biology • Chemistry • Mathematics • Optional Science modules • Elective module
Pharmacology • + 2 other Science subjects • Elective modules
Pharmacology • Elective modules
Pharmacology (includes a research project in topics such as cancer treatment, cardiovascular disease, neuropharmacology and drug discovery).
Timetables & Assessment
Each student will have their own timetable based on their individual module selection. This is a full-time course and classes may include lectures, practicals and tutorials, depending on the subjects. Students will also be expected to study independently (autonomous student learning). Assessment varies with each module but may comprise continuous assessment of practicals, written exams and online learning activities.
Career opportunities for Pharmacology graduates include working in:
- Pharmaceutical companies
- Drug regulatory bodies, such as the Irish Medicines Board
- Biotechnology sector
- Chemical safety and toxicology
Pharmacology graduates can also pursue graduate studies at MSc or PhD level. PhD programmes in Ireland and abroad cover areas such as drug development and biomedical science.
International Study Opportunities
International study opportunities in third and fourth years to date have included:
- University of Melbourne, Australia
- University of Washington, Seattle
- University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Professional Work Experience
A limited number of opportunities exist in second and third year to gain additional laboratory experience during the summer. Funded schemes are organised by public and private bodies, e.g. the Irish Health Research Board and The Wellcome Trust (UK). In addition, occasional opportunities arise within individual research groups.
"Pharmacology is at the forefront of both biological and medical research. The course is very interactive and hands on. In Third Year, we broke into smaller class sizes, allowing us to really engage with academic staff. We had three to four labs a week that really enforced different aspects of lab skills necessary for the real-world research setting of Pharmacology. After working in the clinical research area of drug regulation and safety in clinical trials for a couple of years, I then moved onto directly working in paediatric clinical trials on site hospitals. I work directly with a Cystic Fibrosis multidisciplinary team carrying out phase III clinical trials."
Courtney Greene, Graduate