Skip to main content


Pharmacology is the study of the properties and biological actions of drugs and chemicals. A drug is any agent (it may be biological or chemical) that modifies the function of living tissues. Pharmacologists search for and identify new drugs and new drug targets based on knowledge of the nature of particular diseases, and investigate mechanisms of drug action which may lead to greater understanding of disease processes and therapies. The science of pharmacology is closely linked with chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology, molecular biology, physiology, and toxicology.

A major in pharmacology will give you a thorough knowledge of the discovery, development and testing of drugs, and its importance to the future of medical research and practice. You will learn about the mechanisms of drug action, drug absorption, distribution, metabolism and elimination, drug activity and chemical structure, the effect of drugs on body systems, and the toxic effects of drugs.

Graduate opportunities

With a major in pharmacology, you could pursue a career as a pharmacologist who discovers, designs and tests drugs. Some pharmacologists extract new drugs from plants and other living sources, some design and synthesise new chemicals for use as drugs.

You can find pharmacology roles in many different organisations: basic pharmacology research occurs in both universities and in pharmaceutical companies. Pharmacologists play key roles in both the conduct an analysis of these trials and in reviewing them for government before a drug is allowed on to the market. A special group of pharmacologists - toxicologists - play a particularly important role in the evaluation of the safety of drugs and other chemicals which may affect humans.

Career pathways
Courses that offer this majors

To commence study in the year

Units of study in this major

To commence study in the year

The course information on this website applies only to future students. Current students should refer to faculty handbooks for current or past course information.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.