Top 15 Online Master’s in Pharmaceutical Science 2024

Online Master’s in Pharmaceutical Science

Post-pandemic, the field of pharmaceutical science is experiencing an unprecedented boom. To take advantage of this job growth, you may need an advanced degree. The growth of online programs makes seeking a master’s degree more convenient than ever. In this ranking, we identify more than a dozen different options available to you.

Degrees Listed in This Ranking

  • Online Master of Science in Pharmaceutics
  • Online MS in PharmacoAnalytics: Pharmaceutical Outcomes Research
  • Online Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Regulatory Sciences
  • Online MS in Pharmacology & Toxicology
  • Online Master of Pharmaceutical Bioengineering
  • Online Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences: Health System Pharmacy Administration & Leadership
  • Online Master’s in Pharmaceutical Chemistry
  • Online MS in Pharmaceutical Sciences: Health-System Pharmacy Administration
  • Online Master’s in Pharmaceutical Nanotechnology
  • Online MS in Pharmaceutical Science: Drug Development
  • Online Pharmaceutical Sciences (MS): Cannabis Science and Medicine
  • Online Master of Science in Drug Discovery and Development
  • Online Master of Science in Comparative Effectiveness Research
  • Online MS in Pharmacy: BioPharma Regulatory Affairs

Methodology

To develop this ranking of the top online pharmaceutical science master’s programs, our editors began with a pool of 26 online programs from accredited colleges and universities in the U.S. We then applied the tuition filter, eliminating programs associated with costs exceeding $25,000 per year. Finally, we used our site-wide graduate program methodology to determine the program’s rank. In the case of a tie, the more affordable school was awarded the higher ranking.

#15—Temple University

Master’s in Pharmaceutical Science

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Featured Programs

Points: 7

Graduate Tuition: $20,531

Temple University - logo

Temple University offers two distinct options for prospective students interested in pursuing a pharmaceutical science master’s online degree:

  • Master of Science in Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance
  • Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Regulatory Sciences

Depending on which degree track they choose, students may take courses such as:

  • Food and Drug Law
  • Drug Development
  • Pharmaceutical Biotechnology
  • Regulatory Sciences: Managing the Guidelines for Quality

The university’s School of Pharmacy also offers more than a dozen graduate certificates that can be pursued entirely online.

#14—Michigan State University

MS in Pharmacology & Toxicology

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Points: 8

Graduate Tuition: $20,202

Michigan State University- logo

The 31 credit-hour pharmaceutical science master’s degree from Michigan State University is an MS option in Pharmacology & Toxicology. The program can be completed within two years of fully online study. The curriculum for the program is elective-rich but includes core courses such as:

  • Principles of Drug-Tissue Interaction
  • Communication for Scientists
  • Academic and Research Integrity
  • Experimental Design and Data Analysis

In addition to online coursework, a capstone literature review is also required prior to graduation.

#13—University of Washington

Master of Pharmaceutical Bioengineering

Website

Points: 9

Graduate Tuition: $17,004

University of Washington - logo

Designed for industry professionals, the master’s in pharmaceutical science option from the University of Washington is an online Master of Pharmaceutical Bioengineering. This part-time program is interactive in nature and features course titles such as:

  • Pathophysiology for Pharmaceutical Bioengineering
  • Molecular Targets and Drug Classes
  • Molecular and Cellular Biology for Pharmaceutical Bioengineering
  • Applied Pharmacokinetics

Course delivery is comprised of a blend of asynchronous and synchronous components. A capstone in Clinical Development is also required.

#12—University of Florida

Master’s in Pharmaceutical Chemistry

Website

Points: 9

Graduate Tuition: $10,770

University of Florida- logo

The University of Florida offers a master’s of pharmaceutical science. The curriculum for the program is asynchronous in nature. It features required courses and elective classes that include the following:

Fundamentals of Pharmaceutical Chemistry

  • Special Topics in Pharmaceutical Chemistry
  • Drug Development Strategies
  • Applied Statistics for Data Analysis
  • Fundamentals of Pharmaceutical Chemistry

Students have seven years to complete coursework.. However, most finish within an average of two to three years. An online graduate certificate in pharmaceutical chemistry is also available.

#11—South Dakota State University

MS in Pharmaceutical Sciences

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Points: 9

Graduate Tuition: $8,164

South Dakota State University - logo

The master’s in pharmaceutical science program from South Dakota State University is available both on campus and online. It is offered through the school’s Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences. This MS option features a research concentration in addition to didactic courses. Required classes for the degree include:

  • Advanced Concepts in Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacogenomics
  • Introduction to Drug Discovery and Development
  • Techniques in Pharmaceutical Research
  • Advanced Concepts in Pharmacology

Students can choose from thesis, non-thesis, and coursework-only tracks.

#10—The Ohio State University

Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences: Health System Pharmacy Administration & Leadership

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Points: 10

Graduate Tuition: $12,092

Ohio State University - logo

Ohio State University offers an online pharmaceutical science master’s degree. It is a part-time option designed for working professionals. The program features a concentration in Health System Pharmacy Administration & Leadership. Courses are almost entirely asynchronous in nature and cover topics in pharmacology like:

  • design of pharmacy services
  • managerial and financial aspects of health system pharmacies
  • data-driven decision making in pharmacology
  • historical philosophies of pharmacy practice

Despite its online nature, the program’s curriculum comprises hands-on and project-based learning.

#9—University of California-Irvine

Master of Science in Pharmacology

Website

Points: 10

Graduate Tuition: $11,700

The pharmaceutical science master’s online option from the UC-Irvine is a Master of Science in Pharmacology. This fully online degree program can be completed within two years of study. The curriculum features online courses such as:

  • Endocrine, Respiratory, and Gastrointestinal Pharmacology
  • Research Techniques in Pharmacology
  • Receptors and Drug Targets
  • Concepts in Drug Discovery

Students must also complete a capstone research project on a topic of interest before graduation. UCI is ranked among the top 10 public universities in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

#8—University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill

MS in Pharmaceutical Sciences: Health-System Pharmacy Administration

Website

Points: 10

Graduate Tuition: $10,552

University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill- logo

The pharmaceutical science master’s online degree from the UNC at Chapel Hill is a flexible, asynchronous option. It features a concentration in Health-System Pharmacy Administration. The program can be pursued on a part-time or full-time basis. The curriculum for the program mirrors the school’s on-campus master’s. It does not require a residency. Sample course titles include:

  • Health-System Pharmacy Leadership
  • Advanced Hospital Pharmacy Operations
  • Foundational Practices of a Successful Health-System Department of Pharmacy
  • Financial Management of a Health-System Pharmacy

No GRE is required for admission to the program.  

#7—University of Kansas

MS in Pharmacology & Toxicology

Website

Points: 10

Graduate Tuition: $9,989

University of Kansas - logo

The University of Kansas has a literature-based MS in Pharmacology and Toxicology. The fully online program features rolling admissions. It can be completed within two years of study. Courses required for the degree include:

  • Introduction to Pharmacology and Biotechnology
  • Immunopharmacology, Infectious Diseases, and Gastrointestinal Pharmacology
  • Molecular Toxicology
  • Cardiovascular and Renal System

A literature-based thesis is also required at the culmination of the program.

#6—University of South Florida

Master’s in Pharmaceutical Nanotechnology

Website

Points: 10

Graduate Tuition: $8,350

University of South Florida - logo

The online master’s in pharmaceutical science from the University of South Florida is a highly flexible program. It is designed for busy professionals. Students can elect a specialization in Nanomedicine or one of five available concentrations:

  • Complementary & Integrative Pharmacy
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Entrepreneurship in Pharmacy & Pharmaceutics
  • Drug Discovery, Development, Delivery & Manufacturing
  • Translational & Clinical Research

Full-time students may complete their master’s degree through USF’s Taneja College of Pharmacy within one to two years of study.  

#5—University of Colorado – Denver/ Anschutz Medical Campus

Pharmaceutical Sciences (MS): Cannabis Science and Medicine

Website

Points: 10

Graduate Tuition: $7,722

University of Colorado-Denver- logo

The University of Colorado-Denver has a master’s in pharmaceutical science. The program is an MS in Cannabis Science and Medicine. Students enrolled in the program will take courses such as:

  • Ethical Issues in Toxicology & Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Cannabis Pharmacology & Physiology
  • Chemical Analysis of Cannabis
  • Cannabis Therapeutics: Pain, Oncology, At-Risk Populations

A capstone/ literature review is also required in addition to online coursework. Online students are invited to complete an optional on-campus laboratory workshop.

#4—University of Illinois- Chicago

Master of Science in Comparative Effectiveness Research

Website

Points: 11

Graduate Tuition: $14,181

University of Illinois at Chicago- logo

Through its distinguished College of Pharmacy, the University of Illinois-Chicago offers an online MS in Comparative Effectiveness Research for working professionals. This 32 credit-hour master’s degree program is fully self-paced. No campus visits are required. Students enrolled in the program will complete 20 credit hours of required coursework, including:

  • Pharmacoepidemiology
  • Ethics and Privacy Issues in Comparative Effectiveness Research
  • Biostatistics
  • Clinical Research Methods

A variety of elective classes are also available. Students are required to complete a supervised research capstone prior to graduation.

#3—University of Cincinnati

MS in Pharmaceutical Science: Drug Development

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Featured Programs

Points: 11

Graduate Tuition: $13,224

University of Cincinnati- logo

The University of Cincinnati offers a 30-credit hour online master’s in pharmaceutical science. This MS option in Drug Development has been available since 2004. Students may enroll on a part-time or full-time basis, and courses are asynchronous in nature. Sample course titles required for the program include:

  • Discovery of Drugs and Therapeutic Biologicals
  • Development and Manufacturing of Drug Products and Medical Devices
  • Statistical Principles in Clinical Research
  • Pharmaceutical Economics and Management

A drug development project and seminar may also be required. The program can be completed within two years of full-time study.

#2—University of Georgia

MS in Pharmacy: BioPharma Regulatory Affairs

Website

Points: 11

Graduate Tuition: $8,878

University of Georgia- logo

The University of Georgia offers a highly flexible master’s in pharmaceutical science. It is designed for working professionals, nontraditional students, and other distance learners. This MS program in Pharmacy features a concentration in International Biomedical Regulatory Sciences. The program is available entirely online. Both thesis and non-thesis tracks are available. Core courses required for the degree include:

  • Biostatistical Applications for Pharmaceutical & Biotech Industries
  • Food and Drug Law
  • Pharmaceutical, Biotechnology, and Device Industries
  • Process Control and Validation

An applied project in international biomedical regulatory sciences is also required.

#1—University of North Texas

Master of Science in Drug Discovery and Development

Website

Points: 11

Graduate Tuition: $6,350

University of North Texas- logo

The pharmaceutical science master’s option from the University of North Texas is a master’s in drug development online program. This accelerated master’s degree can be completed in just one year. The curriculum for the program is a 30-credit hour non-thesis plan. It consists of course titles such as:

  • Industry Practice and Laboratory Management
  • Overview of Modern Drug Discovery and Development
  • Clinical Pharmacology and Drug Development
  • Principles and Practices of Medicinal Chemistry

A capstone research project is also required of distance learners prior to graduation.

About Online Master’s in Pharmaceutical Science Degree Programs

For decades, pharmaceutical science has been an in-demand career. It is fueled by the growth of the healthcare sector in the United States. More recently, though, the field has become an even more attractive area of study for nontraditional students. One of the reasons is that the programs are offered online. Now, prospective students can enter the field or advance their existing roles. They can do so conveniently and efficiently. Moreover, many of these programs are affordable for distance learners. This is because schools often offer them at in-state tuition costs, regardless of the student’s residence status.

Master’s in Pharmaceutical Science Degree Online Programs: Admissions

Like any advanced degree, an online master’s program in pharmaceutical science has specific requirements. Students must meet these prior to admission. These requirements can vary from one school and program to the next. Still, there are some common admissions criteria you can expect to see when searching for a pharmsci master’s program. Some of these may include:

  • Bachelor’s degree in health science (e.g., pharmacy, biology, chemistry, toxicology) or a related field
  • Minimum GPA requirement (usually 3.0 or higher)
  • GMAT or GRE (sometimes waived)

In addition, some programs require prior work experience in the healthcare industry.

Types of Online Master’s in Pharmaceutical Science Programs

Despite following a similar structure and sharing some core courses, the master’s degree programs for distance learners in the field of pharmsci may differ in some important ways. Learning about these differences can help you make the best decision about your education. Below, you will find brief descriptions of several different types of online pharmaceutical science programs offered at the master’s level.  

Hybrid Versus Fully Online PharmSci Master’s Programs

Some distance learning programs labeled as online offerings actually require some campus visits.These programs could be better described as “hybrid” options. That means they combine elements of online learning with on-campus classes.  While hybrid programs may offer some unique benefits such as enhanced experiential learning opportunities, for example, they might not be as flexible as 100% online degree programs in pharmaceutical science.

Part-Time Versus Full-Time Master’s in Pharmaceutical Science

Another distinction to consider when evaluating online master’s in pharmaceutical science programs is the issue of part-time versus full-time enrollment. Many schools offer one or the other, and some offer both. Depending on your schedule, you can choose to enroll full-time, taking more courses at once and finishing the program faster; or, you could enroll on a part-time basis, taking fewer courses at a time and spreading your course of study over a longer period of time.

Asynchronous Versus Synchronous Master’s in PharmSci

A lesser-known issue to consider when looking for pharmaceutical master’s programs online is the matter of asynchronous versus synchronous content delivery. Asynchronous programs are more flexible options that enable you to complete parts of the program “offline,” meaning you can access course materials anytime to work on at your convenience. Synchronous programs, on the other hand, require students to be online at specific times to participate in real-time course components such as lectures, class discussions, and lab work, for example. Some students may find these synchronous options more engaging, but they’re not nearly as convenient. Many online master’s degrees in pharmsci combine elements of asynchronous and synchronous content delivery.  

Pharmaceutical Science Master’s Online Programs: Curriculum

Though pharmaceutical science master’s programs offered online may be more convenient and flexible than on-campus programs, prospective students shouldn’t expect them to be any less rigorous. In fact, many of these programs share the same curriculum as their on-campus counterparts, and some are even taught by the same faculty members.

One common distinction between on-campus and online master’s in pharmaceutical science programs can be found in their capstone element. While most traditional programs feature a thesis track, online programs often follow non-thesis tracks, requiring a comprehensive exam or project instead of a scholarly research paper at the culmination of the program.

Thesis or not, most master’s-level degrees in pharmaceutical science require 31-32 credit hours of coursework. Depending on their course load and pace, students typically complete the requirements for these programs within one to three years.  

Core Courses for Online PharmSci Master’s Programs

Still, online learners will take many of the same core courses as in-person students. Examples include:

  • Physical Pharmacy
  • Pharmaceutical Biotechnology
  • Principles of Drug-Tissue Interactions
  • Communications for Scientists
  • Pharmaceutical Law
  • Introduction to Drug Discovery and Development
  • Advanced Concepts in Pharmacology
  • Regulatory Affairs
  • Advanced Concepts in Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacogenomics
  • Concepts in Drug Discovery

Elective Courses for Online PharmSci Master’s Degree Programs

Most online master’s in pharmaceutical science programs will feature some elective courses. Electives may be offered as standalone options or as part of an optional concentration or emphasis associated with the degree. Examples include:

  • Cellular and Molecular Toxicology
  • Tropical Medicine Pharmacology
  • Introduction to Pharmaceutical Counterfeiting and Public Health
  • Leadership and Team Building for Researchers
  • Computer Aided Drug Design
  • Medical Writing
  • Immunopharmacology, Infectious Diseases and Gastrointestinal Pharmacology
  • Ethics and Privacy Issues in Comparative Effectiveness Research
  • Global Regulatory and Development Strategies of Drugs and Medical Devices
  • Pharmaceutical Economics and Management

Many of the online degree programs featured in this ranking give students the opportunity to customize their master’s in pharmaceutical science by adding a concentration or area of emphasis to their credentials. Doing so could help students achieve certain career goals in the pharmaceutical industry after graduation. It could also help them adapt the curriculum to meet their academic interests. Some popular concentrations for this degree include:

  • Health-System Pharmacy Administration & Leadership
  • Nanomedicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Complementary & Integrative Pharmacy (CIP)
  • Drug Discovery, Development, Delivery & Manufacturing (D4M)
  • Entrepreneurship in Pharmacy & Pharmaceutics
  • Translational and Clinical Research
  • Cannabis Science and Medicine
  • Clinical Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics
  • Drug Discovery
  • Molecular and Systems Toxicology
  • Pharmaceutical Biotechnology and Drug Delivery
  • Principles of Economic Evaluation of Health Care Interventions

Careers for Master’s in PharmSci Graduates

Whether you decide to study in-person or online toward your degree, you’ll have several career paths awaiting you once you graduate from your online pharmaceutical science master’s program. Some of these might include:

  • Study Manager
  • Associate Scientist
  • Senior Scientist
  • Research Coordinator
  • Medical Scientist
  • Life Scientist
  • Medical Writer
  • Therapeutic Expert
  • Medical Liaison
  • Scientific Leader
  • Regulatory Guide

Frequently-Asked Questions About Online Master’s in Pharmaceutical Science Programs

Q: How long does it take to earn a master’s in pharmaceutical science online?

A: Time to completion for these programs can vary widely. While some accelerated master’s in pharmsci programs can be completed in just one year, part-time programs could take up to five years, depending on your course load. Keep in mind, too, that some schools require you to complete your degree within a certain number of years.

Q: How much does a pharmaceutical science master’s program cost?

A: Cost is another variable with a wide range when it comes to master’s degrees in pharmaceutical science. Our researchers found programs with tuition as affordable as $6,350 and as costly as $63,468. To highlight the most economical options for our readers, our ranking includes only those programs with tuition costs less than $25,000.

Q: What will I study in a pharmsci master’s program?

A: Your exact course of study will vary depending on several factors, such as the school you choose, the precise program, and any areas of emphasis or concentrations you elect. Still, you can count on studying the following:

  • Drug development
  • Clinical research methods
  • Regulatory affairs
  • Pharmaceutical economics
  • Biotechnology
  • Pharmacology and toxicology
  • Ethical issues in pharmaceutical science
  • Pharmacy operations
  • Scientific communications

Career Questions for Master’s in Pharmaceutical Science Degrees

Q: How much will I make with a master’s degree in pharmaceutical science?

A: A master’s in pharmaceutical science salary will depend on various factors. These will include:

  • Job title
  • Location
  • Employer

PayScale reports the average salary for master’s degree holders in this field to be roughly $78k.

Q: Are careers in pharmaceutical science in demand?

A: Yes. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, many careers requiring at least a master’s-level credential in this field are expected to see better-than-average job growth in the coming decade. Some of these include:

  • Medical Scientists (17%)
  • Life Scientists (11%)
  • Biochemists (15%)

Q: What professional organizations should I join in pharmaceutical science?

Professional organizations can provide networking and professional development resources in the pharmaceutical industry. Here are a few to consider if you’re planning to seek an advanced position in this career field:

  • American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS)
  • National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS)
  • Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM)