at UBC's

Vancouver Campus

This program emphasizes the experimental and laboratory aspects of pharmacology. You'll learn both the whole-animal and isolated-tissue techniques, as well as biochemical and chemical procedures. Skills that are stressed include the ability to search for information, design appropriate experiments, carry out experiments individually and as a member of a team, analyze data, and communicate and write effectively.

Why this program?

  • Enjoy small classes in upper years with individual attention from professors.
  • Study in a rigorous honours specialization that prepares you for graduate studies in health sciences or for medical, dental, pharmacy, drug regulation, or veterinary medicine.
  • Learn in lectures and labs instructed by world-renowned researchers and medical specialists in the Department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology, and Therapeutics.
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Program information

  • Campus: Vancouver
  • Faculty: Faculty of Science
  • Degree: Bachelor of Science
  • Length 4 yrs
  • Co-op Yes
    You can combine your studies with full-time, paid work at top local and international organizations.
  • Honours Yes
    You can study intense specialization in a single field.

Pharmacology is the science of drug action on biological systems. It deals with the sources, chemical properties, biological effects, mechanisms of action, therapeutic uses, and adverse effects of drugs. It is a science that is basic not only to medicine, but also to pharmacy, nursing, dentistry, midwifery, and veterinary medicine. Pharmacologists’ work ranges from exploring the potential hazards of pesticides and herbicides, to developing treatment and prevention of major diseases by drug therapy.

Pharmacology is available as a major or honours degree. Entry into the specialization is extremely selective, with only about 24 students accepted each year. Students apply for admission into the program at the end of their second year. Pharmacology is different from Pharmaceutical Sciences, which is a professional program for those wanting to be pharmacists.

Campus features

Vancouver Hospital and Health Sciences Centre includes UBC Hospital site on the UBC Vancouver campus.

Experiential learning and research

The program emphasizes the experimental and laboratory aspects of pharmacology – you’ll learn both whole animal and isolated tissue techniques, as well as biochemical and chemical procedures. You’ll build skills research, designing appropriate experiments, carrying out experiments individually and as a member of a team, analyzing data, and communicating and writing effectively.

Your future

Graduates of the Pharmacology program almost always enter graduate programs in biological or health sciences.

The rigorous, cross-disciplinary nature of the specialization makes it an ideal pathway for entry into professional schools such as medicine, pharmacy, or dental.

Program graduates

  • Resident physician in Pediatrics, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario
  • Pharmacist, Wellness Pharmacy
  • Medical student, University of British Columbia
  • PhD candidate in Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia
  • Dentist, Smiles Unlimited Dental Centre
  • Research assistant, Eye Care Centre – Vancouver General Hospital

Program requirements

English-language requirements

English is the language of instruction at UBC. All prospective students must demonstrate English-language competency prior to admission. There are numerous ways to meet the English Language Admission Standard.

General admission requirements

IB Diploma Programme

  • Completed IB Diploma, including at least three Higher Level courses.

IB Certificate Courses

  • IB Certificate courses (Standard and Higher Level) may be used in an admissions average if you are graduating from a recognized high school curriculum that can be used as your basis of admission.
  • IB Math Applications and Interpretations SL, or IB Math Studies, do not satisfy the math requirement for admission to UBC’s science-based programs, the Faculty of Management, the UBC Sauder School of Business, or the Vancouver School of Economics.

Degree-specific requirements: Science

  • IB Math Analysis and Approaches SL or HL, or IB Math Applications and Interpretations HL (IB Math Applications and Interpretations SL, or IB Math Studies, are not acceptable)
  • One of IB Biology, IB Chemistry, or IB Physics
  • Grade 11 or equivalent Chemistry, and
  • Grade 11 or equivalent Physics (may be waived with grades of 5 in IB Chemistry and in your IB Mathematics course)

Note: Grade 11 Chemistry and Physics requirements listed are only relevant to students who are not completing the equivalent IB Diploma Chemistry and/or Physics courses.

For students studying outside of Canada, some examples of courses that may be accepted as Grade 11 equivalents are junior-level courses for American students, and IGCSE and O Level for those following British-patterned curricula.

Related courses

The following subject categories are particularly relevant for this degree. Consider taking courses in these areas in your junior year and senior year.

  • Language Arts
  • Mathematics and Computation
  • Sciences
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