Pharmaceutical Sciences, MS

Pharmaceutical science is a problem-solving discipline concerned with the discovery, design, and use of drugs. Pharmaceutical scientists find new targets for drug development; research how drugs work at a molecular level; and determine how drugs’ properties, dosages, and delivery systems affect their performance. Northeastern has a well-deserved reputation among students, researchers, and other universities. Our department has five interlinked Centers of Research Excellence that pursue specific areas of pharmaceutical and chemical research: the Center for Drug Discovery, the New England Inflammation and Tissue Protection Institute, the Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology and Nanomedicine, the Center for Translational Imaging, and the Environmental Cancer Research Program. Northeastern offers many of its classes in the evening to accommodate the needs of the working community. Many students in the pharmaceutical science MS program complete their degree on a part-time basis. For those interested in discovery, problem solving, and cutting-edge research in one of the world’s foremost scientific and medical environments, Northeastern University’s School of Pharmacy in the Bouvé College of Health Sciences is the place to study pharmaceutical science.

Pharmaceutical science is inherently interdisciplinary, and this is reflected in the availability of several options at both the MS and PhD levels. The main options are pharmaceutics and drug delivery, pharmacology, and medicinal chemistry. The curriculum for each of these options allows a degree of flexibility in terms of specific courses taken, and the examples below are not absolute but reflect students’ most common choices made with the advice of faculty members. Even more flexibility is possible with the Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences (interdisciplinary concentration).

Just as cars are useless without roads, drugs are useless without an effective delivery system. This is especially important in contemporary pharmaceutical research as new chemical entities are either too hydrophobic (e.g., many anticancer drugs) or hydrophilic and highly labile (e.g., nucleic acids). The Bouvé College of Health Sciences’ pharmaceutics faculty and students are developing the pathways that bring small-molecule drugs and biological therapies directly to the target cells.

Our comprehensive program in pharmaceutics has specialists in drug development and delivery who use and deliver treatments. Their goal is to better understand how the chemical and physical properties of drugs and their dosage forms affect many approaches to create drug performance in healthy and diseased systems. Graduate students may elect a program concentrating in:

  • Novel drug delivery systems
  • Biopharmaceutics and pharmacokinetics
  • Physical pharmacy and polymeric dosage form development
  • Drug metabolism

With a strong focus on nanotechnology-based advanced delivery systems that address contemporary needs, this concentration also gives you the opportunity to study with some of the world’s top researchers. Pharmaceutics students have the option of performing industrial internships during the summer in some of the most prestigious pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in the area.

Complete all courses and requirements listed below unless otherwise indicated.


A grade of C– or higher is required in each course.

Required Core
Complete 13–18 semester hours from the following:13–18
PHSC 5100Concepts in Pharmaceutical Science2
PHSC 6210Drug Design, Evaluation, and Development2
PHSC 6214Experimental Design and Biostatistics2
PHSC 6216Human Physiology and Pathophysiology2
PHSC 6212Research Skills and Ethics1
or BIOL 6381 Ethics in Biological Research
PHSC 5300Pharmaceutical Biochemistry2
or PHSC 7010 Pharmaceutical Sciences Laboratory
PHSC 5310Cellular Physiology2
Pharmaceutics Core
PMST 6252Pharmacokinetics and Drug Metabolism3
PMST 6250Advanced Physical Pharmacy2
PMST 6254Advanced Drug Delivery System3
Complete 7–12 semester hours from the following subject areas:7–12

Program Credit/GPA Requirements

33 total semester hours required
Minimum 3.000 GPA required