Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Pharmacology, Pharmacy … What’s the Difference?

Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Pharmacology, and Pharmacy all have something to do with drugs; so what is the difference between these disciplines?

Pharmaceutical Chemistry

The Pharmaceutical Chemistry Specialist Program is an undergraduate collaborative program between the Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Arts & Science and the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy. The focus is on understanding the physical properties, chemical synthesis, manufacture, and formulation of medicines.


Pharmacology is the study of drugs. It involves examining the interactions of chemical substances with living systems, with a view to understanding the properties of drugs and their actions, including the interactions between drug molecules and drug receptors and how these interactions elicit an effect. Programs in pharmacology are offered by the Faculty of Arts & Science at the University of Toronto.


Pharmacy is a professional program for students wishing to become licensed pharmacists. It is a degree program offered by the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy that prepares students to be eligible for the licensing exam and, upon successful completion, become practicing pharmacists. A license is required to legally dispense drugs. Students in completing the undergraduate pharmacy program will obtain a Pharm.D. degree. Programs in pharmacy are offered by the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Toronto.