Ten of the Best for Pharmacy & Pharmacology | Top Universities

Ten of the Best for Pharmacy & Pharmacology

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Staff Writer

Updated Sep 28, 2023



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This article is based on the 2012 results of the QS World University Rankings by Subject. Click here to view the latest pharmacy and pharmacology results table. 

Interested in studying pharmacy or pharmacology? Take a look at the world’s top ten universities for these subjects, according to the 2012 QS World University Rankings by Subject.


1. Harvard University, US

No big surprises here – Harvard is well known for its leadership in life sciences, and also ranks as the world’s number one for medicine, biological sciences and psychology. 

While the university doesn’t have a pharmacy department, pharmacology features in many of the courses offered at Harvard Medical School. Key areas of research include systems pharmacology, molecular pharmacology, and translational pharmacology.

2. University of Cambridge, UK

As you may expect of Cambridge, research is particularly strong – the university outscores even Harvard on this measure. Major research interests at the Department of Pharmacology include cellular neuroscience, systems neuroscience, cell signalling and ion and drug transport mechanisms. At undergraduate level, the department teaches courses for undergraduates studying natural sciences, medicine and veterinary science. 


3. National University of Singapore, Singapore

The National University of Singapore (NUS) ranks well across all life sciences, but particularly so in pharmacy and pharmacology - both of which have dedicated departments offering a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Pharmacy research focuses on areas such as medicinal chemistry, analytical methods, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, while key pharmacology research topics include neuropharmacology, cardiovascular pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, preclinical toxicology, and pharmacology of inflammation.

4. University of Oxford, UK

As ever, Cambridge’s historic rival is not far behind. Oxford’s Department of Pharmacology offers taught and research-based master’s programs, and four-year DPhil courses. Major research areas include molecular pharmacology, cardiac pharmacology, neuropharmacology, cell signalling, and pharmacogenetics. 

5. Karolinska Institute, Sweden

One of the world’s most prestigious medical universities, Sweden’s Karolinska Institute ranks well across the life sciences, but especially for pharmacology. Its Department of Physiology and Pharmacology teaches at both undergraduate and graduate level, with key research areas including electrophysiological neuropharmacology, pharmacogenetics, pharmacological neurochemistry and pharmacological pain research. 

Most teaching is in Swedish, but the university does offer English-taught master’s programs, in fields such as global health, biomedicine and health informatics.

6. Monash University, Australia

Monash University has emerged as one of Australia’s top destinations for life sciences subjects. Its Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences offers a wide selection of undergraduate and postgraduate courses – including combinations such as pharmacy and commerce, or pharmaceutical science with chemical engineering. Key research areas include drug candidate optimization, drug delivery systems, medicinal chemistry and medicine use and safety.


7. Imperial College London, UK

Back in the UK again, at first glance you may not think Imperial is especially active in the pharmacy and pharmacology field – in its prospectus the only direct mention of the subjects is in the MSc in Infection Management for Pharmacists.

But in fact, pharmacy and pharmacology are central subjects in many of the taught- and research-based programs within Imperial’s renowned medical and life sciences faculties, including a number of research projects in collaboration with fellow London-based university, UCL.

8. University of Tokyo, Japan

Like all of these pharmacy and pharmacology top ten, the University of Tokyo has strong scores across all indicators used in the QS Rankings by Subject, but especially for employer reputation. This seems to reflect a strong focus on practical training and career preparation at the universities’ Departments of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmacy – courses include elements such as six-month hospital placements and training in pharmaceutical business management.  


9. University of Melbourne, Australia

Not far behind its neighbor, Monash, the University of Melbourne is also well reputed in this field. While it doesn’t have a school of pharmacy, its Department of Pharmacology offers majors at undergraduate level, as well as a two-year research training master’s program, two-year MPhil and three-year PhD programs.

10. University of Michigan, US

The University of Michigan’s College of Pharmacy offers programs from bachelor’s up to PhD and PharmD level. It also co-runs several interdisciplinary courses, including an MEng in Pharmaceutical Engineering and a PhD in Medicinal Chemistry.

Research in the field is supported by a number of centers of excellence at the university, including the Vahlteich Medicinal Chemistry Core, the Center for Molecular Drug Targeting, and the Center for Drug Discovery.

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