Why Get a Master’s Degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry or Medicinal Chemistry


Students looking to pursue an advanced degree need to be sure that degree is valuable. After spending four years and thousands of dollars on a bachelor’s degree, is it worth the extra time and money to pursue a master’s degree as well? There are many benefits to earning a master’s degree, especially in certain fields. A higher salary, more plentiful job opportunities are just two of the reasons. In the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields, a graduate degree in master’s degree in pharmaceutical chemistry or medicinal chemistry is beneficial.

Form the Leading Edge

Healthcare is one of the biggest concerns facing the modern world. Whether it is caring for a large, aging segment of the American population or discovering new drugs and vaccines to treat and prevent diseases, the world is in need of qualified professionals to help solve tomorrow’s problems, today.

A master’s degree in pharmaceutical chemistry or medicinal chemistry puts students on the frontlines in the battle against debilitating disease that rob people of their independence and lower their quality of life. Both fields of study focus on the synthesis and development of new drugs, find new ways to improve existing drugs, and work on bringing effective new drugs to market faster through clinical trials.

What A Job Might Look Like

Graduates with a master’s degree in pharmaceutical or medicinal chemistry likely find themselves working in laboratories. According to the American Association for Clinical Chemistry, graduates working in a clinical laboratory (for example) use their knowledge of chemistry to evaluate patient health by examining blood, DNA, tissue samples, and cells. Another career option is research scientist, looking for the next breakthrough or developing a diagnostic product.

Increasingly, academia and the pharmaceutical industry are joining forces to put the knowledge of researchers and academics to work in clinical laboratories to increase the effectiveness of current drugs while developing the next life-saving vaccine. Positions such as these are available at the United States Food and Drug Administration, National Institutes of Health, and in the private sector at biological research firms, pharmaceutical corporations, or other private research facilities.

Academia and the Discovery of New Drugs

Increasingly, academia and industry are joining forces to close the gap between research in academics and the development of new drugs. As noted in Future Medicinal Chemistry, the traditional model for the development of new drugs and vaccines saw academics capable of carrying a project only so far. Industry is usually able to pick up the slack and finish the job because private sector firms have the infrastructure (and funding) to go to a level academia couldn’t match. However, academic research remains vital to the discoveries and achievements of the industrial sector, creating the potential for bridges between the sides that offer more opportunities to researchers and chemists alike.

Growth of STEM Fields

STEM fields are critical to the future of the American economy, and global economy as a whole. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, STEM occupations are expected to grow 13% between 2012 and 2022. That equates to 9 million new jobs and a faster growth rate than any other occupational field.

This growth means higher wages and lower unemployment numbers for those working in the STEM fields. Medical scientists saw employment numbers surge 42.6% between 2003 and 2013, and unemployment numbers have steadily shrunk as the Great Recession becomes a memory of the past.

A master’s degree in pharmaceutical chemistry or medicinal chemistry can set students up for future success in their careers.

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