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Program Outline

Pharmaceuticals are a major part of human health and the health care industry. The Minor in Pharmaceutical Sciences is designed to acquaint undergraduate students with core areas of pharmaceutical science such as medicinal chemistry, pharmaceutics, pharmacology, regulatory science and more. The goal is that students will learn the foundations of pharmaceutical discovery, optimization, delivery and application. The program also offers the opportunity to participate in pharmaceutical sciences research.

The minor program is ideally suited for students in STEM majors such as biology, chemistry and biomedical and health sciences engineering. Because it offers shared learning experiences with graduate students, the program enhances the overall educational experience for undergraduate students. In addition, it prepares students for advanced study in the health sciences, an advanced degree in health care professions or a career in the pharmaceutical or biotechnology industries.

Upon completion of the minor program, students will have important pharmaceutical sciences knowledge and skills and be better equipped to move forward with their chosen field upon graduation. Students should be able to:

  • Understand how pharmaceuticals are researched and developed
  • Describe how pharmaceuticals interact with the human body
  • Compare methods of formulation, manufacturing and testing of pharmaceutical dosage forms
  • Explain how basic sciences play a role in the development of modern therapeutics

Program Requirements

The Minor in Pharmaceutical Sciences requires the completion of 15 credit hours, consisting of 1 credit hour in a core course and 14 credit hours in various elective courses that will allow the student to tailor the curriculum to their educational needs. Students must earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.00 in the minor requirements.

Core Requirement (1 credit)

  • PHRS 502 – Making Medicines: Drug Discovery, Development and Approval (1 credit) (fall)

Elective Courses chosen from this list (14 credits)

  • PHRS 395 – Research in Pharmaceutical Sciences (3 credits) (fall, spring, summer)
  • PHRS 501 – Fundamentals of Regulatory Affairs (2 credits) (fall)
  • PHRS 504 – Biochemical Foundations of Chemical Biology (3 credits)¹ (spring)
  • PHRS 507 – Molecular Foundations of Chemical Biology: Organic and Medicinal Chemistry (3 credits) (fall)
  • PHRS 515 – Evaluation Research and Project Design (3 credits) (fall)
  • PHRS 516 – Foundations in Implementation Science: Examples in Precision Health and Society (1.5 credits)¹ (fall)
  • PHRS 517 – Data Science in Pharmacy (1 credit) (spring)
  • PHRS 564 – Advances in Drug Delivery (3 credits) (fall)
  • PHRS 538 – Nanomedicine (3 credits)¹ (spring)
  • PHRS 596 – Pharmaceutical Sciences Seminar in Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry (1 credit)² (fall, spring)
  • PHRS 597 – Pharmaceutical Sciences Seminar in Pharmacotherapy and Experimental Therapeutics (1 credit)² (fall, spring)
  • PHRS 598 – Pharmaceutical Sciences Seminar in Pharmacoengineering and Molecular Pharmaceutics (1 credit)² (fall, spring)
  • PHRS 599 – Pharmaceutical Sciences Seminar in Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy (1 credit)² (fall, spring)

In addition to the program requirements listed above, students must:

  • Take at least nine hours of their minor core requirements at UNC-Chapel Hill.
  • Earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.00 in the minor core requirements. Some programs may require higher standards for minor or specific courses.

¹ These courses have prerequisites that are not required for the minor:

  • PHRS 504 requires CHEM 241, CHEM 262 or 262H, BIOC 107 and BIOL 202 or 220 or 240
  • PHRS 516 requires SOC 172 or SPHG 101
  • PHRS 538 requires PHRS 564

² Only two seminars will count toward the minor. Each seminar can only be taken once, regardless of grade received.

Program Prerequisite Requirements

Minor students must have:

  • Completed the following courses:
    • CHEM 261: Introduction to Organic Chemistry I H
    • MATH 231: Calculus of Functions of One Variable I H, F
  • Completed or be enrolled simultaneously in the following course:
    • CHEM 262: Introduction to Organic Chemistry II H
  • It is also strongly advised that students have already completed the following:
    • BIOL 252: Fundamentals of Human Anatomy and Physiology, or comparable course H
    • BIOL 240: Cell Biology H

H Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the non-honors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

F FY-Launch class sections may be available. A FY-Launch section fulfills the same requirements as a standard section of that course, but also fulfills the FY-Seminar/FY-Launch First-Year Foundations requirement. Students can search for FY-Launch sections in ConnectCarolina using the FY-Launch attribute.

Program Admission

The minor is available to all undergraduate students. Students must fulfill specific prerequisite requirements, as above, and submit an application. Applications will be accepted each year in the first six weeks of the fall semester. The application requires the following information:

  • GPA (minimum 3.0)
  • Grades for any courses already completed in chemistry, math and biology
  • A brief statement (approx. 500 words) explaining why you are interested in the field of pharmaceutical science


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