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How do I Choose the Best Department of Pharmacology?

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  • Written By: Klaus Strasser
  • Edited By: J.T. Gale
  • Last Modified Date: 27 November 2016
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Pharmacology is the study of drugs and how they affect various biological systems. To help you choose the best department of pharmacology, it usually is a good idea to understand what pharmacology entails, what area of pharmacology you wish to study, and what your long-term career goals are. Typically, the best departments of pharmacology are ones that are well-regarded in their field on both an academic and professional level, providing you with both the necessary scientific knowledge and helping you to increase your chances for vocational success.

The field of pharmacology investigates the affects of how drugs may change both behavior and physiological aspects of a system. Pharmacology is a multi-disciplinary field that includes many sub-disciplines such as behavioral pharmacology, neuropharmacology and clinical pharmacology. Each field pertains to the specificity of the effect of drugs with a part of the biological system.

Pharmacology is often confused with toxicology insofar as both investigate the effects of drugs. The field of pharmacology, however, specifically attempts to address the possible medicinal and therapeutic effects of drugs. It typically has health care as its general focus.

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According to the diversity of pharmacological studies, it is usually recommended that you look for a department that offers both a general introduction to the field and provides a broad range of pharmacological courses relative to your interests. Pharmacology departments are different from departments of pharmacy as pharmacology emphasizes the training of students as researchers. A good department of pharmacology typically will offer excellent laboratory facilities, as the trained pharmacologist is expected to perform scientific experiments.

Generally, the best department of pharmacology will be devoted specifically to pharmacology. Some schools combine both pharmacology and toxicology because of their similarities. The combination of the two schools could detract from the specific field of research for the future pharmacologist.

Good departments of pharmacology typically will provide you the greatest chance to secure employment after your studies have been completed. This means it usually is important to select a department that has a good reputation in both the academic and private sectors. A successful track record of the prospective department of pharmacology could translate into a multitude of opportunities in either the academic or business setting for the future pharmacologist. Many departments also offer internships as part of their program, helping students to gain valuable work experience that could help boost your resume.

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